M&IW Industry Insights Blog

Transforming organizations through live meetings and events.

Connecting a Virtual Workforce with Cyber Learning

 

 

Cyber_Learning_Grovo_600x400

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

We believe live meetings and events transform organizations. We know what happens when companies transform, when they look beyond what they already know. Our purpose is reinforced through our three “C’s” – Customer Obsession, Collaboration and Culture. We also believe our employees should experience a positive personal transformation during their career.

“Based on the growth of M&IW in the past five years, we recognized a need to provide broad based learning on a multitude of topics to increase employee satisfaction and ensure retention. So, we added a fourth core driver – Cross-Platform Cyber Learning. This means challenging and connecting our global virtual workforce to learn and develop through the benefits of consistent educational content and delivery to ensure engagement, career growth, retention and to reward achievements,” said Jean Johnson, CMP, Co-CEO and Chief People Officer.

“What exactly is cyber learning?”

It’s a good question with a broad answer. Cyber learning draws on a wide array of technologies, applications, and learning theories to create experiences that improve, foster, and assess learning. To support our new initiative, we have implemented a learning management system – microlearning.

“How is microlearning different than cyber learning?”

Microlearning is a technique of delivering learning content in short, bite-sized bursts (from three to five minutes), several times per week, or even daily. Neuroscientists have determined that we can only absorb four to five pieces of information into short-term memory at any given time, so by breaking it into short chunks, it’s easier to understand and assimilate.

“Why is it beneficial to organizations?”

After an extensive vetting and selection process, we determined Grovo was the best solution for M&IW. The Grovo platform was launched on February 6 and since then our employees have viewed more than 3,000 microlearning videos! “We are already getting a great return on our investment and could not be more excited with the knowledge and consistency in learning it has provided,” said Connie Nau, CMP, CRP, Sr. Director of Talent Engagement.

You might be asking, if M&IW is in the business of live meetings and events, why cross-platform cyber learning? It is a tool as virtual and flexible as we are, it can enhance our new hire on boarding process, provide ongoing “upskill” opportunities, leadership training, career development and personal growth. Our team members don’t work a traditional 9 to 5 weekday schedule and they travel across the globe with our client programs. Grovo is self-paced, on-demand, and ensures compliance. It is not a replacement for face-to-face meetings nor does it diminish the power of human connections. In fact, it makes those interactions and live experiences that much more meaningful.

“When does personal transformation happen?”

Personal transformation is an ongoing process. It requires a systematic approach. A caterpillar does not become a butterfly by accident. Such a major transformation happens over time and involves a series of essential steps. Regardless of what we want to change, a true personal transformation always begins on the inside.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Technology & Mobility Solutions

Leave a Comment (0) →

What it Takes to be a Medical Meeting Expert

Pharma_Forum_2017_Medical_Meetings

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

Several of our M&IW team members are getting ready for their annual journey to the most compelling and comprehensive meeting management event for the life sciences industry. In its 13th year, Pharma Forum represents the world’s largest gathering of stakeholders with more than 800 attendees in 2016 dedicated to elevating the design, planning and execution on a broad range of medical meetings through three days of education, engagement and empowerment.

“With decades of medical meeting planning experience in the increasingly complex and highly regulated pharmaceutical, biotech, healthcare and life sciences industries, this is a critical educational conference for our organization. M&IW is proud to continue our partnership and support of the Pharma Forum in 2017, and we look forward to bringing the education and networking of this event to even higher levels,” said Dan Tarpey, HMCC, Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

Dan is a “repeat attender” of the conference for the value it delivers not only to our team, but also to our clients because of our increased breadth of knowledge and depth of experience. Pharma Forum is the leading engagement opportunity for meeting and event professionals that are part of the healthcare sector. The collective experience and brainpower of the presenters, corporate planners, third-party professionals, and industry suppliers far surpasses any conference of its kind in the industry.

