What Is In An App?

OK, so we are all used to the main screen clutter on our mobile devices due to excessive apps. You name it… there is an app for it. I no longer carry plastic “loyalty” cards. Other than my credit cards and driver’s licence, there is no plastic in my wallet. The Starbucks card, the Sobey’s, Safeway, and Coop cards, the Aeroplan and Airmiles cards, the rental car company cards, and so on (47 in total) are all gone. They are on my Blackberry stored in an app called Key Ring that allows me to scan all these cards or produce the number as needed at the retailer or place of business.

Today, we live in a world that is supposed to make our lives simpler. Can apps really do this? How do they affect sponsors? What is the value-add for sponsors and why should sponsors or properties invest in them? In my mind, the answer is pretty simple. The app delivers several value to both the property and sponsor.

  • It provides easy access to key information about the property, sponsor, or event; failure to have an app can result in your property or event being passed over if you cannot engage your constituents at this level.
  • It brings the property, sponsor, or event into the modern world; again, failure to deliver such simple and modern technology, for use by sponsors to activate or by properties to engage their audiences, shows that the event or property is “behind the times,” not leading edge, and does not place sponsors and fans/delegates/stakeholders high on their list of priorities.
  • It allows your audience members to interact with each other or your brand, and enhances social media applications.
  • It differentiates you from the competition, even if they have an app as well (even more so if they don’t).

With technology the way it is today I believe that, if you are hosting an event or activity, people should be able to access it with ease on their mobile devices. If you are a “walk” or a “run,” an app allows sponsors to provide information or content to participants, including weather updates; sponsors can actively engage the audience. If you are a sponsor, an app positions you better from an activation perspective, and allows you to engage and interact with those coming to or aligned with a sponsorship property. The same goes for a building and naming rights, or a program within a cause. The mobile app is essential to those properties and sponsors that want to be in the forefront of the industry. To those who feel it is not necessary or important, continue on your path to obscurity.

Recently, the leading Canadian networking and professional development conference for the sponsorship industry in Canada launched a mobile app. The SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™ was the first in the Canadian industry to launch such an opportunity for both sponsors and delegates. It allows for activation opportunities for sponsors and ease of access to information and social networking among delegates. It also ensures that those not yet registered to attend the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™ can still access speaker information and updates. But the paid delegates can network immediately (rather than having to wait to be at the event in October in Calgary) with other delegates, set up meetings and social events. This leading edge product, built from the ground up mobile app, clearly provides delegates and sponsors with unparalleled distinction and opportunities over other events in Canada.

Prior to the summer I attended many conferences. These included the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Canadian Public Relations Society, Vitalize 2012, and others. Many of them had apps in place to ensure that delegates had easy access to information, sessions, session room changes, etc. Several of them also had wonderful activation opportunities for their sponsors. To those who host and sell events, programs, and buildings, and to those who buy them: Step into the new world. Put away your paper marketing materials; forget about the sheets of handouts for session times and rooms. Engage your program people, your building, your activities, and your constituents and sponsors. Make the effort to invest in a mobile app and welcome to the age of technology.

These are just one person’s thoughts. Yours are welcomed as well. Please add your thoughts or comments below. Thank you for reading and your feedback.

Download the SMCC Western Sponsorship Congress™ mobile app. Delegates – be sure to “unlock” yourself to network.

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