Over the last several months, I’ve been incorporating some live text message polling into my onstage presentations.
Yesterday, at an insurance industry conference, I put up a quick poll, and gave the audience three minutes to text message their answers in. It’s quite a bit of fun, because the results begin to appear automatically on screen — and are constantly, dynamically updated.
Here’s what’s fascinating: out of a crowd of about 300 people, only about 25 managed to get an answer in! There were a few reasons for this; first, since the A/V screen wasn’t great, it was hard to see the text message number, and I actually called out the wrong number for the first minute and a half – until someone pointed out my mistake! But at the same time, it was obvious that a good chunk of the crowd — baby boomers and up — had no clue how to send a text message.
I used that observation to point out to the crowd that they’re in a pretty dangerous spot if they don’t understand some of the tools that are fundamental to the life of their Gen-Y and Gen- Connect customers. Key message: if you are going to innovate, you better make sure you understand your customers. The next generation is going to demand a completely different, highly interactive “insurance experience,” and text messaging, Web 2.0 and other tools are going to be a part of that mix.
To do these online polls, I’m using the Polleverywhere service, which offers a number of innovative mobile solutions, including a “text from your Web site” capability. Services like this are at the leading edge of innovation when it comes to linking the Web together with the vast world of text messaging. Recent estimates suggest that every day, there are more text messages sent than their are people on the planet.
The quick polls, incorporated into a keynote on stage, whether with a group of 300 or 3,000 people, provide for a huge degree of interactivity with the audience, and provide for some really exciting dynamics on stage.