Most of us, at one point, have wanted to be the proverbial “fly on the wall”; to have inside knowledge of what would otherwise be unknown. Not surprisingly, technology has made some amazing advances over the years that brings us much closer to being “that fly.” While it can be argued that technology can be a negative, it is not inherently good or bad. It’s merely an instrument that can be used in a myriad of ways. We all have the responsibility to use it in a positive way.
One technological tool that reaps positive benefits across countless fields is a tracking device known as Radio-Frequency Identification or RFID. While there is plenty of room for growth and improvement, it’s increasing in popularity and distribution. Many people carry around a RFID without even knowing it. From credit cards to ignition keys, they have become a part of everyday life. A RFID transmitter is smaller than a dime and can be embedded in practically anything. It uses radio waves to read and capture information that is then stored on the transmitter which is attached to an object. This information can then be read by tens of feet away by a RFID scanner. This tracking technology has been incredibly helpful for retailers when it comes to tracking inventory or tracking vehicle fleets across the globe.
Similar to a RFID, Near-Field Communication, or NFC, is another tracking tag that wirelessly sends radio signals to keep tabs on assets. Unlike RFID, it doesn’t require a special scanner to view information but has a very limited range of 4 inches. Most Android smartphones and tablets can read NFC data, which simplifies usage and minimizes expense. This provides instant access to data that comes from services, products, and people.
Data That Tells a Story
Tracking technology is proving to be very beneficial for the trade show industry. Although it might be considered a surreptitious way of obtaining information, it’s improving attendee experience and offers a great representation of what’s happening on the floor. Tracking capabilities used to be limited, unreliable, and intrusive to attendees. This is not the case anymore. The small chips can be embedded in a badge or a wristband. The improvements made in tracking methods involves very little, if any, attendee involvement. This innocuous way of collecting data has been well received by consumers. In 2013, Disney, one of the world’s most beloved companies, rolled out their version of a RFID tracking device called the MagicBand. The bands have skyrocketed in popularity while others try to emulate their success.
The benefits of using attendee tracking go beyond knowing who is coming and who is leaving the showroom floor. It demonstrates to Show Management what’s working and what isn’t. This invaluable information will provide you with the knowledge to improve ROI and refocus efforts on what attendees gravitate to. Sponsors and other companies will be more willing to invest money in your event when they are presented with the data that shows how valuable their marketing can be.
Tracking attendees provide you with a variety of intelligence. Since attendees engage at different levels, this badge tracking technology will provide you with the following insights.
Attendee interaction data tells you which booths received the most traffic. This can help exhibitors pinpoint what is attracting visitors so they can improve their traffic numbers and customer experience. Not only will you be able to analyze attendee trends, but it can also give you the leverage to sell booth space with heavier traffic for more.
Length of Visit
In order to get an accurate picture of exhibit productivity, you need more than a popularity ranking. RFID will track the length of time attendees spend at the booths and workshops they visit. If a booth receives lots of traffic but the length of time spent at the exhibit is low, it’s important to investigate why they are experiencing a high bounce rate of visitors. It may be that the content wasn’t relevant to attendees, or it could be that the level of personal engagement was lacking. The longer attendees engage at a particular booth, the more likely they are to feel satisfied with the interaction.
Workshops are a great way encourage attendee participation and introduce new concepts. By tracking movement, you’ll know which workshops are beneficial and which ones are just taking up valuable real estate without any advantage to you. Having insight into how well the workshop schedule is handling volume allows you to tweak the timing in order to get a better balance between attendees in workshops and on the show floor. If a particular educational workshop garners large crowds you can schedule an encore session to satisfy demand.
Another feature that live attendance data provides is the ability to know who is visiting a particular exhibit or workshop. By providing broad demographics, it allows an exhibitor to know if they are reaching their target audience. Such quantifiable information gives exhibitors a better grasp on the success of their marketing strategy. Such data is indispensable when it comes to creating strong customer connections.
Security and transparency are of the utmost importance when implementing a monitoring and tracking system. People are generally open-minded and accepting when it comes to new technology if they are presented with the facts and have the assurance that their information is safe. It is important that attendees know that their information is not shared with outside sources and does not pull credit card information. Attendees can be rest assured that their boss won’t be notified if they didn’t begin making the rounds until 10 am because of a late night on the town.
Chapter and Verse
The data-driven approach to the operational side of business creates efficiency in an event industry that needed innovation. Show Managers can have access to the entire story with quantifiable data at their disposal. They can focus on what has been successful and work on areas that need improvement. RFID can have a causal effect of increasing value and customer satisfaction while gaining repeat attendees and attracting leading exhibitors. With the help of this growing technology, the trade show environment can be better than ever.