Measurement and the Trade Show Exhibit — From Business Card to iPad
by Eric Swartwood, Global Data Capture
This is the second of a two-part article tracing the evolution of trade show lead capture from the business card to audience response systems. (Read Part 1 here.) Here, Global Data Capture CEO, Eric Swartwood takes a look at the futuristic capture technologies which are available now and how they can affect the measurement success of a trade show program.
PART 2: “Space” Age Lead Capture Technology
Last month, I took a look at the inevitable pitfalls of old-time lead capture and set the stage for the digital revolution. Let's look at some of the exciting opportunities that QR code, Barcode, Magnetic Stripe, RFID, email and cloud registration databases have for today's exhibit marketer.
Nowadays, hands down, the hottest code on the show floor today is the QR code. The reason for this is that attendee badges can be scanned with the camera feature already available on most mobile devices. This is by far in my opinion the biggest hardware advancement to hit the tradeshow technology market to date. QR codes and other types of barcode encoded tradeshow badges are also the most cost effective. They are only printing ink on a paper badge rather than a plastic card or chip required by RFID/NFC and Magnetic Stripe credit card badges. (RFID/NFC and Magnetic Stripes were mostly designed to provide highly secure data transfer for financial transactions that are generally not required for tradeshow lead data capture.)
You are also starting to see phrases like “electronic solutions” for conventions and congresses and terms like “e-fulfillment” and “compliance tracking.” So what are they?
Electronic Solutions. Briefly, these are digital tools to attract, engage, track and nurture visitors to your exhibit. At Global Data Capture this translates to the ability to measure just about anything that happens with a visitor before during and after a show. Things like…
- Integration between invitations and visitors for immediate ROI on pre-show promotion.
- Digital graphics coupled with badge scans puts content in front of visitors they actually are interested in learning about. Real-time tracking and measuring this engagement can qualify leads instantly.
- Audience response systems (ARS) and polling allows immediate evaluation of a visitor's understanding of your marketing messages. It also permits adjustments to your message based on responses.
- Evaluate traffic flow through your exhibit by measuring the activity by location in the booth.
- Use the same technique to collect data from staffed product stations for product, sales region, sales rep and more.
E-Literature and E-Fulfillment. E-literature and e-fulfillment is one of the most popular and cost effective tools in the digital arsenal today. This basically is the ability to scan the show badge, email live, and track any of the marketing materials a company has to offer. This technology out of the box has the most tangible easy to prove ROI of any digital product we have seen to date. The savings on producing, printing, storing, shipping and the drayage combined alone could possibly pay for the digital e-lit program across their entire show schedule.
The e-lit feature inherently comes with the ability to send live customized attendee requested thank you emails from the exhibit with the information of interest selected. This adds many more measureable marketing touch points. Examples of measureable touch points are tracking email and document open rates. So on top of not having to print the paper brochure you get the extra bonus of actually knowing if someone opened and looked at it.
Then there is the elimination of the countless hours required to sort through all of the leads, separating them by brand or product, by region and by sales rep to input into another system. These two advancements alone pay for themselves and then some.
Compliance Tracking. Compliance tracking is also a fairly new term that you are bound to come across in the pharma industry. In very basic terms, compliance tracking documents every single thing your company gave to an attendee (mostly a doctor or nurse) at a show. So when Dr. Labcoat accepts that pen, free beaker, or paper document it can be both tracked and reported back to the proper sales regulators for that industry.
No More Free Rides
Tracking Sales Engagement. A familiar sales acronym always comes to mind when we discuss the future of digital marketing and lead capture: ABC (Always Be Closing). The days are quickly coming to an end where Mr. Pink Socks meets up with his old buddy Dr. Labcoat over a few martinis to discuss possible business and reports back to the office with nothing but a paper business card with smeared ink on the back. Old-time sales people will fight and complain, but the writing is on the wall. Sales now has ability to capture customer information whether in the hall or at the bar. And they can combine that information with any type of sales information or presentation.
No longer restricted to bulky hardware, lead capture interactives can be accessed on almost any device including smartphone, iPads and Tablets, creating the opportunity to take the selling experience and materials from the show floor or ultimate showroom and bring it everywhere. Small and large format touch screen interactives and displays can also have badge integration offering the visitor a more immersive selling experience.
Nowhere to go but forward
The lead retrieval industry has seen major advancements. I think exhibit marketers are much more technically savvy when it comes to understanding the possibilities in digital marketing. With change and advancements always comes opportunity. The opportunity to become closer marketing partners with your suppliers like never before. The opportunity to have input on marketing and sales objectives that were never possible in the past. Our goal at Global Data Capture is to maximize these new opportunities and make the management of them seamless and profitable for everyone.
As a sales person by trade, I take comfort in the fact that tools are being developed to make it possible to sell, stay on message, follow up and in reality close a sale. And do it all with your mobile selling device in one hand and perhaps a good “Kettle extra dirty” in the other!
Eric Swartwood [firstname.lastname@example.org ] is the CEO Global Data Capture [ www.globaldatacapture.com ], a full service information, technology and interactive content company specializing in lead capture solutions, ARS, RFID, and custom touch interactives that all seamlessly integrate with Outlook, Salseforce.com, Marketo, Eloqua, or any custom application. Eric has had the opportunity to experience a broad range of positions in the tradeshow industry and is looking forward to learning new things every day.