As CEO of an event technology company, it goes without saying that I attend a lot of events, large and small. Having been on both sides of the booth, I’ve seen it all: fishbowls brimming with business cards, branded beer koozies and mousepads, and event technology that runs the gamut. Across all these events, one thing remains clear—the event industry is booming.
A SiriusDecisions study found that 30% of demand creation budgets for B2B companies is poured into events. That’s huge! As we enter the second month of 2018, I am excited about what’s on the horizon. From experiential exhibits to cutting-edge lead capture automation, 2018 will be the year that technology really comes into its own at events.
As part of a trend toward making exhibits more engaging, virtual reality is attracting more visitors to booths and providing countless opportunities for connection by enabling speakers, exhibitors, and attendees to interact remotely. Artificial intelligence will soon be used to process attendee information in real time, allowing booth staff to qualify leads on the spot. The future is here, and it’s high-tech.
This is exciting stuff, but there’s still more work to do within organizations to get the most out of these efforts. Historical siloing of Event Planning, Marketing Ops, and Sales has conspired to leave countless leads on the table. Technology that helps draw attendees to the booth often stops short of documenting the booth staff’s interactions with prospects. So many conversations—from the mundane to the meaningful—are not being captured. Without interaction context or information on how the sales team should follow up, how useful is a list of names?
The technology exists to allow these teams to plan for, capture, and use the lead information to dramatically improve the sales process. Organizations just need to get their teams working together to break down the barriers that keep them from taking advantage of it.
At the same time, technology is not being used to its full capability in the attendee check-in process. It’s still common to see event attendees standing in endless lines to pick up a lanyard and badge—despite having pre-registered online. The technology is there to make long lines and badges things of the past, but the industry as a whole is struggling to move past the archaic processes it’s relied on for so long. Event organizers need to break out of the mold and take full advantage of the tech available to them.
We’re upping our game in the coming months with new releases of our atEvent Central platform and atEvent lead capture mobile app—making it easier for organizations to capture and analyze the information that matters most to their sales process. We’re also working on ways to fully support our users with GDPR compliance when it goes into effect this May. So keep an eye on our blog for more event industry tips, trends, and news throughout the year.
Hope to see you out on the event floor,