Over several years of creating interactive digital games for event producers and trade show marketers, we’ve evolved our business model towards configurable digital trade show games, because it provides far greater value to our clients, and makes both of our lives easier.
We used to do mostly custom programming, creating one-off solutions that required weeks if not months of work, 5-figure budgets, and a lot of late nights and weekends. After years of stress, we realized that we could change the way we serve clients by building a game platform where choices and customization was done via a simple interface, not programming.
People come to meetings and conferences for lots and lots of reasons. Here is my list of 20 reasons people come to conferences – in no particular order:
- Learn best practices
- Learn new skills – How to’s
- Learn about new trends
- See a vision of the future
- Listen to a “Star” speaker
- Earn continuing education credits
- Get new ideas
- Try new concepts
- Listen to industry experts
- Gain inspiration – from networking with peers in the industry
- Meet new people
- Re-connect with old friends
- Share war stories (stories of difficult challenges overcome)
- Share your experiences
- Meet with like-minded people
- Become re-energized as you become part of the larger whole
- Discuss common problems
- Realize that you are not alone with your thoughts and opinions
- Meet with several suppliers or customers in one place
- Had to go – the meeting was mandatory
Why do I think this list is important?
I like to look for “hidden” insights that might help me change my perspective and challenge me to think differently. If I can learn something new that changes my perspective – then I might be able to come up with better recommendations, new solutions, etc.
For example, once this list was assembled, the following words jumped out at me: Try, Share, Meet and Discuss. To me, these are action words used by people that like to engage in dialogue at conferences. They are not the words of people that want to sit and be entertained for 8 hours.
In a recent study, 60% of trade show booth organizers said that “Closed Sales” is their #1 measure of success at their event. Yet, there are many, many more ways that meetings add value beyond revenue generated. How are you measuring the business value that your meetings and events create for your organization?
In MPI’s Business Value of Meetings research, they identified 41 different metrics that can be used to help you measure and track the business value of your meetings. Take a look at the list below – you might be able to find a few new metrics for measuring your success:
So you see, there are many more ways to measure the business value of a meeting beyond sales (which was still the first item on the list!). Most likely, some of these are measurement metrics you had not previously considered — yet are metrics you now find viable. Perhaps now you can demonstrate even greater value from your meetings than you thought!
Event technology, event apps and audience response apps are offering several new and improved ways to create conversations with your audience.
Here are some of the things you can do: poll, play, create, capture, share, vote, survey, comment and smile. Yes, smile, because you can share photos too.
With all of these capabilities at your disposal, here are 10 ways you can use event technology to create attendee engagement experiences
1. Energize Sessions & Create a Conversation
Caffeinate your audience by adding polling, interactive Q&A and online discussion to your conference session.
Trade show games are not all just, well, fun and games. They also help solve serious business problems, such as capturing data about your trade show leads that was getting lost before.
Here are 6 familiar challenges with getting all the data from trade show leads that we repeatedly hear about from our clients. After that, we’ll talk about how interactive trade show games can help you capture that data.
Challenges With Trade Show Leads Today
1. Stacks of business cards slow down lead follow up
I don’t know anyone that wants to go back to office after the show and enter stacks of business cards, right? Yuck! Nobody wants to do that task. And if you are that someone, you’re a saint. Because it’s a slow, boring job. You want to follow up with hot trade show leads as fast as possible, but stacks of business card slow you down from starting your sales and marketing follow up process. That allows your digitally-savvy competitors to reach your common prospects first.
While we are proud of how strong the technology is behind our interactive trade show games, we fully understand that it isn’t the tech alone that makes them so successful. What makes our games and contests really gather a crowd, and keep people engaged, is how well our games play on peoples’ very human emotions.
I’ve witnessed how people, individually or in groups, react when they play our games and contests. I’ve seen players in the thrall of these 6 emotions again and again:
Attendees get jazzed when they play our games. It reminds me of a Las Vegas craps table when the dice are hot. Groups of friends shout, dance around, and cheer as they really get into the games and contests. This is especially true when they are playing our Virtual Prize Wheel, and they win a big prize.
Several years ago, I was in Norway giving a presentation and using interactive Q&A for the first time in a conference. Previously, I had always used the microphone for my presentations. On this day, we had a new event technology that had a Q&A feature.
I discovered very quickly that if everyone had a chance to ask questions they would do it. I received dozens of questions via the interactive Q&A app.
Second, I learned that people were more willing to ask questions via the technology than stand up in front of the room with microphone.
The concept of a Social Media Wall in of itself has great potential: Gather up all the relevant social media output around a company or organization at a trade show or special event, and put it on display for interested attendees to see! Yet, clever design and execution are required to get the full value.
Here are 11 things that SocialPoint has built into the design of our Social Media Wall Event Displays, so that exhibit and event marketers can make a bigger impact:
1. Bring Content to Life
Instead of just showing content with traditional templates, we created templates that transform your attendees thoughts, ideas and photos into fun designs. Most companies are able to find a design template that fits their event theme or brand design.
Our Challenge Bar Trivia Game is perhaps our most popular game. Trade show attendees love to play trivia to test their knowledge, compete with friends, and win prizes. And we’ve made it easy for trade show exhibitors and event marketers to host this crowd-gathering activity in their booth, with our easy-to-customize software.
But while our technology is easy, the visuals bold, and the crowds eager, it takes some strategy in formulating the questions to get the best results.
Here are some guidelines when you are organizing and writing Challenge Bar Trivia Game questions: