Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

November 05 2013

5 Steps to Sell Your Boss on Investing in a Mobile Meeting App

By David McMillin

conference apps

Year after year, your attendees are arriving armed with more tablets and more smartphones. As the mobile revolution continues to spread across industries and age demographics, meeting planners are recognizing that mobile apps are no longer nice add-ons; they’re essential tools for engagement.

Unfortunately, not everyone has come to the same realization.

“You can assemble an ironclad business case for your mobile event app and still, there may be a few challenges that you’ll need to overcome,” a free new e-book from leading mobile app developer for corporate and business events, CrowdCompass, declares. “Nearly every organization has a naysayer or two who will question whether this is the right move for your business.”

If you are struggling to educate those naysayers in your organization on the importance of investing in a mobile app, here are five steps to make them believers.

1)  Start with statistics

One look at the data surrounding smartphone usage will help your team wake up to the reality that mobile is a must. According to global technology giant Cisco, the number of mobile devices will be higher than the number of people on the planet. Technology providers are bracing for the continuing surge in usage, too. By 2017, Cisco estimates that mobile network connection speeds will increase seven-fold. With these predictions in mind, it’s fairly safe to say that your attendees will bring at least one of those devices to your meeting.

2) Outline the impact on your expenses

Every meeting planner is all too familiar with feeling the pressure to reign in their spending and boost the bottom line. That pressure can easily lead to questioning the need to allocate more funds for a mobile app. However, Jason Paganessi, CAE, vice president, business innovation, PCMA, says the initial investment will help reduce some big expenses.

“The obvious savings are in printing, shipping and designing the conference book that is out of date the second you approve the proof from the designer,” Paganessi says.

A mobile app can do more than cuts costs, too.

“Organizations are now starting to realize the tremendous revenue potential from app sponsorships and that it’s replacing any lost revenue from printing the traditional book,” Paganessi adds.

3) Outline the impact on your people

In addition to saving money and uncovering new revenue opportunities, Paganessi points out the importance of educating the entire team on the fact that mobile saves time, too, which is a huge benefit for resource-strapped organizations.

“With mobile, your conference information is always up to date and doesn’t take the amount of effort to proof and edit as the traditional final and preliminary programs,” Paganessi says. “The savings in staff time alone can be significant.”

4) Show why all of your attendees want this

Many meeting planners are aiming to please a certain cast of veteran, year-after-year attendees, but even those old-school members of the audience are still looking to adopt the new school of mobile technologies.

“The average age of our attendees is 45+,” Courtney Young, digital and social media specialist, The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, says. “We often hear our attendees aren’t tech-savvy and don’t use mobile apps, but our download rate was over 80 percent.”

From Millennials to Baby Boomers, your audience may have plenty of differences, but soon enough, they will all share one commonality: owning a mobile device.

5)  Leverage your competition

If your team is still having trouble seeing the need for a mobile app at your next meeting, here’s an effective route: your competition. When a similar organization is offering a mobile solution for their attendees, you can safely assume that some of those audience members are going to turn their attention - and their registration dollars - away from your organization. Download the competitor’s app, and walk your team through the experience, reminding them of the need for your organization to develop something even better.

Looking for more insights into how to develop a strong strategy that will convince every member of your team of the power of mobile? Click here to download CrowdCompass’ free e-book: “Mobile Apps: The New Event Essential.”

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