Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

Posted on July 27, 2017 by: Ryan Estis

How many times will you stop reading this blog post to check e-mail, text messages or social media?

The heaviest smartphone users click, tap or swipe on their phone 5,427 times a day, according to the research platform dscout. The rest of us still touch the addictive things 2,617 times a day on average. That level of connection is wreaking havoc on our ability to focus on tasks that require more concentration than it takes to post a status update.

Adam Alter, author of “Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked,” warns that many of us — youngsters, teenagers, adults — are addicted to modern digital products. Not figuratively, but literally addicted.

In a New York Times interview, he explains:

In the past, we thought of addiction as mostly related to chemical substances: heroin, cocaine, nicotine. Today, we have this phenomenon of behavioral addictions where, one tech industry leader told me, people are spending nearly three hours a day tethered to their cellphones. Where teenage boys sometimes spend weeks alone in their rooms playing video games. Where Snapchat will boast that its youthful users open their app more than 18 times a day.
Behavioral addictions are really widespread now. A 2011 study suggested that 41 percent of us have at least one. That number is sure to have risen with the adoption of newer more addictive social networking platforms, tablets and smartphones.

We increasingly struggle to look away from our screens.


Mine was. The frightening thing about the addiction was that I didn’t realize the impact it was having on me until I went into “detox.” During the first few days of my initial digital detox, I desperately wanted to check my phone. I felt low-grade anxiety and was completely out of my comfort zone. Ironically, eight days later when I got my phone back, I left it off for a few hours to fully absorb my transformation. In that moment I was much more aware of the impact technology was having on my ability to be fully present.

Yes, the internet has fundamentally transformed the way we connect and communicate. It’s launched a whole new economy where anyone with an idea and an internet connection can start a company and connect with a global marketplace full of opportunity.

For that very reason, we’re living in the golden age of entrepreneurship! However, letting technology intrude into nearly every waking moment isn’t healthy and the time to create a little more discipline around it is now.

On a recent road trip with Seth Mattison, we discussed how to be more intentional in our relationship with technology and how we know when it’s time to unplug. Case in point, notice the irony of our full immersion into tech while talking about the benefits of a digital detox in this video!

VIDEO: On the Road with Seth Mattison

The key is to get off of autopilot and become a bit more aware and intentional in managing our technology so it isn’t managing us. Give the digital detox a try this weekend and DM me on Monday to let me know how it went!

Ryan Estis helps companies and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance. Each live event blends original research with compelling stories that move participants to take action. Ryan has 20 years of business experience working with the world’s best brands to initiate change, inspire innovation and deliver growth. Learn more about Ryan Estis.

Source: Getting Unhooked from Our Smartphones

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Feathr: 2016 Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

In 2016, Feathr presented its Event Marketing Cloud business solution for consideration in the IAEE Individual Awards Program. Feathr’s Event Marketing Cloud encompasses marketing strategies addressing: analytics and segmentation; retargeting automation; cross promotion; email mapping; lookalike audiences; referral marketing; and sponsored retargeting.

One innovative quality that stood out about Event Marketing Cloud is the way in which it gathers the various marketing tools available into a single, user-friendly source. Furthermore, the strong presence Feathr has created within the exhibitions and events industry in a relatively short amount of time is impressive. As such, Feathr garnered the IAEE Outstanding Achievement in Innovation in Business Solutions Award for Event Marketing Cloud in 2016.

Co-Founder & CEO of Feathr, Aleksander Levental, shares with IAEE how the idea for Feathr came about, how he and Co-Founder Aidan Augustin approach their marketing solution concepts, and where he sees the future of the exhibitions and events industry moving in terms of technology.

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PHOTO CAPTION: Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Aleksander Levental; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: As co-founders of Feathr, what inspired you and Aidan Augustin to create your digital marketing solution for the exhibitions and events industry?

ALEKSANDER: Aidan and I found ourselves in the event industry five years ago almost entirely by accident (which seems to be quite common in the industry). The dorm room startup that was Feathr morphed into a company that made mobile apps for events (think: DoubleDutch, Crowd Compass, Guidebook, etc.). And for two years while we tried to build that product and company, we started learning about how events run their business: how attendee acquisition and retention worked; the opportunities sponsors had to engage with attendees; and the sources of revenue that organizers have, etc. What we discovered was that there was an underlying problem causing these concerns inside our customers – and that underlying problem started to sound like an opportunity the more we looked into it.

Attendee acquisition, engagement with sponsors, matchmaking, content suggestion – effective execution of all of those activities – starts with storing and utilizing data. Data captured on the event website, marketing activity, registration process, surveys, mobile app, etc. That realization was the original inspiration for Feathr becoming a “digital marketing solution for the exhibitions and events industry.” But, really, digital marketing is just a piece of what we want to do. Ultimately, what we care about is helping organizers build high-growth, high-satisfaction and competitive events. Digital marketing was the first step.

