By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager
InGo LLC garnered the 2015 IAEE Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award for its suite of client-customized web apps. The award recognizes achievement by IAEE members in the creation of new and innovative business solutions, such as InGo’s web apps that allow the event’s attendees to socially register, and spread the event across their social networks by utilizing its unique and socially smart search algorithm. It empowers attendees to send personalized invites to their network, increasing the event’s reach and impact resulting in remarkable engagement and growth while acquiring new quality attendees. Furthermore, event managers benefit from an enhanced attendee data profile, complete with social network URLs and network reach per contact. Here, InGo CEO Michael Barnett shares the company’s approach to understanding its customers, the industry and creating solutions that tie the two together.
InGo was formed in 2013 and has already achieved an impressive portfolio within the exhibitions and events industry. To what do you attribute the company’s success?
First, we make a conscious effort to think like a social media user, like an attendee, and not like a marketer. By putting ourselves into the experience of the attendee, we realize people on social media are not “consumers waiting to be marketed to.” They have passions and a voice, and they are talking – a lot. This shift in perspective allows us to direct all our efforts to empowering them to share that passion and use that voice. This is the heart and soul of what we call “advocate marketing.”
Secondly, we dedicate ourselves to building an open platform where we can work with any organizer or registration provider in the world. This allows us to integrate on any event, in any industry, anywhere in the world.
What technological breakthroughs would you consider most beneficial to the exhibitions and events industry?
The rise and dominance of social media has changed the world, and the exhibitions and events industry is no exception. Never before has there been such a powerful intersection of knowledge about, and access to, the full community surrounding a brand. But more importantly – unlike TV, email, or even print, which are all unidirectional (brand speaking to passive consumer) – we now have a medium that is bidirectional and even multi-directional. This is the key; on social media, everyone – attendees, organizers and exhibitors – all have a voice and they can all talk to and about each other.
Given the rapid changes in technology, what advice would you offer those who feel that the changes move too quickly or are intimidated by the idea of “trying to keep up”?
Many people fear innovation because they think it means “losing control” or “trying what we don’t do.” However, no company can survive without innovating, and that’s not the best way to think of it. Instead, we advise making innovation itself a core competency for your company. Set the parameters, identify the control, run the experiment and measure the results; all good old fashioned scientific method stuff; innovation but in a structured, disciplined way.
What predictions do you have for technology specific to the industry?
There is no doubt that social is here to stay and I agree with predictions that it will continue to grow. There has already been a lot of technology developed for the industry to utilize this massive opportunity but it has mostly focused on behavior analysis, tracking and retargeting. My prediction is that we’ll see even more innovation around unlocking the true potential of social media by enabling social media users to interact with brands and other users in organic ways.
What goals does InGo have for the coming year?
Our goals for 2016 are essentially “more of the same.” We are putting a special emphasis on developing our Global Advocate Alliance to increase our reach, and allow the mass market to benefit from the unparalleled power of advocate marketing.