As a consultant and Technology Services Manager for dozens of clients, I have managed multiple activations of mobile apps for events. In the process, I developed a pretty foolproof system for successful implementation and adoption of the app while meeting organizational goals. If you are considering a mobile app for your event, or feel like you’re not sure that you fully have your arms around the process, here are the steps I have established for my clients.
First, be sure you can answer the question, “Why are we implementing an app?” The best answers to that question come when you work from the place of trying to ease pain points. For example, think of how many times you’ve answered the question, “What is on right now? So where is that located?” Maybe it’s thousands. Or, even better, how about “Are the presentations going to be available after the event?” So, in those two questions, you identify two pain points for both you and the attendee. Other issues might be combating the attendee’s feeling of isolation at large events, an organizer being able to issue alerts when changes arise or perhaps avoiding being lost in a large venue. From designing a game to trying to determine which documents to make available in the app, referring back to the basic "why" question will save a lot of time and hassle.
Establish the Team
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to bring all the possible stakeholders into this process. This means marketing, operations, sales/business development, IT, executive, judicial…er…I mean, event staff. The more people you include in the initial process, the more ideas and benefit you can deliver with the mobile app. Plus you gain buy-in, which will become even more imperative as you dive into the actual management/development process. The Avoid the complicated processprimary roles for the project management piece will include an overall project lead, design/visual planning, content planning/gathering, tech/onsite support, marketing/comm to attendees, sponsor/partner management and speaker training/coaching.
Develop a Timeline. My upcoming blog post will focus on the entire timeline development, but ideally you will give your team a full 6 months to bring the app to fruition. However, it can be done in 6 weeks.
This is where the meat of your work will be done. Over the course of development, you will be busy with tasks such as setting up the game; building attendee spreadsheets; deciding on push notifications; gathering documents. It is really great to use a project management app such as Asana or Basecamp that lets you assign and track duties. I also use a basic spreadsheet in Google Docs for smaller projects.
The onsite management segment really requires a clear delineation of team responsibilities. Will one person be responsible for filtering all messaging/attendee comm and assigning to team members? Or will it be an all-hands-on-deck approach where each person is empowered to respond right away. Both systems have their strengths, with the right answer really falling on the style of the team.
Ultimately, it really is crucial to have a solid vendor that is part of your team and cares about the success of the mobile activation. So be sure to choose your partner wisely and lean on them for help wherever possible.
Have you had challenges in managing apps? Have you experienced wins? What works best for you? We would love to hear!
Written by Midori Connolly