Archive for Event Marketing & Communications

Give Your Event a Competitive Edge with Technology Integration

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

Events are a great place to learn about the latest innovations, network with colleagues and other industry professionals, and hear from leaders in the field. Event technology is the lynchpin that connects you to all these things. From apps to check-in software to virtual and augmented reality, event tech keeps attendees in the know before and during conferences and keeps them engaged long after the event has ended.

M&IW knows how important tech is to your event. We also know as more and more technologies are introduced in our space, it can be overwhelming to determine which ones are the best fit for your event and organization. And, more importantly, how to best integrate them for an optimal attendee experience.

That’s why we’re very excited to introduce our new EVENT TECHNOLOGY team. Several departments are joining forces with a focus on researching, implementing and servicing new event technologies that will help our clients grow their business and demonstrate ROI. By bundling services and offering a more strategic vantage point – our clients can make the most of their event technologies.

Tim LaFleur, CMP, is the Director of Event Technology and will lead this team. Tim brings more than a decade of experience in the meetings and event industry as both a meeting planner and technology expert which is a powerful combination. He truly understands event technology and mobile strategy. He designs, builds and manages mobile apps in a variety of platforms including CrowdCompass and Attendify.

Joining the EVENT TECHNOLOGY team is Chip Begley, Manager and Senior Web Designer. Chip is Cvent Certified. Chip has been with M&IW since 2011. He leverages his experience to ensure event websites and mobile apps provide an unparalleled user experience, from branding to features and more. Together with their talented team members, Tim and Chip will consult with our clients on innovative technology solutions that will help them inform, engage, and delight event attendees.

“M&IW has long been at the forefront of the meeting and events industry because we’ve understood the importance of changing tech trends and have used them to address our clients’ needs,” said Tim. “Tech like mobile apps benefits both attendees and clients who put on the event. If offers attendees real-time updates and a convenient, personalized experience, which increases engagement. For clients hosting the event, it offers real-time reporting and analytics, so they can adjust as needed Clients no longer have to wait for post event surveys to determine if their event is successful.”

M&IW’s most popular and trending services offerings include:

Event Websites. Your event site should offer attendees the information they need without digging and provide a pleasing user experience. Your digital touch points should offer consistent, relevant content and branding from registration through the app onsite. M&IW works with you to ensure your users will have a seamless, cohesive experience from registering on a desktop computer to checking event updates on their phone or tablet.

Mobile Apps. Today, mobile apps are a necessity, instead of a novelty. They enhance attendees’ event experience, increase engagement, and deliver measurable results. Users have all the information they need at their fingertips. This may include a personal welcome message from leadership, personalized agendas and targeted feature sections, immediate alerts regarding sessions and/or schedule changes, and more. In addition, mobile apps offer extra engagement features, such as live polling, instant messaging, “gamification,” such as trivia and scavenger hunts, and photo galleries to build and sustain excitement.

ARS Moderation. Questions and polling is a great way to get valuable feedback in real-time. Our ARS moderation service works directly with speakers to educate them on the polling/Q&A Crowd Sourcing Moderation service, as well as building the polls and executing it onsite. In addition, reporting will be available post-event, making the data actionable quickly.

Matchmaking (appointment scheduling). When you have information, a product, or service that the client needs, it’s important to make a connection to answer questions and ensure conversions. M&IW’s appointment scheduling will create the business rules needed to facilitate the right match based on the client’s requirements. This makes it both effective and efficient for both our clients and their customers.

Incentive Reclamation Website. Our team will work with you to build a website that can track points and give visibility rights to participant progress based on role definition within a hierarchy. This point tracking can be a simple leaderboard user interface to track who qualifies for a trip or for a cash payout, or it can qualify the participants to be able to select certain items in an online catalog. It’s a clean, easy-to-navigate interface will help ensure engagement.

Mobile App Video Production. Make your event electrifying with video! It’s easy and cost-effective with M&IW. With our video production “lite” package, we’ll send a specialist onsite to record, edit, and create a 4k quality video that can be shown at closing ceremonies or divided into snippets that can be shown throughout the week to give the event an extra boost of excitement. This is a great option for clients who want the cutting-edge production element, but have conservative budgets.

On Arrival. Using Cvent software, this service offers attendees the freedom to check themselves in using a tablet device and a wireless printer. It’s a high-tech way for attendees to self-register and cut down on long lines, helping to improve attendees’ overall event experience. (Note: When using On Arrival, clients will need to provide hardware.)

