And the Survey Says…

August 26, 2009

headshot karenBy Karen Watson, CMP Experient

Can you believe three weeks have gone by since we all said our goodbyes at the 2009 e4 conference?? From the feedback Experient  received it appears everyone enjoyed and found tremendous value in the event.

I have been curious as to how many of you are already utilizing some social media applications or plan to in the future? As I awaited the results of the post event surveys I wondered what we would actually learn about our social media experience at e4?

Well, based upon the surveys received here are the findings:

  • Live Webcasts —
    • 24.43% of Experient clients are already doing live webcasts.
    • 45.9% plan to do so in the future.
    • Only 29.73% have no plans for webcasts.
  • Live Twitter Streams in Sessions–
    • 13.5% of clients have already utilized Twitter feeds in session(s).
    • 42.89% plan to do so in future
    • 44.59% have no plans to do so in future.
  • White Label Social Networking Sites (i.e. Social Collective)
    • Only 9.46% utilize white label social networking site.
    • 45.95% plan to do so in future
    • 44.59% do not plan to do so.
  • Read the rest of this entry »


e4 Power Networking — “I didn’t want to leave”

August 17, 2009

Jeff SacksJeff Sacks, CMPExperient

Have you ever been invited to a party that you just really didn’t want to attend but did any way since it was the “right thing to do”?  When the agenda was distributed for e4, I heard on more than a few occasions that people were jazzed about the education being offered, but “what is” and “why are” we Power Networking”?  As a mater of fact, while onsite at Gaylord National, I was speaking to one individual (who I’ll kindly refer to as Negative Nelly Networker) who told me that they were absolutely dreading the Power Networking time slot and would give anything to have a reason to not attend.

The “What is”  of Power Networking turned out to be a series of 5 minute power networkingconversations between two individuals who may or may not have known each other before they found themselves face-to-face across a 30” classroom table.  The “Why are” was clearly to have an opportunity to meet upwards of 10-15 new people in an hour’s time – and not just meeting them as in “how’s the weather” but as Keith Ferrazzi implored people to do – meeting them deeply and actually “giving a damn.”  I personally learned things about people’s families, jobs, dating activity, hopes, dreams and everything in between.  The energy in the room was palpable and people were networking their tails off.

It was a fascinating hour.  Andy Smith did a yeoman’s job of getting everyone to move along every five minutes and the group jumped in with two feet and really got into it.  As a number of us have learned post-e4, this was an experiment in networking that not even the Ferrazzi team was sure we could pull off.  They were so pleased with the results they expect to recommend this session to clients for years to come!

So…how could I experience this session and not have sought Negative Nelly out to see their reaction right?  All Nelly had to say was…”I didn’t want to leave!”  Nuff said.

Question — Have you or your organization engaged in a power networking session?  What was the outcome and why?  Please share your thoughts with us!


Final Notes from e4 Cafe “The Evolving Value Proposition of F2F Association Meetings”

August 13, 2009

Judy kent profileBy Judy Kent, Experient

Thanks to all who attended our session at e4.  I hope you all enjoyed the topic.  We loved the passion that you all showed in coming up with “What will the meetings of the future look like?”.  We looked at five burning areas/questions and focused our attention on them.  Below is a recap that you as a group developed through your sharing.  Stay tuned for a great study that will be released in October from Oxford Economics on this very topic.  It will be very educational and pivotal to our industry.  We will post it once we received.

1. Grow/Retain Membership and Attendance – What role do conventions and meetings play in increasing and maintaining membership for an association, driving attendance or motivating people to attend an association’s meeting?  Will larger meetings be a thing of the past associations shift to smaller regional meetings costing less to produce?   Do you believe associations will begin merging or partnering with other similar accredited associations to build attendance?


We Are The Faces of the Meetings Industry

August 11, 2009

DBeldon_headshot

Debbi Beldon, CMPExperient

Just got back from e4 – what a terrific time we had networking with clients, partners and colleagues. I learned a lot too. For instance, I learned that people really will follow me on Twitter, even though I’m not exactly sure why yet. I learned that I need more than five hours sleep a night and apparently that I get cranky if 45 minutes goes by without eating something. I also learned that it is unwise to drink an entire Diet Coke if the session is going to be 90 minutes long and the bathroom is a mile and a half away.

