As RX face to face events continue to return, we look at some of the exciting new digital and data-analysis tools which are enabling our customers to target suppliers and buyers more accurately, generate more sales leads, quantify the return on their exhibition investment, and even develop a data-driven assessment of their performance against their competitors.
Do trade shows still matter in a post-Covid world? We’ve been asking our customers that question since the start of the pandemic and their answer is always the same. Face to face events remain their No. 1 choice for sourcing new solutions and suppliers, generating new business, connecting with new prospects, and learning about what’s new ‒ and they are increasingly open to using digital tools to help achieve these objectives.
“The past two years have seen an explosion of digital innovation across RX, as we have sought to keep our markets virtually connected and informed, and to explore the potential for digital and data to transform the power of face to face” explained Gaby Appleton, Global Digital Chief Product Officer. “Now, as our customers rediscover the magic of live events, they can take advantage of proven RX digital tools which make it easier than ever to attend our events, source new products and suppliers, generate sales, and evaluate and improve their performance.”
Mercury registration enhances the event experience
Great event experiences begin at registration. And through our new platform, Mercury, RX aims to deliver the simplest and quickest registration within the best event experience in the world.
“From intuitive, mobile friendly registration, to print-at-home badges and rapid access control, Mercury makes it as easy as possible for our customers to register for, enter, and do business at our events” said Product Director, Patrick Mawhood.
Successfully piloted at Functional Fabric Fair (November 17-18, 2021) in Portland, Oregon, the Mercury registration platform is being rolled out across RX events in 2022 and 2023. “We showed our pre-printed badges, were given a lanyard, and that was it. I have been to other fairs where it is definitely more of a hassle. This one was very straightforward" said one Functional Fabric Fair attendee. "We registered when we showed up and it was super easy" said another. "We just scanned the QR code, registered on our phones and got the badge printed. It took 5-10 minutes.”
Fully integrated with all RX’s digital event platforms Mercury offers much more than friction-less entry. Using the attendee data captured during event registration, Mercury enables RX to enrich each attendee’s experience according to their individual preferences – through product and exhibitor recommendations, conference stream suggestions, matchmaking services and more. The visitor objectives captured by Mercury are also used to maximise business opportunities for exhibitors.
“By providing data at scale, and across the entire customer journey, Mercury enables us to better understand our customers’ needs and behaviours, allowing us to continually improve our events and tools for the benefit of our attendees and exhibitors” Patrick explained.
Exhibitor Dashboard provides data-led performance insights
RX’s new Exhibitor Dashboard ushers in an exciting new era of data-led event performance analysis, enabling exhibitors to close the loop on event ROI, get more from their participation, and gain valuable insights to increase their market share.
“Exhibitor Dashboard is designed to help our exhibitors answer three critical questions” said Product Leader, Caroline Goes: “What was my return on investment? How can I improve my performance? And where do I stand in relation to my competitors?”
Unlike traditional opinion-based evaluation of event performance, Exhibitor Dashboard provides exhibitors with a quantifiable, ‘at-a-glance’ view of their performance before, during and after each event, and actionable insights to help them perform better.
Exhibitor Dashboard is available in two versions – Basic and Pro. With the click of a button, users of both versions can see, in real-time, how many times their profile has been viewed in the exhibitor directory; how many people have been redirected to their show website; how many visitors have added them to their show plan; and how many times they have been recommended. Exhibitor Dashboard also gives them a running total of leads collected, detailing the quantity, attributes and contact details.
Critically too, the Dashboard also highlights how much of their profile they have completed – and generates actionable insights to help exhibitors become more successful at their next show. Customer response to date has been extremely positive with over two-thirds saying the product is easy to understand, and offers clear benefits.
Exhibitor Dashboard Pro is an enhanced version of the tool, which adds capability for users to benchmark their performance against their competitors, and gain insights into what is trending at the show, and in the wider marketplace.
“B2B competitive insights are traditionally expensive and cumbersome to obtain” explained Caroline. “Unlike most insight providers which track data from similar sources, Exhibitor Dashboard Pro provides a unique view of attendee behaviour based on the trade show ecosystem – an environment dominated by new product launching and sourcing.”
“Exhibitors can uncover visitor/buyer engagement patterns filtered by product categories, region, company size, and more, based on a full set of metrics, enabling them to determine where they stand in the market, and identify new opportunities for growth.”
Emperia enables smart, contactless lead capture
Attendees visit exhibitions primarily to source new products, solutions and suppliers. Developed by, and exclusive to RX, Emperia is an innovative smart phone app which enables exhibitors to capture visitors’ product interests, personal details, and follow up more effectively after the event.