Event in a Box. Offering the ultimate in convenience for smaller events with less than 500 attendees. Cvent’s Event in a Box includes the check-in tablets, printers and will ship all the hardware to your event. Minimal set up and assembly required.

EM-Array / Educational Measures. Gain valuable insights from your attendees with live meeting engagement technology. Capture and keep audience attention with the most usable interactive system. Engage attendees with more than 25 interactive features. And, measure and improve the effectiveness of your live event.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Give your event a special, fun edge with this cool new tech. Use the AR (augmented reality) portion as a high-tech passport program. Or, use VR (virtual reality) to transport your attendees to alternate locations. The possibilities are virtually endless!

Through innovation in design and skill, M&IW’s event tech team will help our clients:

  • Create high-impact, engaging and memorable technology experiences that are complementary and seamless with the overall event design.
  • Provide attendees a streamlined event experience, mitigating confusion and hassle and increasing engagement.
  • Easily integrate new trends and features into established platforms, helping clients move forward and stay ahead of the pack.
  • Providing thoughtful consultation by truly embracing and understanding the event design and offering innovative technology solutions that make sense.

Learn more, stay connected, and get started:

Interested in hearing more from Tim? He will be presenting Epic Technology Approaches that Create REAL Immersive Experiences at NEXT ’18 hosted by MPI-CAC in Chicago on March 8, 2018. This is a can’t miss one-day educational conference bringing together meeting planners, event producers, and design and experience gurus, to learn from the leading authorities in areas from planning techniques and strategies, to the latest cutting-edge tech trends. Visit NEXT’18 to learn more and register.

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Using the latest technology can help your event go off smoothly and ensure attendees have a memorable event experience. With so many new offerings, our EVENT TECHNOLOGY team will work with you to develop strategic solutions and the tech tools you need to boost your ROI and make your event a success. Receive the latest news about emerging event technologies directly to your inbox, SUBSCRIBE to our mailing list. Or, CONTACT US and let us know how our team can be of service.

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

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M&IW’s 50/50 Spotlight – The Wild West Team

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Written by Christina Wicklund | Marketing Project Lead

This week’s featured 50 Years 50 Charities team is the Wild West. Wild West selected a charity everyone on the team could contribute to even though they work in different locations – Washington, Nevada and Colorado. The team members are Hannah Buzzo, Marge Bazsika, Jeanette Davis, Ali Geisler, Marte Meighan, Kim St. Martin, and Genessa Gonzalez, the team captain. Their charity is the American Red Cross, a well-respected charity that focuses on wildfire relief in their states.

The catastrophic wildfires of 2017 didn’t just destroy neighborhoods and livelihoods — they also annihilated records. Damage estimates from the 2017 wildfires topped $10 billion, said Adam Smith of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And that was before devastating wildfires tore through Southern California in December.

Wild West raised $400 selling CPR kits this summer at our annual company event. Plus, they sold Brewers vs. Cubs baseball tickets on StubHub, an online website, now that’s thinking outside of the box!

When asked if they had other fundraising events in plan? The answer was a big YES! In the upcoming months, Wild West will auction off two Milwaukee, Wisconsin gift baskets filled with items donated by local businesses. All proceeds from this raffle will be donated to the American Red Cross. Wild West is also hosting an interactive benefit at the Wine Bar located in Denver Colorado. A portion of sales that evening will be donated by Vinue Food and Wine Bar to the American Red Cross. If you find yourself in the Cherry Creek, Colorado area on March 26, 2018, please join them!

This team may be spread over three states, but distance doesn’t seem to slow their efforts down. Way to go Wild West, keep that momentum and great team communications going!

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To learn more about the American Red Cross – wildfire relief or to donate, please visit www.redcross.org.

 

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications

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Top 5 Takeaways – PCMA Convening Leaders 2018

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Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

Since 1956 the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) has been dedicated to driving global economic and social transformation through business events. This year, at their annual event, PCMA Convening Leaders 2018, they cranked up the volume in the Music City. There is no denying this was an epic year! So many things added to its success, from the vibrant location of Nashville, to the music, speakers, networking events and noteworthy content. This conference focused on the engagement factor of events, the most critical piece of connecting your audience despite the challenges we face today, with digital distractions and increased attendee expectations.

