This was Akkroo’s first time exhibiting at EXHIBITORLIVE – the conference and exhibition for Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketers. The five-day educational event features seminars and workshops and the industry’s largest exhibit hall; so it was a must attend and huge opportunity for Akkroo.
Our primary goal for heading to ExhibitorLive was lead generation. We also wanted to gather new insights from the industry, and to position ourselves as the leading event lead capture solution built for exhibitors. I’m responsible for delivering Akkroo’s events programme so I was eager to meet other industry professionals and see what’s hot in the market.
Akkroo has recently gone through a complete rebrand – it was our first outing with the new brand design so we were excited to see it come to life and to get feedback from leading exhibitors and industry experts.
Overall, it was a fantastic event. Here’s a closer look at how we got on.
ExhibitorLive: The 3 day run down
ExhibitorLive took place in Vegas, next door to the Shark Reef Aquarium and the Wedding Chapel in the stunning Mandalay Bay – where else! We were staying at the MGM Grand across the road (in Vegas terms this is still a 20 minute walk or a monorail rail ride away – we increasingly opted for the latter).
You can’t go anywhere in Vegas without passing through a casino (I believe this is intentional) – so whenever we headed to the conference centre there was always an amusing reminder of where in the world we were!
We checked out the stand the day before the show started, and were delighted to see the design in the flesh for the first time.
We had our final team briefing, one last test of devices, app and integrations and were all set for the next day.
The exhibiting hours were 9.30am – 3.30pm, a tight window compared with other shows but it worked really well with a continuous footfall to the booth. As expected for a three-day show, the first day was extremely busy and seemed to fly by. We had a a steady flow of traffic to our stand, and collected 35 leads by the end of the day.
On day two we took advantage of the first ever “Tech Tour” the show hosted. This offered attendees a guided tour to visit companies in the Exhibit Hall who were showcasing technology applications, so it was a great opportunity for Akkroo to promote our app to a captive audience. We had just four minutes to grab the audience and Guy in our sales team did a brilliant job. To kick-off his talk, he asked the audience of exhibitors:
Throughout the day a number of tech tour guests returned to us to find out more and we will wait to see how many of these conversations convert to an opportunity.
Day 3 was quieter in the hall, however it was the most fruitful for us in terms of quality conversations.
I’d like to say a big thank you to Corbin Ball, who recommended Akkroo in the morning seminar “Best practices for using emerging data analytics and sales automation”. This literally prompted a train of marketers to our booth when the seminar finished.
Outdated methods are failing exhibitors
When I talk about outdated methods I mean lead capture tools like badge scanners, fishbowls full of business cards, and paper forms covered in messy handwriting. These outdated methods are letting us down, even at this event, exhibitors were paying to use badge scanners – technology that is 40 years old, and not built to give exhibitors the power to follow-up with their best leads quickly.
What are the implications of all this? Lost conversations, unqualified contacts, missing data, poor reporting and slow or non-existent sales follow ups…
Akkroo is solving this problem.
Results in realtime
After three days we collected 75 leads, with accurate contact details and that all important accompanying context that turns a contact into a lead. 59 of these were marketing qualified leads (MQLs), and 22 of them were high-priority, to follow-up with immediately.
Using the Akkroo app, all of this data could be seen in real time. Our Head of Marketing, Mike, in London could see the numbers as the show progressed and it helped us on the floor to project numbers and set realistic targets for the week. We could also prioritise leads accordingly for our sales reps through pre-determined qualifying categories.
Common pain points
We spoke to a lot of people during the show. Again and again we heard similar frustrations:
- Badge scanners aren’t available at all shows, they need one solution
- People collect piles of business cards, but no extra context
- People try and get round that by writing notes on business cards – but they’re easy to lose.
- Badge scanning is easy but impersonal. They don’t capture the emotion or context of the conversation
- Exhibitors find it frustrating, not owning the data from badge scanners. Delays to receive their lead data are proving costly
- It’s difficult to attribute revenue to different events, thanks to poor metrics and reporting
- Exhibitors need a system that actually helps their team on the show floor properly qualify a lead with questions that are relevant to their business.
As you can imagine at an exhibition for exhibitors, there’s a lot to take in walking the floor. There were some incredibly impressive stands, including event management services, trading products, event management essentials, programs and much more. It was good fun, with many fun ‘fishnetting’ methods to draw people in, like magicians, basketball games, skateboard giveaways, margarita bars and other Vegas-ly apt incentives #vegas.
The marketing slogan for the show was “Connect With Your Species,” with lots of opportunities to do this. At most shows the organisers fill the hall end to end with booths to sell, while ExhibitorLive did a great job with the ‘connection zone’. This was a space purely reserved for meeting and networking, and on the first night they held an evening for all attendees where we made a number of new friends and connections.
Ben and Guy also signed up for “Dinner With Strangers” (less frightening than it sounds) – a chance to maximise meal time for networking, instead of dining in your hotel room! Attendees could join group reservations arranged by Exhibitor at multiple restaurants for each night of the show. Again it was a night well spent, with Ben and Guy both meeting new contacts and opportunities off the back of it.
Despite the organisers’ best efforts for us book for 2019 (before we had even landed in Vegas!) we’ll hold off until we have the confidence that the show has delivered us quality leads and measurable return on investment.
So far it’s looking good: back in the office this week we followed up immediately with the well qualified leads with a number of demos already booked, and leads progressing well through our sales process.