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MTO Summit Chicago: The Wayne’s World For Event Technology

Last Thursday’s MTO Summit had the feel of the Saturday Night Live Skit – Wayne’s World. On one hand, we were in the basement of the Chicago O’Hare Hyatt with a stage that looked like it came from Wayne’s mom’s basement in Aurora. On the other hand, the sessions were highly entertaining – the topics perfect – and the discussions excellent.

If Chris Brogan and Stephen Nold had opened the event by saying “Wayne’s World. Wayne’s World. Party Time. Excellent.” – it would have set a perfect tone for the day. Maybe next time. Here are some of my notes from the event.

Chris Brogan & Stephan Nold @MTOSUMMIT Chicago 2010

Three Parts to Your Social Media Strategy

Social media guru Chris Brogan pointed out that he advises clients to have at least three elements in their social media program: Listening, Connecting and Publishing. Chris advises clients to spend 30-60 minutes on all three elements each day.

I asked some attendees if they were following Chris’ advice – most responded that they are only publishers. How do you stack up?

Community Building the Old Fashioned Way

Mark Ragan of Ragan Communications told the audience how he creates and builds communities around compelling content THEN he creates events. He told us that he did it the old fashioned way – via email. Mark uses Social Media as a brand building tool. Also, he pointed out that you don’t have to create all of the content yourself. You can find great articles, write an interesting summary and share it with your community.

Are you using content to build a strong community all year long?

Mobile Apps Need to Be Open & Integrated

Event organizers that launched iphone apps in 2009 quickly realized that their mobile apps need to be able to work on all phone types. While the iphone is sexy, most corporate attendees are still using the Blackberry. Nokia and Android have sizable installed base, too.

Also, mobile apps need to be integrated with other data and systems that you are using for the event. Most event organizers were exasperated with tech vendors that were not “partnering” with other vendors to create integrated solutions. (Vendors take note!)

Geo-positioning & Wayfinding

While many show organizers cringed at the thought of looking at a venue map on a tiny mobile phone screen, most agreed that “you are here” and “wayfinding” should become part of mobile solutions for events in the future. Wayfinding is the name for giving people directions from point A to point B.

There was a lot of talk about social tools Foursquare and Gowalla and how these type of “checkin” services could be useful for traffic flow, navigating an event experience or encouraging people to visit event sites.

Where Were the Virtual & Hybrid Events?

Virtual & Hybrid events were like Claudia Schiffer on a date with Wayne and Garth – nowhere to be found. Yet, it was clear to most at the event that this technology is something to consider. Mark Ragan even pointed out that he is getting 15% of his event revenue from virtual events. When you are making money with virtual or hybrid events, I think that makes virtual events magically babelicious.

Bottom Line

Just like Wayne’s World, the MTO Summit was entertaining, engaging and full of amazing people and ideas. If I were smart, I would have summarized this entire post in one line: “MTO Summit. MTO Summit. Party Time. Excellent.”

What do you say?

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is the Managing Director of Interactive Meeting Technology, LLC. He wakes up every morning to save the world from stuffing attendees in chairs for hours on end at events. Oh, and he has small children who usually want some breakfast.