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The Jublia Experience

As my stint with Jublia comes to an end, I would like to share my experience as a Business Development intern. For three months, I worked closely with the Business Development team to manage and run sales campaigns in existing and new markets. I was never treated as an intern and I never felt like one. During my stay, I was regarded as an equal with a voice.

From a dorm room project, Jublia has come a long way to having her footprints all over the world in a short span of four years. This was not due to luck, but rather the hard work, grit and foresight of her founders. Coupled with a competent team, Jublia is able to cement herself as a global events technology company. It was humbling to be able to partake and witness the day-to-day operations of this company.

I am glad to be have given the opportunity to attend the Singapore MICE Forum (SMF) 2017 as a delegate for Jublia. The event gave me the liberty to mingle with various personnel from the MICE industry. After the event, I managed to secure a meeting with a publication for a Jublia feature! We will be releasing new innovations in Sep (stay tuned!)

To wrap things up, I will leave you with my main takeaways from Jublia. 1) A company’s culture will impact your experience. 2) Take every opportunity to learn. 3) Do not be afraid to make mistakes. It is time for me to head back to school!

By: Jia Hao Ng

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Jublia @ Singapore MICE Forum 2017

What an eventful week it has been! On 27-28 Jul we participated at the Singapore MICE Forum 2017 (SMF) organised by SACEOS. This is our fourth time attending the event and we had a great time catching up with clients with event organisers, event technologies, agencies, associations and government. SMF has always been a good platform to nurture old partnership and built new ones. Thank you SACEOS for the opportunity and we look forward to attending next year!

 

This year, our COO, Errol Lim, had the privilege of sharing the stage with the CEO of Singex, the Managing Director of UFI and the CEO of e27 to speak on Competing in a Digital Age. His main takeaway was on the importance of data and how intention-data was the key to staying competitive and ahead. His slides are below for your reference!

One of our key objectives at SMF was to showcase and introduce our new event solutions. In case you haven’t heard, we’ve taken all the best practices and experiences from the past 700+ projects to seamlessly integrate into our ecosystem the following capabilities.

1. Business Matching + Analytics – Our flagship solution just got better with in-house analytical CRM and more!

2. Conference Agenda – We’ve just integrated content with business matching, complimented with analytics session tracking.

3. Exhibitor Directory – We’ve built a function for organizers to control every single lead your exhibitor gets through your directory

4. Scanner – A native (iOS and Android) App scanner that has been a great monetization product for our clients.

5. A Native (iOS and Android) Event App – Only if you need it, otherwise all our solutions are fully web-based.

 

Once again, SMF has been a great platform for us and it’s these types of get-togethers that work to benefit the MICE industry as a whole!

By Jia Hao Ng, Business Development

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Gamification in B2B events: Does it really work?

“Gamification” is a relatively nascent concept in the world of B2B events and based on personal conversations with event organisers, it has shown itself to be a double edged sword.

My personal skepticism came from a real life encounter: At a tradeshow in Asia which I was helping with the onsite arrangement, the organiser was pilot testing a lucky draw (free flight tickets and hotel stays to Europe!) for trade buyers who have shown themselves to be actively involved in the event business matching service. On initial thoughts, I was thinking that this will definitely be a sure sell, with buyers actively participating. What I noticed in reality though, was that the top buyers were more interested in their scheduled meetings while onsite and did not end up participating in the lucky draw anyway.

The lucky draw ended up attracting the not-too-genuine buyers; attendees who were basically racking up the required business meetings onsite so as to allow them to participate in the lucky draw.

I realised that one of the most popular way of gamifying an event is to “leaderboard” everything.
Who were the top networkers? Which booth was most popular? Who collected the most namecards? Who generated the most shares?
There is always a leaderboard for any measurable metric in a bid to boost event engagement.

In business to business events, which focus more on professional encounters, such leaderboards might be actually motivating the wrong crowd.
Do genuine business networking require a leaderboard to boost engagement? The answer is definitely a no.
Does it generate a higher quantity of networking? Maybe.
Does it generate higher quality of networking? I doubt so.