In addition to professional conferences, at M&IW we continue to look for opportunities to engage, partner and grow with our clients for better outcomes. In fact, a couple of years’ back we hosted a Healthcare Meetings Compliance Certification course. Almost two dozen individuals within our sales, account management, global operations and finance areas along with some of our clients participated in the training. To convey this crucial information, we enlisted the training expertise of Patricia Schaumann, CMP, CSEP, DMCP, HMCC who was the Director of Professional Development, Healthcare Sector at Meetings Professional International.

The HMCC course is a perfect fit for M&IW with approximately 60% of our meeting volume in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. The education platform examines the fundamental information on healthcare compliance regulations, laws and techniques for managing healthcare meetings. After the training, we asked our team about their experience. “Since I’m involved on the front end, it was eye-opening to hear some of the issues and challenges that planners face onsite,” explained Vicki Schmitz, HMCC, Assistant Manager of Global Procurement. Whereas, Jessica Menzer, HMCC, Account Lead, keyed in that the rules we follow aren’t necessarily laws, but client interpretations of laws.

Angie Gross, HMCC, added a unique perspective as she is immersed behind the scenes as our Manager of Healthcare Compliance and Reporting Operations. Angie felt this training gave everyone the same information and provided crucial compliance regulations information that will assist in reporting efforts and provide heightened credibility when presenting reporting best practices to clients. “Often when clients and planners are unaware of the actual legal guidelines they all do things a bit differently. M&IW has worked out a system on streamlining this process based on current regulations and making sure planners in this area of expertise are armed with HMC information,” explained Angie.

“Accredited knowledge is powerful!” explains Naomi Tucker, CMP, HMCC, Sr. Strategic Account Manager. “The HMCC course gave us the credibility and knowledge to educate our clients on the standards as it applies to the law on Open Payments. And, by continuing our professional development and staying current on changing regulations in the field, we can guide our clients on what they need to do to be successful, yet compliant, for their meetings.”

 

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance

Leave a Comment (0) →

Beyond Features: A More Comprehensive Look at Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps Events

Written by Tim LaFleur, CMP | Director, Mobile Solutions & Strategy

At M&IW, we are extremely proud of the fact that we have consistently been a top consultant provider when it comes to making the most out of your meeting and event application. When I took on the role of Director of Mobile Solutions & Strategy to lead M&IW’s initiative, I knew we would need to go beyond the basic app features, utilize our comprehensive understanding of event operations, and dive deep into clients specific needs to create a service that has since become best practice in the industry.

Our process is to look beyond the feature and to not take it at face value. We evaluate the various app sections as buckets of functionality independent from their face value functionality (i.e. speakers, schedule, sponsors, etc.). Thinking about a section in terms of the functions that a module holds, opens a world of possibilities to create something special for the client.

The best app consultancy services think in terms of a three-pronged stool and if one of the legs falls short, the stool is bound to be off balance and fall apart. Each leg is represented by an area of competency including utilizing a superior app technology platform where the functionality contained within each module is dynamic; the understanding of events and how various event aspects may depend or seamlessly flow into one another; and a keen awareness of our client’s specific needs and overall event objectives. Being uniquely positioned to understand all three components of the three-pronged stool, allows the users to take full advantage of the application’s platform and intended purpose. Taking time to vet and ask many questions about the platforms will allow for a level understanding similar to that of the technology provider themselves. Combined with a unique perspective on apps and knowledge of how the meetings and events flow, allows for a unique vantage point to craft the apps for a client. In the end, we have not simply filled in the individual features, but a technology solution that solves the mobile needs of a conference has been developed.

To illustrate a best-practice approach consider the following:

Social Features and Social Walls. Consider this feature question, “Does the attendee’s post go to social media with a specific hashtag and then pulled back down by the social wall to display on a screen or does the social wall bring attendees posts over without having to go out into social media?” The first scenario may pose confidentiality and security concerns. Additionally, does the social wall display pictures and text together as it was submitted on the feed or does it separate out various post elements. Based on how these questions are answered determines how the specific feature can be utilized and if the technology is a fit for the specific event.

