4 Elements of an Active Communication Plan

When SEMICON (SEMI) West wanted to roll out a new QR code system for attendee badges, management came up with a plan for the change. The show is the annual event for the micro- and nano-electronics manufacturing industries, hosting more than 26,000 attendees and exhibitors from 11 countries.

“We knew we wanted to take the steps to secure our data,” says Stephen Leach, Americas expo operations manager with SEMI, “and switch from barcodes to QR codes.”

Registration provider Convention Data Services helped formulate the timeline and strategy. Meeting with partners and staff to discuss the switch helped identify issues and get buy-in for the strategy and timeline.

Leach and CDS offer these tips to anybody planning a similar shift:

Identify the message.

It was important to develop clear messaging to educate exhibitors. Key elements were:

• That proliferation of downloadable 2D barcode readers for mobile devices creates data security challenges.

• Use of QR codes only and a secure lead-retrieval system protects attendees from being added to unauthorized lists.

• This also protects exhibitors’ investment by ensuring access to appropriate data shared by attendees.

Create an ongoing communication plan

A pre-show education campaign for exhibitors focused on the benefits of the switch. This involved:

• The QR code information in all exhibitor materials

• A portal for exhibitors to order lead retrieval equipment • An early-bird rate with incentives on all materials

Create written materials

All materials focused on answering two questions: Why QR codes? What do they offer?

• QR codes scan faster and more accurately and include error handling.

• Current data is instantly retrieved when the QR code is scanned.

• Lead details are not printed on the badge.

Timeline for the campaign

• Nine months before the show: First exhibitor update

• Monthly before the show: Send exhibitor updates

• Four months before the show: Webinar for exhibitors

• Two weeks before the show: Updates focused on the benefits of the CDS in-person and virtual services

The end result?

“So far the result has been very positive,” Leach says. “Through our continuing education and communication efforts, we have been able to explain the process, answer questions and address concerns.”

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