IAEE: What are the marketing elements that you think all shows – big or small – absolutely cannot go without?

ALEKSANDER: Post-registration, pre-venue engagement. It is without a doubt the most important step of the marketing funnel and, unfortunately, the least developed one. As an industry, we talk about acquisition a lot: attendee acquisition, exhibitor acquisition, etc. While that is all well and good, customer acquisition at the expense of customer retention is ultimately a losing proposition. It’s critically important to take time and build tailored marketing activities designed to increase and maximize engagement with the show after someone has registered.

One of the primary drivers of this wave of tech and software revolution has been the understanding that recurring revenue and low churn can produce very valuable business very quickly. One of the main tools an organization has available to produce high retention, high NPS, satisfied customers, and reliable recurring revenue is personalized post-sale marketing and engagement. In the software world, this is referred to as “Customer Success.” If we spent all of our time and effort only focusing on new customer acquisition, the last two to three years for Feathr would have been much different. Unfortunately, we see our customers wanting to make that gamble all the time. We’re trying to coax ourselves, our customers, and the industry into focusing on post-registration marketing and engagement, so that we can get out of the cycle of having to dig out of an attendee acquisition hole every year.

IAEE: Feathr tailored its digital marketing tools specifically to the needs of event organizers. What feedback do you receive from organizers as being their biggest challenge?

ALEKSANDER: Time, resources, and the anxiety of choice. Across the entire spectrum of our customers – from the largest independent organizers to a small staff association – everyone we deal with is wearing multiple hats with many responsibilities. Combine that with organizational pressures to grow, launch new shows, create and sell new products, and incorporate new technology, and you end up with people (and companies) that are stretched too thin. Instead of investing time into foundational and long-term innovation, companies are forced to run 100 small experiments in parallel and make decisions without the clarity of thoughtful analysis

The most precious gift that an executive can give someone on their team isn’t budget, it’s room to focus.

IAEE: Given the rapid pace of technology, what advice would you offer those who may be intimidated by the task of staying current and/or investing in an effective solution for their needs?

ALEKSANDER: This is going to sound incredibly self-serving but it’s an idea that’s very near and dear to me: Make an organizational change in the philosophy of the business, and find people and partners that will help grow institutional knowledge and value within your organization. The answer isn’t any one specific piece of technology or service, it’s in embracing a process that’s built around growing, learning from mistakes and failures, and starting to be adaptive.

Resisting the urge to view this process as a series of unrelated decisions about software of technology is key. Even in our relatively short time in the industry, we’ve seen it so often. The entire organization gets stressed over the pressure to pick the correct ____ tool. There are months of research and deliberation that build up to what feels like a tremendously significant choice – then the company relaxes and waits for the next fire, only to find themselves in exactly the same position, with the same issues, now just looking to the next piece of software or technology to magically solve their problems.

 IAEE: Being on the cutting edge of technology is your business. What new digital trends do you foresee for the exhibitions and events industry in particular?

ALEKSANDER: Over the next five years? Connecting data to the experience of the event itself. Where you go, what you see, and who you talk to will be driven by the data and analysis that organizers create well before the people show up at the venue. In retail they refer to this as “clienteling,” we’re going to need a clever name for our industry.

Beyond that? Augmented Reality is going to change everything about the world, events won’t be any different.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Outstanding Achievement in Business Solutions Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Most Innovative Use of Technology

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Most Innovative Use of Technology category is an open-ended and broad category. Entries are evaluated on how they used technology to promote, improve and enhance a show. Judging criteria includes: innovation of the technology component used and/or how it is applied; creativity in terms of how the component adds to the overall experience for show participants; and response from show participants to the component.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Most Innovative Use of Technology category:

Under 75,000 nsf
a2z, Inc.
E2E Summit

The purpose of the Executive-to-Executive (E2E) Summit is to bring together the top executives from manufacturers and contractors in the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing trades for focused one-on-one hosted buyer meetings that foster innovation. The appointments last 45 minutes each. Participants are guaranteed up to 15 meetings in a 48-hour period. The E2E Summit® is by invitation only. The event organizers custom approach evolves around participant experience and is specifically tailored to deliver results for them and their organizations.

a2z’s Connect Hosted Buyer Program solution took the guesswork and paperwork out of managing hosted buyer programs. By matching registered buyers with appropriate suppliers using smart, automated matchmaking technology, it helped event participants maximize their ROI by generating high quality appointments based completely on precise demographics data and event-specific business logic.

