John Cuthbertson is the Manager of the Solutions Architects Group at SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals, where he works with sales and project managers on large-scale AV and IT projects to ensure that clients pull off exceptional events.
Best Practices When Ordering Event Technologies
It wasn’t that long ago when trade shows relied largely on paper processes for registration and promotion, and exhibit booths featured large panels with static copy and graphics. That’s all changed.
Trade show planners and exhibitors alike have myriad leading-edge technologies to use for applications ranging from registration, data capture and analytics, lead retrieval and real-time engagement, to traditional marketing and branding. There’s software for registration, check-in, badge printing, e-literature, beacon technology and mobile event apps. There are mobile device charging stations, kiosks and touch screens, video walls and displays, and advanced audio-visual solutions.
With all this to choose from, making the right event technology decisions can be like a kid in a candy store. It all looks good, so how do you choose? The fact is many trade show planners, exhibitors and sponsors are having difficulty making the best decisions and consequently aren’t deriving the highest return on their event technology investments that they could be. Relying on best practices when ordering event technologies could change all that.
According to Salesforce research, 80 percent of trade show exhibitors never follow up on their trade show leads. Kissmetrics data found that 82 percent of marketers at trade shows can’t quantify the data received from their attendee interactions. These findings are despite the fact that:
- 83% of marketers/brands say their No. 1 reason for event participation is increasing sales (Live Marketing)
- 64% of marketers use tradeshows and events to source new prospects and business opportunities (Marketing Charts)
- 88% of event attendees say that access to meeting or event schedules in an event app is extremely important (Marketing Charts)
While trade show planners, sponsors and exhibitors realize that event technology can be a powerful tool in achieving important marketing, sales and data-related goals, they aren’t always meeting their event-related goals. Many have a basic understanding of how various technologies function, but fall short in deploying best practices relating to data analytics that will help them achieve their goals.
For a high ROI on event technologies, follow these best practices:
1. Select an event technology solutions architect. It’s not enough to rely on a resource that has a broad selection of event technology. The firm also must have experienced solutions architects who work with their customers to design the best solution, and provide essential education and support to ensure a high ROI. The team should also include skilled field engineers and technicians able to provide expert set-up and technology integration.
2. Step out of your comfort zone. Don’t fall into the habit of using the same technologies you have been using year after year. Attendees are used to technology in their daily lives and expect it to be available at the events they attend. Therefore, embrace new event technologies from giant smartphone video displays, high-top table charging stations and high-definition LED tile video walls, to lead retrieval software and scanners. Leverage beacon software to generate behavioral data and leverage it to enhance the attendee experience. Consider mobile event software to deliver real-time news and information for engaging attendees, directing them to specific sessions, booths, etc., while capturing valuable data.
3. Become social. Make sure exhibits and displays have a social networking component to further engage attendees, share news and information and capture new followers.
4. Go big or go home. Don’t be afraid to make a big splash. The technology is there to create a real “wow” factor. Using LED and 4K displays, information can be conveyed in real Hollywood style with flair and excitement. Multiple displays can even be linked to create a video wall that conveys an entire story or message about a trade show’s main theme, program highlights, key note speaker, special events and more. Exhibitors can captivate attendees with their brand story while reinforcing key marketing messages. Other technologies can be used to create an entertainment/game room with interactive kiosks being used to project videos, contests, games and other infotainment applications.
By following best practices when selecting event technologies, trade show planners and their stakeholders can gain a real return on their technology investments.