Angie Sloan is the director of marketing communications.
ABOUT THE COMPANY
Gather Digital provides best-of-breed mobile event apps for corporations, associations, and educational institutions. Established in 2009, Gather Digital creates native and mobile web applications with an in-app integrated system for lead retrieval, continuing education credits, contact exchange, live polling, surveys, small-group meetings, personalization, and gamification. For more information, visit www.gatherdigital.com.
Q What are the latest trends in the world of mobile event apps?
The mobile app is the event technology with the most attendee interaction, and as such it can create an incredible level of personalization and engagement. We’ve seen participants use the app ten times per day leading up to and during their event. They will generally click on five to ten screens each time they use the app. The mobile app directly impacts the overall event experience and customer impression.
Event hosts can now personalize most everything in their app. They can provide personalized schedules, attach presentations, present in-app streaming video, and use push messaging to communicate more effectively. When conference planners employ such features as enhanced attendee profiles, messaging, and virtual business card exchange, they empower their attendees to find each other and share their own stories.
Another area that’s exciting is multi-language event apps. App users can have control over the language in which they view the meeting information. This internationalization in the mobile event app world is allowing global companies and organizations a new level of power and flexibility.
Q Data analytics is a hot topic these days. Have mobile event apps stepped into that arena?
Yes, event apps have jumped in with both feet. Opportunities created from bringing people together, gathering their insights, and evaluating their behavior are huge. Planners can learn more from their meetings than ever before. Mobile technology is the catalyst.
The depth and scope of information now at event planners’ fingertips allows them to host consistently more engaging and productive events. Further, it offers the opportunity to work together with sales and marketing colleagues to drive business and increase revenue for the organization. Event-generated data gathering has been revolutionized. We believe it’s time to take full advantage.
Q You mentioned driving business and increasing revenue. How can a mobile app help with an event’s ROI?
The app helps both the top line and the bottom line. It can drive revenue for an event in several ways. Planners can create crowd-sourced opportunities with live polling, discussion boards, and photo sharing to gather user-generated content. This content can be used to make the event better or help with upcoming marketing efforts. If event planners know certain things about their constituents, they will know what information would be most helpful for follow up or how to improve future marketing. This is true for both marketing driven by aggregated data and for outreach to a specific customer based on what can be learned in the app.
Event organizers can also help sponsors and exhibitors generate revenue by highlighting key sponsors with ad banners or attaching brochures and product videos. Planners can offer one-on-one meetings capability, lead retrieval, and a badge game to drive attendees to exhibitor booths. A clickable, interactive map within the app can display exhibitor details.
Planners can learn more from their meetings than ever before. Mobile technology is the catalyst.
And of course, there are cost savings as well. Using an event app can save an organization thousands of dollars in printing and shipping charges. There’s no need for a printed program when using a mobile app.
Q What do you see as the top concern in event technology right now?
We feel the whole event technology industry should be focused on security. Gather Digital has invested a lot in this area—both in processes and technology. Each major release of our app is reviewed by one of the major mobile security companies. Our server infrastructure and content management system are security tested on an annual basis. We have earned an SOC2 report based on our internal processes and security measures. We are one of the few major app vendors that have gone through that process and had that kind of reporting and security testing performed.
Internationalization in the mobile event app world is allowing global companies and organizations a new level of power and flexibility.
Q How is Gather Digital different from its competitors?
Our apps are highly configurable, branded for the client and simple to update from our online dashboard. Our clients have dedicated account teams who guide them throughout the entire app-building process.
Our apps offer a powerful set of features with an integrated approach. Previously an event host may have needed a live polling vendor, a continuing education credit tracking vendor, a speaker and exhibitor portal for content management, and a lead scanning hardware and software vendor
We provide all of those services in a complete package. This allows our clients to have one integrated set of data for each app user. The apps are individually designed for each native platform, are road-tested and secure, and reflect well on our clients and their brands.