Trade show organizers have access to an abundance of data thanks to integrated registration systems, event apps, RFID, beacons, NFC, mobile lead retrieval, and online marketplaces. In fact, it can be an overwhelming amount of data, and many show organizers struggle to figure out what to do with it all.
If you want to make sense of all your data after the show, you must first start by setting goals and objectives. When you begin with what you hope to achieve, you will know what data needs to be collected and then create a plan for obtaining it. You will most certainly still end up with more data than you need, but you’ll be able to push aside what is irrelevant in favor of the data you need and just focus on processing that bundle.
To demonstrate, let us look at a common goal of many trade show organizers; to increase value to exhibitors to enable growth year-over-year.
Objective: Help exhibitors capture high-value leads
When exhibitors are evaluating their investment in a show, the number of high-value leads collected and how many of those leads result in a sale weighs heavily in their decision to return each year.
1 - Pre-event: If you want to ensure your exhibitors can capture high-value leads, you must have a lead system that allows each exhibitor to load their own custom lead qualification forms or surveys. This is the first step in collecting data that can differentiate between a marketing lead and badge swipe vs. a high-value sales lead as no two exhibitors are alike.
2 - During the Show: Besides collecting data on total leads collected vs. qualification forms and surveys completed, you will also want to track exhibitor materials that were delivered to, or downloaded by prospects. Because not all action takes place in the booth, you want to track interactions your attendees have with exhibitors through your event website, networking app, and online marketplace.
3 - Post Show Evaluation: Provide exhibitors with data on digital materials opened, downloaded or other actions taken by prospects so exhibitors can incorporate digital lead data with their booth lead data. By providing all appropriate data, exhibitors can better measure ROI of the show by tracking their leads through the entire sales cycle.
Objective: Steer qualified attendees to the correct booths.
It is not enough to fill your exhibit hall with buyers and sellers and hope the two groups manage to connect with each other. Show organizers who are looking to increase their show’s value to their exhibitors are taking a proactive approach to buyer and seller matching.
1 - Pre-event: To match buyers with sellers you need to ask attendees what categories of products and services they are interested in seeing at the show during the registration process. Have exhibitors select which of those same categories pertain to the products and services they are offering. Now you are ready to do some matchmaking between attendees and exhibitors.
2 - During the Show: Track qualified leads collected against your matchmaking recommendations to determine if you were sending the right attendees to the exhibitors’ booths. Track leads captured by the booth staff as well as attendee driven leads captured (attendees who downloaded exhibitors materials from your event app and/or online marketplace) for a complete picture.
3 - Post Show Evaluation: The data will tell you where you were successful in your matchmaking, but some qualitative data comes in handy as well. Survey attendees and exhibitors for feedback on the value of your exhibitor recommendations so you can make improvements going forward.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by data, try this three-step process. Once you have identified your show objectives, figure out what data you will need to collect before the show opens as well as during the show. Then put a plan in place to evaluate the data that meets those objectives and share your evaluation with the appropriate audience.