Using Data to Enhance Trade Shows and Events

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We are in the ‘Age of Information’ Collection. From government to marketers to social media, data is being collected everywhere we go and enormous data centers are continually popping up to store it. When used, and used correctly, data can be very beneficial. For instance, personally I use a Fitbit to track, establish and work from a baseline for sleep time, workout time, heart rate, calorie burn, weight, body-fat, etc. Professionally, I use a CRM to maintain sales analytics and various web applications to monitor digital marketing efforts. Utilizing the data from these things has allowed me to tailor my future efforts to what has proven to be most effective.

This certainly isn’t anything new for marketers, especially those versed in SEO and digital marketing in general. For whatever reason though, it seems to fall flat for many when it comes to live events like trade shows.  Why is this? Well, you have to have a way to capture, and you have to have a way to get people to opt-in to giving their information. This isn’t nearly as easy in a routine human interaction as it would be in a digital setting. It can also be harder to capture information over a long sales cycle. For example, the call is initiated with a customer at a show, but the deal closes eight months later.

What follows lays out for you the most important areas to measure and what tools can aide in doing so:

What data can and should be tracked at trade shows and events?

Leads – this goes without saying, but track those that are interested in your offering. Get as much information as you can about them and their company (name, company, title, company size, product of interest, expected purchase date/amount, etc.).

Sales – if you are selling on the floor, find out what, how much, by who, to who and when.

Spend – track all costs associated with each event. Hotels, flights, meals, booth, sponsorship, marketing, promo items, etc.

Assets – if you’re running multiple different displays, or maybe just different graphics, analyze which is more successful

What is of interest? – track product samples, brochures and e-literature and find out the most popular items from your offering

Show Information – attendance, demographics, competitors, comparative years, location nuances

What tools are available to assist in tracking this data?

Lead Retrieval – leads can be captured in many advanced forms these days. A simple badge scan can offer a whole host of information about the individual, their role, their company and even a basis for qualification

CRM (Customer Relationship Management) – Stores data and information captured from customers and prospects, and tracks the life-cycle of the sale.

Booth Staff Tracking – there are several programs available now that will track the efforts of your booth staff. Who is getting the most leads? Sales? What products? One person may do more in an hour than another over two days.

Reporting Apps – there are many apps/programs that offer reporting on total spend, budgets/actuals, revenue, profit, items used

E-Literature – besides allowing you to eliminate paper flyers and brochures and all of their associated costs, e-literature applications allow you to track which articles/brochures are most requested by clients. You can usually also gain data like email clicks, time on a website etc. from the outputted email.

Aggregate the proper data and use it to run a most efficient campaign. Know, quantitatively, that you’re using your best sales staff and best graphics at your best event. Know which shows, which staff, which locations and maybe even which products to cut from shows. Measure your campaign for use when pitching internally for added budget, or defending the dollars currently being used. Having the data can be a major competitive advantage for both the individual using it and the organization they represent.

Contact Us to learn more about the tools available for tracking event data.