November 24, 2017

There’s an app for that: Today, this catchphrase is truer than ever in the meetings and events industry. Mobile apps that participants can download and access right from their phones can be a valuable enhancement for life sciences companies’ educational programming.
Having a dedicated event app will improve attendees’ access to conference materials, critical updates and their fellow HCPs — and it’s likely to save you money, as well, since mobile apps can be customized in an almost infinite number of ways to meet the needs of your group, and provide numerous branding and sponsorship opportunities.
If you handle event planning logistics, you’re likely to find that an investment in iOS and Android apps is a better use of resources because it frees up the labor and expense of developing, printing, shipping and distributing paper programs, booklets and other materials.
All of an HCP attendee’s agenda details can be loaded right into the app, along with speaker handouts, maps and transportation information. Some apps are even sophisticated enough to give people turn-by-turn directions using a mobile device’s location-based functionality.
A mobile app also give attendees more flexibility and control with regards to scheduling, since they can not only access this information right from their phone or tablet, but they have the capability to control, update and change their agenda as needed. App functionality generally includes scheduling and appointment-booking tools, and some give the organizer the option to integrate this information with third-party digital calendar platforms.
Another reason apps are preferable to paper handouts is because they can be easily and more cost-effectively updated — there are no extra printing costs if the program changes at the last minute, for instance — and attendees can be informed of any changes to schedules or locations of breakout sessions in real time via opt-in push notifications. Push notifications also foster engagement if the functionality is deployed to remind attendees of their upcoming educational sessions.
From an organizational perspective, a mobile app-enabled event has an edge over conferences that don’t use this technology. Apps can assist and streamline operations such as check-in and seating assignments — no more entryway bottlenecks, or need to stand at the doorway with a clipboard, “directing traffic.”
Event apps deliver a key value-add by helping facilitate networking between participants, which research shows helps to engage HCPs. Apps also offer organizers the opportunity to build in gamification features, which can be used to encourage networking or promote sponsor engagement — and you’ll be able to deliver real, empirical results of that engagement, rather than the “fuzzy math” used to estimate impressions of traditional sponsor signage.
Although a mobile app might seem less personal than a face-to-face interaction, it can actually make things easier for participants if they have an issue or need to reach someone on your team.
Best of all, you don’t need to be a technological whiz to build an app today. The platforms on the market make building a custom event app easier and more accessible than ever — and offer a bevy of options to suit any kind of event you’re tasked with orchestrating.

Contributed by:

Matthew Derner, Director, Strategic Meetings Management, AHM

Matthew joined AHM in 2016 and has 18 years of Life Sciences experience. He leads AHM’s Stragetic Meetings Management (SMM) Department and is responsible for engaging current and prospective clients about our SMM compliant meeting solutions across their organizations. Matthew also leads a team of Event Managers & Coordinators that are responsible for the planning and execution of any meeting type outside of Speaker Bureau. Prior to joining AHM, Matthew has worked for Pharmaceutical Companies as well meeting planning agencies in various roles.