“Gone are the days of business card collecting and bulky brochures on stands” said Product Leader, Alex Butson. “With Emperia, exhibitors can quickly scan the QR code on a visitor’s badge and select the correct sales brochure to share digitally. They can view their leads instantly in the app, add notes, and rate the highest quality leads.”
Lightweight, secure, and easy to use, Emperia is also contactless – an important consideration while Covid-19 health and safety measures remain in place. It works offline, so you can use it even if there is no Wi-Fi. During or after the show you can download your consolidated lead reports from all stand staff into your CRM, as an easy-to-use CSV file.
Emperia also maximises the visitor experience at show, by making it easier to connect with the right people and facilitating effective follow up. Visitors are sent a summary email with the details of every exhibitor they met, together with links to any digital content they have requested.
Emperia generated over 1 million connections at our events in 2021, and 2022 is building on this outstanding track record. At the 2022 PGA Show in Orlando, the industry’s biggest annual Golf Business event, over three-quarters of exhibitors used Emperia generating over 40,000 connections. The average number of leads generated was 97, and the highest over 600. Emperia will be available at over 150 RX events in 2022.
Premium Directory Listings increase brand visibility
Exhibitor Directories list all the exhibitors at an RX show, and are the second most visited page on RX event websites globally, after the home page. Over 90% of attendees to RX events use them to plan their visits in advance.
Premium Listings are a proven way for exhibitors to increase their brand visibility in the Exhibitor Directory, all year round, while driving more booth traffic at the show. They are larger in size with more display features, such as product carousels, to increase attractiveness online.
All RX exhibitors receive a standard (Bronze) listing in our event directories, including a cover photo, company logo, name, brief description and stand number, which links through to their company profile. These listings are optimised to appear in search filters for the event, when attendees are planning their visit.
Premium Silver Listings, which are limited in number, are double the height of a standard listing. They add eye-catching product carousels and sales contact details, enabling visitors to reach out instantly to request a call back. A small number of Premium Gold Listings add advertising banners on the event home page, and product category sponsorship, to ensure the exhibitor’s name is top and foremost in any category search – the digital equivalent of having the biggest stand inside the show entrance.
“Premium directory listings are an incredible resource for exhibitors to increase their exposure earlier in the customer journey and for visitors to assist their discovery” said Product Leader, Sarah Zacharia.
“Our data shows us that attendees browsing our directories are 45 times more likely to view a Gold listing than a Bronze, and 10 more likely to view a Silver listing” Sarah explained, “Critically, our data also shows that the more content you have in your showcase, the more clicks you will achieve.”
Digital Incentives deliver powerful rewards
Exhibitors have long used incentives to entice buyers to their stands. And now, RX exhibitors are discovering the power of digital incentives to dramatically increase their brand visibility and generate sales leads.
Digital incentives are targeted, single-page marketing offers created by exhibitors and delivered directly to visitors’ mobiles as part of a digital ‘gift bag’ at each show. The offers can include prize draws, discounts, meet and greets, product samples, hospitality, exclusive merchandise, white papers – in fact, any offer for which attendees would be willing to share their contact details with the exhibitor, or visit their stand, to redeem.
The digital ‘gift bag’ is promoted to all RX attendees by email and around the show floor. Attendees open the gift bag on their mobile phone and simply swipe through the offers ‒ left to reject, right to accept ‒ clicking on those that match their interest. Attendees can make a simple 1-click checkout to confirm all their selected offers and share their contact details to the exhibitor. Participating exhibitors can view their live dashboard at any time during the event to follow up instantly with visitors at the show. After the event, they receive a lead report with contact details for every attendee who accepted their offer, enabling them to follow up on those leads.
Available to a limited number of exhibitors at each event, RX digital incentives deliver impressive results. On average, across all RX events, more than half of all show visitors engage with the Digital Incentives gift bag and with a well targeted offer, a participating exhibitor could generate up to 1000 interested leads. This is in addition to leads generated via RX’s online exhibitor directories, matchmaking and recommendation services.
Digital incentives give you a huge advantage when it comes to visibility and lead generation” said Kenneth Botting, Product Leader.
“You can start generating qualified leads before potential buyers have reached your stand. For smaller exhibitors, they are a great way to level up, as they offer a high level of brand visibility, independent of stand size. They also allow you to engage virtual attendees on our digital event platforms, dramatically extending your global prospecting opportunities.”