Four Tips On Using Event Technology To Revive Lagging Event Sales

Four Tips On Using Event Technology To Revive Lagging Event Sales

Originally published on Forbes.com.

We can thank today’s constant technology distractions for the heightened competition for attention at experiential marketing events. Yet the same technological advancements that divert eyeballs can provide opportunities to entertain and engage prospective buyers. When used judiciously, technology can give sales quite the boost.

Audience captively engaged.

We can thank today’s constant technology distractions for the heightened competition for attention at experiential marketing events. Yet the same technological advancements that divert eyeballs can provide opportunities to entertain and engage prospective buyers. When used judiciously, technology can give sales quite the boost.

This should provide relief for companies facing jam-packed event calendars. Globally, the meetings and events industry is estimated at $840 billion, according to a recent report, and the overall growth trajectory is projected to rise by 8% in 2020. No doubt, companies want to ensure their brands make a memorable mark that lasts well after the event itself.

That said, sparking excitement and fueling advocacy doesn’t happen without massive planning. Plus, attendees are notoriously fickle. An ounce of boredom can send their brains floating into other spaces. That means it’s more essential than ever for sales and marketing departments to cultivate high-engagement events.

If this sounds like a challenge, that’s because it is. However, the potential payoff remains huge. When audiences connect with sellers at events, they become part of the company’s history and experience. That’s one major reason we leverage the creative use of technology as a tactic every time we plan an event for our own company as well as for our clients. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Humphrey.

Being Different By Befriending Tech 

Humphrey, a lovable interactive cat my company devised, was the star of a trade show booth we designed last year. Our interactive kiosk was loaded with “hidden” technology that participants could explore (like different sensors and their applications) — all delivered through fanciful stories centered around our feline protagonist and some of his friends.

Humphrey the interactive trade show cat.

Most importantly, Humphrey kept contacts talking. It seems silly that we’d spend so much time and effort spinning tales of a fictional cat, but the technology gave sales a powerful assist. Breaking the ice is much easier when your key point of conversation centers around something completely unexpected.

The Humphrey installment wasn’t a one-time splash, either. We included a heavily curated follow-up strategy and, as a result, continued to earn impressions that kept us in the game long after our booth was dismantled.

Giving Tech A Place At The Planning Table

Whether you’re new to events or you’re just starting to sell at trade shows and conferences, make technology an essential element of planning and execution. By incorporating technology at several touch points, you can become a star player at any professional gathering.

1. Orchestrate energy. 

The atmosphere can make or break a workshop or other live session. Whenever possible, incorporate music and visuals to liven up the room and set your preferred tone. If you don’t, you’ll leave too much to chance. Sometimes, simple lighting changes are all you need to entirely alter the ambiance of an everyday room setup.

Test the screens and speakers before anyone enters the room, and have a tech crew on hand when it’s go time. That way, you can focus on delivering a dynamic presentation, free from logistical pressures and technical glitches. Afterward, let the tech crew handle teardown while your salespeople concentrate on making connections.

2. Align graphics with the story.

Presentation copy needs to match graphics throughout any event experience. If one doesn’t support the other, the message will appear off balance or downright confusing. Showing a deck or presentation? Select slides that carry your idea and draw people’s attention for all the right reasons.

Well-organized images and animations add sizzle. They also keep participants from constantly looking at their smartphones. Engaged guests won’t want to miss what’s coming next — whether that’s a visually appealing slideshow or a well-prepared presenter.

3. Augment technology with human connections.

Don’t let your technology work in a vacuum, and definitely don’t assume it’ll land a sale on its own. Instead, use technology as a conversation starter with would-be buyers.

Not sure how to begin a face-to-face conversation with prospects? Ask visitors to answer a real-time online quiz using an event-specific app or polling hardware platform. Make it a short Q&A that fuels future exchanges and capture attendees’ names, phone numbers and email addresses, if possible.

4. Follow up early and often.

Technology solutions pique interest, but they can’t hold it forever. That’s where other tech-fueled initiatives like email drip campaigns, text follow-throughs and related automated actions come into play. Ultimately, sales professionals should maximize the touch points that happen before, during and after every event.

As you explore new event venues, expand your interactions and build relationships by experimenting with varied technologies. Don’t use tech for tech’s sake. Instead, use tech as the spark to ignite sustained engagement among guests.

Live events have the potential to transform the way people think about your brand. Generate a sense of community by making the most of the technology at your fingertips. A little novelty can go a long way toward forging fans.

We can thank today’s constant technology distractions for the heightened competition for attention at experiential marketing events. Yet the same technological advancements that divert eyeballs can provide opportunities to entertain and engage prospective buyers. When used judiciously, technology can give sales quite the boost.

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