Gamification can end up generating vanity metrics which measure for quantity rather than quality.

So what about the other edge of the sword?
Instead of benchmark-ing gamification success upon numbers (e.g. how many questions have you asked?), we have seen that the best use of gamification in promoting genuine attendees contributions and validation/acknowledgement (e.g. What are the best questions that were upvoted by the audiences?).

I hope I haven’t lost you here but one of the best use of gamification I have seen is Quora itself.
As a Quora user describes:

Quora is “gamified” but is not a game. So I may not always win the most votes, but I never lose. Outside of votes, I now always receive something *far* more than I give–regardless if I’ve provided an answer myself or simply enjoyed someone else’s. In time, you’ll care less about receiving your most upvoted answer, and care more about simply providing your best one.

If you gamify your event right, it will assert “ownership” of your audiences in your event and thus increase the willingness of them to further engage. Free gifts and rewards are not really required if event gamification is done right!

Have you tried gamification in your event?
If yes, I would very much like to hear from you to understand what have worked/not worked for your event!

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Appreciating different users of event technology

If you are reading this article, you might probably have deployed a event application, polling, chat app, meetings app or engagement hardware at your event.
You would also have heard all about the analytics wonder that these solutions can do for you. But deep down, you know what matters is adoption. If a minority of your intended audience uses the event technology, the “analytics wonder” is moot anyway.

So adoption of any event technology is truly the source of the relevant data “river” in your event.

So where does adoption really starts and how do we understand and ‘engineer’ a better process to boost adoption?

It’s really simple actually.

You need to start appreciating different users and different adoption channels if you haven’t already.

This is an obvious fact which I feel, many organisers do not appreciate this. Events are a gathering of different people with different aims of attending, just like a marketplace. As such, it is only possible if there are different streamlined channels to fulfill different needs at an event.

What I meant here is not about cramming your single event app with different features to suit different needs. The latter actually have an opposite effect as it makes features less accessible hence the adoption process is not streamlined. Furthermore, attendees will most likely need to access 10-20% of all the features anyway.

What can we learn from that? It means that we need to pinpoint the event time frame of which an event technology is required, and the purpose it serves before deploying it using the best channel. For example, why have a Q&A/polling feature on the native app (which people have to download it) to enable them to rate and post up questions of sessions during the sessions itself? It is adding unnecessary bulk to the native event app. There are existing technologies that are already out there which will fulfill the in-session Q&A and polling needs better, using webapp technology, without needing your attendees to download an app to utilise Q&A and polling.

In the field of user experience (UX) study, one of the recommended way to understanding users is through the use of user personas (here’s an in-depth write up on personas). This is not only applicable to the event technology that you use, it is actually relevant to your event growth (as well as reasons of decline) if you are able to studying the key personas in your event and deeply gauge what you provide fits their needs.

However, there’s one key point to note really, when you are emphasising on personas to influence your event processes as cited from the previous article:

Any tool can be used for good or evil, and personas are no different. If used improperly, as when personas are not based on research (with the exception of provisional personas, which are based on anecdotal, secondhand information or which are used as a precursor or supplement to firsthand research), or if made up of fluffy information that is not pertinent to the design problem at hand, or if based solely on market research (as opposed to ethnographic research), then personas will impart an inaccurate understanding of users and provide a false sense of security in the user-centered design process.

Probably a wrong use of personas in event is when organising team receive a feedback from a particular user and assumes the all the users within the persona will have the same feedback. This ends up influencing the design of the process that received the feedback. Such confirmation bias can be a dangerous move, as it leads you deeper into wrongly designing the process.

In conclusion, I hope this article will spur you on to further appreciate your event audience, their needs and their attending experience. There are many ways to study your users, one of them is through personas. Lets speak if you are interested to discuss further on this topic.
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Do you know that Jublia currently provides a native event app that is tightly integrated in our leading Business Matching platform? Speak to us to know more!

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If the question is ‘Technology’, what is the answer?

I read the recent article on Exhibition World, titled “If the answer is ‘technology’, what is the question?“, with keen interest. It is a recurring theme in the events industry where event technologies increasingly find their way around the industry.

