In its latest study of trade shows, conventions, and conferences in the U.S., titled The Economic Significance of Meetings to the U.S. Economy,” Pricewaterhouse Coopers (January 2014) reported that there were 284,600 meetings in the U.S. with a total of 87 million attendees. These events contributed $115 billion to the nation’s GDP. What about the exhibitors? How much did their participation in these events contribute to the bottom line?
There are many variables, but one factor that is helping exhibitors increase revenues stemming from trade show-generated prospects is event technology. A straight line can be drawn from the effective use of event management technologies to increased booth traffic, engagement, show exhibit, leads and market data captured, as well as the enhanced ability to convert a trade show-generated lead into a bona fide sales prospect. The key lies in understanding the various event technologies and their roles in helping exhibitors gain the maximum ROI on their show participation.
Here’s the starting lineup of today’s top-performing, leading-edge event technologies for exhibitors:
- Lead Capture Software – Exactly what is says it does; it enables an exhibitor to quickly capture, process, and distribute lead data back to headquarters for integration into their CRMs and marketing automation systems. The software works in conjunction with a lead retrieval scanner (i.e., handheld scanner, barcode reader, or wireless Android scanner) to capture a prospect’s complete contact information simply by scanning their registration badge. The software facilitates customized surveying with survey responses reported online in real-time, along with comprehensive reporting capabilities.
- Mobile Event App Software – Exhibitors can capitalize on the app to engage trade show attendees with information, promotions, and games; direct them to their booth; and notify them of product demonstrations –all while capturing valuable demographic and behavioral data. With its back-end reporting, analytics, and seamless integration into CRMs and marketing automation systems, exhibitors can leverage mobile event app software to build and segment their databases.
- LCD and LED Displays – Want to be the exhibitor whose booth is drawing all the eyes and ears? A trade show display creates the “wow” factor that lets exhibitors build brand awareness and give their brand, products, and services a “big screen” presence. 4K LCD Displays, with their high resolution of 3840 X 2160 pixels, create the same impact differentiator that a state-of-the-art IMAX movie screen does. It’s super engaging. The LCD displays range in size from 32” to 55”, while the LED displays are available in sizes ranging from 32” to 80.” For maximum impact, LED displays can be used in multiples for a dynamic video wall display projecting videos, computer presentations, photographs, etc.
- Interactive Marketing Kiosks – A sure-fire way to attract the digital natives to your exhibit, kiosks serve multiple purposes. They can be used to communicate exciting news developments, present a mini-seminar about a product or new process, conduct surveys, highlight educational sessions, and convey brand messages. They can also combine a charging station, allowing exhibitors to give booth visitors the opportunity to charge their mobile devices while speaking with a company representative. Kiosks are great tools to gain a captive audience and build relationships.
A study conducted in 2013 by Exhibit Surveys, Inc. and Lippman Connects found that “proving exhibitor ROI” was the biggest challenge today’s trade show exhibitors have. Event organizers recognizing this and trying to stave off exhibitor churn are actively promoting event technologies like those noted in our line-up. They know that if exhibitors can better qualify and quantify attendee booth engagements, lead capture, new market intelligence, etc., all gleaned from having leveraged event technology, their shows’ exhibitors will be closer to proving their ROI.
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