But seriously, I also had the pleasure of attending the closing general session where we learned from Roger Dow, President and CEO of the US Travel Association about what’s going on with the events industry.
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Creating Connections-Welcome Reception

August 4, 2009

Headshot_JSommers

By Jennifer Sommers, InterContinental Hotels

Wow, Gaylord National really rolled out the red carpet to welcome us all to e4, 2009!

The view of the Potomac alone out of that massive front window at sunset was something to see. I also enjoyed the music of all kinds but I have to say my favorite was the Mariachi band. I, for one, will have a particular song running through my head today; a little ditty you may recognize that begins with; “Ey, yi, yi, yi…”

The food was just awesome. Lamb, lobster, scallops, short ribs, potatoes, pizza, salsa’s, etc. I don’t think a thing was missed. Frankly, if you couldn’t find something to eat you just weren’t looking. WelcomeReceptionCrowd

It was great to see everyone together in one place as well after chatting about the event to come over the past couple of months. In the first 8 hours I’ve already met a dozen or so new contacts and picked up the ball on a conversation I’d been having with someone via this very e4 blog! Of course it’s always great to see old friends as well as making new acquaintences while we all gear up for what will surely be an informative few days to come.

What a wonderful kick off and a night to remember!


Experient Welcomes e4 2009 Attendees!!!

July 31, 2009
Mike McCurry

Mike McCurry

Michael M. McCurry, CMP — Experient

Well, only two days until e4 2009 officially kicks off.  Some of you are already in DC enjoying the wonderful tourist attractions and historic landmarks of our nation’s capital.

There really is a fantastic program lined up for us this year.  Thanks to the entire Experient e4 team for putting this event together!

As we turn our focus to e4 just wanna throw a few teasers your way:

  • My e4 — if you have not setup your account for this “cutting edge” online community yet, please take a few moments to sign up.  There really are some terrific features there and the site will remain live Post-event.
  • Sponsor Fan Pages — Once signed up for My e4 please visit the sponsor fan pages.  They are fun and informational.  Of course our sponsors will appreciate your participation!
  • e4 Social Media Tech Squad — in the Maryland 1-6 foyer Experient will feature a social media learning center beginning at 1pm on Sunday, through Wednesday.  (see schedule for more details)  Our tech squad will assist you with your questions/challenges regarding Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
  • Live Twitter Stream — Experient has established a Twitter hashtag “#e4chat” which is already active.  A Live stream will be featured throughout the conference in the public areas and some general sessions.  Please participate as it will enhance everyone’s social media experience!
  • NEW!! Live Open Webcast — Earlier today Experient released a promotion inviting all event professionals across the meetings business to watch a live webcast of e4’s Wednesday morning panel discussion, “Technology and Meetings in the Future.”  This is a must-see event, please make sure you register for it!

Experient looks forward to your participation in the 2009 e4 Conference, whether that be in person, by webcasts, or via the twitterverse!  Thanks for being part of our event!


Customer Service Is More Than Just Being Nice

July 23, 2009

NicoleHeadShotREVBy Nicole Buraglio Hanley Wood Exhibitions

A trade show staff equipped with the best customer service techniques doesn’t cut it anymore, especially in this environment where the economy and technology are changing on what feels like a daily basis. What, then, can we offer our customers that will blow them away? That will make them choose us over the competition? That will help us retain customers when turnover is high?

Think about customer service as it pertains to you and your favorite restaurant—the one you’ve been frequenting for many years. You go there twice a month, on Mondays; you know the owner and the wait staff. Heck, you even order the same thing (most of the time). What would happen if you walked in one Monday and you were just another customer? Hint: You wouldn’t like it.

It’s critical we continue to treat our loyal customers as if they’re friends or family. Besides, they spend a ton of money with us every year and they stick with us, even when the rest of the industry struggles to do so at best.

As trade show organizers, we need to find a way to communicate to our customers that we know and appreciate them. At my company, we spent last year developing customer portals that allow our exhibitors and attendees to see their history with us, find out what’s coming up that may be of interest to them (based on their demographics and habits) and plan for the future—across ALL of our events.

Our booth space application and contracts are now online and pre-populate based on what we know about the individual companies, our customers, signing up.

The response has been huge. And, while it was—and continues to be—a lot of work, it is a simple concept. At a time like this, when everything seems to be up in the air and out of control, we need to focus on the fundamentals.