Professional Attendees Plus Trade Show Exhibitors = ROI and Lead Generation? Not Exactly
Jul 25, 2012 by DeDe Mulligan

Get Results for Trade Shows

It used to be that event organizers handled all the planning, execution, and logistics of a meeting and left the rest of the coordination to the executive and sales team. However, in today's competitive and digital environment, this is no longer the case. Sales reps want qualified leads and C-Suite management demand measurements to justify their participation in a trade show — and all of this responsibility now falls squarely on the planner's shoulders.  

However, in this demand for sales and cost/benefit analysis, there is a silver lining. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), things are looking up. Here is what they reported:

  • The 1st quarter of this year marked the 7th consecutive quarter of industry growth.
  • Year-to-Year the following indicators are all up:

    • Professional Development attendance up 4.6%
    • Net Square Footage up 3.4%
    • Number of Exhibitors up 1.5% and
    • Revenue up 1.5%

Global Experience Specialists and BtoB Magazine co-sponsored an online survey of 247 Marketing Professionals in June.What they found was:

  • 73% felt the key to their success at a live event was capturing qualified leads and  
  • 60% had some difficulty tying the cost of exhibiting at a tradeshow to actual revenue generated after the show. 

"People continue to invest in face-to-face marketing events but because events require a significant expenditure, they're asking for greater scrutiny about marketing effectiveness," said David Saef, EVP of Strategy & Marketing at Global Experience Specialists (GES). 

What are some of the ideas generated from the survey to impact ROI and Lead Generation? Below are the challenges identified from survey participants as well as ideas on ways interactive technology tool rentals can help. 

Challenge #1: Marketers felt they were stymied by their lack of technology to collect and analyze data from the trade show floor.

Exhibitors and marketers can rent iPads to capture attendee information easily through applications or contests. iPads can also serve as portable kiosks, so attendees can learn more about the marketer's products and services while the exhibitor may be tied up with other individuals. 

Challenge #2: Lack of sales support and enough quality data from the sales department. 

If your organization is limited by the amount of personnel they can send to the event, have computer kiosks act as your sales team. Providing touch panel kiosks where attendees can see videos, photos, and interact with the home office via live chat, can allow individuals to learn more about your organization without ever talking to a salesperson. 

In addition, the corporate office can provide real-time information to the iPads of their event sales team.  

Challenge #3: The lead generation process is ambiguous at best.

Many times trade show exhibitors try and garner business cards as a way to generate leads for their organization. Or they scan the attendee's QR code into their system. However, when they turn those names over to the sales department, the reps don't know the level of interest or expectation from the prospect, so they don't follow up…ever. 

"Don't spend a penny on a trade show unless you have a lead-management process in place," said Ruth Stevens, B-to-B marketing consultant, speaker, author and educator. "It's too easy to say, 'Hey there's a show and it's important for us to be there.'"

Rent Tablet PCs, load a lead generation app onto it, train your people to capture the right information, and send the information to the corporate sales department on a real-time basis. 

Event planning in California? Look no further than AV Event Solutions to provide you with iPad rental (even iPad kiosk), Tablet PCs, kiosk rentals and much, much more! Give them a call today!

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