By Samantha Whitehorne
I was at a family party in January, and a bunch of us were talking in my aunt’s kitchen. When the clock hit 9 p.m., I noticed that most of my cousins and a few other family members started to look at their phones.
“Everybody, shhh, it’s HQ time!” yelled one of my cousins.
And then a small miracle happened: My family actually got quiet.
Meanwhile, I was standing there with a confused look on my face, feeling very old and left out, because I didn’t have the trivia app on my phone.
In case you’re not familiar with the app yourself, HQ Trivia is a live game show, which typically airs daily at 9 p.m. Eastern, with an extra show at 3 p.m. on weekdays. The host asks a series of 12 increasingly difficult multiple-choice questions, each with three possible answers. Players who give the correct answer within 10 seconds move on, while the others are eliminated. Those still standing after 12 questions split the cash prize, which is currently up to $5,000 per game.
HQ, which launched in August 2017, definitely has people hooked (myself included): In January, it hit the 1 million player milestone, and it continues to attract millions of players each week.
What lessons does HQ’s format and wild popularity offer to meeting organizers? I can think of a few around conference marketing:
Ensure your campaigns appeal to the right audience. One reason HQ has so many players is that the questions hit on a wide variety of topics—from sports to music to history—so everyone feels like they have a chance at winning. And even though your conference may not need to have this same broad appeal, HQ is a good reminder that you do want to keep your audience in mind as you’re developing a conference marketing campaign. In other words, what will draw your audience to your event?
Incentives don’t have to be huge. No one is going to get rich playing HQ (for example, winners of the $18,000 New Year’s Eve pot each received a little more than $50), but the chance to win something gets lots of people excited enough to open the app twice a day and play. As you consider discounts and other incentives to get people registered for your meeting, keep in mind that they don’t necessarily need to be huge. In fact, they may not even need to have a monetary value attached to them. Giving attendees the opportunity to network with an industry leader could be incentive enough.
Timing counts for a lot. HQ’s afternoon edition appeals to East Coast workers who want to take a 15-minute afternoon break, and it works for West Coasters who may be enjoying lunch. And the later edition is a good way for all time zones to wrap up their day, whether at work or home. As you plan the timing of the elements of your marketing campaign, look at your data and determine when they’re likely to reach the most eyeballs.
I admit these takeaways aren’t rocket science, but they do serve as good reminders that small things can make a difference. What other ideas do you think you can take from HQ Trivia and bring to your meetings and conferences? Please share them in the comments.