Anyone signing up to attend a conference these days wants to be sure the event will deliver good value and the time and money investment will eventually be returned. But for this to happen, the content must be compelling, engaging and break new ground.
As Mats Gustafsson, founder of Wednesday Relations, explains:
“Business people are tired of just sitting, listening and looking at slides, they are looking for interactive delivery and more advanced methods of teaching and learning.”
The Challenge – Finding a way to learn from others
Wednesday Relations is a Stockholm-based conference and seminar organiser, training company and network of around 13,000 marketers. It holds events that explore the progressive aspects of marketing such as gaining consumer insight, using social media and digital analytics.
Because of the fast-evolving nature of these topics, Gustafsson is keen to move away from lecture-style sessions to those of a more democratic nature. “Our goal is to develop our members in their professional roles. By being part of a large network, they meet experts have the opportunity to learn from others’ success,” he says.
“We do employ specialists to lead the conference, but there are usually experts in the audience too – and what they think could be just as important as the view of the person leading the session. It works well if they can all learn from each other.”
Wednesday Relations was accustomed to using technology to bridge the gap between the session leader and audience. It was a partner of Lumi which specialises in audience engagement technology and used some of its earlier handsets or ‘clickers’ to gauge the views of conference delegates by way of a poll or question and answer session. However, these always had to be distributed and collected at the end of each session and they rarely all came back as people forgot to hand them in and took them home by mistake.
The Solution – No longer the need for hardware
Wednesday Relations began to look for a more advanced solution to use at its Consumer Insight Summit in May 2016 and its Social Media Marketing Day the following month. Its partner Lumi suggested its latest engagement app Meetoo and this fitted the bill perfectly.
Meetoo is a real time messaging and live polling app which can be downloaded onto any mobile device (iOS or Android) or accessed via the web. Those attending the summit and the marketing day could download it onto their own mobile phones or tablets or access it online, so there was no need for any extra hardware. Organisers could poll the audience, who answered using their phones. Because Meetoo integrates with PowerPoint, the results could then be shown as part of a presentation.
The Results – High engagement
“Because the use of social media in marketing, for example, is such a fast-moving and fluid topic, everyone in the audience found the results both interesting and valuable so it was really worthwhile to share them,” says Gustafsson. “At the social media event around 70% of the 100 delegates downloaded the app and used it in this way.”
Typical questions at this event included: “What social media platforms will you use in the future?”; “Will you maintain or grow your investment in social media?” and “In which social media platform do intend to invest in the next year?
Those in the audience were also able to ask the presenter questions themselves via a moderator and this further fostered the interactive two-way learning environment.
“Many of those in the audience told us how much they liked being able to communicate with the presenter. In fact we had so many enquiries about Meetoo that we are thinking of becoming a reseller.” says Gustafsson.
Now he knows how well the technology works, he foresees that the company will also be able to use it in smaller meetings and seminars. He thinks it is now up to Wednesday Relations and the presenters to refine the questions in a way that draws the most value. “Ideally these should be relevant both in the context of the presentation but also those that will help keep the audience engaged. This is now our challenge.”
Meetoo will now be used at Wednesday Relations’ Digital Analytics Conference later in the summer, which is expected to attract an audience of around 300.
“We will be using our imagination to get the most from Meetoo. For example, speakers often use US research to make a point. Now we can say to the room, ‘do you agree?’ and compare their views with those of the survey,” says Gustafsson. “I believe there are many ways we can use Meetoo in the future.”