How do you drive online engagement at a conference or other live event? This is one of the many questions facing us marketers as we continue our irresistible migration into the digital age. Last week, I came across a simple but effective solution when I attended MINBOUND, Minnesota’s first ever inbound marketing conference. The conference was put on by Minneapolis-based integrated digital marketing agency, Synecore (in the spirit of full disclosure, Synecore is one of the companies I work with on an ongoing basis as a marketing consultant. That said, I had no involvement in planning the event.), who transformed mundane conference badges into real-world landing pages that encouraged live interaction and engagement with the offline/online promotion created for the event.

To accomplish this, Synecore imprinted a customized “Zapcode,” a UPC or QR-code type code generated by mobile augmented reality app Zappar, on the back of all attendee badges. In addition to the Zapcode, the badges contained instructions on how to download the app along with an invitation to participate in the “MINBOUND CHALLENGE” for a chance to win prizes.

MINBOUND badge-front

MINBOUND badge back

Attendees who downloaded the app simply held their smartphone camera over the Zapcode and in seconds were brought to a specially designed microsite/landing page that contained information about the 10 sub-challenges of the CHALLENGE and outlined the rules and prizes.


As the previous screenshot makes clear, Synecore’s main objective with the MINBOUND CHALLENGE was to drive live Twitter engagement during the event—attendees were only required to enter their Twitter handle to play, and most of the challenges revolved around either taking live pictures and/or tweeting in order to win prizes.


The strategy seemed to work, as early on in the event attendees began to tweet about MINBOUND and share their favorite selfies.


And with nearly 2,000 Tweets surrounding the event, the hashtag MINBOUND15 began trending locally on Twitter.


Some Final Observations

After MINBOUND was over, I asked Synecore Creative Director Spencer Ploessl to provide me with a quick-and-dirty campaign post mortem. He said that of the 150 attendees, about one third downloaded the app and actively participated. Of those, the majority tweeted multiple times during the event; the top prize winner tweeted over 70 times.

Campaign initiatives like the MINBOUND CHALLENGE offer a simple and relatively low-cost way to drive online engagement during a live event. In this case, the principal campaign goal was to encourage real-time Twitter engagement. However, the ability to set up a microsite/landing page with required entry fields gives marketers a ready means to capture attendee emails, phone numbers, home addresses, and other types of inbound-friendly marketing information that can be used in follow-up lead nurturing campaigns and other marketing initiatives.

As the marketing world goes digital, it’s important to understand that the currency of digital is integration. Live “offline” events are not exempt; they must be seamlessly integrated into a brand’s overarching marketing strategy. The MINBOUND CHALLENGE provides an interesting case study for doing just that.