Q: Is there a gap in how show organizers manage their events—from scheduling to marketing to registration, housing, lead-generation and retrieval, and more—and how they could deploy technology to get a more cohesive approach?
A: Yes. Most show organizers are using a variety of tools to manage their events piecemeal, they aren’t connected to one another. This means that the data from registration, housing, lead scanning, and email is stored separately. It takes a tremendous effort to pull the data together to analyze the event. Show organizers rarely take the effort to pull all the data together because there’s simply not enough time, or the requisite technical skills don’t exist in their organization. The future is in capturing and compiling more data to better predict how attendees will react to various show offerings. I specifically designed etouches as a platform that integrates in all of these separate tools and pools the event data together so that these time-intensive tasks can be automated.
Q: Where are opportunities being left on the table in attendee marketing? In generating leads for exhibitors and sponsors?
A: The digital and content marketing aspect of attendee marketing is largely untapped. Show organizers are beginning to focus on the power of marketing automation to allow for continuous touchpoints before, during and after the show. We’re just at the beginning of understanding how to effectively use technology to enhance the attendee experience. Show organizers are starting to learn how to weave in content offerings pre, during and post event to really extend the attendee experience and the length of time in which leads can be generated.
Q: Registration is often a remarkably low-tech process. How can that be improved and what are the practical benefits?
A: Filling out a form is low-tech. Knowing which questions to ask because you want to use the information for later engagement is the key. We’re making filling out a registration form easier and gathering more data simultaneously by allowing attendees to sign in with their Facebook or LinkedIn credentials. This serves double duty: It saves the attendee time and provides the show organizer with more data to connect with attendees throughout the event lifecycle. You can ask your attendees any question you want within etouches. This information is then used to better communicate with attendees and facilitate networking. Successful show organizers are realizing that their role is becoming the facilitator of relationships and not just providing a physical environment in which attendees are left on their own to interact.
Q: Tradeshows are often enhanced by Web connectedness. What approaches are there for organizers to keep their shows alive 24/365?
A: There’s a real push to provide social networking outlets pre and post event. This can be aided by providing lists of who will/did attend and mechanisms to allow the attendees to send/receive messages and set up meetings. We provide a module called eSocial that allows attendees to interact before, during and post event by messaging each other and scheduling meet-n-greets amongst themselves. Show organizers are using various content marketing activities as both lead-generation for attendee acquisition as well as for attendee-retention programs.
Q: Describe the most promising technologies for enhancing revenue for organizers and ROI for exhibitors.
A: Providing low cost mobile apps that show organizers can then use to provide revenue-driving banner ads has huge possibilities. We also think that being able to build out a digital presence for exhibitors and sponsors and providing them with real analytics as to how their banner ads were used has huge potential. We’re looking at all the different ways that we can equip organizers with easy-to-use tools that prove ROI.