E•Connections

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Using Analytics to Draw Qualified Visitors Is Easier Than You Think

April 11, 2016 By Editor

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As a busy exhibit manager, conference marketer or trade show professional, it’s of paramount importance to stay on top of inventions, product upgrades and other industry developments to boost engagement. This is one of the keys to remaining competitive and delivering better return on investment for your trade show program. From powerful analytics tools and improved communications infrastructure, to facial recognition, virtual reality and even better lighting to change an exhibit's appearance on the fly, there is a lot to keep track of.

The pace of technology and software development seems unrelenting with new innovations appearing all the time to help us solve tough problems and giving us better ways to support participation at trade shows. With that in mind, here are some insights on how you can use technology and analytics at your next event to get more bang for the buck.

Analytics
Marketers live and die by analytics. They are an indispensable aspect of websites, social media, online ads, email blasts and other marketing efforts. Data from all of these sources before the event can provide intelligence about your visitors as well as data gathering at the show itself.

It’s becoming a common practice for exhibitors to create microsites with a targeted message specifically for attendees. With the right retargeting and behavioral analytics strategy in place, you can follow the behavior of those coming through the microsite. While these insights can help you welcome visitors at the trade show, the true value lies in understanding what the most engaged subset of the industry – those who attend trade shows – expects to find at the show.

By keeping track of the behavior of visitors who come to your booth, you will get more information on their preferences in real time. What product lines are they interested in? Collecting each bit of data, you’ll build a database of information for analysis. You could discover to your surprise that your most highly prized attendees are more interested in one area of your business than another.

If a large number of attendees have signed up for a particular presentation but only 10% of them actually show up, this is actionable data to pay attention to. You not only want signs of high engagement but also you can benefit from knowing what aspects of your exhibit turned people off.

Technology
Radio Frequency Identification Devices or RFIDs are small tags built into a trade show ID badge. If the show organizer has RFID chips in place, ask for access to information they provide, which tracks attendees and gives information on where they are on the show floor.

If your trade show has Bluetooth beacons, they can be wonderful tools to gather useful information. Perhaps too expensive for an individual exhibit, these beacons rely on attendees keeping Bluetooth activated on their smartphones and tablets. As individuals walk around the trade show, the Bluetooth beacons keep track of where they are, sending notifications from nearby booths directly to their smartphone. Again, ask for access to this data as it applies to your exhibit.

Virtual reality or VR is becoming increasingly popular, with devices from Oculus Rift, Google, Samsung and other major technology companies making a splash amongst people interested in exploring synthetic worlds for entertainment and commerce. Soon, VR headsets may be a common fixture at trade shows.

VR will enable attendees to experience products and services in an optimal situation, free from the distractions of the busy trade show floor. The gimmick value of VR technology will soon fade away as users discover how useful it is to convey information and give users a real sense of space as they explore details about a new item.

Many people use LED lights because they consume less power than conventional incandescent or fluorescent bulbs. LEDs make a great fit at trade shows because using LED lighting lets you quickly adjust the look and feel of a space. Many of these systems can be computer controlled so your lighting can transform your space into a light show as well

Exit surveys and online polls on the microsite, plus follow up emails to visitors who swipe their badges can supply even further data to your audience profile. Gather as much information as you can, as quickly as possible. This lets you crunch the numbers in real time as well as after the event to come up with insights and see patterns in behavior that were previously difficult to imagine. This information will help you steer the content, design and even the shows you attend when it's time to plan for the next trade show season.

It’s clear that the more agile you are at deploying new technology and software in your exhibit environment, the better you can engage with show attendees.








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