Content Marketing World (CMW) is an event held in Cleveland, Ohio, for marketing professionals to learn and network with the industry’s best and brightest. With attendees from top brands including Google, SAP and Intel, 1,000+ attendees came from around the world to learn how to build the best content marketing strategies possible. FLIRT Communications (FLIRT), agency partner for The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), wanted to build an app that truly embodied the event’s theme of “Discover Your Story,” empowering attendees to make real, personal connections with their industry colleagues and meet new people with similar interests.
Building a mobile event app for a crowd of content marketers is a lot like cooking dinner for a chef, so FLIRT had to go above and beyond. The biggest priority was encouraging social interaction through the app. For the app to be successful, it had to build sustained interest and reinforce the event’s key messages both prior to and during the event.
On a practical level, the app also needed to make it easy for the organizers to update an ever-changing event schedule. They wanted to eliminate the cost of reprinting programs, and use the app instead to edit content on the fly, schedule promoted posts, and queue up push notifications.
“Downloaded the app and getting more excited for the conference!”
—Alexandra B., app user
With their social-driven strategy in mind, FLIRT chose DoubleDutch to power CMW’s application because of the emphasis on social, user-friendly design.
The app gave participants all the social sharing features and agenda items they could ever ask for: they could check-in to speakers and sessions, comment on the agenda items, post photos of the event, network with attendees via shared interests, push messages out to social media, read related articles, browse social networks, and even participate in a customized leaderboard competition through the app.
FLIRT was able to use DoubleDutch’s web-based dashboard to configure promoted posts and push notifications ahead of time, instantly update agenda content, and check out what sessions and speakers were trending based on users’ in-app preferences.
“The Content Marketing World app was so outstanding that I didn’t crack open my printed guide once. Didn’t need to... It was not only innovative, it was invaluable.”
—Deana Goldasich, Well Planned Web
Aside from great design and functionality, FLIRT knew that pre-show promotion and the on-site experience are fundamental to the success of a mobile app. To encourage participants to make real connections with each other, FLIRT implemented multiple creative strategies.
A few weeks before the event they sent out an email with the application link and encouraged all attendees to post a fun fact about themselves in the app’s feed. This turned out to be a huge buzz-maker, and excited attendees were connecting with each other well before the event. Making an app-enabled connection before the show helped attendees turn their app friends into real world connections.
FLIRT created a scavenger hunt around the “Discover Your Story” theme, tied in with the app. In the lobby, CMW constructed giant, 10-foot-tall books with discovery themes including Lord of the Rings, Alice in Wonderland, and The Great Gatsby. Then, FLIRT hid famous quotes from the books throughout the conference hall and encouraged attendees to find these missing phrases through clues released in the app. Attendees who could find one of the strategically located phrases won books penned by top CMW speakers.
The team used the app’s networking feature in a creative way. Instead of breaking down networking categories by title or industry, they allowed attendees to choose fun, personal tags such as “foodie,” “dog lover,” “triathlete,” and “travel junkie.” Discovering similarities beyond shared interest in marketing, helped users build meaningful relationships – some particularly ambitious participants even used the app feed to organize morning runs!
FLIRT also used the app to create “games” for attendees that drove quality engagement. They combined the app leaderboard with a high-tech, high-touch contest: attendees had to perform a variety of in-app actions in exchange for points, and CMW offered a prize to the top three leaderboard spot holders. Along the way, attendees also earned themed badges that rewarded app usage.
With sky-high engagement, facilitated in-person networking, seamless communication, and in-app content discovery, the app was everything they hoped for.
The gamification elements amped up in-app interaction, and the clever pre-event communication enabled attendees to make powerful in-person connections. The CMW app became a modern-day water cooler, empowering the tech-savvy attendees to discuss the event’s content with their peers on a single platform.
“Love the app! Can’t wait for the conference although I’m really struggling to pick from all the great sessions!”
—Jill T., app user
“Anyone else loving how robust the #CMworld app is!?”
—Rachel V., app user