1997 the pinnacle of event technology?

Are you looking at trade shows, events and exhibition leads the wrong way? While digital marketing has led the way and supercharged the traditional tenets of marketing with advanced segmentation, nurturing, profiling and targeting; lead capture at events has ignored best-practices post-1997.

One thing is for sure. If you aren’t making an effort to quantify your business decisions, your competitors are.

Conventional Wisdom:

Everyone at the trade show is a lead and should be captured.

Proposal:

You don’t treat every website visitor like that, why do trade shows differ?

The view that anyone at the trade show is a lead is outdated. Marketing has moved on from mass, generic targeting to a more accurate, tailored approach.

Take social pay per click (PPC) as an example. When you launch a LinkedIn advertising campaign you don’t set the audience to everyone on LinkedIn. You take the time to build your audience.

Using targeting options and parameters including industry, job title, seniority, location etc. You aim to filter out bad fit companies and individuals, focusing on your ideal customer profiles.

Once you have a relevant audience defined you then create an advert or some content that resonates with that audience.

Account Based Marketing, remarketing, personalisation, PPC, the list goes on. Modern marketing channels and activities are set up so you can accurately target. “Spray and pray” has gone the way of dial-up modems!

Yet at trade shows, you try to capture everyone that walks by your stand. Why? You’ve done your research to pick a good-fit trade show but you know that not everyone in attendance falls into your target audience.

Consider the following example.

  • You are a leading provider and manufacturer of X-Ray film technology.
  • You have decided to exhibit and showcase your products at ECR Vienna, the European Society of Radiology’s annual conference.
  • You know that key decision makers and procurement professionals from your target audience will be in attendance.
  • You also know that junior medical professionals will be attending. These do not form part of your target audience.

Yet you’re told to collect everyone’s details. This is not how thoughtful, intelligent 21st-century businesses run their events.

Why do businesses attend events?

I speak to businesses every day about events and exhibiting. The common reasons for attending include brand visibility, research, because the competition goes, we’ve always gone… but the most popular reason? Lead capture.

Unfortunately, event lead capture at a number of businesses suffers from vanity. Where the quantity of leads captured, not the quality is prioritised. Exhibitors on the show floor are scanning every badge that walks by, filling fish bowls with business cards and scribbling potentially huge deals on napkins.

In 2017 you will have applied sophisticated analytics and filters to attract good-fit customers to your beautiful website so your sales team are speaking to the right people. Yet, at trade shows, this same best practice isn’t followed. At Akkroo, we believe this is partly due to the broken lead capture process but importantly, there needs to be a mindset change within your organisation where quality is emphasized over quantity.

The logical next question is the lead capture process – business cards in a fishbowl, paper forms (handwriting eekk!) and glorified barcode readers – broken? Here’s a short video to help you find out more about what a modern-day Event Lead Capture solution is and does:

Why is lead capture broken?

Upcoming GDPR regulations will hit business card acquisition. Barcode readers aren’t connected to your marketing stack.

Follow-up can take weeks. What are your competitors doing in that time?

What kind of first impression does that leave?

This doesn’t mean that your sales reps should be reactive and wait for these great-fit prospects to put their hand up, but it does mean your event leads should be scored and qualified at events.

You are having invaluable face-to-face conversations with potentially great-fit customers and you’re not capturing these conversations, or they are lost to poor handwriting. No more.

Using an integrated Event Lead Capture solution will allow you to apply the same standards from digital marketing to trade shows. Do you really think in just 2 years time event lead capture will still be stuck in 1997?