E2MA Red Diamond Congress 2016 Shined within the Engagement World Platform

May 3, 2016

This year, in the sunny city of Orlando, E2MA’s annual meeting, the Red Diamond Congress, came together with several other conferences (Engagement University, the Loyalty Academy and Rewards & Recognition Expo) under the umbrella of Engagement World.

The conference took place April 25-28, 2016, with over 350 attendees gathered under this new platform. “

We wanted to bring together areas that affect enterprise-wide engagement, and see how we can share education and networking,” said Jim Wurm, executive director, Exhibit and Event Marketers Association.  “This was our inaugural conference as a combined group, and we saw some great engagement, as well as areas of improvement for next year. What was great to see was the sharing of knowledge and best practices that affect all in our industry.”

The keynote with Dr. Gary Rhoades, professor from Brigham Young University (“Creating the ‘Wow Factor’ Through Enterprise Engagemen”t) was covered by Chris Griffin, president of E2MA, as Dr. Rhoades was unable to attend due to a last minute family emergency. 

Engaged customers come from passionate employees, and those employees can affect operating income by as much as 20 percent. Employees are most engaged during their first year of service at an organization. Not surprisingly, most employees leave a company during years 2 to 5, which can cost that company money and resources to find, hire and train new employees. 

Once you have engaged employees, you need a way for your employees to share that passion with customers. And companies say the No. 1 way to increase face-to-face engagement with customers is through trade shows. 

The best way to affect engagement with customers is to communicate with the ‘passives’ to drive further brand loyalty and hopefully, brand champions.  Having both the ‘aha’ moment and the ‘ha ha’ moment in the engagement will bring about a ‘consumption experience’, where the audience actively participates.

Break-out sessions included E2 talks, Flipped Learning Sessions, Expert Panel Discussions and Luncheon Roundtable discussions. Topics in these sessions focused on engagement, data, content development and technology. 

Speaker Nancy Largay of Focus Media Events spoke on “The Evolution of Customer Engagement and Customer Relationships”.  In her talk, she looked at how we engage defines the relationship we form.  Many times, companies say they want to support customers, but then put junior staff members in charge of customer service to major accounts. 

Worse yet, the norm is to contact customers to either sell or collect, versus trying to form a connection.  And the cost of that practice is a loss of strength in our customer relationship.

Speaker Allyson Shepherd of Attendee Marketing Solutions spoke on “Building the Ultimate Event Data System”.  Many times companies have data, but they are stored in silos, which prevents the company from having that wide view of what is truly happening in an event. She described areas to be aware of when researching a data system, including the looking at software as a service to the organization, legal disclaimers around the data housing, what the guaranteed uptimes are, and what redundancies are in place. 

One investment that is critical for the data system:  a solid dashboard that allows visualization of complex data.  Data means nothing if you cannot quickly determine patterns and apply the data to your current practice.

The conference ended with both an evening gala and awards ceremony, and a luncheon that brought participants together.  “This is just the first year of our combined Engagement World conference, and we see this type of cross functional education as the future, as there are so many that affect true and positive engagement,” Wurm said. “We look forward to next year, and continuing this platform.”

Next year’s dates and location will be announced soon.

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