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IDG introduces new event technology

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Organizers for the collocated Macworld and iWorld 2013 used technology from Active Network to gain insight into the behaviors of 25,000 attendees at the San Francisco event (Jan. 31-Feb. 2). Linsy Miller, VP-marketing at IDG World Expo, spoke to Media Business about how components of the platform, including a streamlined registration system and mobile application, provided value to attendees and data to the organizers. Media Business: Where did the platform make the biggest impact? Linsy Miller: It creates the ability to streamline internal processes upfront. Speaker portals and the exhibitor resource center allow individuals to go in and update information, and then it (feeds updates) to our website, our mobile app and all subsequent promotions. That allows us to put on an event, market an event and do what we're meant to do, as opposed to updating websites and databases in multiple places. Internal streamlining was a huge benefit. It significantly improves the attendee experience. It's a streamlined registration process—quick for them to get through, to create a profile and add their schedule so they have one repository of what they want to see. Macworld is a content-heavy event. We have over 60 tech talks and a whole enterprise program. There is a lot that attendees can do. The schedule helps them identify what they want to see on the exhibit floor and makes their experience more rich onsite. It also gives us insight into their behaviors, what they add to their schedules, which exhibitors they want to see. We had insight into areas where we needed additional staff to do line control. It's a benefit to us as show organizers to identify sessions that might be popular, to share that with speakers so they can assess who is planning to attend sessions. Exhibitors can capture and use the data collected in advance to better staff booths. MB: Does the information that you learned help you plan for next year? Miller: It gives us insight into attendee behaviors—how willing people are to communicate with exhibitors pre-event. Check-in patterns onsite help us plan events and sessions that are well-received. We did surveys through the app to individuals who checked into sessions. From a marketing standpoint, it allowed us greater flexibility to test offers and get immediate insight for customization. We now have a database that we can slice and dice to figure out how we want to market the event next year. We have insights into attendee habits: when they register, how they register, what codes they use to register. The attendee creates a login. You can see that they may not initially complete a registration and (then later) use a different priority code to complete that registration. So we can track which offer was the most responsive.
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