This successful event was experienced firsthand by our very own Mae Ibe, CMP, Director of Conferences & Tradeshows earlier this month. These are Mae’s Top 5 from PCMA Convening Leaders 2018.

1. Steaming Live Content – PCMA implemented streaming content, live and on demand, from the event. A continuing trend to get involvement from your members who cannot attend. Studies show that streaming this content does not discourage face-to-face attendance. Keep your whole membership engaged by providing conference content.

2. The Attendee Journey – The attendee journey is the newest way to capture your attendees’ movement throughout the event. Newest technology does not use Bluetooth, so attendees do not need a cell phone or Bluetooth device to gather the data. Track CE credits, collect data that will help you plan future meal counts, and keep abreast of the most popular breakouts so you know what your attendee is finding beneficial.

3. Strategizing Your Room Block – Studies show 1 out of 3 rooms are outside the room block. Are you strategizing your room block based on your location? If you are a big fish in a small pond, you can be aggressive on your room block. If you are a small fish in a big pond, you may want to be a little more conservative since your attendees have more options. Think about the leisure destinations and how that will affect your pre and post nights. Educate your attendees on why they need to stay in the room block; financial benefit for the organization, safety and security, future data, etc. Plan a different experience for those who book in the room block. Work with the local CVB to determine the economic impact of your event.

4. Attendee Acquisition – Instead of competing with other organizations for attendance, you are now competing with the “no event.” You need to make sure your attendees see your event as the must-attend event. Have you taken the customer journey into consideration? Does the customer know who you are? Your marketing message may not be describing your event and/or organization the way you think. Remind them throughout the year who you are, not just in the months or weeks leading up to the event. Your attendees must have an emotional connection or they won’t be engaged and want to attend year after year.

5. Video Testimonials – video testimonials are still a great way to connect with your attendees, but use trailers instead of long drawn out messages.

In addition to these top 5 takeaways there were two noteworthy areas of discussion one digital and one in person. M&IW experienced a substantial increase in social media responses based on posts from this event. Using the #PCMACL hashtag helped connect attendees, read tidbits of sessions that were not attended first hand, and pick up tips on new trends whether onsite or just following the online discussion. The #EventBoss initiative was also a huge hit! Great job on getting the word out socially PCMA. It greatly enhanced engagement and the overall experience.

Finally, innovation was a BIG discussion item. How do we innovate? What qualities do you need in employees to encourage innovation? It is predicted that 1 in 3 companies won’t be around in 5 years. You must be innovative and embrace change, so you are not one of the statistics. Attending leading industry conferences and live events is definitely one way to stay plugged in and discover new insights.

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

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4 Steps to Obtaining Work-Life Balance

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Written By Naomi Tucker, CMP, HMCC | Account Director, Global Enterprise Solutions

Obtaining work-life balance is a concept that everyone aspires to. M&IW prides itself on having an expansive virtual culture and supports work-life balance to its fullest. Although the process of obtaining work-life balance can be in one’s grasp, it can be hard to acquire. Industry professionals aspire to excel in their work, and excel at home, and at times, the imbalance creates a frustration in their lives. How do you adjust your expectations and get rid of the frustration of imbalance? Checkout these four steps that I’ve created to help:

Recall
The first step is to recall your current situation. It is always best to take an actual account of your situation and what is providing you with the frustration that you are experiencing. What is preventing you from the balance that you require? Take a written account of everything that you are involved in or have on your plate in both your work and in your personal life.

Re-Evaluate
As you are taking an account of your situation and where you are spending your energy, you must re-evaluate your plate. Ask yourself key questions. Identify why you have this item on your plate and why is it important to you. Asking questions will allow you to be able to quickly identify items that shouldn’t be on your list or items that are preventing you from obtaining balance.

Reset
The next step that should be taken is to reset your expectations. Identify your goals and aspirations in your work and your personal life. Are the items on your plate fitting with what these goals and aspirations? If they aren’t, then unfortunately they would need to be placed to the side until you have time to designate to them. Many people wonder what to do with the items that they have placed to the side. It helps to delegate them, or just simply say no to those items that you are being asked to do. Sometimes taking things off your plate can be tough, but it is a necessary step to obtain balance in your career and life.

