How the CompTIA “ChannelCon” Hybrid Event Keeps Growing 4 Years In A Row

CompTIA ChannelCon Hybrid Event Studio

Four years ago, CompTIA contacted Interactive Meeting Technology/SocialPoint to help them deliver their first online event. The goal was to deliver an online, educational event to at least 100 attendees and have them remain online for at least two sessions.

CompTIA had nearly 1,000 registrants and over 300 attendees that first year.  Four years later, their attendee numbers have skyrocketed to well over 4,000.

This is how we did it, through a strong collaboration between us, the vendor, and an engaged and motivated client team.

Two Audience Profiles Sparks Two Online Channels

The first thing IMT/SocialPoint did was ask CompTIA who their attendees were, what they wanted from education and what was important to them. CompTIA needed to deliver two full days of content, on one platform, with two channels playing simultaneously and to distinctly different audiences: business attendees and technical attendees.

Online Experience Keeps Attendees Engaged

ChannelCon Online had four key engagement components:

  1. Engagement Tools: We provided a mix of tools for speakers to use to engage both online and onsite attendees.  Speakers had the option of offering session polls and surveys with real time responses displayed for both audiences. We also encouraged speakers to submit at least 3 discussion questions to increase audience interaction. The engagement tools offered speakers a way to connect with 1,000’s of attendees from across the globe. The trivia game focused on hot industry topics and content delivered in the educational sessions. Not only was this entertaining but it reinforced the main educational concepts we wanted to highlight.  We also displayed a Leaderboard with the top 20 winners worldwide which provided friendly competition. The mix of tools ascertained we were not just recruiting attendees but retaining them year after year.
  2. Continuous Programming: One of the main goals is for attendees to remain interested and logged in long-term. To accomplish this, we delivered content based on attendee profiles. When one session ended, another one began immediately. We had a back-up in place for sessions that ended early.  We had short videos or triggered the trivia game to provide a constant flow of information and entertainment, ensuring an optimal viewing and learning experience.
  3. Exclusive Content. We created a studio program which included exclusive content with a host that guided attendees through both days. The host provided commentary on keynote sessions and conducted interviews with executive staff and presenters after the educational sessions.  Having a “familiar” face deliver constant information, explanation and conversation keeps the audience updated and energized for what’s coming next. CompTIA also developed pre-recorded, commercial-type videos and slide shows that played during the breaks and between sessions to ensure a smooth delivery of consistent information, without static or blank screens for the online viewers.
  4. Content Channels: The content was organized into two channels based on the attendee profiles. When one session ended, a feedback form was prompted while we loaded the next session behind the scenes. This prevented potential frustration from attendees having to search for what session to watch and where to access it. There was a technical track and a business track, making it simple for attendees to find what they were looking for.

Defined Team Roles Drives Success

Pulling off a successful online event takes a village. Integrating it into your organization requires obtaining buy-in at all levels of your organization: Education, Meeting Logistics and Marketing take on the most important roles in successful online event execution.


Content is planned around the interests of audience profiles. Educational topics are confirmed months in advance and then the studio show and exclusive content are built around the educational sessions. Continuing Education Credits (CEU) proved to be a large draw for getting people to log on. However, the educational sessions had to remain intriguing or people would not stay. During the sessions, we have staff that monitor discussion forums and continuously add topics that encourage interaction. he greatest number of responses come from questions that hit attendees’ frustration, fear or bragging buttons. Attendees build positive camaraderie when they have a forum where peers post recommendations for common problems and share solutions with each other.

Meeting Logistics:

    1. Support CompTIA has phone and email support staff who manage inquiries from registrants and attendees. CompTIA prepares for the influx of questions that revolve around two main areas: technical support (browser issues, slow connectivity, log-in issues) and CEU-related questions (what sessions qualify, how to apply credits online, etc.).  There are two CompTIA staff dedicated to responding to 1000’s of questions that come in those two days.  FAQ sheets and standard response emails are created for them to send rapid replies.  Creating a plan to handle large amounts of questions ensures a great customer experience and is key to high satisfaction scores in post event surveys.
    2. Q&A Moderators Each room has an assigned moderator with an iPad queued for each session. The moderator is responsible for capturing the online audience questions and asking them in the room for the onsite speaker and audience to hear. There are between 300 and 400 questions asked each year. A webinar-based training session is delivered a week prior to the live event for all speakers and the staff moderating Q/A so everyone knows how to use the tools most efficiently.
    3. Technical Operations CompTIA uses Mediasite and SocialPoint to deliver their livestream. Mediasite is used for content capture and livestreaming. The SocialPoint platform wraps the Mediasite player in a branded portal that delivers content, manages log-ins, measures audience engagement (speaker Q&A, polling, discussion, and trivia game) and tracks CEU eligibility and credits.


Marketing provides the platform branding and graphics. The event marketing plan includes the creation and deployment of event invitations inclusive of instructions for logging in, where to go for assistance, CEU (continuing education units) information, highlights of the agenda, sessions and speakers.  It also includes subsequent reminder emails for potential and current registrants.  The final reminder right before the event begins is crucial as it previous reminders often get lost or buried. The final reminder includes the link and log in details in the beginning of the email. This ensures anyone who wants to get on quickly has everything need right in front of them. It is also beneficial to attach an FAQ page with tips for avoiding browser issues, details on using engagement tools such as discussion questions, polling, the trivia game (include information on prizes), etc. The social media plan is also imperative for pushing out key messaging before the event, posting live footage and quotes during the event and providing information on how to access archives and resources post event.

