Behind the Curtain: Modern Day Marine

mdmFor this Behind the Curtain we’re taking a closer look at what goes into planning Modern Day Marine. A production of the Marine Corps League, Modern Day Marine is a unique platform for the Marine Corps to meet and discuss their biggest challenges with industry.

Held on the Marine Corps Base Quantico (in Quantico, VA – about 35 miles south of Washington DC), this event brings companies with innovative products directly to the Marines. This year’s event is being held September 27-29. We spoke with show director, Charles Baisley to get a sense of what goes into producing this show and what attendees can expect this year.

Q: What is the history behind Modern Day Marine

A: The show is going into its 36th year. In 1996 the show moved to its current home at Marine Base Quantico. This location gives us a distinction among the military shows. Being on base we can easily draw large military attendee numbers. This has been especially helpful during times of travel budget restrictions. This location also supports our efforts to make this event a platform for the Marine Corps to share their stories of success and challenges. Modern Day Marine is produced for the Marine Corps with the support of our exhibitors.

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Catching Pokémon Go Fever: How to Infect Your Event

pokemonLooking back at the summer of 2016, Pokémon Go jumps out as the craze of the season. From getting sedentary kids up off the couch and walking, to providing exercise for shelter dogs, Pokémon Go has become a social phenomenon. While the app may seem revolutionary, it is really just a new type of check-in tool in the same vein as Four Square and geocaching.

With this in mind, we took a look at how the excitement people experience over hatching an egg or catching Pikachu can be applied to events.

  1. Blending of real and virtual – Seeing cartoon monsters within your actual environment is a huge draw of the app. This is augmented reality, a close relative of virtual reality. In augmented reality, digital components are added to the real environment; this contrasts with virtual reality where the environment is completely digital but mimics a real world space. While virtual reality has become a frequent tool in consumer events, it is unlikely to catch on quickly in the government world due to expense and complexity. Augmented reality, however, is easier to insert into government events with easy to use apps available.

     Consider adding Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) or geolocation technologies that serve up information to people when they are in a particular area of your venue. You can also think of augmented reality as an extension of hybrid events. You could pull virtual attendees into your event via Skype or streaming video.

  2. Exercise – There is an overall trend in events to serve healthier food options and to build in time for more breaks for exercise and fresh air. The success Pokémon Go has had with people at all levels of fitness shows that people will get active if they have a goal to motivate them. To bring this to your event, think about planning a pedometer competition that encourages people to walk the show floor.
  3. Fun – Government event organizers should not be scared of the F-word: Fun! The wide-ranging appeal of Pokémon Go shows that gamification works no matter the age or demographic. Look for ways to build competitions into your events to get people mingling and collaborating with one another such as scavenger hunts or trivia contests.
  4. Meet people on their phones – love it or hate it, we live on our phones. While Nintendo (owners of Pokémon Go) resisted the urge to go mobile – wanting to cling to their legacy of hardware-based games – they found that “giving in” to the mobile trend pays huge rewards. While you want people to focus on what is happening at your event, you may as well embrace the fact that they will use their phones. Make it work to your benefit by promoting your event on social media or using apps to push information to attendees throughout the event.
  5. It does not have to be perfect – Pokémon Go has had plenty of glitches, from servers crashing to multiple requests for logins, but generally users have excused these because of the overall fun experience they’re having. Don’t feel like the technology you roll out has to be perfect. Let attendees know you are trying something new and there may be glitches, but the best way to improve the tech is to start using it (you can equate this to the agile software development philosophy). Give new technologies a try. Even if they fail, it likely won’t have a negative impact on overall event satisfaction or plans to return for future events.

We’d love to hear from you. What takeaways have you learned while playing or watching people play Pokémon Go? How can you apply those to your everyday life and work?

I Want My Streaming Video

1videoWe’ve written before about how to create video for events, but today’s post takes a deeper dive into a video medium that has quickly catapulted into everyday use – video streaming. Driven in great part by the wide release of Facebook Live, streaming video is becoming a key tool for marketing and citizen journalism. Recent use of Facebook Live to communicate not just marketing messages, but also news, has served to legitimize streaming video as a channel to reach the masses. According to a Cisco report, by 2019 video will account for 80 percent of global internet traffic.

While there are many ways to capture and broadcast streaming video, Facebook, by essence of its popularity and reach, is driving the streaming revolution. With a reported 1.71 billion users on the Facebook social platform, you no longer have to entice people to watch your video on another site; you can meet them where they already are.

Facebook Live allows up to 90 minutes of broadcast content. Filming can be done directly from a smartphone with no additional equipment needed. After the broadcast ends, the video remains accessible in your page’s feed and can be adjusted to allow different viewing permissions.  In general, Facebook’s algorithms favor video as a way to keep people on the site longer. By creating a live stream and promoting the video, it can increase your Facebook page appearance and organic reach in your audience’s feeds.

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Behind the Curtain: Rio Olympics

RioWhile planning events (and sometimes even attending them) can feel like an Olympic accomplishment, our day-to-day events can’t hold a torch to the history, pomp, and complexity of the actual Olympics. This year’s summer games take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from August 5-24 and will mark the first time a South American country has hosted the games.

The bay that Rio sits on is one of the most recognizable features and in fact was the inspiration for naming the city. Legend says that Portuguese explorers, who landed in present day Rio in January 1502, mistook the bay for the mouth of a river. They named the area Rio de Janeiro (“River of January”). The iconic Christ the Redeemer statue that looks over the bay is the largest Art Deco statue in the world but only the fifth largest Jesus statue. Continue reading

Using Events to Counter the Challenge of Long Procurement Cycles

1marketMarket Connections recently released a study on the marketing practices of Federal Government Contractors. Here at GovEvents we were excited to see some great feedback on the use and effectiveness of events in the marketing mix.

The study took the pulse of the contracting community by surveying 200 government contractors occupying various roles within their respective companies. In terms of marketing, the study found that the long government procurement cycle was the top challenge for marketers and business developers to overcome in reaching government buyers. The study also identified some key marketing tools that have helped contractors use the cycle advantageously.

The use of thought leadership programs was ranked as the most effective marketing tool by a majority of contractors surveyed (75%), and events are a big part of this mix. The second most effective method cited was specific to event strategy. A large percentage of respondents (71%) reported that speaking at industry-wide tradeshows and conferences was a highly effective strategy for their companies. But it’s not just big events that get results. When the data was sliced to look at the responses of executives, “speaking at smaller events” proved to be high ranking in terms of effectiveness.  Hosting events also ranked high with 66% of total respondents saying that vendor-hosted events were an effective marketing strategy.

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