If we simply check the box stating the app supports social wall and do not ask how, we are short-changing the potential use or functionality. Perhaps an event organizer wanted a social wall, but there were privacy concerns and it was assumed that the posts flowed through social media without understanding the functionality of the feature and because of that basic assumption the feature was not utilized. Where in reality the feature could have been utilized while maintaining privacy if the execution of feature was discovered and right platform selected.

Interactive Floor Plan. If the floor plan features utilize heat mapping or pin dropping to outline the location of a room this leads to other questions that affect the attendee experience with this feature. For example, will heat mapping adequately map a room that is not a standard square or rectangle? If there is a ballroom that is used in the morning for general session, but then breakouts later in the day, how does the heat mapped area handle that layering or is there the need to create multiple maps to illustrate?

When considering a pin system think about the following. An attendee is looking at the maps, can they tell which pin is which and distinguish between ones that are clustered together? This is similar to the pin drop conundrum in a geolocation map section as well as a floor plan section. Does the technology provider have the ability to filter out by type, view in list or search by a particular name? The answers to all the questions, regardless of if it is macro or micro function to the app, affect the way it operates, the attendee experience and the way that we consult with our clients. In short, there is no question too trivial since the answer can have a profound effect on event design and the attendee experience. Knowing the right questions to ask is developed over time and with experience.

Next time you are tasked with implementing a mobile app for your program, consider the following:

  • Does the app provider I am partnering with provide dynamic feature functionality and what elements flow together and interact?
  • Does this technology solve the three main “must haves” identified in this article that drive our event design and attendee experience?
  • Do I feel comfortable with the app, because if not, chances are my attendees won’t either?
  • Do I understand and are we utilizing the features to their full functionality to address our event technology needs or are we simply taking the features at face value?

These four simple questions will open a world of opportunities for better communication efficiency, a more engaged audience, and greater return on your next program.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics & SMM, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design, Technology & Mobility Solutions

Leave a Comment (0) →

Caledonia Girl Granted Wish to go the Grammy’s

Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategy

A few years ago, our organization launched Project Global Give Back. As part of the program, employees are given time off to support worthy causes and charities of their choice. Collectively, our team members have volunteered thousands of hours annually. Additionally, last September at our company-wide event, we raised more than $14,000 for Make-A-Wish Wisconsin, decorated 20 gift boxes for children with illnesses, and granted wishes for two very special little girls. And recently, one of those wishes was granted!

We are all smiles for Sarah Stone and her dream to land on the red carpet for Grammy night. Sarah sings through the pain and the battle she has had most of her life with sickle cell anemia. CBS 58 caught up with her and her mom as they set off from Mitchell International Airport for her VIP Grammy Awards experience.

Posted in: Company News

Leave a Comment (0) →

Seven Success Tips for Celebrating Milestones

Milestone_Events_Celebration_50_Annversary

Written By Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

From the time we are born to this present moment, milestones are a part of our DNA. Beginning with our very first birthday to a long awaited 50th wedding anniversary and all the significant dates in between, historical markers not only provide us with a sense of accomplishment but also showcase great accomplishments.

Companies are no different. The pride of that first year in business, a new location, hitting a significant sales goal, and then before you know it, a milestone anniversary – these are all a BIG deal! And, for good reason. It is reported that less than half of all new business ventures survive their first 5 years. So, celebrating the “early years” as well as the milestone anniversaries create the perfect opportunity to reflect on amazing achievements and reaffirm a commitment to the future.

With proper strategy and planning, corporate anniversaries can be a catalyst for an organization to launch forward while celebrating the past and honoring the present. These are perfect opportunities to increase brand awareness; refine your mission and culture; celebrate employees, clients and partners; launch new business initiatives; contribute greatly to causes; and of course, have some fun.

So, where to begin? At M&IW, we have had to ask ourselves this very question because this year is a big milestone one! Our 3rd generation, family-owned business will be celebrating 50 years in business. Proper planning for a milestone campaign and event takes time. At M&IW, we have been strategizing and planning for a while. In fact, the theme of our annual company event in 2016 was “Go the Distance” and a lead up to this momentous year in our history.

