From the deployment of beacons at major conferences to the growing demand for mobile marketing to drive event attendance, the world of trade shows and events is increasingly going mobile and adopting cutting edge technologies.
To talk about the trade show and event industries, Mobile Marketing Watch recently caught Uzair Dada, CEO of atEvent, to discuss what’s up.
MMW: How would you describe the state of the event industry today? i.e. what kind of shape it is in compared to the past?
The industry has changed dramatically in the last three to five years with the increase in use of mobile-based platforms at events. Today, the majority of organizers utilize some type of mobile registration system and an Attendee app to enrich the in-event experience.
MMW: What is the role of mobile in events and tradeshows today?
Dada: Currently, most organizers use mobile for supplying event attendees logistical information about the event, share social buzz and participate in surveys. The focus is mostly on enhancing the attendee event experience by replacing the old school paper brochure. Some of the newer event technology platforms allow event professionals to scan badge cards and send emails to attendees with pre-configured content.
MMW: What are the biggest challenges that brands face when it comes to events today?
Dada: Today, event apps are focused on enriching attendee experience or scanning contact info as their sole function. What is lacking from event technology today is the ability to address the true reason companies attend and spend so much money at events – to get new business leads that drive revenue. Companies want to meet prospects at events, capture context around the conversation they had with the prospect, and follow up with them using their existing marketing automation or CRM systems. They want to gain event intelligence that answers key questions such as “did the event yield any business?”, “did we meet the right people and companies we were targeting?” and, “how does this event compare to our other demand gen strategies?” Event intelligence is paramount, both from a user and account perspective. The ability to measure efficiency across events and track interactions over time not only fosters greater and more personalized follow up, but it also brings a level of clear transparency when determining ROI.
MMW: What are some best practices that you would recommend brands implement when it comes to leveraging mobile and other technologies at their events, regardless of how big or small the brand is?
Dada: Historically, organizers used clunky badge card scanners, glass fish bowls and sign-up sheets to capture attendee information. Today, mobile apps and platforms are a key component for brands when it comes to capturing data and providing an easy to use tool for attendees to gain information. Event apps that allow attendees the ability to browse, interact and share event related information, engage with sponsors and network with other attendees are becoming the norm. Self-serve registration platforms that use tablets are emerging as a great way to eliminate frustration from long lines at events and drive a seamless flow for attendees. From a sales perspective, platforms like atEvent Event Intelligence solution contextualizes prospect interactions made by sales and marketing teams and provide insights and personalized follow-up after the event is over.
MMW: What trends will define the future of the event industry over the next 1-2 years?
Dada: At atEvent, we believe the event industry will see an even bigger increase in smarter and more intuitive event management technology. This will better address post-event interactions and allow organizers to prepare for future events with detailed prospect and account level insights. Today, there are only a few solutions in the event intelligence space that have invested in this technology, but we envision that this will be the next frontier. With a focus on post-event interactions, organizers and brands will be able to plan better and be more strategic in planning for future events they choose to attend or sponsor.