The Results: A Hybrid Event That Keeps Getting Better and Better

ChannelCon Online attendance has grown considerably since it first began. The event started with 300 attendees and has soared to over 4,000 attendees in just 4 years. Each year we add something new so the platform remains fresh and engages attendees that are new or returning year after year.

This year, the new feature we added was an online trivia game that could be played during breaks.  It also served as our Plan B. If sessions ran shorter than expected, we triggered the game to play, keeping attendees informed and entertained. The onsite attendees were also able to play on iPads displayed in prominent areas (near registration and designated member areas). Over 1,500 attendees played more than 3,500 SocialPoint games and answered over 55,000 questions!

Processes That Lead to Success

If your online event is not getting the results you expected, review some of the processes here. Make sure you have the proper staff in place and plan months in advance.  Here are some of the top ways to prepare and execute a successful online event:

  • Profile your audience
  • Develop content around your key profiles
  • Establish a marketing plan inclusive of a strong social media campaign.
  • Integrate audience engagement activities such as discussion questions, polling and a trivia game.
  • Create incentives for people to register and stay online (CEUs, prizes, etc.)
  • Assign Q&A moderators onsite
  • Provide training to speakers and internal teams on platform and tools
  • Make sure educational sessions are recorded, edited and made available on-demand
  • Create a survey for event feedback
  • Analyze processes post event and document ideas and improvements for the future

Praise from the CompTIA Client Team: 

We are highly satisfied with our relationship with IMT/SocialPoint. The service and tools they provide are exceptional. The IMT/SocialPoint team is with us in the early event planning stages, they are with us on site and are instrumental in providing easy-to-understand, thorough analytics for us to use post-event.  The production, the platform and the engagement tools are of highest quality to ensure we deliver a state-of-the-art experience for online attendees.”

Blythe Girnus, Senior Manager, Education, CompTIA

“IMT/SocialPoint becomes part of our event team for our online event and takes the responsibility to ensure a seamless and entertaining audience experience as seriously as our own team does. They accommodate the unique needs and challenges our Association faces.  They go out of their way to learn about the audiences we serve and make recommendations that are impactful and easy to implement.”

Lien-Anh Van Wagener, Senior Director, Events and Education, CompTIA

“Working with IMT/SocialPoint is a collaborative effort that brings together several of our internal departments for several months to deliver one of the largest virtual events in the IT industry. Our attendee numbers increase substantially year after year, and our ideas for new tools and requirements are always met with a positive and rewarding solution to continue making things better.”

Kelly Ricker, EVP, Events and Education, CompTIA

If you’d like to see how you can create more engaging and interactive content using the wide variety of choices within our SocialPoint Audience Engagement System, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate greater attendee engagement at your events.

10 More Ways To Increase Event Attendee Engagement With Event Technology

10 more ways to engage event attendees with event technology

Last March, I shared 10 ways you can use event technology beyond polling to create more attendee engagement.  Recently I gave a webinar on attendee engagement and came up with 10 more ways, which is good, because your event audiences continue to expect more engagement!  Here they are:

1. Display and Accelerate Social Conversations

Display and accelerate social media conversations at events

At a large event, you can accelerate the social conversation by putting attendee social media posts on big visual displays. When you showcase social media messages on a big screen, attendees will naturally be more motivated to share more of their own social posts, because they want to see their own message up on the big screen, too!  The more they post, the more brand reach your event. You need big screens to make this happen.


2. Blend Comments from Live & Virtual Attendees

Blend Comments from Live and Virtual Event Attendees

In a hybrid meeting (a face-to-face meeting with an online audience as well) you can integrate the responses from the virtual and the face-to-face attendees into a cohesive experience. You can combine live and virtual attendee comments and poll results so that your speaker who’s there on stage can weave all that together, and better engage both audiences in real time.


3. Blend Social Messages with Brand Messages

Blend Event Social Messages with Brand Messages

In a lounge – turn social media into décor to tell your event’s social media story. In a social media lounge you can let attendees visualize social conversations alongside your brand conversations.  And frame up both the social and brand messages in a beautiful environment so your event is elevated and your brand is too.


4. Capture Shareable Attendee Moments

Capture sharable attendee moments at events

At your experiential event – capture customer experiences for attendees to share with friends.  This is like the photos snapped of roller coaster riders – they are too engaged with a special activity to take a picture. So, help them out, take the pictures, capture the moment, and then make it easy for them to share those fun pictures, with their comments (and your event name) on social media.


5. Create a Private Social Media Hub to Receive & Rank Ideas via Touchscreen

At Sales Meetings and Events - Create a Private Social Media Hub to Receive and Rank Ideas via Touchscreen

At your sales conference – create a “private” social media hub to share ideas and content among employees.  This is especially useful for highly regulated industries such as healthcare and finance.  You can have employees share their ideas via messages that look like social media messages, but are kept private to your event.  Other attendees can view them on big touch screens and vote on ideas they like best.


6. Select Employees for Questions with Virtual Prize Wheel

At Company Meetings - Select Employees for Questions with Virtual Prize Wheel

At an all-employee meeting – use a virtual prize wheel to get attendees to “Come on down” to the front of the room to answer questions.  Instead of putting prizes on the wheel, you put employee names.  It creates some drama and fun, and they get excited when their name pops up.


