By Matt Coyne, Commercial Director at GES
According to recent research on exhibitor advocacy, exhibition organisers share the same customer satisfaction levels as banks.*
Knowing that your exhibitors potentially see you in the same negative light as a financial institution can have a real impact on your event’s future.
We know that exhibitors who have a successful show are satisfied customers and ultimately will rebook. But how can we make our exhibitors happier?
Will they like what they see?
Many organisers have dropped the traditional ABC audit, instead preferring to expect their customers to trust the numbers published in their sales brochure. There is a real fear amongst organisers that prospect exhibitors won’t like the numbers and are therefore a bit vague, or even worse, a bit creative with the expected attendance are promoting.
But it’s like promising your kids Disneyland and ending up with a cornetto on Margate Beach.
Managing expectations appropriately from the beginning of the sale will ultimately improve your overall exhibitor satisfaction. And remember, your competing for marketing spend up against digital channels such as PPC and social media advertising, where the user gets complete transparency on their spend and up-to-the-minute feedback on the success of their campaign.
These are the expectations of the modern marketer.
So how, as organisers, can you use the data and insight you already have to provide value to your exhibitors and, how can that data help affect exhibitor relationships as opposed to just monitoring them?
Useful and relevant data
As organisers, we collect a vast amount of data.
The show floor, combined with data you hold on your exhibitors and visitors is your most powerful selling tool and it’s relatively simple to use.
Capturing this data accurately is the key to your success. You already know the product categories exhibitors sell. You already know their stand size. You already know how many staff are on their booth. You already know why they’re exhibiting (you asked the question on the first phone call, remember?).
You also know how many leads those exhibitors are generating. You can’t tell how they’ve converted, or the real value of them (yet!), but you can see that you are delivering on what you said you would.
Take on-site rebooking, for example. You can positively affect the rebooking rate on your show floor using real information. People can’t argue with data. They may not like it, but if you can prove that you’ve delivered on what you promised from your first sales call, your relationship with that customer is easier to manage and maintain. We have seen upwards of 65% increases in exhibitor rebooking through using insight-based conversations. Dare we say it, salespeople can sell more intelligently.
It’s an approach that has helped exhibitions like Event Tech Live become popular in their industries. Event Director, Adam Parry explains: “We have always focused on three key principals when looking at tech to incorporate to the event – attendee experience, exhibitor satisfaction and revenue generation.
“Most organisers focus on the success of exhibitors’ leads post-event. By using Visit, the ETL sales team have been able to have access to live data during the show to highlight exhibitors who may be struggling to generate leads or engage with attendees. We then focus our attention on trying to support these clients, giving them advice on how to generate more quality traffic to their stand.
“This proactive approach is instrumental in ensuring our exhibitors’ experience is successful and improves exhibitor retention through quality customer service and demonstrating great ROI.”
Utilising data from your show floor to create greater opportunities for your exhibitors and, more importantly, build trusted relationships.
I can’t get no, satisfaction.
We’ve all seen them at an event. They’re easy to spot: the naysayers.
They’re telling you you’ve not delivered on what you agreed. Not enough people. Not the right audience. The show is awful.
What if you could use data about the success of their competitors to stop them in their tracks and turn around their event experience around?
Organiser: “Morning, how is the show going for you so far?”
Exhibitor: “Not great. There’s nobody here and the ones that are time-wasters and tyre-kickers.”
Organiser: “Hey, your competitor over there has already generated a significant amount of leads, in fact over xx% on their previous event. Would you be open to some feedback and ideas on how we improve your event experience?”
By providing them with statistics and information, you’re building a better relationship by being open and transparent.
The companies exhibiting at your events are there because they believe in the power of face-to-face customer time. As organisers, we can aid them in driving more quality leads.
The beautiful part is, we are merging the digital and the physical. We can monitor the intent of visitors and exhibitors, but we can also prove behavioural interactions that occur around an event. We know more precisely how people have interacted with brands, features, products, exhibitors and content.
It’s important to note this does require investment. Not just investment in products to help you enable better sales, but an investment in time to educate your audiences as to why you require this information or rather, how you’re using this data. You really need to be patient; obtain data properly in year one, and you’ll have the stats ready for a solid year two.
Catch up on our webinar The Smart Exhibition: How to drive engagement and increase organiser revenue. https://insights.ges.com/ges-webinars/webinar-the-smart-exhibition-how-to-drive-engagement-and-increase-organiser-revenue
Matt has been working in events & exhibitions for over 10 years. From organising, to design, to website, and onto registration and intelligent data services, Matt has extensive experience at every level. With a background in organisation, marketing and design Matt is able to cut through the technology and approach data and registration solutions with the end users in mind. As Technology Engagement Architect for GES and an active participant in the industry, Matt has been involved in a variety of industrywide research projects and is an expert in how to prove ROI and manage data effectively.