A Conventional Train of Thought
They say, all big ideas start small, and the current idea that is swimming in my head is of no exception. My main inspiration comes from the fact that my friends are prepping themselves up to attend a convention in Vancouver. Some attend conventions to mingle with friends, like I did for the past two conventions. Some attend conventions to make new friends, like I did. Ditto regarding what I did in terms of attending panels, talking and buying commissions in the dealer’s den, partaking in the late night dances, etc.
Unfortunately, due to the end of my university career, I had to move back to Hong Kong, which means leaving my friends behind. While mulling over about the convention, I started thinking about how conventions give perks to its attendees. The first thing that comes to my head would be early bird deals and membership package benefits, acquired through payment (obviously). During these few months, I was reading about redeemable coupons that one can purchase at online sites such as Beecrazy or Groupon. I also read about how digital means of entertainment, the points that one earn while gaming, could be converted into points of redemption for coupons. So I thought to myself, why not strike this digital marketing iron while it is hot by aiming at where brands and companies of all shapes and sizes would congregate, i.e. right at the conventions!
Three Cs: Convenient Convention Coupons
First things first, I only did some internships in the fields of online marketing, writing adwords copy, brief Facebook copy promoting corporate blog copy, but I do not have a degree in marketing in general. Hence, please excuse me should I fail to answer the question of “How?” in procedural detail. In addition, I have typed in “convention” in the Google Play search box, and while there are apps detailing specific conventions that are happening up and around the world, there isn’t one that is relatively on the meta level.
In my opinion, nothing beats being “actually there” in a convention. Sure, social media marketing is important in getting people convinced, and psyched up about the latest innovation, etc., however, being actually there to talk with people face to face is more tangible, not to mention, more reliable than even, say, a Skype one-or-one/conference call with others. Using a different example, say banana boating, it is more satisfying and exhilarating to hold onto the very rungs of the titular boat as you get surfed and turfed at one too many knots per hours than to watch a Youtube video of someone’s GoPro first person montage of the same act..
Of course, should this idea really take off, it will bring a lot more exposure to conventions. The attendees will be excited and happy to earn points that they can use and spend at other conventions in the forms of perks and membership discounts, and share the tales online in the social media networking world that is today – a classic win-win solution. Now comes the hard part of describing the “How”.
When you register for a convention, you have several options, ranging from the most basic to the most exclusive. The most basic tends to include a con book or a con brochure, and admission to all panels, events, the dealers den and artist alley for all the days the convention is in session. Additional membership benefits at higher prices may include a lunch social with the convention staff and the convention guest of honour, a convention T-shirt, and perhaps even coupons for discounts at dealer dens. Lucrative options may also include tour deals in the local area where the convention is held, a chance photograph and drawing with the convention crew, just to name a few.
In terms of how to earn these points, I have provided a small, not exhaustive list of the stated ways, not ranked in any order. The points will not be transferable between different individuals and people creating multiple accounts to “farm” for these points will have their acquired points, coupons, and deals voided.
- the more lucrative the package you have purchased during registration, the greater the amount of points you will earn
- additionally purchasing tickets for convention events and goodies not included in the basic package but are present in the more splurgy ones count
- being a volunteer for the convention staff, hosting panels, DJing for the crowd being a dealer in the dealer’s den
- being the winner in con-held trivia and game events and competitions
- getting an autograph from the Guest of Honour or the Con Chairman/woman.
- donating extra to fund the con effort or its sponsored organizations
- getting your content published in the con book or con brochure
- and much, much, more.
The points may not have an expiry date, but of course, the redeemed coupons do. In addition to using the points to redeem discounts for one convention or a set of conventions, attend multiple conventions to get larger perks.
A tentative idea that I have in terms of the “how” is to implement a standard 5 by 5 Bingo Board option. The placement of the “objective” squares will differ from person to person,but will usually consist of text such as the geographic location of the con to the industry/genre of the con. One con may fit in several criterias and the user is at his or her liberty to select the square, but only one square may be filled per con at a time. Furthermore, like standard bingo, a wildcard square will be at the centre. Should the user fill up a line like in standard bingo, a larger, more opulent deal would be awarded, like an automatic lucrative package option for registration, with all the perks included. I could only fathom the magnitude of benefits should the user be a fervent convention attendee, and fill up every square on the board…
Categorization of Conventions
Now a bit of the boring part. Thus being the reason I leave this to the end of the blog post. Conventions can fall into many categories, be it Anime, Trekkie, Video Game Expos, and the like. Resembling a standard coupon code page and interface like the ones I have mentioned above, the user can also select the genre/type of convention, the deals they currently offer, from a drop-down menu on the top of the screen, or search it by the searchbar.
A Silly Little Idea
I can anticipate the plethora amount of bugs this app would have in its beta version, but hey, that is what beta is for. The hard part would be the convince as many convention chairs around the world that this would be a good idea to be invested in. Oh well, all expeditions have to start from somewhere, right?
Just for the Heck of It. Google App Description Copy
Download this useful app to get the latest news, deals, and coupons of conventions and expositions happening around the world. With an extensive list of categories spanning anime, video game expos, Trekkies, and more. The easy-to-use and conventional interface allows you to stay one step ahead in being informed and to acquire that edge in attendance perks.
Earn points at conventions, and redeem them for the upcoming ones! A non-exhaustive list include
- Registration will net you a certain amount of points. The better the package you have registered for, the more points you will earn.
- Volunteer at the Con, or be a dealer, a panelist, or a DJ!
- Contribute content to the Conbook
- Get an autograph from the Guest of Honour!
- Participiate in the Con-exclusive events and competitions such as cosplay, trivia, etc.
Earn even bigger perks by attending multiple conventions. Fill in the Bingo Square with the conventions you have attended. Nail a line, and get even bigger perks, such as a greater discount on more opulent registration packages!