Monthly Archives: November 2014

3 Key Ingredients to Your Perfect B2B Event

While videoconferences are a modern marvel—minus the occasional screen-freeze that inevitably catches you mid-yawn—nothing beats an in-the-flesh event.

Whether it’s a major conference like TechWeek and South by Southwest, a niche trade show that zeroes in on your industry, an instructive workshop, illuminating panel discussion, or celebratory gala, events are one of the best parts of doing business.

For B2B professionals, that’s nothing revolutionary; we’re preaching to the choir: events are the single biggest line items in B2B marketing budgets, taking up a hearty 20% of the pie, according to a recent report from Forrester.

Why Events?

Why do companies feel compelled to spend so much on live events? Put simply, they work. Events enable both brands and individuals to raise their profiles, attract new business, and extend their network.

Though online interactions are stock-and-trade nowadays, there are too many digital distractions to totally capture your audience’s attention. A face-to-face event gives you to opportunity to actively engage your clients, consumers, and partners, showcasing your brand in living color.

Perhaps the greatest reason events are so important is that they allow us to forge relationships. As much as business is about figures, margins, and efficiency, it’s also about connections, respect, and trust. Events give us a chance to meet, great, and entertain outside of our everyday confines.

How to Ensure Your Event’s a Success

Attending events is a blast, but planning events? Not so much. They’re difficult, complex, and, yes, expensive. If your event’s a dud, that’s a big chunk of change down the drain. Here are three simple essentials your event needs to make it worth your while.

1.    Deliver Value. You’ve got to give your attendees of real value—and we don’t just mean a goodie bag of branded swag. Your presentations shouldn’t just be a sales pitch—it should be framed as useful information to make your attendees’ lives easier. Provide plenty of opportunities for them to make their own strategic connections, even if it doesn’t directly benefit you. Let them actively participate and say a little about their own offerings.

2.    Develop a Plan. Yes, your event shouldn’t just be a blatant sales pitch, but the purpose still is to generate interest, close sales, and bump up your bottom line. Have a clear plan in place that dictates how you’ll collect leads, convert prospects, and—to put it bluntly—make your money back.

3.    Invite the Right Crowd. An animal rights non-profit might not be the best audience to invite to your leather and fur expo. Don’t just extend invitations to everyone you know; target your most receptive audience as much as possible. It’s far better to get third-, forth-, and fifth-degree connections right up your alley than your immediate network without as much interest. Think scalpel, not shotgun.


The Big Picture Implications of the New iPhone’s Outsized Screen: What It Means for Design, Development, and UX/UI

When Apple’s Tim Cook finally announced the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, he was greeted with rapturous applause from diehard fans, snarky attack ads from sour competitors, and an unlikely #bendgate controversy about skinny jeans warping the slick devices.

Coming in at 4.7 and 5.5 inches across, these behemoth new screens are much more than a status symbol, copycat tactic, and structural liability—they also open a brave new world for developers, designers, and user experience / user interface (UX/UI) strategists.

How will apps adapt to the new real estate, and how will users respond? The outsized screens present both a challenge and an opportunity for the future of mobile design.

New Territory: A Lot of Space to Fill

While the new phones are appreciably bigger, on first glance, you may not realize just how many more pixels have been packed in: the 6 features 38% more space than its 5s predecessor, while the 6 Plus adds a whopping 68% increase.

Devs and designers will jump at the chance to give users more content and information, without crowding the interface and throwing off iOS’s trademark simplicity and Zen-like minimalism. They can also use the opportunity for more detailed graphics and bigger fonts. That’s great for readability, but what about reachability?

Solutions for Sore, Stubby Thumbs

An iPhone 5s sits comfortably in the palm of your hand and allows easy access to every corner of the screen—perfect for subway rides, multi-handed multitasking, and texting on the go. As this handy (heh) graphic shows, the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are a little less accessible. This places many navigational tools—typically at the top of an app—inconveniently just out of reach.

Apple’s solution? Reachability, a feature launched by a double-tap on the home button that brings the top half of the screen to the bottom. Interesting idea, but some UX/UI experts are already declaring it “hacky and completely unintuitive.” A better approach may be moving the nav buttons down below deck and integrating more gestural controls.

As bigger screen sizes continue to gain popularity and become the new normal, designers will be forced to innovate, reinvent, and rethink the way our digits and digital devices interact.