blackberryThree short years ago, Blackberry was sitting pretty. They had roughly 40% of the smartphone market share and every business professional I know was carrying one. How the world changes in a flash of time. Just last year, Blackberry considered selling its RIM operating system to Amazon or Facebook as an attempt to save the company. A few days ago, they introduced a new version of RIM, but it is probably  too little, too late for the Canadian phone company. 

Palm was the darling of smartphone technology before Blackberry and are now defunct due to their acquisition by HP in 2010.  However, do you know anyone who owns a Palm or HP phone? Me neither. 

Here is the estimated global smartphone market share in 2010 and 2013:  

Smartphone Market Share
Manufacturer 2010 2013
Blackberry 40% 5%
Palm 5% 0%
iPhone 25% 26%
Android 10% 69%

So what can event meeting services organizations take away from this information? Here are the four pertinent lessons all planners can observe from this market shift.

#1: Never rest on your laurels. 

Blackberry and Palm thought they had the greatest product going and no one would beat them out. They both had a small, easy-to-use phone that had great navigation. However, they were missing apps and touch screen technology — a mainstay of today's smartphones. 

Are you resting on your meeting laurels? When is the last time you really looked at your meeting, conference, and convention and examined every aspect of it? 

#2: Pay attention to your customer's wants. 

Did Blackberry and Palm do everything a customer needed at a good price point? Absolutely! But did they do what the customer wanted? No! Individuals in 2013, want to connect to email, voicemail, social channels, apps, use their phone to upload pics and video and much, much more. And they want to touch the screen or use their voice to find information (although most would agree that Siri is a bust on the iPhone). The customer wants constant improvement and they are willing to pay for it. 

Do you pay great attention to what your meeting participants want? Are you expecting their wants or are you waiting until they scream for something new? 

#3: Customers are fickle. 

Most cell phone providers lock their customers into a 2-year contract so the best case scenario for a smartphone manufacturer is they have that customer for two years. Then, the customer goes to the store and looks at all their options. But before they enter the store, they have asked around to friends and family to see what others recommend. And over the last three years, many individuals have changed from their previous platform to try something new. 

Your attendees are fickle too. With all the options available to them — face-to-face and virtual meetings, webinars, webcasts, or no meetings at all — and associations and organizations competing for the business, now is not the time to take attendees for granted. If there is a better, cheaper, or more valuable way to learn they will take it. 

#4: Continual improvement is the name of the game. 

Apple and Google get it. They are constantly improving their operating system and apps in an effort to keep competitive. They are driven to achieve more market share. They listen to their development teams and customers. They won't stop until they have more. 

How are you constantly improving your meeting? Are you introducing more interactive technology tool rentals to make the meeting more engaging and visual? Are you hiring only the best speakers and the ones the attendees really want to hear from? Are you providing a warm and inviting meeting environment? 

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, is your California meeting equipment supplier and they are ready and willing to work with you on your conference services needs!