Clue. Candyland. Sorry. Battleship. Monopoly. Trivia Pursuit. The games people play while sitting around a board with one’s friends and family. Games can be competitive or just the catalyst for casual conversation, but they have always been a source for fun social interactions… at least before electronics fit in our pockets and playing an opponent didn’t necessitate sitting in the same room or even the same country.
Now a company based in Las Vegas, Nevada has figured out to marry the fun of games with the business of delivering interactive content and energizing conference attendees.
“We have found from our research and experience that how information is presented is frequently more important than what you present,” says Aron Ezra, CEO for OfferCraft, a company he describes as dedicated to “helping organizations present their information and incentives in the most engaging and effective way possible.”
OfferCrafts’ software platform blends artificial intelligence (AI) and gamification to transform traditional, static content into more exciting, interactive content that be used to attract attendees, keep them interested during an event, or to solicit feedback post-event.
Ezra says one of the biggest challenges facing meeting planners is “How do I get people to pay more attention to what I’m trying to tell them? They’re already spending money on marketing and communications, but it’s critical to keep attendees engaged during an event or interest them for future events.”
OfferCraft’s answer is to make the massive amount of content and materials needed to produce an event far more dynamic and fun. “Everything we do is inspired by the world of behavioral economics and decision-making science.” After Ezra sold his last business, Macroview Labs, in 2011, he and many of his team began OfferCrafts in 2016 to help organizations better convince more of their target audience to pay attention and to take action. “How people interact with our software and the choices they make teaches us how best to communicate with them going forward.”
While traditional interactive games at events, such as scavenger hunts or having people collect stamps at trade show booths have worked well, Ezra says they barely scratch the surface of possibilities for engaging attendees. “Our artificial intelligence component is groundbreaking,” explaining OfferCraft can gamify everything from surveys to registrations or digital kiosks, or even create interactions with a speaker or other attendees during a presentation. “OfferCrafts’ software not only presents information in a more enjoyable way, but it also allows incentives to adjust themselves and respond in real time to an attendee’s behavior.”
The artificial intelligence program allows incentives to evolve or self-change if not being used enough.
For example: maybe the conference needs tickets sold, but sales are slow. OfferCraft’s software might respond by offering the buyer the chance to purchase a ticket at a 25% discount if the sale occurs by a certain date. If no ticket is bought, the attendee’s 25% discount might then decrease or increase, or may entirely transform into something completely different.
Ezra explains that “The battle for mindshare by organizations in all fields makes what we do necessary. If we can get people to book that hotel early, or to assist the organizer to present their information in an entertaining manner that keeps attendees engaged, it becomes a win-win for everyone.”
The system works like this: a client pays a subscription fee for multiple projects or pays per use. Every experience is customized to that event and that location. Each client is assigned an account executive familiar with that industry. OfferCraft can handle the setup and design, or their clients can use their own design team to create an experience using the OfferCraft platform. The system is entirely web-based and can be incorporated into a mobile app, or into emails, media posts, texts prior to the event, during or post-event.
OfferCraft tackles all three stages of the event lifecycle by asking these questions:
- What experience do we want to create to get more people to register?
- How can we keep them as engaged as possible during the event? For instance, say a music festival is hosting their annual event. OfferCraft might create a trivia game that allows attendees to listen to music selections and attempt to name the artists to win discounted tickets. Or, say you host a medical conference and must disseminate hundreds of pages of dry material. Offercraft might create a way of pitting attendees against one another in a quiz, with a leader board posting results. Those results are likely to spur interest in paying close attention to the information while connecting the attendees to one another.
- What is the best way to create a fun, post-event survey or begin stirring interest in subsequent events?
- With each assignment, OfferCraft hones its methods to better understand which incentives work best with which industry. They prefer having 60 to 90 days to create material, but as Ezra says, “Many of the groups we work with have events all year, so we are constantly working on new experiences.”
Karen Kuzsel is a writer-editor based in the Orlando area who specializes in the hospitality, entertainment, meetings & events industries. She is an active member of ILEA and MPI and is now serving on the 2016 – 2017 MPI Global Advisory Board for The Meeting Professional Magazine for the second consecutive year. She is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. Karen writes about food & wine, spas, destinations, venues, meetings & events. A career journalist, she has owned magazines, written for newspapers, trade publications, radio and TV. As her alter-ego, Natasha, The Psychic Lady, she is a featured entertainer for corporate and social events. firstname.lastname@example.org; www.ThePsychicLady.com; @karenkuzsel; @thepsychiclady.