Archive for October, 2010

The Science of Shopping and the Trade Show Environment

Shopping is a science according to “retail anthropologist” Paco Underhill. The fact that “certain physical and anatomical abilities, tendencies, limitations, and needs are common to all people” means that selling environments, including trade shows, can and should be designed to accommodate buying behaviors. In his groundbreaking book, “Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping,” Underhill explains the psychology of buying. Many of the “absolute basics” that he reveals in the decade-old book are still applicable for event organizers, exhibitors and attendees today.

The transition zone. Underhill believes that the portion of the environment just inside the entrance is the place that visitors make decisions about what to do and where to go. They typically pay little attention to signage. “At trade shows,” he writes, “the booths just inside the door may seem most desirable, but they’re pretty bad locations.” His advice is to create a “speed bump” just inside the door—something that will help visitors transition such as a display that conveys the mental message, “pause a second to look at what you’re walking in on.”

Care with chairs. One of the most important things in a retail environment is seating. “In the majority of stores, sales would instantly be increased by the addition of one chair. I would remove a display if it meant creating space for a chair. I’d rip out a fixture. I’d kill a mannequin. A chair says: we care,” says Underhill. The same philosophy can be applied to the exhibit booth. When the booth is large enough, a comfortable and inviting seating area is a great way to have an extended conversation with a valued prospect.

The right choice. Once people enter a retail environment, they invariably drift toward the right. This occurs because the majority of the population is right-handed and/or conditioned to access objects to the right. For exhibitors, the optimal booth space would be to the right of the entrance area. Inside the booth, the most important information, people, messages, for example, should be oriented towards the visitor’s right as they enter the space.

Seeing, hearing, touching. What do shoppers love? It’s simple says Underhill—touching, discovery, talking, and recognition. “The most powerful inducement to shopping, he says, is the “opportunity to touch, try, taste, smell and otherwise explore the world of desirable objects.” Trade shows are perfect environments for testing products first hand, learning new information, engaging with exhibitors and other attendees, and being recognized by colleagues and suppliers. Manipulating the exhibit environment to take advantages of these desires helps exhibitors control the purchasing experience.

The human interaction. People are everything in a retail environment and on the trade show floor. The quality of the human interaction trumps nearly every other aspect of the attendee experience including the exhibit design, signage, and giveaways. Exhibit industry research consistently points to the importance of the one-to-one engagement that occurs between booth staff and attendees. Greeting attendees as they enter the booth, attending to them immediately, and having the information they need is critical to creating the bond that is necessary to advance the sale.

Once these basic human tendencies are addressed, much more detailed measures of behavior using RFID and other tracking technologies can greatly enhance the trade show attendees’ experience and the exhibitors’ ROI.


October 26, 2010 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

Alliance Tech to Debut 3rd Generation Intelligent EXHIBITOR Solution during RSNA Annual Meeting

Austin, TX (October 14, 2010)—Alliance Tech, an Austin, TX-based business intelligence solutions provider focusing on technology and marketing metrics for tradeshows, conferences and events, announced that it will be providing the newest version of its Intelligent EXHIBITOR Solution to leading companies during the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Annual Meeting, November 28 – December 3, 2010 in Chicago.

Intelligent EXHIBITOR is an RFID (radio frequency identification) visitor tracking solution that allows exhibitors to collect, track, and measure attendee interests and preferences.  It also enables exhibitors to quantify ROI and increase revenue opportunities.

Alliance Tech’s patent pending third generation RFID platform with Intelligent EXHIBITOR provides a 50% greater read range, enhanced visual reporting, and more mounting options. It uses less power and has fewer network drops.

Intelligent EXHIBITOR is part of Alliance Tech’s suite of Intelligent Solutions including:

  • Intelligent ATTENDANCE—real-time session attendance and duration tracking using Intelligent RFID
  • Intelligent LEADS—electronic lead retrieval supported by a secure website for immediate download and follow-up
  • Intelligent CONNECT—multi-platform attendee experience including a web portal, mobile application and onsite event kiosks that connect attendees before, during, and after events
  • Intelligent CONNECT MOBILE—mobile event guide for viewing session and exhibitor information, floor maps, twitter, surveys, polling, personalized agendas, and networking with other attendees

“We are excited to partner with RSNA again.  The RSNA Meeting is a great opportunity for us to roll out this new generation of our most advanced measurement solution. Exhibitors are keenly interested in analytics to prove the value of their investment in trade show marketing,” said Art Borrego, president and CEO for Alliance Tech.

Alliance Tech has worked with RSNA for 4 years and was recently selected as the winner of the “Best Technology” award from the Trade Show Exhibitors Association.

October 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm Leave a comment

Using Dashboards to Analyze Exhibit Program Performance

A digital dashboard is one of the most effective ways to present business intelligence. With so much data collected from a variety of sources, dashboards provide mid- and senior-level managers with a “bird’s eye view” of the company’s performance in specific areas or as a whole. The challenges lie in deciding which information to include and designing a solution that is user-friendly and relevant.

A dashboard is a type of user interface that pulls information from one or more sources and presents it in a simple, easy-to-use graphic format. The name comes from an automobile dashboard where panels, gauges, and dials are all visible to the driver in one place. Some digital dashboards allow users to view high-level data and drill down for more detailed information. The three main types of digital dashboards include stand-alone software applications, web-browser based applications, and desktop applications also known as “widgets.”

Dashboards provide managers with a means to monitor, analyze, and compare business information. Some specific benefits of dashboards include:

• Displaying, analyzing, and comparing historical data
• Analyzing financial budgets and forecasts
• Monitoring and sharing of strategies across business units
• Reviewing resource allocation in various programs and projects

Dashboards offer exhibit managers a way to aggregate information from a number of sources including lead retrieval systems, surveys, RFID, internal databases, registration, and press and social media outlets. The dashboard should pull information from a database designed to house key metrics and results from trade show participation. It should be scalable, flexible, and practical to use for both large and small events. The most effective dashboards are designed to display the key performance indicators that are most relevant to the different levels of internal stakeholders that will use the information.

A typical dashboard for monitoring trade show performance would include numbers and graphs depicting:

1. Qualified leads obtained by product or organization division
2. Visitors to the booth, average duration, and demographic breakout
3. NPS (Net Promoter Score) from exit surveys
4. Number of “buyers” who visited the booth and average duration of visit
5. Approximate dollar volume of revenue opportunities generated by product/organization/ division (based on both RFID, survey and lead data)

A solid trade show strategy that includes measurement goals will dictate the types of metrics for the dashboard. The best dashboards are those that offer alternative views of information under different scenarios (view by product vs. view by division, for example).

What are the numbers and graphs you would like to see on your dashboard of exhibit program performance?

October 1, 2010 at 4:31 am Leave a comment

About Roger

As a 15 year veteran event analyst, Roger Lewis is a leader and visionary in the area of event measurement. He is an expert on utilizing technology, such as radio frequency identification (RFID), to measure and understand marketing performance metrics. As executive vice president of Alliance Tech, Roger has been instrumental in positioning the organization as the number one provider of event business intelligence metrics for Fortune 500 companies. More about Roger

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