Here are the seven things to consider to get your milestone celebrations and campaigns kick-started:

  • 1. Create a campaign for the entire milestone year. This will allow you to capitalize on a full year of celebrating your company’s success with the people who helped you get there.
  • 2. Set milestone campaign and celebration goals. Take time to draft how you plan to leverage the milestone and how that relates back to your organizational goals.
  • 3. Brand it. Create a commemorative logo for the anniversary. When employees, clients and partners see the new, fresh twist on your branding, they will know it is a big deal from the start.
  • 4. Host an event. Whether it is at an existing annual meeting or a stand-alone event, make sure to celebrate together! As meeting professionals, we understand the power of human connections and the energy that is generated when people come together.
  • 5. Honor the past. You are celebrating for a reason. There have been challenges as well as opportunities that have helped you along the journey. Make sure you honor them.
  • 6. Stay in the moment. It is too easy to look at the past, skip through the present, and move onto the future. Take a moment to relish the here and now, for this is where inspiration grows.
  • 7. Plan for your future and the next 25, 50, 100 years! What big goals have you set and how will you leverage your current accomplishments, talent, products and service offerings to get there!
  • Whether it is an annual corporate event, a milestone anniversary, or a significant accomplishment — there is always good reason to celebrate. We are very excited to unveil what we have in store for all of you and our milestone year! Stay tuned.

    Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

    Leave a Comment (0) →

    Key Benefits of Women in Leadership

    Quotes_Women_in_Leadership
    Written by Marie Johnson, CMP | Director, Marketing & Strategic Development
    Contributor Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

    America hit a milestone in 2016 with 27 women at the helm of the S&P 500 companies and now leading companies in just about all sectors. However, at a mere 5.4%, women still have a long way to go. The meetings and incentives industry is fortunate to have more women in C-level roles and outpaces the S&P 500 average. Annually MeetingsNet recognizes the largest and most influential event management companies in North America. M&IW has earned this designation for eight consecutive years and is one of five companies on the CMI 25 list that is women-owned.

    As a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE), we believe an organization that values a diverse workforce and makes a commitment to partner with diverse businesses achieves better outcomes. Our clients have told us that the strength, agility, and innovation they see in our products and services continues to draw them to do business with us. Diversity is a critical component in our ability to innovate and adapt in a fast-changing environment. This includes respecting the diversity of perspectives, expertise, experiences, cultures, sexual orientation, race, religion, age and gender. Since we are in a women-dominated field, Anne Zambrano, Manager of Communications and Creatives Services, interviewed our female executives at M&IW to uncover what it means for them to be a woman in leadership.

    Jean Johnson, CMP, Chairman, President and CEO, said “I see being a woman in leadership as a responsibility to lead by example; always maintain the highest standards for your career as well as your family; and find the right balance to be successful at both.” It is viewpoints like Jean’s that support the Pew Research Center survey that an overwhelming 78% of women and 62% of men say having more women in top leadership positions in business would improve the quality of life for all women. This is just one of the many benefits, albeit an important one, with the ever-increasing pressure on employees to find the right mix of work/life balance.

    But what about in the workplace? How do women leaders impact their company’s productivity and ability to develop employees? According to the same study, it found that most Americans find women to be more compassionate and organized leaders versus men. To that point, Tina Madden, CPA, Partner and CFO, feels it is a privilege to be in a position where she can help young leaders grow in their careers. “I have watched so many talented individuals find their niche and thrive. It is rewarding to see people truly come into their own and succeed,” said Tina.

    Lisa Palmeri, VP of Global Enterprise Solutions, echoed Tina by saying, “I see it as my duty to guide and develop emerging leaders. It’s an investment in our industry’s future and advancing the professionalism of the field.” The research bears that women are better at being honest and ethical, providing fair pay and benefits, and mentoring employees. Lisa shares what she has learned and experienced with clients, who may be new to the meeting and event space or haven’t had the breadth of exposure, by showcasing strategies that have worked well in past situations. She feels it is equally important to spare others from the mistakes she has experienced along the way.

