Five Mobile Tech Trends to Watch

By: Scott Steinberg

Don't miss out on these latest innovations to keep pace with your mobile-savvy members. [Titled "Tech to Watch" in the print edition.]

People are more tech-savvy than ever. The technology research firm Gartner expects that more than 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets will sell this year alone. The following technologies can help association executives connect with and better serve their audiences.

Connected devices: These mobile devices, featuring on-demand downloads and media creation or sharing capabilities, are now primary research and communications tools. Websites, outreach strategies, and learning and recruitment programs should all be optimized for online search and delivery as well as shorter, more frequent viewing patterns. To maximize impact, streamline for mobile formats and design all initiatives to drive ongoing conversation, engagement, and one-touch response and sharing.

Media and content streaming: Given ubiquitous high-definition video-recording capabilities and real-time sharing tools like Qik, Livestream, and Tango, learning can be warehoused and streamed online at will. This means an event's value can be extended far beyond onsite dates and attendees, and education can be permanently captured and archived. Distance is no barrier, either: Broadcast speakers remotely using the Google+ Hangouts feature.

Mobile networking: Planning an event? Apps like Bizzabo and OleaPark let organizers promote directly to smartphones and allow attendees to access conference agendas, plan meetings, or message one another. And networking apps like Shhmooze, MoozUp, and Highlight can help audiences access information and profiles about other professionals.

Online and crowd engagement: To improve program participation and retention, create online forums and vehicles that invite members to collaborate and contribute. Options range from user-built wikis (informational websites) to crowdsourced designs (for example: 'Submit your ideas for our summer fundraiser theme—winners receive front-row seats!'). For better feedback, try tapping an army of virtual volunteers.

Content and inbound marketing: Publish constantly, or you risk losing visibility and presence. As a hub for subject-matter experts, you can empower members to provide blogs, podcasts, videos, and more. Coupled with commentary and multimedia captured at events, this content can be remixed into newsletters, e-books, or microsites, providing cost-effective, year-round promotions.

Scott Steinberg provides keynote speeches, workshops, and seminars for associations and Fortune 500 clients. Twitter: @AKeynoteSpeaker

Scott Steinberg