7. Welcome Attendees with Social Content on Massive Video Wall

Welcome Attendees with Social Content on Massive Video Wall

At a big conference or convention, use a massive video wall to welcome attendees. It’s important to them.  We have lots of events where attendees take selfies or have a friend take a picture of them on the social media wall.  They say, “I want a picture of me that I can tweet of me on the social wall!” Your attendees like to be seen as special and you’re satisfying that need.


8. Turn Event Social Media Posts into a Contest with Leaderboards

Turn Event Social Media Posts into a Contest with Leaderboards

Social media leaderboards are another powerful way to drive greater social engagement during your event.  You can rank people based on who has the most posts or shared photos or retweets or several other metrics.  Make your attendees a winner and they will love that and you get your event content spreading further.


9. Digital Document Delivery at Company Expo

Digital Document Delivery at Company Expo

In a company expo – encourage exhibitors to share digital documents, rather than paper brochures.  This will save you money on printing costs and supporting your CSR initiatives. Those digital documents won’t end up in the hotel room trash cans, either.


10. Promote Messages to Customers with Digital Games

Promote Messages to Customers with Digital Games

In a customer event – reinforce key messages by connecting attendees to content through games.  One client asked attendees to play a trivia game about industry trends during an opening reception.  They discovered the attendees only knew about the old, fading trends, not the new transformative trends.  So the vice president referred to that contradiction in their general session. They learned from the audience and created a massive conversation.


Increasing audience engagement at your events is achievable, especially when you combine great ideas with proven event technology. I hope you put one of these 10 ideas to good use at your next event!

If you’d like to see how you can create more engaging and interactive content using the wide variety of choices within our SocialPoint Audience Engagement System, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate greater attendee engagement at your events.

MEA Quickly Adapts To New Marketing Strategy With Easy SocialPoint Trade Show Game Platform

Interactive trade show game for MEA with happy team and great exhibit signage

New Marketing Goals Prompts Desire for New Interactive Trade Show Game

When Midwest Energy Association (MEA), a consortium of energy delivery industry organizations, decided in 2017 to completely change their go-to-market strategy, they decided to retain SocialPoint games – but with a different SocialPoint game to fit their new goals.

“We had success in 2015 and 2016 using SocialPoint’s Challenge Bar Trivia game,” said Lindsay Robertson, MEA Marketing and Communications Director. “The Trivia game worked well to attract and retain attendees, when our goal was to present everything we offer.  But, in 2017, we made a strategic shift at trade shows, so we needed a different approach.”

MEA narrowed their marketing strategy to focus on their leadership training offerings, as there is such a huge demand to train new leaders because of the massive retiring of the Baby Boomers.

“Our goal this year was to more quickly profile and qualify our booth visitors, to enable discussions with the most qualified visitors, and to facilitate reaching out post-show with new leads from the show,” said Robertson.  “We asked SocialPoint for a game that would achieve those goals, and they delivered.”

SocialPoint offered an “Instant Win” version of their Virtual Prize Wheel game where, rather than spin a virtual wheel to reveal their prize, instead their prize award pops up on the screen.  MEA’s game was called “Try Your Luck To Unlock The Truck.”

To promote the game, MEA displayed two iPad kiosks, plus “a large graphic of the tailgate view of a truck, the common place our clients have ‘tailgate meetings’ in the field,” said Robertson.  The graphic attracted booth traffic, and signaled to attendees that MEA understood how they worked.

Interactive trade show game for Midwest Energy Association

Easy Digital Interactive Game Helps Booth Staffers Prioritize Time For Higher Quality Leads

The game has been very successful at doing exactly what we wanted from it,” said Mark Bechtel, MEA Training & Tradeshow Coordinator.  “We get attendees into our booth, get all their info at the show, and then we can easily reach out later via email to contact leads after the show.”

Added Robertson, “Our booth staffers really like how simple the Instant Win game is, because they don’t need to babysit someone to show them how to use it – attendees just walk up and start playing.  Attendees were happy to win our prizes, and some came back to play again.

“Best of all, while the game boosts MEA awareness and gathers lead data from all booth visitors, our booth staffers are freed up to have longer conversations with more qualified leads who already shown interest in our new leadership training offerings.”

Trade show attendees playing interactive trade show game in the MEA booth

SocialPoint Platform Allows MEA to Make Changes, Market to Leads Post-Show

Bechtel is pleased with the control the SocialPoint game platform gives him. “I have enjoyed working with SocialPoint’s game platform.  It lets us handle logistics with minor changes easily without any issues. I find it easy for me to make quick changes to the on-screen verbiage and the ratio of winning players. The app is great to play around with and to have that control myself.

 “We have used the ‘Try Your Luck’ game at 6 events so far, and will likely use it for 3 more,” said Bechtel. “The game has been great to use in different events – we use it at any time, at any purpose event, wherever we are.  We can try it out with any type of audience or booth.  And since this game costs less than the Challenge Bar Trivia game, we can afford to use it, even at events with only a couple hundred people.”

“Plus, the game allows me to easily be prepared for post-show success.  I can export a spreadsheet of all my trade show leads so far.  And, I can easily add on another unexpected trade show, with some simple changes on the app, so post-show I can separate out those new attendees. It’s really easy.”

