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11/12/12: Small Businesses Set to Increase Use of Mobile Technology for Events in 2013, According to Constant Contact’s EventSpot Survey

Findings indicate that while interest is high, skill level is lacking
EventSpot Mobile eBook Cover

According to a new survey from EventSpot™ from Constant Contact®, Inc. (NASDAQ: CTCT), released in celebration of Small Business Saturday®, 81 percent of small businesses and nonprofits planning events expect to increase their use of mobile technology to market their events in the next year. However, there appears to be a considerable gap in interest level versus skill level; an overwhelming 90 percent of these planners say they would like to learn just how they can leverage mobile technology specifically for their events.

“Mobile tools will no doubt assume a much bigger role in event planning for small businesses and nonprofits but considerable training needs to occur before we’ll see widespread adoption,” said Chris Litster, vice president and general manager of EventSpot from Constant Contact. “Mobile technology offers the distinct advantages of reach, convenience, and affordability but until small businesses have the proper training, many won’t be able to leverage mobile tools to maximum advantage.”

Sixteen percent of those surveyed currently distribute content to an event registrant’s mobile device. When asked what event content they distribute:

  • 75 percent said event schedules.
  • 41 percent said session descriptions.
  • 19 percent said speaker biographies.
  • 16 percent said event presentation slide decks.
  • 6 percent said white papers.

Events and Smartphones

Currently, only 15 percent of respondents report using a smartphone always, or frequently, for event planning. Of this 15 percent:

  • 29 percent offer mobile registration and collect payments.
  • 24 percent engage with attendees via a mobile device by posting event insights, learnings, or comments to social networks.
  • 16 percent send “save the date” notifications from a mobile device.
  • 6 percent offer a mobile check-in app.
  • 6 percent survey or capture feedback from attendees via a mobile device during an event.
  • 5 percent provide event schedule of sessions via a mobile app.

Twenty percent of those surveyed find that they get good response and interaction with collecting payment via smartphone, as well as with engaging attendees by posting event insights, learnings, or comments to social networks via smartphone.

Near-term Plans

Though 61 percent of respondents don’t currently use a smartphone, within the next six months:

  • 49 percent plan to offer mobile registration and collect payments.
  • 23 percent plan to send “save the date” notifications.
  • 25 percent plan to provide event schedules via a mobile app.
  • 22 percent plan to offer a mobile check-in app.
  • 17 percent plan to engage with attendees by posting event insights, learnings, or comments to social networks.

It’s Not Business, It’s Personal

For the 13 percent of surveyed planners who said they were not interested in, or had no opinion about, using smartphone technology for future events, a common anecdotal theme was, “the smartphone I use is my personal phone and not a work phone and I don’t want to use my personal phone for business.” Readability was also a noted concern.

“Small businesses and nonprofits are often resource-starved, so it’s not surprising that some don’t have the funds to invest in work-specific mobile technology,” said Litster. “But as they explore how mobile technology can save them time and help them reach their customers more readily, I think they’ll begin to see the value.”

The Power of Social Media

The power of social media to promote events and engage attendees is gaining momentum among event planners:

  • 23 percent promote events using a hashtag.
  • 26 percent plan to promote events using a hashtag.
  • 27 percent use Pinterest, with 18 percent having created a specific board for attendees to post on.

“We definitely sense a shift in the awareness and willingness of small organizations to leverage both social and mobile tools for events,” said Litster. “Our EventSpot team has seen more planners collecting Twitter handles during the registration process and sending out follow-up communications through Twitter post-event, for example. As EventSpot and other industry partners continue educating planners on the tremendous benefits of mobile and social technologies, we expect to see usage dramatically rise.”

About the Survey

This Constant Contact-sponsored survey was administered in September 2012 to small businesses and nonprofits using Constant Contact’s event management product. Results include responses from 299 respondents across a range of business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and nonprofits industries.

Additional Resources:

eBook: Going Mobile – How small organizations are using, and planning to use, mobile for their events. http://conta.cc/XtNTKm

Sample Tweets:

81% of SMBs/NFPs that plan events expect to increase use of mobile tech to market events in 2013 (tweet this)

90% of SMBs surveyed say they’d like to learn how to use mobile technology for event planning (tweet this)

Only 15% of SMBs surveyed report using a smartphone for event planning (tweet this)

Most common content to share with SMB event attendees via mobile devices are event schedules (tweet this)

23% of SMBs promote events using hashtags (tweet this)

About Constant Contact, Inc.

Constant Contact wrote the book on Engagement Marketing™ – the new marketing success formula that helps small organizations create and grow customer relationships in today’s socially connected world. More than half a million small businesses, nonprofits and associations worldwide use the company’s online marketing tools to generate new customers, repeat business, and referrals through email marketing, social media marketing, event marketing, local deals, digital storefronts, and online surveys. Only Constant Contact offers the proven combination of affordable tools and free KnowHow, including local seminars, personal coaching and award-winning product support. The company further supports small organizations through its extensive network of consultants/resellers, technology providers, franchises and national associations.

Constant Contact and the Constant Contact Logo are registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All Constant Contact product names and other brand names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of Constant Contact, Inc. All other company and product names may be trademarks or service marks of their respective owners.

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