Reactivate
After you have done every step; recalling your situation, re-evaluating what’s on your plate, and resetting your expectations, you will need to reactivate your plan. This means putting your written plan to action. Items that you need to put to the side, should have a plan on how you will delegate or move the responsibility of them. Items that you need to say no to, need a plan on how you will say no. Items that you need to take responsibility for, you will need a plan on how you will start to obtain responsibility. The key word is “plan”. Have a plan and make it actionable.

Summary
Making the steps toward balance can at first seem like an overwhelming experience, however it can take so much of the burden off of you when done correctly. As industry professionals, the concept of having it call can be an illusion, but we can create a life for ourselves were we can be content and joyful in the work and life that we do lead with following these simple steps.

For more information, CLICK HERE to review the entire recording of our recent Industry Insights Webinar: Career, Life and Beyond – How Can Planners Have It All?

 

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design

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How to Create a Give Back Movement in a Virtual Company

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

Like many organizations who embrace corporate social responsibility, M&IW has long understood it is our responsibility to be a good corporate citizen through charitable giving and community involvement. Over the years, we have supported numerous worthy causes.

Create a Culture of Giving

As our organization grew, we saw both a challenge and an opportunity. With once a primarily local workforce, our team would support a cause very near and dear to our hearts and located in our hometown, the Racine Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society. For more than decade, our M&IW team has been racing for a cure and raising the bar on their fundraising efforts totaling more than $100,000. However, as we expanded with a global virtual workforce, it became more difficult for employees to feel personally connected and participate in our charitable giving initiatives. But, then something happened. M&IW was recognized as one of the fastest growing privately-held companies in America. Jean Johnson, CMP, our Co-CEO and Chief People Officer attended the Inc. 500 | 5000 Conference and was inspired by Adam Grant, bestselling author of Give and Take.

Jean set an ambitious goal to create a best-in-class giving program and increase our global philanthropic footprint. In 2014, she launched Project Global Give Back. Since the program’s inception, our employees have given of their hearts, time and money to many great causes in the communities that they live and work. They also supported our corporate annual charity, Make-A-Wish of Southeastern Wisconsin, and helped grant wishes for two special little girls.

Think Bigger #50Years50Charities

This year, the stakes have gotten even higher! In celebration of our 50th Anniversary, we launched the Project Global Give Back 50 Years 50 Charities campaign. “At M&IW, we are in the business of bringing people together for great outcomes and believe in the power of human energy,” said Jean Johnson. “So, this program is very fitting for our organization and aligned with our culture. We have assembled 50 teams with employees located across the globe who will impact 50 different charities throughout the year. And, most importantly, they are having fun with it – everything from their team names, volunteer activities, creative fundraising efforts, and more!” To check out the charities selected CLICK HERE to view our video.

Make it Personal

This month, we are featuring “Big Hearts, Little Hands” and the direct and lasting effect they will have on the lives of young people. They selected Big Brothers Big Sisters. For more than 100 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters has operated under the belief that inherent in every child is the ability to success and thrive in life. “I have been a Big Sister for nine years,” said Joy Kubat, Team Captain. “I saw a need within my Little’s family for access to basic items like shampoo and paper towels. Her family often sacrificed essentials to make ends meet. Recognizing the impact we could make to families in need, we chose BBBS. I am so grateful for the efforts of my amazing coworkers: Connie Nau, CMP, Nicole Raudabaugh, CMP, Carissa Hackel, Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS, Naomi Tucker, CMP, and Mae Ibe, CMP.” Recently, the team took a little time away from work to gather every day necessities from caring homes and assemble 50 bags for the local branch. They will be participating in the upcoming Taste of the Town and partnering with the Wisconsin Chapter of Meeting Professionals International to be the selected charity for the association’s Spring Education Day in May of 2018.

We hope our story of continuing to focus on local giving whiling adopting an approach to support our international expansion inspires you to create your own ways to touch the communities where your organization resides. We are very proud of all our M&IW family and excited to share our progress in future posts. To see more from our amazing teams in action, be sure to follow #MIW50Years50Charities and #MIWGivingBack on social media. Or, interested in learning more our Project Global Give Back, supporting the cause, donating, or attending an upcoming fundraiser event, reach out to us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com.

 

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

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What You Need to Know About Apple’s App Rule

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Written by Tim LaFleur | Director, Event Technology

If you have used a branded mobile app for your event, or are considering one for a future program, you have most likely heard about the new Apple App Store container rule that is shaking up the industry. More and more of our clients are incorporating mobile apps for a richer and more engaging experience for their attendees. So, understandably, they have asked us what this means and what can they expect? The simple answer – it depends. But, let’s break it down.

