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The Future is Mobile and the Future is Now

February 15

The Future Is Mobile and the Future Is Now

Have you ever left home without your mobile phone? If so, I bet most of you turned right back around, went home, and got your phone(s.) In just a few short years, we have become completely dependent upon our mobile phones whether for basic communications including voice or text messaging, or in the case of smart-phones, email and web browsing. Our love/hate relationship with the mobile device goes beyond these basic services and extends to entertainment (games and videos), location-based services (Yelp, FourSquare, Layar, etc.) and even extends to employment with mobile job search tools and related apps (iFedJobs, PocketResume, etc.).

According to CTIA - The Wireless Association, as of December 2009 there were more than 285,610,000 mobile device subscriptions in the United States (keep in mind that some of us have more than one phone, iPad, or other such device). In an article in the Los Angeles Times from March 25, 2010, it was revealed that "Americans used more than 1.1 trillion minutes in the last half of 2009." It was further stated that "consumers sent almost five billion text messages per day in the last half of 2009." Of course, with the introduction of smartphones and iPads, wireless data usage continues to rise at astronomical levels.

It was against this backdrop of ever-expanding mobile usage that TMP Worldwide chose to create a mobile experience at the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2010 conference. As the leader in the digital recruitment space, TMP Worldwide had a chance to "show" rather than "tell" our clients, prospects and friends how powerful mobile can be as an engagement tool at campus events, career fairs, or even as a component of an overall strategy. We developed a mobile scavenger hunt called "THE GAM3" that was designed to engage conference attendees not just in the exhibit hall, but more importantly, out in the halls, in the breakout sessions, and during networking events. THE GAM3 leveraged mobile phones and Quick Response (QR) codes to drive the attendees to eight different locations within the exhibit hall based upon their ability to answer various trivia questions.

To succeed, THE GAM3 needed to grab the attendees' attention, engage them and give them a reason to compete. To do this, THE GAM3 was initially introduced via Twitter and Facebook with posts that said "Get in THE GAM3 at NACE" or "Win an iPad in THE GAM3 at NACE." We chose to provide very little detail to create an aura of mystery around the event. During the week preceding the NACE conference, nearly 150 different messages were posted using appropriate hashtags (#THEGAM3 and #NACE10 as examples). Many of these were retweeted by attendees as the event neared. The final pre-conference message via Twitter read, "#NACE10 tweeps - #THEGAM3 is afoot! Find me or one of the other TMPers to Get in THE GAM3!"

To engage conference attendees we chose to "atomize" THE GAM3 by creating handshake cards, posters, stickers, and other visual elements that all contained different QR codes that led to videos, photo sharing sites, THE GAM3's Ning community, Facebook, YouTube and other sites. These elements appeared throughout the conference hotel, not just in the exhibit hall, thus extending the reach of THE GAM3 beyond the expected area.

Finally, to give attendees a compelling reason to compete, we offered an iPad as the prize for winning THE GAM3. By leveraging the existing hype around the recently launched device, we were able to engage a much larger portion of the audience.

THE GAM3 was hugely successful, not only in driving traffic within the exhibit hall, but more importantly, as a live proof-of-concept for clients and prospects alike. The hype and buzz generated by THE GAM3, in addition to the engagement shown by the attendees, proved that mobile is an incredibly powerful way to communicate with and engage an audience whether at a conference, career fair, campus event or as a part of the overarching recruitment strategy.

If you are interested in developing a mobile strategy as part of your recruitment efforts, please contact me at steven.ehrlich@tmp.com.

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