We recently developed and released smartphone apps for the 2011 Sturgis Falls Celebration
and we've gotten a lot of great feedback from festival organizers and those attending this annual event held each June in Cedar Falls, IA.
With Sturgis just wrapping up for the year, we thought this would be a good time to talk about mobile apps and how they can play a pivotal role in your next event.
From an event organizer's perspective, mobile apps make sense for many reasons:
- If the event has a database-driven website, the same data can feed the mobile apps. This means a single source of data can feed multiple lines of communication. The beauty of this is that, while the information is the same, the way it's displayed is appropriate for the device on which it's being viewed, giving users the best possible experience.
- This data can be reused and updated from year to year or event to event as needed without having to reenter everything each time.
- Advertising revenue can be generated by allowing local merchants to purchase ads in the app providing another valuable funding source for the event.
- As smartphone use increases (and there is no doubt the trend is going nowhere but up), the costs of printing programs and brochures will likely decline, allowing festivals to redirect funds to other areas.
- Mobile apps serve as perhaps the most direct connection to festival goers, keeping them informed and up-to-date with schedules, announcements, and alerts. There is currently no better way to communicate last minute changes or announcements quickly and easily to event goers, whether they're at the event or planning to attend.
- Mobile apps provide a very economical avenue for additional marketing exposure. Add to this the ability to integrate with social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare and you have a very powerful marketing opportunity.
But of course, apps aren't just about making life easier for the organizers. They're ultimately created to benefit the users. Fortunately, in the case of a day-, weekend-, or weeks-long event, the benefits are many.
- Instead of having to navigate a website on their smartphone, users have the advantage of viewing content in a way that makes most sense for the device they're using, meaning much less frustration.
- The convenience of having relevant information at their fingertips. No need to carry around a program that may even be out of date.
- Making sure they're up-to-date with the latest information, including last minute changes and announcements, allowing them to better plan their experience. The use of push notifications and alerts are great ways to remind users about events they tagged or to share important announcements and news.
- App users can share their experience with others at the event and those not attending via Social Media integrated with the app.
- Integrations with payment platforms like Dwolla, PayPal, or Square (someday) can greatly simplify the purchasing of t-shirts, beverages, books, or tickets at the event.
- For events with live music or speakers, live and/or on-demand streaming can allow those who can't attend in person the ability to experience the event, too.
For these reasons and others, we think including a mobile app in the marketing plan for your next event makes a lot of sense.
What other things do you think would make these kinds of apps valuable? Go ahead and chime in with your comments.