QR codes and iPad drag exhibitors out of the dark ages

The Event Production Show, at Olympia in London, is the exhibition for exhibitors, so you’d expect it to be at the cutting edge of event technology. But this is a world first.

“Can I scan your badge,  Sir?”  Doh!!

Traditionally the “badge and lead retrieval” systems provided by the event organisers are stuck in the dark ages. It is normally a bar code on a plastic badge and then each exhibitor has to rent a bar code scanner. When a delegate wanders onto a stand, their barcode is scanned and if any notes are taken they are laboriously pecked out on the miniature keyboard. At the end of each day they return the barcode reader to the event organizer to get the leads off it.  Whilst this is a profit center for the event organizer it is a horrible experience for the delegate and exhibitor, and labor intensive for the event organizer. Don’t want to pay? No problem. The alternative is paper.

Result; Unprofessional, inaccurate lead information, poorly followed up leads, wasted paper.  An expensive way to waste 2 days standing around. And no way of quantifying the benefit.

“80% of leads gathered at a show are not followed up.”  -Center for Exhibition Industry Research (ceir.org)

Which is why the Event Production Show has embraced the latest technologies. 

Screen Shot 2013-02-05 at 10.18.50As delegates arrive they have their badge printed with a QR code that encodes their name, company, job title and a host of other information. No wasted badges for no shows, or handwritten ones for walk-ups. Before the show starts, exhibitors can download and install Marketpoint Tradeshow iPad app. They can create a centralized set of customized questions for their show workers. When a delegate walks onto the stand a show worker scans the QR code on the badge with the camera. The app interprets the data and creates a lead record and then steps through the pre-defined questions. Once finished the record is sync’d to the cloud and is shared with the other iPads on the stand.

What is even more powerful is that the app can also hold marketing brochures as PDFs which can be presented to the delegate and then emailed directly from the app to the delegate. This eliminates printing brochures, flyers and datasheets that will never be read and that often fill the waste bins outside Olympia, or are junked after the show.

Finally, there are some great analytics that can be gleaned from the app as it syncs data from all the iPads on the stand; busiest times on the stand, most popular marketing materials, most effective person on the stand…..

Result: effective lead follow up and a true assessment of the effectiveness of the show

Overkill – we only have 3 people working our stand

Now most of the stands at the Event Production Show have fewer than 10 show workers so some of these analytics may seem overkill. But some of Marketpoint’s customers, such as Caterpillar, have shows where they have over 100 staff working the stand for 5 days. For them the analytics are gold dust.

No matter what the size of the exhibition  or the exhibitor’s stand, leveraging the QR code technology with the Marketpoint Tradeshow iPad lead retrieval system is just a better way. Cleaner, slicker and more professional.

Welcome to the future of exhibitions.