What does the rule say?
In June, at the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference, they announced changes to their App Review Guidelines. Of specific interest was Section 4.2.6: “Apps created from a commercialized template or app generation service will be rejected.”

What does the new policy mean?
There continues to be debate as each app company has their own take based on their reading of the rule and/or subsequent conversations with Apple. On the face, it appears providers will no longer be able to submit “one off” single branded event apps into the App Store. While this rule is broad and far reaching it in part touches all app development companies in some way.

As it pertains to our industry, it is widely believed this was put into place to clean up the App Store from many outdated or orphaned apps in preparation for the launch of their new store and have more control (i.e. not unlike the Play Store “Cover Letter” policy from earlier this year). Conference app companies are responding in a variety of ways based on their understanding of the rule. Most of the thoughts swirling around fall into one of three buckets.

Thought 1:
The most common thinking is that event apps now publicly distributed in the App Store will have to go into a larger container app. And, it would need to be a container app branded by the development company versus the event host. This has led some to proclaim that the death of the white labeled single event app is at hand. Additionally, there are concerns over the loss of event branding and security since all apps are placed in one container. In response conference app companies are working hard to mitigate the security concern with shortcuts directly to your specific app inside the container. However, the loss of event branding remains a very real concern for event marketing professionals.

Thought 2:
Some app companies have interpreted this rule less about whether the app is created by a commercialized template or app generation service, and more about whose Apple License is being used. There is a thought that if the app is being published from the event host’s Apple Developer License it will be allowed as either a multi or single event branded app. Others, while they agree in theory, they do not see it as being as broad as this. They feel there are boundaries to this approach.

• App must be published from company or organization’s developer account
• Needs to be a container app and have at least five (5) events included
• May only have one (1) container per organization
• After a few are published, organization will start seeing rejections from Apple

Thought 3:
And, last thought is “our apps are customized and they all differ.” They believe there is enough customization and uniqueness so their apps to not be affected by this rule. However, I am unsure if this philosophy holds true. As I understand it, there will be three main checks Apple will do make sure an app is not coming from a commercialized template or app generation service.

So, what now?
The deadline for this rule to take effect was initially September 30, 2017. However, Apple extended the deadline to December 24, 2017. This is a very nuanced and evolving situation so I would encourage anyone who already has an agreement with an app company to engage with them regarding their interpretation and how they are handling it. Even if you have already spoken with your app company, you might want to re-engage regarding what might have changed since your first conversation to see what other options exist for distribution such as private distribution versus public distribution. Have a backup plan should they be wrong in their interpretation of the rule.

How we can help…
As a third-party event planning company who specializes in mobile design, we are in a unique position because we work with and have been in conversations with many different app providers. They all believe theirs is the perfect solution. Yet, no two companies have the same interpretation. Ultimately, the goal is to mitigate risk of app rejection by crafting a plan to cover several different scenarios. If you have questions, concerns, comments or just want to know how we believe this rule may affect your event, based on all of the differing philosophies and approaches, contact me directly at tlafleur@meetings-incentives.com.

 

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

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Incentive Travel Trends and Journey Mapping

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Written by Tracy Norum, CMP, CIS | Director, Global Incentive Services

As 2017 sales incentive contests head into their final quarter and 2018 award trip planning starts to kick into high gear for a new and exciting season of winner incentive trips, it is a great time to get a sneak peek at M&IW’s leading incentive trends. I had the privilege of presenting on this topic at our recent Client Summit with Nicole Raudabaugh, CMP, CIS, Account Lead/Sr. Buyer, Global Incentive Services.

State of the Industry

To help us better understand the trends, let’s take a brief look at the state of the industry. Recent survey data illustrates how organizations have fully realized the role incentives play to engage their sales teams, employees and channel partners and their results in both bottom line and top-line growth. More than 84% of American companies use incentive programs. US firms alone invest more than $90 billion dollars annually in non-cash incentives such as incentive travel, merchandise and gift cards, according to IRF 2107 Trends Study & SITE Index 2017.

Journey Mapping

The stakes are higher and expectations greater. The incentive trip planner isn’t just planning an event, they are designing engaging experiences. And, not cookie-cutter, one size fits all – but rather experiences that match the energy flow of the group and the individual award winners. Personas and journey mapping is a hot new concept with incentive travel design.