Added Bechtel, “Due to our long sales cycle, it’s still too early to calculate our ROI, but with the improved leads and engagement using this game, we are confident we did well.”

A new marketing strategy didn’t mean MEA had to get a completely new digital interactive vendor.  “It was a blessing to work with SocialPoint,” concludes Robertson.  “We came to them with some out-there ideas, yet still needing an affordable solution. They helped us find a great, customized solution in a very short amount of time.”

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

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How To Combine Gamification with Content and Experiential Marketing

Gamification Content Marketing and Experiential Marketing Combined For Trade Shows and Events

Pardon the sports metaphor, but our interactive trade show games are a marketing buzz word triple play!

If your marketing department has plans to implement Gamification, Content Marketing, or Experiential Marketing, 3 of the hottest trends in B2B marketing today, you can get the benefits of all three at once with our interactive games.

Let’s look at how our digital games are at the convergence of all 3 trends:

1. Gamification

According to Wikipedia, “Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts …. to improve user engagement …”

Improve user engagement? What trade show and event marketer wouldn’t want that!

And according to trade show industry research from CEIR, gamification is a powerful, yet underused tactic for exhibitors to drive traffic and increase engagement.

Games are best when, like ours, they allow attendees to walk up and start playing intuitively.  And play they do! They get pulled into friendly competition, with their friends, colleagues, and surprisingly often, against their expectations of themselves.

Our games motivate them to enter your booth and stay rooted to the spot, providing lead and contact info about themselves and their company needs, in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize or demonstrate their level of expertise.

That’s awesome gamification: attendees are so motivated to play, they enter in their own lead data!

Plus, our games provide feedback while attendees are playing about how well they are doing, so when they are in jeopardy of losing, they reach out to your booth staffers to get help – and start a conversation that gets you closer to another trade show lead. This happens much more than you would think.

You can even make a competitive game out of attendees’ social media engagement at the trade show, and give your company a more modern image at the same time.

So, our games allow you to win at the Gamification of your trade show program!

2. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is arguably the fastest-growing B2B marketing method today, with 35 times more marketers planning to produce more content than less, according to a 2017 survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

A key part of Content Marketing is that you teach prospects with content that is valuable and relevant to them.

Most trade show visitors don’t realize before they enter your booth how relevant and valuable your company can be to their success.  But that all changes when they try to win prizes and beat their friends while playing our Challenge Bar Trivia Game, and in the process answer dozens of questions about the advantages of your company and products.

Your booth visitors get immersed in learning about your company, and it’s your content that makes the magic happen.  Your attendees are motivated to learn what makes you better, and in the process, advance further in the buying cycle.

It’s Content Marketing at its best.

3. Experiential Marketing

According to legend, in the good old days, trade show exhibitors only had to pop up a display, stand by the aisle, and a parade of buyers would march into their booth.

It was never really that easy.  But it is true that, thanks to their ability to find product info easier on the Internet, today’s trade show attendees are more in control of the buying process.  And they know it.

So, to get attendees out of the aisle and into your booth, then get them to stay there longer, and then to remember what they learned there, you now need to create an experience.  Something that engages more of their senses and emotions. Something with an element of interactivity that requires them to participate, not watch passively.

This is exactly what happens when exhibitors use our interactive trade show games.

Attendees get pulled into your booth because they see our innovative game visuals and the prizes they could win. Once in your booth, they are fully engaged while playing, sometimes enjoying it so much they return multiple times. They become emotionally involved with their performance, feeling joy, envy, frustration, greed, and more.

Some attendees get so motivated to succeed, we’ve heard of some going back to their hotel rooms to study!

So, our games create an experience that attendees will remember when your sales people follow up on their leads after the show.

Gamification, Content Marketing, and Experiential Marketing are all growing marketing strategies for getting more engagement with your target audience.  You don’t have to choose just one to pursue at your next trade show – with SocialPoint’s interactive trade show games, you get the benefits of all three!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

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What Is Audience Engagement For Events?

what is audience engagement for events

At their best, events are an explosion of content and ideas where we craft meaningful stories and create community.

However, events are also where we too often load everybody up with as much coffee as we can give them and then send them into a big, dark room with rows and rows of chairs to watch the CEO’s presentation up on a big screen!

Most attendees stop paying attention after 10 minutes

As an event professional, you probably know that most attendees stop paying attention after 10 minutes! We polled event professionals at a recent webinar, and 85% of the participants knew that attendees lose their attention after just 10 minutes.  And yet, so many meetings don’t seem to take that key fact into account when creating their conference content and agenda. (Read 20 reasons people attend conferences)

Lecture and listening are the least effective forms of knowledge transfer and learning

Better than sitting and listening is when people get to talk about something or when they get to do it, those are the best forms of learning. So even just creating conversation in your event, where people get to talk and they get to show that they’ve understood the content or can assign meaning to it verbally, that’s a good form, but also more importantly, they can do something.

We all learn from the mistakes we make, that’s the most effective form of learning. But in an event, we can’t always get people to do stuff. We do have to do some kind of role-playing or trial and error or try some other techniques. (Read – How to Prepare Speakers to use Audience Response Apps for Greater Attendee Engagement)

Yet, we ask attendees to listen quietly for 4 to 6 hours per day at the average conference

Also, I want you to think about this — not only do people stop paying attention after 10 minutes, but we ask attendees to stay quiet in their chairs for way more than that.  If you look at your conference program and your educational sessions, you’ve probably have several blocks of educational content. You’re going to see that you’ve got people sitting and listening for four to six hours!

