Smart Ways to Leverage the Second Screen at Your Next Event Sponsorship

April 19, 2015

David Saef

David Saef, the executive vice president of MarketWorks and strategy at GES, a global event marketing company with a long history of connecting people through live events and trade shows.

Look around at any trade show or conference, and you’ll see attendees with their heads down and their eyes locked on their phones. This isn’t surprising considering that Americans spend 162 minutes on their mobile devices every day. What is surprising is just how many brands are missing out on this opportunity to engage their target audience during event sponsorships.

Creating a second-screen experience is a noninvasive but highly effective way to take your sponsorship to the next level. In preparation for the American Music Awards of 2013, for instance, Coca-Cola leveraged its sponsorship by allowing teens to help create the official track of the Coca-Cola Red Carpet LIVE! digital pre-show. The contest was a fun way for teens to collaborate, vote, and anticipate the show. More importantly, it connected teens to the Coca-Cola brand.

The more you can engage your target audience at an event, the greater ROI you’ll see from your sponsorship. And what better way to reach your audience than on their mobile devices?

Any Brand Can Take Advantage of the Second Screen

You don’t have to be a powerhouse like Coca-Cola to stand out at an event. A little bit of planning beforehand can help you create the same event buzz in your niche.

If you aren’t the title sponsor, you probably won’t get the same amount of airtime, and that’s OK. A mobile experience through an app can help you connect with attendees and push relevant content their way before, during, and after the event.

Social media contests are another great way to use the second screen. Have attendees upload pictures with your hashtag or in front of a backdrop with your logo. Any opportunity that encourages attendees to mention you on social media is great. This creates the fear of missing out among friends who weren’t there and gets your brand in front of an even larger audience.

How to Make the Second Screen Work for You

Like most marketing activities, creativity is the name of the game when it comes to using the second screen in a fun and entertaining way. It also takes time and thoughtful planning to organize this experience. Here are a few steps to guide you through the process:

1. Define your goals. Do you want to attract a new audience? Engage more deeply with an old one? Or is the second-screen experience all about converting customers and increasing revenue? These goals must be clear from the beginning because they’ll drive the rest of the process.

2. Determine key metrics. Considering the time and resources that go into an event sponsorship, you can’t afford to wing it when measuring results. Decide in advance which metrics will feed into the goals you defined and what quantifiable results you wish to see.

3. Audit available resources. Before you delve into planning your event, it’s important to determine who will be managing the whole project. What resources do you need to achieve the best results? Determining these things up front will save you from some nasty surprises once you’re in deep.

4.  Determine audience needs. Trade shows and conferences are already busy places, with lots of things competing for attendees’ attention. Get into your audience’s mindset to understand and target their specific desires. Do they like contests and free giveaways? Would they value meeting speakers in person? Make your offering attractive, and you’ll be the busiest sponsor there.

5. Explore all potential content. There are a million ways to offer more content to engage attendees. You could offer an interview, supplemental information, a video, a Q&A, the opportunity to provide live comments and feedback — the list is endless. Spend some time considering each option, and focus on the ones that fit your audience best.

As mobile usage explodes, people are only going to spend more time on their phones. And with a little strategy and prep work, your team can turn those mobile minutes into another opportunity to create a personalized experience for attendees and get them engaged with your brand.

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