Event Technology: Improving Marketing and Overall Event Experience
Technology is revolutionizing all of our lives. Whether you’re yelling at that box in your kitchen to set a timer, yelling at that other box in your living room to play a song, or yelling at that phone in your pocket to text someone while you’re trying to drive, technology is changing the way we live our lives every day. Who knows what we may be yelling at in the very near future?
Technology has certainly had a positive impact on the events industry. Planners are able to use a wide variety of tech to:
- Personalize an attendee’s experience – an unprecedented amount of available data gives event organizers the ability to tailor experiences and provide recommendations to attendees on an individual level
- Pair guests to improve networking possibilities – by giving attendees a chance for improved interaction, your event will earn a reputation as a place where things get done
- Improve the sales cycle – improved, intricate tracking software is helping companies ensure that their best leads don’t fall cold
- Countless other aspects – including RIFD integration and eye-catching sponsor activations
Let’s take a look at some of the tech being used in today’s events and how it benefits organizers and attendees.
Lead Management Software
One of the most essential ways to prove trade show ROI and measure its success is through the number of leads collected at the show, pursued after the event, and eventually converted into customers. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 93 percent of companies say that lead generation is their top priority when exhibiting.
Yet, historically, lead generation has been riddled with pitfalls. Often, the biggest issue is poor communication between event staff and the sales team. When a staffer engages with prospects on site and then doesn’t take detailed notes about the conversation, a salesperson unwittingly walks into an ambush of inflated promises and unfulfillable expectations. Even worse is when a prime lead is miscategorized due to a misunderstanding either by event staff or the sales team.
Lead management software automates the process of capturing, tracking, and qualifying leads while helping to ensure that they can be easily passed to the sales team.
Photo Credit: Cvent Blog
Event Marketing Software
Event marketing software helps event teams manage an event from start to finish. It incorporates tools that simplify the planning, logistics, and execution of an event (many include a lead management element, as well).
When selecting an event marketing software, keep in mind the goals for your events as well as your broader company objectives. You don’t want to buy a solution that has too much pack in it – pricey aspects your company will never use – but you also don’t want to get a system that is too minimal and will eventually frustrate you because of its limitations. Look for a solution that:
- Is flexible enough to adjust to your team’s and company’s needs
- Can integrate with other essential systems (such as finance, CRM, sales, etc.) to avoid duplicate, manual data entry, which lowers the potential for errors
- Is scalable so that you don’t buy too much now, but you can upgrade as your needs change
- Offers mobility; busy times on a show floor do not offer many opportunities to run to a laptop and enter notes – you need a cloud-based solution that seamlessly integrates with tablets and phones
An effective event marketing software package can revolutionize the way teams manage and measure their events. Not only will this software close the loop with other essential systems (lead management, sales, etc.), it can help set goals and measure the effectiveness of each one, coordinate marketing and sales goals, and gauge the experience you deliver to current customers and potential prospects. It can also help your team be more productive, boost event attendance, and lower your overall cost.
We’re continually tapping into the power of GPS and RFID technologies, and one of the most remarkable aspects of both is geofencing.
Geofencing is a virtual perimeter that you establish, a geographic boundary around a given location. You can use geofencing to send a welcome text or email to attendees when they enter your area (i.e., land at the airport, pass the city border, etc.). It can also be used at the event itself to alert attendees to special occurrences in their specific area (a talk or session that’s about to occur). It can even help facilitate networking when compatible attendees are near one another.
Geofencing can ensure that attendees become more engaged with your activities by simplifying raffles and contests (and winner announcements), social media updates, and media (pictures, videos, etc.) they to ensure are uploaded and distributed correctly. Most importantly, all of this data can be monitored and collected by event organizers.
Photo Credit: Plot Projects
Using social media to promote events is nothing new, but it continues to be the most forward-facing of most team’s marketing efforts, so it certainly deserves inclusion on this list. Not only do these platforms enable event teams to promote an event and disseminate news and alerts in an extremely timely manner, but thanks to post and shares, ticket holders do much of your marketing for you.
In addition, these platforms are continually updating their services. For example, livestreaming is becoming commonplace in a variety of social media offerings. With livestreaming, event organizers are no longer confined to just in-person attendees. Keynote speakers and big events can now be easily broadcast to a wider audience.
The bane of park visitors everywhere, these buzzing, hovering machines can actually be a benefit at an event. There is no better way to capture the buzz of the show floor than with footage recorded from the rafters.
Other forms of robotics are being included in events, such as having AI-infused, humanoid-shaped machines as booth attendants, waiters, and bartenders.
There has been some backlash to event apps lately. It can be costly and time consuming for event teams to have to produce a new application for every exhibition. Plus, for the end user, there is a learning curve with each new app and available storage space on devices is becoming a premium commodity. Many are questioning the need for downloading an application they will only use one time.
Photo Credit: G2 Crowd
That’s why event apps are stepping up the game by becoming a valuable, year-round resource for attendees. These apps provide education, information, and a channel for attendees to communicate and network long after the event is over. Users are also able to easily send feedback to event organizers. Plus, they are a great way to keep your event at the top of people’s minds, even when the actual show is months away.
Additionally, many of these apps are including an augmented reality function. Augmented reality will layer a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world (currently by using a smartphone’s camera, but AR glasses are going to be widely available in the not-to-distant future). With augmented reality, you can provide attendees with turn-by-turn directions on the show floor, highlight areas when big events are about to occur, and introduce some gamification elements. Plus, exhibitors can take advantage of the technology to create animated and interactive booths, signs, and banners.
Technology is ubiquitous in our lives, and more and more attendees are going to expect these elements to be incorporated in the events they attend. For more thoughts about incorporating groundbreaking technology in your exhibits – both forward-facing and behind the scenes – give Event Architecture a call at 972-323-9433.