And so, the challenge I have for you is to see what can you do inside those blocks to change that from a listening-only educational session, to one with different, better types of engagement.  If you can even find 10 or 15 minutes or some activities that you can put into those education sessions, you’ll transform your program dramatically. (Read How to Manage Interactive Q&A with an Audience Response App)

What is the definition of audience engagement?

A lot of people use the word “engage.” Everyone is saying “engage this,” “engage that,” and they share lots of statistics, some dubious. I saw one company saying, “Hey, if you click on the agenda of an event app, that’s engagement!” I don’t think so but let’s see what the definitions are, according to the Cambridge Dictionary.

Skipping the number one definition of engagement (which is about getting married), engagement is the act of being involved with something or the process of encouraging people to be interested in the work of an organization.  That’s engagement. How do we apply that to events?

We have all these attendees in our event, and to better understand them, you could probably do demographic research and discover how many Boomers and Generation Xers there are, and males and females, and how many people are buyers and sellers, and lots of other types of demographic analysis.

But what I want you to take a look at is a tool we use for looking at attendee behaviors, rather than demographics. It’s something we adopted several years ago from the book Groundswell and have modified it to suit our needs.

consider event attendee behaviors when seeking greater engagement

We have the attendee behavior in the left column, and next to that is a description of their behavior. (If there’s one image that you should right click on and save it for later, this is it! Do it right now; this is the one.)

So, if you think about what a Creator is in an event space, these are the people that make things. You probably have met people that, if you give them a blank piece of paper, they can create something amazing.

But you’ve also met people that critique rather than create.  For example, if you’ve worked extremely hard on a 40-page report or an analysis or a presentation or whatever it is, and you show it to them and they in turn tell you why what you made was the worst thing in the history of the world. (I bet you are thinking, “Yeah, I’ve been there before,” because you have run into a Critiquer.)

What’s interesting is you’ve got Creators that will create stuff from scratch, but a Critiquer, they need something to start from. They can’t start with a blank piece of paper, they need a base to launch off. They build off of an idea. So, you’ve got to think about those folks as attendees.

There’s also the Collector. This is the person that wants to run around and visit all the booths and try to collect everything, be it buttons or glasses or whatever.  But notice what the chart says: They’re motivated to collect a set of things. This is a mistake I see people make all the time is put on scavenger hunts but give people points. A collector doesn’t care about points! They want to collect a set. They want to say, “I did it! I want my accomplishment of collecting everything!” That’s what makes Collectors happy.  So, consider how you would engage Collectors in your event.

Attendee types are also Sharers and Joiners and then of course, the Spectators/Inactives. Now let’s admit it, there are people out there that will do everything they can to avoid participation. And it’s okay, because some people just need to observe.  It’s okay to acknowledge that they’re not going to do something.

So, these are your behaviors and if you were to break down the activities that you create in your event by these behaviors I bet you would find some gaps and opportunities at the same time. Opportunities for you to kind of change your event and think of some new things to try to appeal to these different folks.

Attendees need to take action

If you’re going to create something to appeal to these different types of people what kind of action do they need to take? These are some action words that I think help: ask, answer, poll, rank, vote, play, capture, collect, display, share. And yet, nowhere in here is “sit and listen!” These are things you want people to do and so if you as you’re building a program if you don’t have these types of action words in there you need to figure out how to get them. (Read 10 Audience Engagement Ideas Beyond Live Audience Response Polling)

You need to provide feedback to your attendees

Now taking action is one element, but there’s a second element that’s super important and that’s providing feedback. When I participate and ask a question, you better answer my question or acknowledge that you received my question. So, if your attendees send in 50 questions, you need to say, “Today we’re probably not going to be able to answer all 50 questions, but we’re going to do the best we can to answer these now and we’ll get to the rest of you later.” That’s something your attendee should expect as a commitment.

interactive technology to increase event audience engagement

There are ways to provide that feedback continuously and automatically with technology. You can show your attendees a polling result, or a Word Cloud, or a live Social Media Wall.  A Social Media Wall shows attendees where the social media conversation is and can help increase calls to action.  Sometimes people don’t think about their individual Tweet as having a role in the bigger picture but they will when they see your event’s social posts on a social media wall.  Or, putting photos whether it’s social media or private social messages on a big screen, people love that, they also like leaderboards. Similarly, a Trivia Game leaderboard can really drive your engagement. People love to see their name in lights and they want to see their picture. They may even want to see their picture more than their name!

So, as you create activities to increase engagement, consider both the actions they should take and that you need to provide feedback. (Read 10 New Ways To Visualize User Generated Content)

Rather than stuffing people into rows of chairs for hours on end, remember that what your event goal is — to create audience engagement. If you can in turn your attendees into active participants and create conversations, you’ll succeed. And hopefully this article has given you new ideas and different technology ideas to change how you think about planning for your audience.

If you’d like to see how you can create more engaging and interactive content using the wide variety of choices within our SocialPoint Audience Engagement System, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate greater attendee engagement at your events.

