This is a sponsored post written by Nishita Jain, Sr. Digital Marketing Director, a2z. More information about Event Manager Blog’s sponsored posts.
To attract newer audiences, to keep bringing back attendees, as well as to provide higher value to exhibiting companies, show organizers need to adopt advanced digital matchmaking and networking solutions.
The nature of face to face business events has changed radically in the 21st Century. Though still instrumental in bringing people in an industry together and thus driving innovation and economic growth, almost everything about how such events are organized has been transformed by sophisticated digital technology. Time and capital are at a premium, while competition for potential participants’ attention is fierce. Given this ground reality, the presence of smart solutions to provide an immersive experience and derive higher ROI from event participation can be the deciding factor in the overall success of a business event.
If your event is still relying on old-fashioned, paper-driven techniques for connecting exhibitors with matched attendees, then you may be under-serving your industry without quite realizing it. Here are the key reasons why show organizers need to provide an enhanced digital planning and networking experience at their business and professional events.
Attendees come to trade shows to stay updated on industry trends, see the latest technology solutions in action, and find new products and services that meet their business requirements. They also look for new introductions, forming stronger connections with current and prospective suppliers. In all probability, a majority of your repeat attendees are buyers or decision makers for purchases. Finding their best exhibitor and product matches, and scheduling appointments are increasingly the most popular features demanded by such attendees. Moreover, with innumerable demands on their time and attention at the face-to-face event, they want to start planning and connecting with exhibitors much earlier in the show cycle.
If your event caters to a substantially large range of segments and categories, then it can be a huge challenge driving meaningful traffic to exhibitors’ booths and justifying their investment in your event. Technology can help you speed up the matchmaking process, ensuring that attendees can find exhibitors serving their product interest, and exhibitors can get qualified leads among registered attendees who have buying or decision making authority. Once their matched attendees are engaged, exhibitors can also send them personalized invitations to special events in their booths on the show floor.
Technology has permeated almost all aspects of the event attendance experience. This is not a trend, it’s a reality. Nearly all attendees come to the show floor with a digital device, and they are progressively more comfortable using these onsite to find their way around, identify the booths they plan to visit and communicate with exhibitors before heading their way. If your event website and mobile app come equipped with fast, effective search, matchmaking and appointment scheduling tools, then you are creating a truly compelling and successful experience for your event participants.
The growing number of millennial professionals who are also buyers and decision makers at business events means there will be a higher rate of attendees who are early adopters of technology. The rise of social and professional networking means that though they may be new to the face to face networking milieu but they are already savvy at connecting with their peers online. For this section of your audience, the experiences and emotional connections that they form through their own interaction matter more than relying on a brand’s past reputation. This means that show organizers will need to fulfil their expectations by providing more engaging memorable moments online, during the search and planning stage itself.
For consumers, opportunities are endless but productive time is increasingly scarce and memories are short-lived. There are numerous demands on your potential participants’ attention and resources. To thrive in a highly competitive and distracting environment, show organizers have to extend the year round visibility and audience engagement with their brand. By keeping the networking tools active on the event website, and opening up extended networking opportunities for attendees and exhibitors after the live event, show organizers can actually extend the long term value of their brand.
Event organizers who implement the latest advances in matchmaking, networking and scheduling technology will experience the highest rates of success in engaging their audience, and in providing higher participation ROI to them.