The objective is to create a “Journey Map” based on personas as opposed to demographics. Identifying groups of people who share similar attitudes, behaviors and motivations and outline specific elements each day of the program based on the different personas’ appeal. For example, “Fit-to-Travel,” “All Things Social,” “Work B4 Play,” etc. Each persona values different elements so it critical to match the group activities and experiences with their journeys. Applying this principle to the travel incentive program design not only helps improve the attendee experience, but also the company’s bottom line.

An All Encompassing, Immersed Experience

As an industry, we are moving away from just providing “unique and WOW experiences” and moving toward total engagement. With the use of technologies from the mobile app experience to virtual reality, we can engage the qualifier before they even leave their doorstep. Experiential travel is now about fostering emotional attachment to the brand. Next-level experiences tap the true emotional engagement. Capturing the experiences from unique angles, such as drones or Go-Pro devices, provides lasting impressions long after the trip has concluded.

Destination 2018

The strength of the US dollar, has created a resurgence in international destinations. Tenerife/Canary Islands, southern France and less traveled areas of Italy are emerging as an exciting European alternative. Iceland, where the infrastructure is finally starting to catch up, is capturing the imagination of a true Icelandic expedition and discovery. Panama continues to grow in experiences and infrastructure.  Adventure hot spots are trending including Banff/Whistler, New Zealand, Costa Rica, and South Africa.

Giving Back is Not Going Away

Seventy percent of programs include a corporate social responsibility component and we expect that number to continue to grow. The industry has seen a definite uptick in the last three years and new types of experiences are popping up as a result. Tying a group activity or corporate team building to foster employee teamwork with the outcome of significantly stimulating income generation for people in a developing country is the top of the list. Attendees not only want to have a great experience themselves, but want to leave a destination knowing they made an impact in the community and world.

Health and Fitness

Health and fitness is becoming an increasing element of every program. Healthy meal options, allowing time for workouts, group activities that focus on wellness events, and gifting experiences that include athletic wearables, sneakers, yoga mats, on-site personalized athletic wear and classes are all the rage.

In summary, incentive travel programs still need to be life-affirming, jaw-dropping and create memories that connect to a bigger purpose. Being memorable and exclusive hasn’t changed. However, what is trending is how the incentive planner’s role involves creating “personalized” journeys that ignites the senses, recognizes stellar achievements, and inspires winners to work even harder to be part of your elite incentive trip year after year!

Want to learn more about journey mapping and the newest incentive industry trends as well as take away some trip ideas to implement into your 2018 program? Join our Global Incentives Services team in November for our Incentive Trends webinar where we will go into greater detail on this topic and much, much more!

 

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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ROI of Event Sponsorship: Stakeholders vs. Sponsors

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Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing and Media

Sponsorship, by definition, is the financial or material support of an event, activity or organization by an unrelated partner. Sponsoring a relevant event is a great way to increase brand awareness and strengthen relationships. This, in turn, helps generate consumer preference and foster brand loyalty. A company can reinforce awareness among its target market by sponsoring an event that attracts a desired target market. A sponsorship can be a meaningful part of a brands success, but also material to an event’s success.

Sponsoring an event is no means an act of charity – they must show some form of positive return on investment (ROI) for both stakeholders and sponsors. With ROI in mind, we would like to explore two separate perspectives in the sponsorship journey: the event stakeholder and the sponsoring organization.

As we near M&IW Campus Week, our annual company event, we reflect on the role of our industry partners. From an event stakeholder viewpoint, sponsors are of the utmost importance as they not only help to generate revenue for the event itself, but also offset costs for items that will enhance the overall attendee experience. For example, because of our platinum sponsors, we are including live meeting analytics from Educational Measures, over-the-top decor and style concepts from Kehoe Designs, professional event production from DMP and collaborative team building sessions from Banding People Together.

While sponsor and exhibitor relationships are key to these types of events, they can also be tricky to manage. To be successful, it is crucial to understand what matters most to the sponsoring organization. Do they prefer promotional opportunities leading up to the event, brand visibility on the registration site, advertising on a mobile app, relationship building with key contacts, ability to present at the event or sit on an industry panel, and of course, being able to connect with attendees post event.

