Robert Edwards is a Manager of Dynamic Technology Solutions at SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals with over 12 years of experience in high performance, interactive event technology.
Attend any major B2B or B2C event today and you might think you were heading onto a Hollywood set, with bright lights, lively audio, captivating video and where interactivity abounds.
On the horizon and already on display at some leading-edge trade shows and conventions are new trends such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and advanced online ticketing and registration. These existing and emerging event technologies are paving the way for more successful events and overall enhanced experiences for event planners, exhibitors and attendees.
Where the real Hollywood magic, however, is taking place is behind the scenes in how event marketers and exhibitors are using technology to achieve primary goals relating to their branding, social media and data capture for measuring key event metrics. Event metrics have become an important goal for both planners and exhibitors, according to industry research.
A Bizzabo survey found that 50 percent of marketers use events primarily for lead generation/sales and community building. Event marketers have a similar goal based on a finding from the CMO Council and E2MA, which reported that 64 percent of event marketers said that trade shows and events are most often used as sources of new prospects and business opportunities. Clearly, to achieve the goal, data must be captured relating to new prospects, business opportunities and brand awareness.
Bizzabo noted that 86 percent of event marketers believe that technology can have a positive impact on the success of their events which, as previously noted, requires event branding, social media, and data capture goals for them and their exhibitors.
A related finding of Bizzabo showed that the majority of over-performing organizations (i.e., those able to demonstrate an event ROI of 25 percent or higher attributed to their willingness to invest in event technology) plan to increase their event technology spend. Other relevant research includes:
Using event technology, event marketers and exhibitors can measure how effective an event was in meeting their branding, social media and lead capture objectives.
Let’s look at some of the metrics event planners and marketers are measuring relating to their event goals.
For gathering market intelligence:
For product demonstrations:
Most event marketers and exhibitors are familiar with event registration software that facilitates an easy registration process, whether online or at the venue in manned or self-serve interactive kiosks. Registration is just one of the features of this software, which also captures market data on attendee demographics and generates real-time reports that help event marketers better manage their events, including assisting with post-event follow-up.
Using lead retrieval software, event marketers and exhibitors can capture data, qualify prospects, distribute leads among sales representatives and even measure lead-to-sale conversions, sale closure rates and other valuable return on investment metrics such as dollar value of sale and number of products sold.
Mobile apps are a great way to support branding goals and gather market intelligence. Among the features offered by event apps are real-time push notifications, interactive games and online surveys. The latter can support branding, market intelligence and sales goals by gaining data that can then be applied to create targeted marketing messages to help drive people to an exhibit or presentation. Additionally, these apps have back-end reporting and analytics capabilities that integrate with leading CRM systems, a feature that can be helpful in quantifying and qualifying leads as well as justifying the event investment.
Like mobile apps, audience response systems are another event technology that support market intelligence gathering. These systems enable event marketers and exhibitors to interact and engage with attendees as well as get their feedback on different subjects.
Institutional branding and product marketing are facilitated with today’s dynamic LED, 4K, video walls and touch screen displays. Large QLED displays deliver maximum color volume and brightness to project a brand and its offerings in the most captivating way, drawing attendees into the booth and keeping them there to learn more about a brand and its products.
Touch screen displays allow attendees to access brand presentations, product demonstrations, and other valuable information. Some of the products have built-in media players that deliver an outstanding interactive experience. There are even touch tables that are ideal for holding booth visitors’ attention for longer periods of time with engaging, interactive digital content. Super-sized (i.e., 80”) interactive display systems offer capacitive multi-touch technology that is extremely intuitive and responsive, making these systems especially suitable for presentations.
These are just some of the event technologies that support event marketing and metrics or event benchmarking objectives. Other technologies that can also help event marketers and exhibitors achieve greater ROI include LED panels, interactive kiosks and charging stations, and video walls that can be used to create Twitter walls.
If you’re not already taking advantage of today’s event technology to gather metrics, capture leads, build your brand and increase your event ROI, there’s no time like the present!
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