    Let’s look at this point further. Kris McKinney, CMP, VP of Global Operations said she got her leadership playbook from her mom. “I would say that my mom is the one who blessed me with my planning traits as she had impeccable organizational skills and was a multi-tasking wizard. I often hone in on my nurturing and teaching skills to constantly move our people and processes forward. I can certainly thank her for those attributes, as well.”

    But, how does having a women-owned company benefit a service dominated industry, like ours? Jean had some insightful thoughts on the matter and stated, “the service industry is based on intangibles and is emotionally driven. Women have a natural gift of listening and using our emotions as a strength to form meaningful relationships and understand the needs our team members, clients and peers. This is the backbone to any service-oriented company.”

    While the pipeline for female leaders has widened, what advice would you give other women to better position themselves for career success? “Whilst leading others, an effective leader is continuously learning and applying new skills, ideas and perspectives themselves. My philosophy on professional development is that one innovates or dies. If I’m not learning something new or trying new things, I don’t feel fulfilled, and even worse, I won’t be equipped to provide continuous improvement opportunities to the teams I lead. Without this type of growth, you lose your competitive edge and risk becoming stale or irrelevant,” said Lisa.

    Minority- and women-owned businesses are among the fastest growing sectors of the American economy. According to Glenn Llopis, contributor with Forbes, “diversity management is the key to growth in today’s fiercely competitive global marketplace. Organizations that seek global relevancy must embrace diversity — in how they think, act and innovate.” Tina agrees, “women place a higher emphasis on collaboration, empathy and empowerment. Being diverse and inclusive helps us the most with driving innovation, understanding both employee and customer needs, and casting a wider net to secure the best talent. It is our women-led leadership style at M&IW that will continue to propel our company and this industry forward.”

    Posted in: Company News

    Leave a Comment (0) →

    Cvent and Lanyon Announce Merger – Are You Ready?

    Award, Cvent, Technology, Meetings

    Written by Dan Tarpey, HMCC | Vice President, Sales and Marketing

    Last week was momentous for Cvent, Inc. and Lanyon Solutions, Inc., two industry leading cloud-based enterprise event management technology solutions, as they announced the completion of their merger. While the companies have met an important milestone in legally and financially merging under Vista Equity Partners, the work of combining their business operations and respective products appears to be just beginning. The announcement cited Cvent’s founder and CEO Reggie Aggarwal has been named the CEO of the new combined company that will operate under the Cvent brand.

    “As an early adopter and long-time Cvent customer, we are optimistic the resulting Cvent will continue to be an innovator of cutting-edge event management technology solutions that propel our industry forward,” said Tina Madden, CFO and Partner of Meetings & Incentives Worldwide. M&IW has supported our clients with expertise in both Cvent and Lanyon platforms throughout the entire event lifecycle. We are proud to be two-time winners of the Cvent Planner Awards for Savvy Sourcing and Power of the Platform as well as a 2016 finalist. Additionally, we have employees that are Cvent Certified that will leverage their knowledge to take advantage of new functionality and enhancements.

    Over the past two decades, Lanyon and Cvent have delivered some of the most innovative and successful technology solutions including event management, strategic meetings management, sourcing solutions, room block management, and mobile and onsite solutions. Combined, the companies have more than 800 technology professionals and 700 customer-facing support staff. “Our employees have been the DNA of our success and we’re excited to add the talent, experience, and the products of the Lanyon team,” said Reggie Aggarwal. As the undisputed market leader with approximately 28,000 customers in 100 countries, the new Cvent will continue to drive technology innovation while providing customers with world-class levels of support for all Cvent and Lanyon solutions.

    At the same time, we also recognize that this news may be met with initial apprehension or uncertainty about the impacts of the merger on your business, whether you are a Cvent or Lanyon customer. At our annual M&IW Client Summit in September, Lisa Palmeri, Vice President of Global Enterprise Solutions, announced our plan to offer more comprehensive Strategic Meetings Management (SMM) and Cvent Technology consulting services beginning the first quarter of 2017. The current offering is being expanded with additional resources and expertise to provide a wide array of support. If you are considering a new Cvent implementation, a transition from Lanyon or another product to Cvent, or you want to optimize your use of meeting management technology solutions, sign up to receive a complimentary one-hour SMMart Action project assessment.