THE GAME GUIDE: New E-book Helps Exhibitors Make Their Interactive Trade Show Games Even Better

New e-book THE GAME GUIDE: The SocialPoint Guide To Interactive Trade Show Games

We wrote the book on successful interactive trade show games. And you can have it for free.

THE GAME GUIDE: SocialPoint Guide To Interactive Trade Show Games, is a 52-page book you can request by clicking here.  This new e-book can help you:

  • Understand better how interactive trade show games can significantly boost your trade show marketing results
  • Gain insights into the key drivers of success in implementing your interactive trade show game, so you are even more likely to have a great first show
  • Tailor your interactive trade show game to best fit your marketing goals, whether you want more booth traffic, greater engagement, client education, better lead management, or more sales.
  • Drive even more booth traffic through pre-show and at-show promotions
  • Train your booth staff to derive full value from your games

THE GAME GUIDE contains solid advice for any exhibitor considering interactive trade show games – not just ours.  Whether you are considering your first game, or have already used them for years, this e-book will give you new insights that will ensure your next game is even better.

That’s because the e-book contains excellent advice for you, no matter where you are in the process of considering and selecting an interactive game as an activity in your trade show booth.

THE GAME GUIDE is divided into 4 sections.  The first and largest section contains 7 articles filled with many tips that apply to any interactive trade show game.  The other 3 sections have 2 to 3 articles with specific tips about trivia games, virtual prize wheels, and social media walls & contests, which are also popular SocialPoint interactive games.

Request your copy of THE GAME GUIDE today, and take a shortcut to implementing the crowd-stopping and engaging power of interactive games to improve your trade show marketing results.

The Game Guide - The SocialPoint Guide To Interactive Trade Show Games - request at end of blog post

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Looking for Interactive Booth Ideas? 5 Ways Digital Trade Show Games Are Your Best Idea Yet

Interactive booth ideas for sophisticated trade show exhibitors

If you’re like many exhibitors we talk to, you’re done with doing a dull trade show booth.  You want your booth hopping with the action and engagement that comes with an interactive experience.  That’s why you’re on the hunt for interactive booth ideas that help you get people talking.

But while there are lots of ways to make your booth more interactive, unfortunately they won’t all help your company advance its trade show and marketing goals.

Here are 5 criteria for choosing a trade-show-marketing-driven interactive booth idea – and how our digital trade show games meet them all:

1. Create excitement & attract visitors

The best interactive booth experiences are so fun and exciting, it’s obvious to people as they walk down the trade show aisle, and so they feel compelled to enter your booth and get involved. And as more people come in, they create a snowball effect, because a crowd attracts a crowd.

Our digital trade show games do just that. People line up to play, because they want to spin the wheel, win a prize, be the leader, compete against their friends, show their expertise, and test their knowledge. Your booth will be busier than most with our games.

2. Bring booth visitors and staffers together

A good interactive booth idea brings people into your booth, a great one brings them together. An activity that helps initiate and facilitate a conversation between your booth attendees (who are often shy about talking with your booth staffers) and your booth staffers (who sometimes come across as too aggressive) advances the buying cycle and gets you closer to taking a lead, rather than merely entertaining them.

When attendees play our Challenge Bar Trivia game, they end up asking for (or not refusing) help from booth staffers on questions they are not sure about.  As the attendee and the booth staffer work together on answering the trivia questions, a relationship is formed, which makes it so much easier to turn the conversation towards how your company can solve their business problems.

3. Help promote your brand and marketing message

We’ve heard of exhibitors who lurch at the first interactive booth idea proposed, because it sounded novel and fun. Sometimes it was a mistake, because they didn’t ask a key follow-up question: Will this activity not only be fun, but also be consistent with our brand, and help promote our marketing message?

We know this because that’s what we’ve designed our digital games to do.  We promote your brand by creating bold visuals that are customized around your brand colors, fonts, images, and messages.  And going even further, when attendees play our trivia game in your booth, they learn whatever you want them to learn about your company and its products.  So they have fun, and absorb your brand at the same time.

4. Require less effort to set up

Trade shows are notorious for requiring attention to a thousand small details to succeed.  And by adding an interactive activity, you have increased the number of potential details significantly. That level of detail is especially needed if you choose a digital interactive activity, which more and more exhibitors are doing, to demonstrate how modern their brand is.

Until a few years ago, we built interactive digital activities for event marketers one at a time, writing new code to create our games.  But we’ve made it easier for you, because we built out a game platform that allows us to configure digital games, rather than code them from scratch.  That means we can build you a digital trade show game in less time, for less cost, with less risk, and less effort on your part.

5. Gather lead data for post-show follow up

This is where many interactive booth ideas simply fall down.  They may be fun, they may get your message across, but they were never envisioned to also gather contact and qualifying data about your booth visitors, and then leverage that new data for personalized follow up after the show.

Yet, that’s what we’ve done with our digital trade show games. Your booth visitors give you their contact info – and even answer qualifying questions – to play our games.  Then, after the show, you can easily export the lead data, to then send follow up messages to your trade show leads, and even tailor your messages (and your level of follow up) based on info the game gathered.

