One of the most exciting things about the exhibition space, is how the experience is increasingly being determined by the attendee. Or, should I say, the participant. No longer is attending an exhibition or trade show a ‘voyeuristic’ exercise, where people walk the aisles while exhibitors sport their wares, and technology is one of the best facilitators of this.
Sadly though, there are still a couple of hangovers from the ‘fax machine’ era of event technology that won’t go away. The worst of which is the still-way-too-common – exhibitor badge scanner.
Has this happened to you? You are walking the exhibition floor, when you pause for a moment, to take in a particular stand, only to hear those famous last words… ‘May I scan your badge’. No prior questions. No attempt to understand what caught your eye. (And isn’t it a little awkward when you sheepishly hold out your badge, all the while thinking, I am NEVER going to answer this person’s emails). While not every interaction is like this, it still happens far too often. Even for people who are legitimately interested in an exhibitor products or services, it is a one dimensional transaction. What is the value for the participant? Exhibitions are about meeting people and understanding their interests and objectives. It is not purely a numbers game.
Luckily there is a sea change, as a host of technology sets to push the nature of lead generation by letting the participant determine what they are interested in, and letting them opt in, thus leading to more qualified business. While a lot of this tech is not new per say, it is increasingly being adopted; giving far better value for both exhibitors and participants alike. An example is NFC and RFID smart cards, which are integrated with registration and participant accounts, and enable participant’s to collect digital exhibitor information such as brochures and documents by touch. At the same time the participant leaves a digital business card for the exhibitor. Smart devices such as the Poken interactive USB allow for networking by exchanging a digital business card via touch, meaning more qualified lead generation and higher ROI. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Meeting check-ins, gamification, the list of opportunities for organizers to create more engaging experiences goes on.
So store your badge scanners alongside your VHS player, check out some of the more engaging options out there, and put the power of engagement into the hands of your participants. Your exhibitors will thank you for it.