    “M&IW is committed to embracing the latest industry technology solutions and remaining at the forefront of thought leadership in this exciting area of our business. As we learn more about the details of the Cvent/Lanyon merger, we will share our observations and perspectives with you,” said Lisa Palmeri.

    Posted in: Company News, Data Analytics & SMM, Event Marketing & Communications, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting, Technology & Mobility Solutions

    Leave a Comment (0) →

    Practice Gratitude at Your Live Events

    Thankful_Gratitude_Image

    Written by Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications & Creative Services

    “Thanksgiving seems like a holiday that is as American as apple pie, or pumpkin pie for that matter. However, there are variants of this day all around the world. Their meanings, dates and customs may have different nuances, but they all revolve around the concept of gratitude,” said Kristy Puchko in her article How Seven Other Nations Celebrate Thanksgiving.

    Although most of the U.S. population celebrates an official day of gratitude called Thanksgiving– Native Americans have always had a deep tradition of routinely giving thanks. For those that practice gratitude on a consistent basis, you experience the positive energy it brings into your daily routine. And, if you take it one step further by practicing gratitude with the masses, it can truly be life-changing.

    At M&IW, our purpose is to transform organizations through live meetings and events. We believe seamless and engaging experiences capitalize on the need for human connections. We also believe that the energy that is generated when people come together is when the magic happens.

    Now, what if we were to take the collective human energy in a live event scenario and turn it into gratitude? Can you imagine the impact it might have at your conference or national sales meeting? As professional event planners, we are well-aware that what keeps individuals coming back to live meetings and events is the experience. And, the experience is more often how the participant feels versus what they think about the event.

    CSR programs have done wonders for the experience at events. So, why don’t we bring the concept of practicing gratitude together into an event setting more often? Why not create environments, activities and space for attendees to practice gratitude and make the experience truly unforgettable?

    Here are five tips for practicing gratitude at your next event:

    1. Gratitude Event Hashtag – Consider a special hashtag that gives participants an avenue to say what they are thankful for during your event and then display the social stream at monitors around the conference. The hashtag can be as simple as the meeting name with “Thankful For” or “Moments of Gratitude” at the end of it. For instance, #Meeting2017ThankfulFor or #Meeting2017MomentsofGratitude.

    2. Gratitude Wall – Construct a portable wall in a common space or designate a gratitude wall where attendees are free to write moments of gratitude. Simply title the wall, “Today, I am thankful for…” and watch the wall fill up with moments that will make you laugh, moments that may bring a tear and moments that leaving you feeling full of gratitude.

    3. Keynote Speaker on Practicing Gratitude –Hire a speaker that has a story of gratitude and shares strategies to incorporate practicing gratitude into one’s daily habits. These stories are inspirational, motivational and participants use tips to bring these habits into their daily routine.

    4. Be Still Space – Consider creating a space where attendees can practice stillness on demand. A quiet area with soft seating. Hang inspirational sayings and thoughts of appreciation to inspire thoughts of gratitude during stillness.

    5. Gratitude Signs – Create signage that has moments of gratitude written on them and spread them through the event space. As attendees walk from session to session, they will catch moments to be thankful for which may inspire those same thoughts among the participants.

    When the purpose of these environments and activities are promoted appropriately to the participants, the impact on how participants feel about a conference, meeting or event can be enormous. Attendees may not even be able to express the experience in words, but the feeling that they get may be enough to make for an amazing experience. What’s more, it is a well-known fact, when people practice gratitude they are more open to new information and able to retain new concepts easier because their mind and hearts are open.

    Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Technology & Mobility Solutions

    Leave a Comment (0) →

    Is Beacon Technology Right for You and Your Event?

    iBeacon_Technology_jpg

    Written by Tim LaFleur, CMP | Director, Mobility Solutions and Apps

    Technology is all around. Meeting planners and the public in general are high volume consumers of the technology advancements that are defining our time right now. Attendees have an unquenchable thirst for their events to be more technologically savvy. In 2015, Beacons and Beacon technology made a splash in the industry. I was intrigued to see how many events would start to utilize this technology and what they would do with it. As a mobility expert at a global event management company that oversees 2,500+ events a year, I have been keeping watchful eye on the progression and proliferation of this technology. To date, there hasn’t been the widespread adoption that I thought I would see with it being in play for 18+ months. It made me question, if event planners truly understand what it is and how to decide if it’s right for their programs. There are potential drawbacks that could make Beacon technology go the way of the QR code. Let’s explore what this technology is and what meeting planning professionals need to know.

    Beacon Technology, what is it?

    Before we start, it is important to note that Beacon is a technology standard and not necessarily a specific product. This means that any Beacon provider will supply the same basic functionality such as the ability to identify and trigger wireless communication. For conferences, beacons are small devices that transmit a message via Bluetooth to select mobile applications on an attendee’s personal mobile device. Show organizers and meeting planners can set the blast radius to allow for multiple Beacons to be set up in a methodical way. The range allocations are generally up to the Beacon providers, but typically can cover anywhere from 5 feet or in some extreme cases 300 feet.

    As with any technology, power management needs to be considered. Like anything else, battery life is dependent on the setting (i.e. the range you have your Beacon set for, how long you have it powered on, quality of Beacon, etc.). But, on average, a Beacon should last you several months. Some Beacons are also equipped with a battery that can be changed which will greatly extend the use of the Beacon. By connecting the dots, we see that if you use the same or another app developer company that supports that specific Beacon type, you can get multiple uses out of the physical Beacon therefore increasing the ROI.

    Is it right for you and your event?

    Is “XYZ” technology right for our event is a question that I get asked regularly. Most of the time the conversation revolves around capabilities and if the features are robust enough for the event in question. I feel that with any technology you should ask yourself; what are my main goals of the event; what are we trying to achieve; and then decide if the technology can play a role to support that vision. Then, it is important to discuss features of the technology and if it can support the event design. Below are some basic questions to ask when deciding if this technology is right for your event:

    • Are your attendees mobile-tech savvy?
    • Do your attendees enjoy push notifications or do they see them as noise?
    • Do you work with an app company that supports Beacons?
    • Do you have a communication plan that will govern their usage?
    • Do you have a Beacon schematic so attendees are not bombarded with multiple messages simultaneously?
    • Do you have buy-in from your sponsors that may want to the leverage this technology?

    Ultimately, what the industry and planners need to be mindful of is how Beacons fit into and complement the overall event design. If you cannot easily articulate the benefits of having the technology, then maybe it is not something you should be implementing at your meeting. I have heard of shows that put a Beacon in the motor coach during airport pick-ups so that when participants get on the bus it sends them a welcome message. Or, placing them along the way to registration so that when attendees pass by it alerts them to prudent messages. These are a few simple examples of the ways in which Beacons can provide value for your event and elevate the attendee experience.

    Will it be around in two years?

    Like any technology I often look at it and wonder if it will be around in two years? When it comes to the future use of Beacons, I question if it will take hold in the industry or quickly extinct. For this technology to succeed, it needs to be deployed so that it provides extreme value to the attendee and an unsurpassed “WOW” factor for events. I do think the technology has a real opportunity since Bluetooth can not only deliver messages, but also in some cases track an attendee’s location at a trade show and transmit relevant offers. All of which could lead to an elevated attendee experience.

    On the flip side, there are challenges with Beacons that threaten it gaining widespread adoption:
    1. Beacons require the user to do something extra on their device and turn on Bluetooth. For a certain subset of your attendee base this may be a challenge to get them to turn on extra services.
    2. Finding the perfect balance of just enough messaging before it becomes just background noise. Mobile app designers are ever vigilant of this fine line in regards to app advertisements and push notifications.
    3. There needs to be a higher level of logic for who gets messages or file transfers; when they get sent; how many times they get sent; how often pre-program messages get sent; and who will receive the file transfer.