As the person responsible for your company’s trade show success, you’ve already graduated beyond the average by seeking an interactive booth idea.  Now, go to the head of the class by using our digital trade show games that not only provide a fun experience, but also create dialog, promote your brand, ease your workload, and faciliate better post-show lead follow-up.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

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J. J. Keller Takes 1,100 Leads At SHRM 2017 Using Challenge Bar Trivia Game, Nearly Double Their Goal

J. J. Keller nearly doubled their lead count goal with Challenge Bar Trivia game in their 20 x 20 SHRM 2017 booth

Challenge Bar Trivia game a good match for meeting J. J. Keller’s trade show goals

When Mike Monson, Senior Trade Show Specialist for J. J. Keller, wanted to boost attendance to his booth at one of his top 3 annual shows, he found more success than he expected with the Challenge Bar Trivia Game from SocialPoint.

As a leading supplier of workplace regulation compliance products and services, one of J. J. Keller’s top 3 markets is Human Resources, which for many years means exhibiting at SHRM in a 20 x 20 booth.  “We’ve exhibited at SHRM for a long time because SHRM is very influential in the Human Resources market,” said Monson.  “This year our goal was to reach as many attendees as possible.”

Monson knew that to increase his booth traffic and lead counts, he needed to do things differently.  “We needed a fun and challenging activity that would reinforce key points about J. J. Keller,” recalled Monson.  “While researching possibilities, I found SocialPoint, went to their website and thought, ‘This looks cool, it’s just what I want.’”

While SocialPoint offers several games for trade show exhibitors, Monson discussed their goals and audience with SocialPoint, and decided upon their Challenge Bar Trivia Game.  Monson explained, “Trivia offered good interaction time, reinforced our messaging, was fun, and for competitive individuals, it provided a challenge to get their names on the leaderboard.”

Results with Challenge Bar Trivia Game nearly double their pre-show goal

The game exceeded Monson’s high expectations. “While our pre-show goal was to get 600 attendees through our booth, we ended up with 1,100 visitors – nearly double our goal!” said Monson.  “Right away during the first day we had great traffic and meaningful engagement.  I was nothing but happy, thinking, ‘This is working out better than I hoped.’”

Monson added, “It didn’t take long that there were attendees lined up to play the game.  People would play the game as teams, even strangers!  How they interacted with each other was very fun, all the while the game reinforced several points about us we wanted people to leave with.”

And not only did Monson get nearly double the number of attendees, J. J. Keller had even more visits, because people kept coming back.  “I was amazed at number of attendees that played the game over and over.  Many came back each day.”  By the end of the show attendees answered nearly 5,000 questions – and learned more about J. J. Keller’s products and advantages in the process.

JJ Keller trivia winners at NSC 2017

Trivia game created dialog and interaction with booth staffers and attendees

The Trivia game not only brought in attendees, it helped facilitate meaningful conversations that converted into leads.  “The game allowed our booth staffers to start conversations with every attendee,” said Monson. “When a person was struggling with answers to the game, our staffers occasionally gave hints, building on the player’s own knowledge base, to get to the right answer.

“When a player got a question wrong, our staffers would hear an audible ‘ding’ from the game, and even shy people, once they got two wrong, it would crack the ice, and they were then more willing to accept our booth staffers’ assistance.  By the time they finished the game, our staffers were talking with them.  There would be a little down time between each question, so our staffers would ask what they were looking for at the show, and if we can help them.”

The show was a success from start to finish, even on the traditionally slow last day.  “There were very few times we did not have all 6 iPads with an attendee playing, and a booth staffer helping them. They were full most of the time.”

And even if people did not play the Trivia game, they were drawn in to become lead opportunities.  “Crowds draw crowds, so our booth staffers interacted with some attendees who became leads, even though they did not play the game.”

J. Keller leveraged attendees’ answers to Trivia questions in their post-show follow up

Monson continued to get more value from the Trivia game, even after the show.  “I sent a follow-up email to all attendees, that said something to the effect of, ‘By the way, these are the top 10 questions most frequently incorrectly answered by your fellow SHRM attendees.  These J. J. Keller products have the correct answers, that you could be using or posting at your company.  And for a limited time, you can get a 30-day free trial of our FMLA guide.’” Thus, Monson used the results of the Trivia game to demonstrate to his SHRM leads that they truly needed J. J. Keller’s products and services.

Mike Monson and J. J. Keller will use Trivia Game again

Monson is all-in on Trivia: “The Challenge Bar Trivia game worked so well at SHRM with our HR market, we will use the trivia game in our 20 x 20 foot island booth at the upcoming National Safety Council Show to help us with the safety market, another of our big three markets.

“I will likely try other SocialPoint games in the future, but for this summer I am happy with Trivia.  The other SocialPoint game modules may be better for other business models, but my market has many required regulations, and Trivia is a perfect fit to engaging this market.”

Smooth experience working with SocialPoint

While the results of the Trivia game were exciting, the experience working with SocialPoint was fortunately less stimulating.  “SocialPoint is very easy to work with,” said Monson.  “They were thorough, professional, and a good value.  They understand their product really well, and have enough experience with it, that when they predicted what would happen with the game in my booth, they were spot on.”

JJ Keller trivia game in island booth 2017

“Wait, I Don’t Need to Rent a Badge Scanner for My Booth Anymore?”

Costly trade show lead capture and badge scanners can be a thing of the past with our new Lead Manager app

Almost all our clients come to us because they want to use our interactive trade show games to get more booth traffic and more attendee engagement.

So it comes as a surprise to them when they find out about our new Lead Manager App, which comes for free along with our popular Challenge Bar Trivia game and Virtual Prize Wheel. And they are especially surprised how the free Lead Manager app can replace the lead retrieval badge scanners and lead capture apps they have to pay for.

The conversations usually go something like this:

(Me): “So, you have decided to get our Challenge Bar Trivia game, which will gather lead info that your booth attendees enter into the iPads as they play the game.”

(Client): “Yes! We are excited to have an activity that brings in traffic and gets attendees to enter in their own data!”

(Me): “That’s great!  By the way, we just introduced the Lead Manager App, a free companion app to our game, so your booth staffers can gather even more qualifying data on your leads.”

(Client): “Well, that sounds interesting, but we have already reserved the badge scanner from the show.”

(Me): “If you’ve already got the badge scanner reserved, that’s too bad.  You could have saved the $600 to $800 you are spending for a badge scanner or the show’s lead capture app, and even saved more if you get more than one badge scanner.  Because our Lead Manager app is free with our Trivia game.”

(Client): “Well, we figure we need the badge scanner anyhow.  To get the contact info from the leads.”

(Me): “Actually, you really don’t need the badge scanner anymore.  Because you already have the attendee’s data from the game.  The attendees gave you their names and contact info to play.

“Even better, just by getting the attendee’s email address, our Lead Manager app automatically brings in the attendees social profiles (photo and links to Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter profiles) AND their company profile (address, industry, number of employees).

“Plus, your booth staffers and managers can view all that combined lead data in real time, while in the booth.  And after the show, you will have all the data – from the game players, and from the staffer-taken leads – already in one place, combined.”

(Client): “Okay, this really sounds like a better way to go – we can save money not having to rent a lead retrieval device or app, our booth staffers can take higher quality leads, plus we get all the data combined during the show and after the show.”

(Me): “You got it.”

(Client): “Wish I knew that before I rented the badge scanner.  It’s too late for us for this show, but let’s discuss adding the Lead Manager app to our interactive game for our next show.”

(Me) “Sure thing!  And you can get an even better deal by asking about annual pricing, which costs the same, no matter how many shows you use our game at or how many booth staffers you give the Lead Manager app to.”

That’s how these conversations are going.  I hope since you are reading this that you can avoid paying for the badge scanner or show’s lead retrieval app, and just get our free Lead Manager app for your next show, when you use our interactive trade show games. You’ll avoid paying for a badge scanner or show’s lead capture app, and get combined lead data from our games and your leads, in real time.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

How to Promote Your Virtual Prize Wheel For Even More Booth Traffic

Promotional tips to get more trade show booth traffic with your Virtual Prize Wheel

When you include a SocialPoint Virtual Prize Wheel in your trade show booth, you’re going to get more booth traffic.  People will be attracted to the cool-looking, moving digital screens, and the chance to win prizes.

But hey, if you’re like most exhibitors, you want even more traffic! To get it, follow some or all of the following 7 steps, to more aggressively promote your prize wheel game:

1. Signage

Use bold, large text in your exhibit graphics above where the game is played (either on a flat screen monitor or on one or more iPads) to let passing attendees there’s prizes to be won! “Spin To Win” or “Play To Win” or “Win A Free ______,” if you are giving away a significant main prize. Consider using color in the graphics that makes these words stand out from the rest of your booth.

2. Large Flat Screen Monitor

It’s really attention-getting when a booth visitor hits the button to make that Virtual Prize Wheel spin, when the spinning prize wheel is seen on a large flat screen monitor.  It creates a bright, colorful, moving impression, which becomes even more impressive on a bigger monitor.

3. Multiple iPads

The more iPads you have lined up on a wider counter, the more it will be noticed by trade show attendees.  While some exhibitors may only have one iPad when in a 10 by 10 booth, in larger spaces we’ve seen as many as 5 iPads lined up on a counter, creating an intriguing visual that’s hard to pass by.

4. Crowd Gatherers

While you (and most of your booth staff) may feel uncomfortable reaching out to engage trade show attendees as they walk by your booth, there are professionals who gladly will do so.  You can hire Crowd Gatherers that have no problem starting a conversation with people in the aisles.  During a trade show they will ask hundreds of passing attendees “Would you like to spin to win our grand prize, a ______?” And a lot of them will say yes!

5. Location in Booth

Our trade show games have been used in many different booth sizes.  In the larger island exhibits, our games are only one part of their entire campaign, with other areas for presentations, meetings, and demos.  You’ll pull more people into your booth if the prize wheel is featured near the aisles with the most booth traffic, so attendees can see game, and especially other people excitedly playing and winning.

6. Pre-Show Email

Before the show ever happens, you can be promoting your Virtual Prize Wheel with arguably the best tool for bringing in more traffic: Email. You can send an email inviting people to come “Spin To Win” in your booth, and list all the great prizes they could win.  Use your own email prospect database, and if possible, rent the best segments of the show’s attendee list.

7. Pre-Show and At-Show Social Media

You can get people excited to come play your Virtual Prize Wheel game by promoting it on your company’s Social Media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.  Tell them the prizes they can win before the show, and then publish messages with photos of prize winners (holding their prizes!) during the show.  Be sure your messages include the show’s hashtag, so more people at the show see your messages.

Try these promotional ideas out!  They’ll make it easier for attendees to discover that you’re hosting a fun activity in your booth that could award them prizes. The more of these tactics you do, the more traffic you’ll have in your booth.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.