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GPJ’s David Rich on Bringing Digital To Events

Are you overwhelmed by colleagues wanting to add social media tools to your events? Are you wondering where to start?

Start by listening this Podcast with David Rich, Senior Vice President of Strategic Marketing & Worldwide at George P. Johnson. David offers healthy insights and practical advice for event professionals that are wondering where to start and how to think about integrating digital technology into their events.

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10 Insights From The Interview:

  1. What is it about experiences that transform people in a powerful way? It takes more than performers.  It’s People, environments, props, etc.
  2. Digital Technology gives us more tactics than we have ever had before – to move people to action. More ways to interact, deepen connections, etc.
  3. Don’t get mesmerized by the technology and implement technology for technology’s sake.
  4. Start with your Goals and Objectives, then understand your audience, then look at what interactions are required to move people to action.
  5. Look at where people are interacting online and meet them there. Don’t try to force them to meet in a new place.
  6. In digital, it is easier to gather measurable data than face-to-face. That measurement can be translated into customer insights.
  7. GPJ’s Digital Blueprint is a toolkit to help people organize their thoughts, develop a plan and not panic. You don’t need to panic.
  8. Digital is a new medium with new requirements. In a face-to-face event, normally the scale of an event helps us blot out distraction. In Virtual Events, the opposite is true. You are looking at a 2 X 2 screen and there are distractions everywhere.
  9. The difference between face-to-face and digital is comparable to the difference between Broadway and Film. In film, you want to be as subtle as possible because the camera can pick up each movement. In Broadway, you are trying to broadcast to the last row.
  10. Meetings and Events are the original form of social media.

Bottom Line

Going Digital is not about using the latest shiny objects. It is about building experiences in this new medium that move people to action. Start with objectives and strategy, look at your audience’s behaviors AND THEN look for the tools and tactics.

5 Comments Post a comment
  1. Sound advice from a great guy. I will add however, that its not about incorporating social media into an event, but how the event (as a single point in time) fits into the greater digital conversation. While single experiences can absolutely accentuate a relationship between an audience and a brand, it is just one experience. What’s the engagement a day after an event? A week? A month? six months?

    Few people will marry after just one date. It takes a serial approach to all touches to build a true, long-term relationship.

    October 12, 2010
    • Hi Ian,

      These are great points, Ian. We will have to get you on the show sometime to elaborate on these ideas.

      October 12, 2010
  2. I couldn’t agree more with insight number six, that digital technology affords more measurable data and customer insights. Thanks for posting this podcast!

    Chris Atkinson
    StudioPMG
    An event marketing agency
    Free report:
    How Immersive Convention Marketing is Increasing Marketing Results

    October 12, 2010
    • Hi Chris,

      Thanks for stopping by Chris. I like #6 as well.

      October 12, 2010
  3. Hi there Samuel . . . great stuff as always.

    Completely agree with Ian, events are becoming (have become) the start or conclusion to a year long conversation. Social tools (F2F or Virtual) enhance that.

    And Chris’ comment is also spot on. The challenge we seem to be facing right now is not the collection, or even the distribution of all that wealth of data, but the actual USE of it.

    Our clients have time and again asked us to help them understand and put tactics in place for leveraging all of that knowledge. That’s has turned into a series of white papers and case studies related to ROA (Return on Action) against the simple measurement of ROI.

    Of all the things I heard, David’s #8 about this being a ‘new medium with new requirements’ is exactly the issue the events industry should be tackling. I know that a lot of the eventprofs discussion centers on this ‘new way’, (a good example is the Virtual Event tools at ECTC2010).

    So, digital tools are not just a better way for doing things . . . they provide an entirely new way to look at and accomplish things. We now have an opportunity to invent a whole new way of doing things without being tied to the past and while potentially panic-inducing, it’s also very, very exciting!

    October 15, 2010

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