By leveraging a2z’s Connect platform, E2E Summit event organizers were able to streamline the matching process and create a business version of “eHarmony” (a dating app) for contractors and manufacturers. a2z’s Connect platform for automating hosted buyer program matches and appointment setting at trade shows addressed E2E’s particular requirements. The Connect platform allowed manufacturers to enter descriptions of their companies and products. It enabled contractors to go in and do their own research, select favorites, and complete surveys about their interests and company demographics – all data that was previously gathered manually. Connect then created a suggested appointments schedule for each participant using an intelligent matching algorithm and one click of the button.

Matching companies with buyers – doing research to determine which manufacturer’s products are the best fit for the types of projects in which contractor companies are interested – requires a lot of legwork. It involves phone calls, surveys, the collecting of “wish lists” and keeping files up to date. E2E was performing those tasks and then creating an Excel spreadsheet to serve as the master meeting schedule. The process was time-consuming (three weeks for one person) and sometimes there was overlap (companies scheduled for different meetings in the same time slot).

E2E organizers immediately felt the impact of automating the matchmaking and scheduling process for their 2016 summit. It previously took one person three weeks to prepare the spreadsheet of matches and appointments. Connect could do the same thing in about three minutes!

“When we used a2z Connect to create the first round of meetings, it completed about 70% of the meetings,” noted Kaitlan Klitzke, Project Manager at E2E Summit. “We were then able to spend about three weeks refining everyone’s meeting schedules, which we were never able to do in the past because we never had the time. It was also more accurate because with the spreadsheet we always had some overlap. I really liked the exhibitor capabilities of the Connect platform. They have an online booth where they can add their company description, website, and logo. It helps our contractors do their research. The favoriting feature was big for our company to be able to put that kind of control in the hands of the buyers.”

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Access Intelligence
EventTech 2015

Seven years ago, the need for a conference and exposition solely focused on how to use technology and social media to amplify events and drive attendance was identified. Cue the creation of EventTech. Since inception, EventTech has gone from being a small boutique event housed in unconventional locations in New York City, to one that draws over 1,300 attendees from around the world to Las Vegas each November. The core concept of EventTech is to present a ‘learning-loop’ educational format.

Attendees can go to a session on a specific technology then step outside the session and actually test drive that exact technology. Exhibits and education live in one space, a 100,000 sq. ft. arena called ‘The Campus.’ There is nothing like this conference anywhere in the world. Going into its sixth year, EventTech had established itself as one of the fastest growing conferences in the industry and the only one of its kind. It had manifested an educational program of over 100 sessions taught by some of the world’s biggest brands and leading technologists. It programmed three powerful pre-conference workshops covering some of the hottest digital trends in the events industry.

The goals for EventTech 2015 were to cancel out campus noise, engage attendees with compelling and relevant content, create a user friendly experience and keep the lines down as well as provide direction without the extravagant costs. Featured technologies used to accomplish this goal included:

  • Drone University – an afternoon workshop on using drones at events and bused attendees to an outdoor park 30 minutes from the Las Vegas strip where drone experts taught them all about drones and how to use drones at events for content capture, livestreaming, attendee engagement, etc.
  • Proximity Audio in Breakouts – EventTech’s 100,000 sq. ft. Campus does come with acoustical challenges, given that all breakout sessions are produced in open air amphitheaters. One of the challenges with placing educational sessions within exhibits naturally, is background noise. To provide attendees with an intimate experience, EventTech integrated a wireless audio proximity system into all breakout audiovisual theaters. It provided hi-tech transmitters and noise cancelling ear phones. Delegates could turn to a specific channel for each session and only hear audio from that session. The bustling hall noise around them gets cancelled out. Problem solved.
  • Self Check-in Kiosks – for the first time, EventTech offered self check-in kiosks as part of registration. Attendees would walk over to a kiosk, search their name, then print their badge and send it to the registration desk printers where an ambassador would hand them their badge and all relevant show information. This trimmed down lines and engaged the attendees showcasing an event technology from the moment they stepped on show site.
  • App – EventTech’s app held all the relevant conference information from education options and locations to sponsor information and contact details. Attendees were able to prepare their schedule before they got onsite with the in-app calendar and meeting planner. They could interact with other attendees through a messaging feature as well as promote themselves and their companies through the content feed. It allowed us to pop messages and reminders through push notifications as well as provide directional information with beacons.
  • Beacons – EventTech’s beacons were programmed and installed throughout the venue to push Bluetooth notifications to attendees who had the app installed on their phones and their Bluetooth function enabled. Once an attendee would get within 20ft of a beacon a message would appear on their phones even if their screen was locked. The messages encouraged them to attend certain sessions or special events in booths nearby.

Over 200,001 nsf
SEMA Show 2015 Custom PlanTour Sponsorship Program

The SEMA Show is the premier automotive specialty products trade event in the world. It draws the industry’s brightest minds and hottest products to fill over a million square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, the SEMA Show offers attendees educational seminars, product demonstrations, special events, and networking opportunities. The 2015 SEMA Show drew more than 130,000 industry professionals including 60,000 domestic and international buyers and 2,400 exhibiting companies from every segment of the specialty equipment industry.

