A 2014 study published by Cornell University’s Thomas Gilovich and Amit Kumar concluded that experiences are a better buy than things. People get more long-lasting satisfaction from vacations, concerts, and meals out than they do with say upgrading their car or buying a new gadget. Their research revealed that in an overwhelming material economy, experiences are valued by consumers as these foster social well-being and successful relationship building.
At the same time, other studies by leading groups, such as Think with Google, reveal that consumers interact with their devices constantly, acting on their “needs in innumerable micro-moments throughout the day”. In fact, often the evocative social experience is first initiated and then facilitated by multiple interactions with digital technology. Nor does the pursuit of transformative life experiences stop people from craving for continuous in-the-moment interactions!
Nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the events industry. Events which can provide meaningful face-to-face interactions, in-person educational opportunities, and deeper professional connections are in high demand.
At the same time, attendees also have unprecedented expectations from the digital environment enveloping their onsite experiences. Just like businesses and organizations everywhere, events are no longer competing for the best experience they can provide in each category. Instead, they are competing for the best experience a participant has ever had. Period.
For event organizers, one effective way to meet this challenge is to use micro-moments as means to an end; to move the attendee’s journey forward and to deepen their engagement with all the opportunities offered by the event.
Fortunately, to a large extent, with careful planning and implementation, modern technology platforms can anticipate and deliver successful micro interactions. To understand how, let’s look at the ingredients that go into micro-moments and the role smart technology plays in making these effective.
Micro-moments occur when people instinctively turn to a device—increasingly a smartphone—to quickly initiate an action, such as a keyword search or make a quick payment. For attendees, micro-moments may comprise checking to see if a particular company is exhibiting at your event or if any new sessions have been published for a given track. A fast-loading, responsive event website along with reliable native apps, which incorporate advanced search and planning features, can service attendees who are perpetually in the ‘I need to know now and don’t have a minute to spare’ mode.
2. Highly Personalized
Micro-moments, by their very nature, are effective only when attendees can do what they want to do in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. We appreciate auto complete and auto correct features in search engine forms for this very reason. Of course, for events, personalization needs to go much deeper than that. Nifty technology that remembers attendees on return visits or can automatically provide matched recommendations based on their demographics can save attendees a lot of time as well as from getting frustrated.
3. Fully Integrated
Though many interactions start on mobile devices, the ground reality is that attendees switch from one device to the other constantly through their waking hours. Your event needs reliable systems —admin portals, event websites, and mobile apps—that sync with each other automatically and provide updated information to attendees 24/7/365.
In conclusion, in this age of dichotomy, where the passion for transformative experiences goes hand in hand with millions of in-the-spur-of-the-moment decisions and interactions, smart technologies are disrupting old ways of doing things. As attendees get smarter, event organizers’ technology selections and the quality of the multi-touch point experience they provide to participants will need to keep step with their increasingly intense expectations.