Jan Isakovic, CEO from Storesense Expo explains why venue owners, event organisers and exhibitors are entering a new phase of engagement.
We all know just how important events are. They are big business and rightly so. They provide a unique marketplace for human to human contact, something that is still hugely cherished despite the attractions of the online world. You only just have to look at the success of tech startups like Eventbrite and Meetup to see how much the opportunity to network in real-life is still cherished.
So, with a booming industry, there is an understandable demand to answer the perennial questions when it comes to event evaluation. Given their sheer complexity, there has long been a need for a method of evaluation that is reliable and non-intrusive. With outlays ranging from an average of $22.32 per square foot for a tailored stand and $100-150 for a custom built one (Tradeshowinstitute.com), the need for justification could not be more poignant.
Removing the complexity and outdated evaluation measures
Before we can go into the solutions, it is first important to run through the failings of current measures. Of course, people have been trying to solve the issue for a long time. Everyone is familiar with the experience of having clicker counters natter away on entrance and also have their badge scanned rather awkwardly when moving from one stand to the next. It also doesn’t take too bright a spark to work out that these are unreliable and time consuming. Paradoxically, they also add another significant cost on top of what they are trying to solve.
Often, their evaluation comes down to face to face conversations with key personnel after, combined with sketchy and hastily completed feedback forms. These are all time consuming, inherently risky and take the focus away from core priorities. Instead, they should really do the opposite. They should guide their success and help to hone every activity in preparation for each event.
A new wave of events powered by visitor analytics
So, you can breathe a huge sigh of relief and hopefully feel empowered at the same time. Transforming the industry instantly, venue owners, event organisers and exhibitors can evaluate every decision through location based Wi-Fi analytics. Unlike previous measures, statistically reliable data is collected on more than a third of attendees without any disruption at all. Regulated by EU privacy laws, data is collated whether or not they are signed up to the event Wi-Fi, so long as they have Wi-Fi running on their phones.
The sophistication in understanding the need not to pester attendees is also played out in the way that the data can be interpreted. Wrapped up into a carefully constructed report post event, any stakeholder (be it event organiser, venue owner or exhibitor) can receive a tailored business report with actionable recommendations from the key metrics applicable to them. Additional opportunities are then delivered to either deepdive into the data or make changes during an event with a customised online portal.
A new future for events
Explaining how something works is never as interesting as thinking about its impact. For event organisers, the lengthy sales cycles will be reduced dramatically, enabling them to use knowledge of the best performing stands to attract the best exhibitors. With greater revenues, event organisers can spend more on attracting greater attendee numbers, of great benefit to the exhibitors. For exhibitors, as well as being able to justify their success and instantly pull poor performing brand interventions, they can start to think about innovation.
Precise data provides an amazing opportunity to think rapidly improve event sophistication. Knowing which spokespeople are best suited to the stand environment, knowing whether to spend money on promotional gimmicks and evaluating whether to focus on sales or brand engagement can all be assessed.
What is very clear is that events have remained a very strong feature in the calendar for many years. This is only set to accelerate over the coming decade as the any nay sayers vanish and those dedicated to their performance suddenly have all the power at their fingertips.
About the Author
Jan Isakovic first started investigating the use of Wi-Fi for retail and event analytics while working as head of analytics services at a networking specialist. This interest then continued over a number of years throughout positions at a mobile operator and a large regional enterprise platform vendor. He and his co-founders then began work on Storesense Expo in 2013, before moving to London at the start of 2015 to focus on the UK market.