How to Justify an Event App to Decision Makers

Posted by Matt Milloway on Oct 30, 2015

People involved in the planning and implementation of events are not always the key decision makers when it comes to budgeting for valuable improvements. The rise in mobile technology and concurrent spike in event app popularity is making it harder to leave a mobile app out of the equation, yet many event planners and organizers still need to justify choosing a mobile event app to higher-ups. Continue reading to learn how to frame and pitch a mobile event app to decision makers who ultimately give the final say in considering and adding an engaging tool to any meeting, conference, or trade show. 

Why a Mobile App is Necessary for Events

Begin by considering current mobile efforts; a mobile-optimized website or mobile web app are nice to give people very basic information about an event, but fail to offer interactive features or offline access to content when it’s needed most. Every effort to address mobile users that does not include a native mobile app for Android and iOS falls significantly short of the potential to interact with attendees and provide a great user experience for everyone involved. 

Specific Benefits to Business Objectives 

Consider bigger company or organizational goals extending beyond the event itself. Is sales and marketing of a new product or service the top priority? How about providing education to industry leaders or simply raising awareness about a certain idea? A mobile event app’s rich feature set helps achieve nearly any goal. 

The integration of PDF brochures might help one company promote its own products to qualified leads attending the event, while updated news and blog feeds can serve to education attendees on hot issues for instances when education is deemed vital to success. Other features like social media, video integration, and surveys—all potential features for an event, but also helpful in achieving year-round objectives—can supplement basics like program sessions and speaker bios to provide a comprehensive and easily updatable set of relevant content to not only attendees, but those unable to attend the event around the world. 

Interaction with Customers & Potential Clients

Paper programs provide little resources for networking and connecting with other attendees. Person directories may be available in some capacity, but serve little purpose beyond a phone book. Mobile event apps, however, are able to provide a host of information like bios, contact information, email address, social media channels, and each person’s relevant sessions. Attendees are able to connect with one another directly in the app and data may be password protected for instances when the general public shouldn’t have access to personal contact information. In a nutshell, event apps provide an interactive and searchable directory of everyone’s contact information to be used by both event hosts and attendees. 

Budgeting Wins 

A misconception of mobile app development centers around costs. Not only do mobile apps render paper programs and thus printing costs obsolete, but sponsor features offer better options than traditional programs and signage—leading to higher ROI and the ability to generate revenue year-round from a highly relevant mobile app. A big-picture approach needs to be considered when looking at budgets; avoid looking at only the cost of the mobile development when other savings and income generation almost always play a factor when making the transition from paper to mobile. 

Meeting End-User Expectations 

Nearly every business traveler and event attendee uses a smartphone or tablet to access content on the go. Mobile technology is so prevalent in today’s world that approximately 88% of event planners expect their attendees to consider event apps as critical to their event experience. Failing to meet the expectations of attendees might lead to missed chances at maximizing an event’s potential; consider factors from networking and information retention to potentially losing attendees who find competing events better suited to their needs.

Share Success Stories

Cite peers in the industry or available case studies if a decision maker needs real-world examples to back up talks of potential benefits. The popularity of going mobile is often plenty to convince anyone on the fence, but everything from specific app analytics to testimonials of both event planners and attendees drives home the point a mobile experience greatly outweighs traditional paper programs. Short of insight from others in the industry, poll existing or potential attendees on the benefits of mobile and potential wish list additions to next year’s event to generate feedback from those who matter most. 

For more information on mobile event app decisions and to speak with an AppBurst representative: