How Behind-the-Scenes Technology Shapes the Exhibition Life Cycle [Part 1: Before]
Event organizers bring like-minded people together to create invaluable, lasting relationships, and with the prevalence of digital communication channels, connection opportunities inspired by your event can begin well before the event date hits. The exhibition life cycle for organizers stems around the ultimate need and the means used to manage the event to drive awareness, acquisition, engagement and retention.
Consider the show being broken into three different parts: the before, the during, and the after. Before the show can include a prospective exhibitor hearing about the event online then contacting or requesting more information via forms or emails leading up to the registration process (ideally). Most commonly those things are done online. And although there is importance to the forward-facing aspects of this online technology, there’s more to it than that. How you use technology behind-the-scenes can greatly affect the overall experience one might have with your event. [Check back to learn more about the during and after!]
Digital should do more for you than promotion. Just because you have a website that lists out the details of an event does not mean the in-person and digital worlds are properly blended.
Digital for Business
Put all assumptions aside, because if you’re anything like me, when someone uses the term “digital,” you naturally think of social media, websites, apps and the like. What I would like to focus on is digital for business in a way that transforms your entire business model. Digitization is the digital transformation of analogue information and communication, spanning from an event organization using software to run events to webinars or live streaming, and much more. Technology is incredibly intelligent (sometimes scarily so) but there are aspects of human intellect that can never be replicated: creativity, empathy, ethics, motivation.
When an exhibitor calls in to purchase a booth, what is your standard process? Perhaps the information is written down manually with the intent of transferring it into an Excel file at a later time (because someone has the file open on their machine)? Maybe you send the inquirer a form that must be downloaded, printed, scanned, and emailed back?
Put technology to work for you, and allow yourself and your staff the opportunity to focus on the irreplaceable human aspect of your business: relationship building. According to a survey of over 2,500 event professionals from around the world, Xing (a professional networking site commonly used in Europe) found that more than 75% of respondents using digital event management solutions say they saw an optimization in their event management processes as a result of the transition. As a software company that specializes in event management, we know a thing or two about how software has the ability to allow your staff to concentrate on things more important than data entry.
Take it from Gerald Bose, Chairman of the European Chapter at UFI and President & CEO of Koelnmesse GmbH, who said, “After all, digitization is not solely a matter of technology. Never before have we had such good opportunities to orient ourselves to the needs of our exhibitors and visitors and to use digitization to optimally shape the points of contact between our customers and our trade fairs and services.”
The digitization of our industry is an efficiency driver and should be implemented throughout your business practices.
Behind the Scenes
Although it is important to effectively promote your events, digital technology can have an impact that is not public facing at all. We’ve seen it time after time where companies or organizations would rather invest in public-facing solutions for marketing as opposed to their back-office solutions. We get it--and we love to create the stunning front-end sites and apps as well. However, when your staff can focus on the things that truly matter to the show, the time you spend building personal relationships and working on marketing tasks grows, and the ROI for your event will be naturally compounded.
Not to mention, there’s major up-side baked in for all of your stakeholders. Staff members will be happier doing what they were hired to do as opposed to dual data entry and petty, time-consuming tasks. Exhibitors and sponsors will benefit from streamlined communication when all of their information is hosted in one specific location. Check-ins and follow-ups become less necessary, and everyone who puts money into your show can rest easier knowing that their needs are being met.
In parts 2 and 3 of this blog series, we’ll review how behind-the-scenes technology shapes the “during” and “after” portions of the exhibition life cycle. In the meantime, we’d love to hear from you about your behind-the-scenes exhibition technology needs, so please don’t hesitate to contact us.