You want to ensure they receive a solid return from their both investment and participation so that they continue to sign on year after year. And, it is also important to make sure that the sponsors and exhibitors selected are a good fit for the audience. Otherwise, the attendees will feel like the event was “sold” without consideration of their interests and time. Because we provide hotel sourcing and contracting services for our clients, hotels and resorts are a perfect fit. In fact, we have three platinum sponsors in this category: Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide and Rosewood.

Likewise, sponsoring organizations need to know that the audience is a fit for them. “To be successful, our employees need to be knowledgeable about new products, event-related services, hot destinations and more says Lindsay Perez, Assistant Manager, Program Management for Global Operations. She explains that “event sponsors and exhibitors gain valuable face time with those who have their ‘boots on the ground’ so to speak. They benefit from a rare opportunity to get in front of the individuals that use their services. Or, from a more general standpoint, individuals who may have key input, make recommendations to our clients or are involved in the decision-making process. It’s an overall win for the attendees and the sponsors, alike.”

A lot of organizations, including ours, use a tiered system to help differentiate the level of exposure or marketing that an organization will receive based on their support. This helps the hosting organization to keep the playing field level and manage expectations of the sponsoring and exhibiting companies.

“While it’s beneficial to participate as an exhibitor in the Supplier Showcase to network and make personal introductions, being a sponsor brings this educational value to the next level. It gives the organization an opportunity to be front and center of all M&IW employees and a chance to highlight the value they can offer to us, as a company, and to our clients,” explained Vicki Schmitz, HMCC, Senior Manager of Hotel Procurement. This is especially true for companies that have just started working with M&IW, a sponsorship can help them foster relationships and generate business opportunities faster.

We also have industry partners like Marriott International that have participated for several years. So, we asked Elizabeth Moynihan. CMP, Global Account Executive, her thoughts on the criteria her team uses when deciding to become a sponsor? Elizabeth responded, “Marriott values our long-term global partnership with M&IW. As strategic partners, we understand the importance and mutual benefit of sponsoring Campus Week. We take many components into consideration when determining our level of support. The opportunity for our hotel partners and GSO to engage face-to-face, and further cultivate and strengthen relationships is invaluable. We enjoy participating in Campus Week annually, and appreciate the opportunity to be a platinum sponsor.”

Our M&IW Campus Week taking place August 21-24, 2017 which includes our Client Summit and Supplier Showcase is the one time of year we bring together in one place our talented associates, valued clients, and industry partners. If you are interested in learning more about sponsor opportunities still available, please email us at marketing@meetings-incentives.com and we will send you the prospectus.

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design, Sourcing, Negotiating & Contracting

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Dissecting Effective Event Design

By Anne Zambrano | Manager, Communications and Creative Services

When the novice planner is asked about the purpose of event design the answer is typically to make the room look good and create a pleasant environment. A fine answer, but is that really all there is to effective event design?

“Not at all, event design should be all encompassing and have purpose which is generally to create an environment that conveys the message and the theme of the event while staying true to the program’s overall objectives. Whether the event is a celebration, awards ceremony, meal function, workshop or general session there is always a message that needs to be conveyed. The audience does not solely listen with their ears, but they also ‘listen’ with their sight, their sense of smell, their touch, and sometimes even their sense of taste. Successful event design encompasses all the senses to produce an environment that clearly conveys the message of the program and achieves the goals. It is about engagement not simply making the room look good,” explains Alexander deHilster, Senior Event Designer with Meetings & Incentives Worldwide.

At M&IW, Alexander and his team work collaboratively with our clients and event design partners to do exactly that. In the true collective spirit of M&IW, we asked one of our long-term event design partners to provide some additional insight on effective event design.

Timot McGonagle, Senior Event Designer of Kehoe Designs, reiterated Alexander’s point with the following thoughts and tips:

The Benefits of Effective Event Design:

1. Creates an emotional attachment that produces a more permanent and lasting impression on the guests ultimately creating greater return on experience for the guests.
2. Allows the guest to feel physically part of the event while it is happening evoking the important emotional connection with every event.
3. Increases learning and aids with retention since all the attendees’ senses are engaged they can hold attention longer resulting in increased retention overall.
4. Clearly conveys the message of the event and leaves no room for interpretation.

When asked about how to attack effect event design, Timot gave the following response. “Current trends lean toward an immersive experience. Boundaries between individual event disciplines are very blurry. For instance, we see more and more that audio visual, décor, food & beverage all play a role in event design. A screen is no longer solely used to communicate content, but can be a visual work of art or message board for the program’s objectives. True event design is working in a cohesive manner and blending all facets of the event to reach the objective.”