    How to leverage Beacon technology for your next event

    Beacon technology can enhance your event and increase engagement among your audience. But to gain momentum in the marketplace it will require attendees and meeting professionals, alike, to raise their comfort level. They will need to be open to exploring the outside-the-box possibilities it offers. The challenges listed above can be minimized or eradicated all-together by proper messaging along with using reputable technology suppliers. A more targeted knowledgeable approach produces far greater return and provides a quantitative method to track the ROI of your investment. Hiring a marketing consultant who is versed in one-to-one event marketing strategies will produce greater returns and higher conversion rates. They can use their knowledge and experience to ensure Beacon technology is right for your event and will produce the results you are looking to achieve.

    Posted in: Company News

    Leave a Comment (0) →

    Harness Human Energy to Power Company Culture

    Company Culture, Human Energy, Family Atmosphere, FunWritten by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

    The top six factors in determining the Happiest Companies in 2016, reported by Forbes Magazine, were professional development, office environment, job resources, compensation, company culture, and work-life balance. While all these factors are important to employee satisfaction, one especially near and dear to our organization is company culture.

    “Our culture is the heartbeat of our organization. Living the culture is more than a motto, it is one of our core principles and part of our genetic code,” said Tina Madden, CPA, CFO and Partner of M&IW. “We love what we do and it shows! It is fueled by our purpose, our passion, and our talented people who support each other, share core values, work hard, have fun, and deliver amazing results each day to our valued clients.”

    In the spirit of living the culture, we are taking a deeper dive into what it takes to promote a positive company culture. What makes a company’s culture special? What do organizations need to talk more openly about in regards to what makes a company culture great? And what your organization might be missing?

    First, it is important not to get lost in the numbers on a spreadsheet and miss out on the real energy that powers your success. Human energy is your best resource and it can make or break the success of your organization. But, the bigger question is how do you fuel this energy? What makes one organization’s culture greater than another?

    We found that a key success factor in maintaining positive human energy is trust. At our annual company event, we experienced this firsthand – in the most unique and powerful way. During a collaboration session with Banding People Together, we learned that high-performing teams are like music bands; all entities need to trust each another and work together. Fostering trust requires individuals to be open and honest. And, that can make us feel vulnerable, which is not easy. To show this in action, Banding People Together had us recollect a song that held a deep memory. Afterwards, a few colleagues willingly shared their moment with the entire group of more than 220 individuals. They talked about the death of a loved ones, first loves and humorous experiences that made them unique. By being open and vulnerable with each other, it created a new level of trust, empathy and understanding within our company culture.

    Another way we ignite our positive energy is by embracing a family atmosphere. It is not something that is just said, it’s a belief built on a core set of values to treat each other as family members and support work-life balance. Our employees are encouraged to pursue things they are passionate about outside of the office. It has been shown that once an individual’s basic needs are met, it is not necessarily material things that make them happier, but being able to give back and make a personal impact. Based on this theory. Jean Johnson, CMP, President and CEO, launched Project Global Give Back in December of 2014. “The goal of this initiative is to both strengthen our communities and the fulfillment of our M&IW family members,” said Jean Johnson. Employees are given paid time to volunteer for causes that are meaningful to them, plus M&IW will donate $100 to the charity of their choice. Check out the Project Global Give Back album to see our team members and their families supporting great causes.

    Last, but not least, we find it is good to have a little fun in the workplace to increase camaraderie and employee satisfaction. This unique aspect of our culture is cultivated through contests, special drawings, dress-up days and company hosted celebrations like our Fun at Work Day and recent Halloween Costume Contest. Our employees look forward to these events as they add excitement to the work atmosphere. To amplify and reinforce our company culture, we share posts and updates to our social sites.

    Positive human energy is essential to any organization and the power source is free! You need only tap into it.

    Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows

    Leave a Comment (0) →
    Page 1 of 3 123