“Actionable” is the keyword for trade show data, according to Jimmy Abraham, chief operating officer of event technology solutions provider enVu. “The trend is collecting data, but it’s important to set goals before the trade show to generate insights you can act on,” he says.
Event organizers looking to justify trade show expenses can use data to get a better picture of what’s working—and what needs work. Here are seven predictions to help you get the most out of trade show data in the coming year.
1. GDPR: Far Reaching on Both Sides of the Atlantic
General Data Protection Regulation will have global implications for trade show data collection, predicts Peter Gillett, CEO of Zuant, a GDPR-compliant mobile lead capture app. “There’s more to this than meets the eye,” he says. “It’s not just a right to be forgotten—it’s a right to be erased completely.”
The legislation applies to worldwide collection of EU citizens’ data. According to Gillett, the key aspects are:
- obtaining opt-ins to store personal records for the purpose requested
- being able to fulfill a request to show data activity and when consent was provided
- being able to erase all contact data
The main thing is to approach the rules with positivity. “There’s so much hacking going on these days, it’s good practice to have customer data in one place and to know what data you have and where it was generated,” Gillett says. He sees GDPR as good marketing practice, and most of Zuant’s clients agree. If you ask contacts to opt in, and ask how they prefer to hear from you, it gives a more personalized relationship than putting them on a mass-mailed list.
Even though GDPR-compliant software can handle the opt-in process, it’s important to understand the regulation. “You need someone knowledgeable in place, even if you don’t have an official data protection officer as required for EU organizations,” Gillett says. “You need good software that centralizes data and activity across all devices, and you need a good approach, but this is a positive thing if approached the right way.”
2. Expect Interactive Experiences
Interactivity is the buzzword for booth displays, says Karin Roberts, director of marketing for Chicago-based The Tradeshow Network Marketing Group. She sees digital touch-screen devices that play games or showcase products as a way to draw passersby into booths.
Roberts frequently recommends the HYPEBOX as an eye-catching way to showcase products. “The HYPEBOX is like a shadowbox; it displays a physical product inside the box and tells a story about it using digital content on an LCD display in front,” she says. “It works particularly well for high-priced products. You can lock the product in the box and bring it to life using interactive content on the screen.”
It also works well with large products: You can showcase a mini version and then develop a presentation using the HYPEBOX. Roberts’ clients typically use it for two to three larger shows each year, so she recommends renting; her team hires experts to program it, install it and ensure everything runs smoothly.