Alexander and Timot also both agree that it is best to be in close contact with the client to discover goals and request all materials on event from graphic support, theme, messaging, and anything else that can inspire the design. Ultimately the design reflects the nuances of the message.

Do’s and Don’ts from our Senior Event Designers include:

1. Do conduct a site visit before designing. Each project has its own energy as does every space. Immersed in the actual venue helps to bring out the creative vision.
2. Do make every detail count! Find a few details and layer them for a more cohesive event.
3. Do Utilize elements that will play to all the senses.
4. Do hire professionals to get the most value out of your investment.
5. Don’t make event design an afterthought. Bring all the team players together early in the process.
6. Don’t forget to discuss budget up front. There are many ways to approach event design. And, budget often determines the right path to start.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Event Marketing & Communications, Program Management & Event Design

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The Benefits of Marketing Videos

Written by Jill Pearson | Manager, Digital Marketing & Media

Video marketing techniques are flooding today’s social media outlets, websites and direct marketing campaigns. Almost any type of business or event would benefit from the production of a short video to introduce their products or services. It is no secret that video content increases conversion rates in sales. In fact, consumers are 64% to 85% more likely to purchase a product or service that has video representation according to a study by web analytics gurus at KissMetrics.

For our customers, video promotions provide a clearer understanding of the benefits of a service or event. We have discovered that when a video is used in our marketing communications, the click-through rate (CTR) is four times greater than all other links embedded in the email. Additionally, videos on social sites are liked and shared ten times more which leads to higher read rates and website traffic.

Because it is an ever-increasing and popular medium, we’ve also found it highly effective to use videos to present a destination, resort or other elements of an incentive promotion to our clients. It allows our clients to immerse themselves in the destination and incentive trip experience. The same is true when announcing the details of a trip to potential winners. It creates excitement and can catapult production to the next level. Another technique is to share a “happy face” video from the previous year showing actual winners and how much fun they had during the trip. It serves as a great reminder for the winners and creates a level of FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Likewise, it is a great teaser for those trying to earn the upcoming trip for the first time.

An incentive campaign’s success is dependent on our ability to creatively entice participants to engage, perform, and win. Recently, our Creative Services and Digital Marketing team joined forces with an Account Lead within Global Enterprise Solutions to create a video for a sales incentive that we won over an industry competitor. For this company, incentives aren’t a new concept and there are several repeat winners. To combat the perception that this is a “been there, done that” trip, we proposed a unique, new destination trending within the incentive space. Puglia is a region in Italy’s boot that is mostly unexplored by corporate incentives. So, the messaging challenge of the video was to take an unknown destination and create the fascination of a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Daniel Filar, Account Lead, reinforces the objective by stating, “the goal was to lure the sales team into the lavish Italian lifestyle found in Puglia – accommodations at a 5-diamond resort, fine-dining experiences, touring historic villages and experiencing unique activities. We decided to produce a customized video to capture the region’s most breath-taking vistas and offerings. Without the supporting imagery to bring the experience to life, we would have fallen short on our ability to tell the story and sell the destination.” The client shared with us that he believed this was going to be one of the best incentive trips yet and early indicators showed his sales team was driving hard toward their targets. To see if you agree, view the video above.

Another way organizations are incorporating video is to announce and promote a corporate social responsibility component that is tied into the incentive trip. “Last spring, one of my clients had a program in Cabo San Lucas. During the planning process, he learned the Light in my Life Orphanage in San Jose Los Cabos was severely damaged by Hurricane Odile in 2014 and saw an opportunity to help. To generate awareness for the CSR activity, a touching video was created and shared with the winners prior to the trip. It turned about to be a wonderful and beneficial experience for all,” said Katie Wiesner, Sr. Program Manager, CIS.

While techniques used for promotions are constantly evolving, consumer behavior still suggests that purchases are made and participation is enhanced when personal connection have been established. Videos bring that association to a consumer mind and allows for greater trust and excitement to the featured topic.

With the enhancement of easy-to-use video production technologies, captivating high resolutions photos, short destination clips and creative scripting – destination videos such as the Puglia one featured are less expensive to create than you might think and an excellent promotional tool for your next event.

 

 

 

Posted in: Company News, Event Marketing & Communications, Incentive Travel Programs

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