The SEMA Show has grown and changed during the past few years. Like many event organizers, SEMA was looking for ways to increase revenue without raising rates. They had previously used the Classic version of PlanTour by Freeman to promote sponsorship opportunities. PlanTour is a web-based tool that allows show managers to virtually tour event facilities to assist in planning their shows and events. It is also used to scout a venue for future events, view floor plans and plan potential sponsorship opportunities without an onsite visit. The responsive web design provides consistent user experience when accessed on tablets, PCs and smartphones.

SEMA commissioned a custom version of PlanTour to showcase all sponsorship opportunities at the Las Vegas Convention Center. In addition, they customized the site using the 360 panoramic tours to highlight the newly captured outdoor areas for magnetic signage, along with other sponsorship options to help exhibitors increase visibility at the popular trade show. The SEMA Custom PlanTour Sponsorship Program goals included:

  • Create new sponsorship options for new and returning sponsors and exhibitors;
  • Provide an easy to use tool for sponsors to view, select and envision their investment; and
  • Provide an easy to use tool for SEMA sales reps to coordinate or upsell prospects.

Unique users to the SEMA Custom PlanTour website increased by more than 50% compared to the previous year. This includes notable shifts in how users accessed the site such as a 190% increase via mobile, nearly 60% increase by desktops, and more than 13% on tablets. With ordering and other details easy to access and manage online, nearly all available inventory was sold out.

In addition, SEMA has 10 sales reps responsible for sponsorship and exhibitor relations. Working in a fast-paced high pressure environment, they don’t always have time to coordinate with each other. PlanTour allowed them to see a new or changed order, available inventory, deadlines and more – all in the real time to reduce errors and increase efficiency.

“This was our biggest year selling sponsorships,” said Peter MacGillivray, Vice President of Communications and Events for SEMA. “When you have a show that is wall-to-wall, you can raise more money in two ways. You can raise your prices, or you can sell sponsorships. We don’t want to raise our prices. We want to expand our revenue stream through sponsorships. Being able to have tools that help manage that – and ultimately sell that – has been a big hit for us. And this new technology has helped us blow past our goals.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

Four Easy Steps To Make Your Registration Data Work For You

Originally posted on June 7, 2017 from TSNN Blog

By: JD Hawley

Throughout the registration process of an event, show management has the opportunity to collect an incredible amount of data about their show’s attendees. This data – registration and attendance patterns, demographics, region and registration classification – is a rich source of information.

Taking data and making it work for you is about more than just capturing information. Data needs to be analyzed and used to produce a successful event.

With so much data available, making decisions about what to do with it can be a daunting challenge. Where do you begin?

Image result for data shutterstock

Before you can create and implement a data strategy, partner with a registration company that goes beyond data collection. A great partner provides advice, offers data analysis tools, and provides user-friendly reports that help you with the following steps:

1.  Determine your event goals 

Deciding what you want to do with the data is the first step in developing a solid data strategy. Before diving too deep into the mechanics of data collection, decide what event problems you want to solve or enhanced value you are looking to create. Are your goals to create new sessions, develop new content or increase traffic in your expo hall? With this information, decisions can be made on the category and timeframe of data needed to fulfill these event goals.

2.  Identify and consolidate your data and its sources

Identify all the pieces of data you need and where each data element lives, typically in membership or CRM systems, registration company databases or with housing vendors. Evaluate each system for its potential reporting, analytics and marketing capabilities, and then consolidate the data for easier analysis. By integrating and consolidating data, you will see and understand attendees and their behavior.

3.  Analyze your data

Having a flexible analytics tool is necessary in order to interpret your consolidated data. Analyzing broad-based attendee behavior provides more than just a marketing benefit. The information can also be used for your event planning decisions and to provide a rich event experience for your attendees. Data analytics can help identify your next venue, evaluate sessions and conferences to draw more attendees, assist with exhibitor sales and attendee marketing, and find sponsorship opportunities.

4.  Personalize your marketing campaigns 

Personalization helps create a deeper connection with your target audience and is the foundation of a successful event. Identify attendee attributes and habits such as attendance history, purchasing power, location and educational objectives. Then, design targeted marketing campaigns around those specific interests. For example, from your data, you learn that a segment of attendees with high purchasing power registered for a particular session. Use this information to create a targeted campaign to upsell a related session to that segment.

Creating a comprehensive data strategy allows you to use the information collected to create strategies and achieve your event goals. Most important, a comprehensive data strategy and effective analysis help you evaluate ways to increase attendance and exhibitor ROI through an enhanced event experience.