By now, most of us have heard “every company is a tech company,” or “every business is a digital business.” While sounding like a truism, it is a fact. Technology is no longer a commodity or service, it is at the core of every business.
Digital transformation has major implications for every business and industry, from startup to Fortune 500, but those who rely on outdated technology risk being disrupted. In this article, we discuss what is key to enabling digital transformation for your trade shows – and the transformation is so critical. Are you disrupting, or are you being disrupted?
Disruption is “an effect that changes the fundamental expectations and behaviors in a culture, market, industry or process that is caused by, or expressed through, digital capabilities, channels or assets.” Like an enormous tidal wave, disruption sweeps away the familiar scenery and forces those that remain to adapt to a new landscape. In the tradeshow industry, nothing could be truer and we are seeing the technology change right before our very eyes. Automated lead capture, facial recognition, RFID, Beacon Technology™, Virtual Presenters™, interactive kiosks, serious gaming, apps, the list goes on and on, yet so many event managers and trade show companies are finding themselves left behind when it comes to the implementation of these new and exciting technologies. Just a few days ago, I sat with a client, brainstorming ways we could implement some of the new technology for his tradeshow booth. He asked a simple question that prompted this blog, “So what happens if we decide to not do anything?” The answer was pretty straight forward, I said, “nothing will happen.” Well, the client could not have been more delighted. I quickly added, “I do not think you understand what I mean. What I am saying is NOTHING will HAPPEN, meaning you will quickly be outshined, outgunned and ignored by the people that are your current client base because your competitors are going to do everything faster and more efficiently than you are due to your antiquated approach to trade shows and technology!”
As you might imagine, the tone of the conversation changed dramatically and we got to work implementing a new plan and approach to improve the technology in his booth. So let’s take a look at some of the places that their current tech was holding them back, and ask yourself if you fall into any of these traps.
The central point and purpose of trade shows is the generation of new leads and attracting potential new clients. Many companies still rely on the tried and true methods of candy bowls, TV screens, and exchanging business cards with prospects. That’s great, you say, but how is this holding us back? The answer is three words, "volume and efficiency". For example, if your booth attendant engages 10 customers per hour, presses the flesh, exchanges cards and cracks a joke or two, you will engage 80 people in an eight-hour day on the floor. Now compare that to a simple television equipped with an RFID reader. In the same amount of time, a RFID reader installed near a television with an attracter loop will scan the badges, determine dwell times in specific areas of the booth, and send a text message if a lead dwells on a specific product for a specified amount of time, hundreds of times a day over the course of the show. I am sure you can see how this incredible efficiency will increase the volume of leads.
That’s all well and good, but our company relies on the quality of leads!
Well, does it REALLY? So, let’s change the perspective a little bit. Same booth, same tech, nothing changes. But now you have set up the system so that if a customer spends more than two minutes in front of a particular display, a text message is sent to the booth attendant and that person is then able to engage the prospect for the opportunity to build a rapport. The volume of contacts for the attendant remains the same, but the level of interest of the prospect is higher and you are already closer to closing the deal. Meanwhile, the other 200 badge scans go in the CRM, follow ups go out and your contacts database doubled in size with a pretty minimal investment.
BLACK HATS AND VIDEO SCREENS
If you have been following our blog, we have written specifically about one of the cool tools we use for tradeshows (and we are about to make the technology available to our clients), and that is facial recognition packages. Everyone… and I mean everyone, uses TV displays and catchy attracter loop videos, or similar content. You cannot go to a show without seeing hundreds of displays. Most companies do not even realize how this is actually holding them back. Show attendees have become numb to the general background banter associated with so many active displays in one area, but what if you could attract their attention anyway? It is not hard! For about $500 worth of hardware and some ingenuity, you can implement a system that will provide you with demographics, dwell times, and (believe it or not) the “mood” and reaction of the people viewing your information. You can even target specific message to specific demographics!
Technology is moving rapidly, and to avoid being steamrolled or “disrupted” it is critically important to stay abreast of the trends and uses. Being held back and surpassed by your competition is no fun, so learn to revel in the changes and, might we suggest, find a great tech partner, like nuMedia Innovations, to help drive your tradeshows to new levels and stop being held back!