We know that technology is here to stay, everywhere. It is currently disrupting different verticals, be it finance, hotels, transportation, aviation and more. It will be naive to assume that technology will not be making it’s impact upon the events world.

Hence I would like to bring a new perspective, as a technologist in this industry, to tackle the question in a different way:

“If the question is ‘Technology’, what is the answer?

My approach here will be looking at technology management at a more micro level than the macro viewpoint that has been discussed in the cited article.

My experience when interacting with event professionals in recent times has been quite a favorable one for technology. Event professionals do understand that technology is here to stay in the industry. The relentless marketing that event technology companies have done has bear fruits for them. Technology tests and trials come and gone, which in turn makes event professionals more savvy on what works.

For the mid level professionals, who are often on the front-line in implementing technologies (maybe as directives from upper management or just independently), they don’t doubt the capabilities of event technologies. However, with all the hype about “digital” and “data” and their potential transformations that they can bring at the macro level in the industry, it is not often understood or discussed what answers or measurements should we look for, on a more micro level of technology use.

But first, we need to understand the basic types of metrics when deploying technologies.

‘Utility’ vs ‘Insights’ metrics

Examples of utility metrics being “how much time I can save using this”, “how much prints and paper I can save using this” and “how much manual work can I automate using this”. Utility metrics forms the bottomline of any technology that you would like to deploy in your event. It should be making your work more efficient and sustainable. As such, it is important to set and measure against utility metrics. For example, if event apps are supposed to save on prints and paper, it is important to measure the adoption of such apps against how much lesser demand you had for prints. If nobody downloads and actively utilises the event app, the case on utility benefits is moot.

Example of insights metrics being “do I better understand my customers and how they interact after using this”, “can this bring a new level of service personalisation” and “can I measure the value of the network potential that I have brought to the event”. Insights metrics are typically explored on the topline of technology evaluation. Typically this is where upper management sees the true value in event technology, while there is no immediate gratification for mid-level professionals to measure against such metrics. For example, does your event technology tell you how to further segment your trade visitors into different buying groups and tending to their specific buying needs, rather than lumping everyone as “trade visitors” and interacting with all of them as a mono entity?

Any good technology should take care of the bottomline utility performance, while allowing you to explore and derive insights at the topline.

New measurements required for event technologies

Event technologies that open new grounds and possibilities should be measured against their own new metrics, be it utility or insights metrics. By measuring against existing metrics, your technology can end up being a senseless exercise. For example, Jublia do sometimes get measured against marketing metrics which may not necessarily make sense. Items like “email open rates” does not tell how an event app or business matching will ultimately perform. Engagement tools like the mentioned, should be benchmark against engagement metrics: activity and usage.

How should we even know where to start finding such metrics to measure against? It is usually a 2 steps process:
1) Your provider should have a good idea of what to measure. Find out how they will measure “success” of the event technology.
2) Using the metrics from your providers as basics, modify your KPIs so that it encompasses to your business aims too. Never use providers’ metrics wholesale and at face value as it measures their “success” and not yours.

Don’t generalise. Understand the in-depth process of a technology and it’s differentiation

Professionals needs to take a step in to explore technology offerings and their differentiation to truly evaluate and figure out if it is a fit.

For example in our business, it is common to come across prospects and when they hear that Jublia does ‘business matching’ for events, we get lumped with all ‘networking’ providers right away. It will take some effort to find out what the prospects actually understand about ‘business matching’ and we will then try to explain our unique successful process and proposition . Most often than not, we found out that they actually do not have a deep understanding of what ‘business matching’ is. Typically, we find that a “messaging” function in their event app is thought of as a business matching function. Obviously that’s not the case.

I like to call this the Wasabi paradox. The layman will usually thinks that the wasabi they eat in restaurants is the real deal, although it is highly likely flavored horseradish (wasabi is actually a prized food that is rare and expensive).

Without inquiring further, it is easy to be misled on the real deal.

With the above discussion in place, I hope it spurs us on to find our own answers from the technologies that we are implementing in our events.

Technology is here to stay and lets find the best possible answers from it.