The American Marketing Association held their Winter Academic Conference as a hybrid event on the Whova platform. With the app’s intuitive interface streamlining the event experience, the attendees reached high levels of engagement, generating over 380,000 sponsor impressions and creating over 1000 posts on the Community Board.
Interview with the Organizer
About the American Marketing Association
The AMA is a community of professionals who work, teach, and study in the field of marketing. They strive to be the most relevant force shaping marketing around the world. This mission is accomplished by offering content through scholarly journals, managing award-winning publications, and organizing multiple academic/industry conferences throughout the year.
Their annual Winter Academic Conference invites AMA members and researchers to explore work across the discipline. This year’s theme was “Reconnecting and Reconceiving the Marketplace”, designed to encourage conversation on what lasting, institutional changes in the marketplace we have seen in recent years will change, and which will fade. The first two days of the event centered on the virtual conference, followed by the 3 day in-person event in Las Vegas.
- Finding an intuitive platform
Because of previous experience with other event apps, the organizers were concerned that the attendees would have a hard time even just joining a session. They needed an app that was easy to navigate while still being functional for a large event.
- Gathering online feedback
As an academic conference, it was important that the speakers receive feedback from the attendees. They wanted the hosting platform to facilitate this as much as possible.
- Hosting an academic conference online
Since this event was an academic conference, they needed a way to host poster presentations in a digital format while also maintaining the engagement an in-person conference would’ve given them.
- Robust and changing program
The conference had over 100 sessions in a span of 3 days. Printing out a paper program would be inconvenient to carry around and inevitably become irrelevant because of unexpected logistical changes that come with hosting a conference. They needed a way to keep the attendees’ experience organized and make the schedule easy for them to navigate.
- A convenient way to assist attendees
It’s expected for attendees to have questions for the hosts of an event. The organizers wanted to create a help-desk on the app for the attendees to contact whenever they ran into trouble or needed clarification.
- Intuitive platform that integrates with familiar software
When the in-person attendees arrived in Vegas, most of them came – to the organizers’ happy surprise – with Whova already downloaded on their phone. The user interface was easy for them to interact with, and the feature that drew the AMA organizers to host their Winter Academic Conference with Whova in the first place.
Because a smooth app experience was a priority for the organizers, they liked how easy it was to incorporate Zoom into the Whova app. Most of the attendees came from an academic background and were already familiar with Zoom, so having the video streaming platform embedded into Whova helped make their experience more familiar and comfortable. All the organizers had to do on their end was add the Zoom link into the session information and boom – the livestream appeared right on the app. The attendees could then use Whova’s Session Q&A feature to ask speakers questions directly and instantaneously during sessions, and also discuss with each other in the Session Chat.
Whova’s Zoom Integration allows organizers to start Zoom sessions right on the app. Organizers just have to enter their Zoom account information on Whova, and the apps become linked. You can schedule Zoom sessions on Whova without having to repeatedly copy and paste links or flipping back and forth between two apps.
- Community building in the Community Board
Whova’s Community Board was the central public communication forum of the Winter Academic Conference. Both online and in-person attendees could start discussion threads, join existing conversations, and easily network with each other regardless of their ticket type. With their combined amount of posts reaching over 1000, the attendees were able to widen their social circles both on and off line.
- Virtual poster sessions in the Artifact Center
To display conference posters in a virtual format, the attendees uploaded their posters onto Whova’s Artifact Center. Their fellow attendees, both virtual and in-person, were able to take a look at each others’ posters at their convenience throughout the conference, just like the in-person event.
The virtual posters function like a mini-webpage, where attendees can completely customize the content’s text, images and videos to create a multimedia poster. Viewers can then interact with the content, leave comments and even likes, providing tangible and easily accessible feedback these academic conferences thrive on.
Presenters could display their research and findings through Whova’s Artifact Center
- Personalized attendee agendas
With over 100 sessions being available for the in-person conference and about 30 for the virtual, attendees had many options to choose from. In the Whova app, there are two agendas – the overall conference’s and the individual attendee’s. Attendees online and in-person select which sessions they want to attend and add them to their Personal Agendas, streamlining their event experience and saving them from having to wade through all those sessions again and again.
Attendees added sessions to their personal agenda with a simple click
- The AMA helpdesk
To help attendees with any questions, the AMA organizers devised a creative solution: create an attendee that was actually the organizers themselves. They registered this attendee as “AMA Helpdesk” and told the attendees to shoot a quick 1-1 message on Whova whenever they had any questions during the conference. This kept all questions and interactions within the Whova app, streamlining the whole event experience for both the attendees and organizers.
The organizers created an in-app help desk for attendees to easily message with any questions