The annual CMO Survey unfailingly offers useful information to dissect and analyze.
A key takeaway this year reveals that event marketers continue to increase the use of digital marketing tools in their tradeshow and event programs. While the average company invests one out of ten budget dollars in marketing, the CMO Report projects that in 2018, companies will increase their digital marketing budget by 15.1%, offset by decreases in traditional advertising.
Face-to-face marketing remains the most powerful way of connect with target audiences and build brand at live events, but here are four ways to “Go Digital” at your next tradeshow or event.
Pre-show Web Scrubbing: “Web Scrubbing” metaphorically “scrubs” the Internet to gather detailed data about keyword searches that identify individuals and companies in search of specific product or solution types. This data enables marketers to intelligently expand their target-audience outreach pre-show, quickly identify high-value targets at-show, and feed their CRM system post-show.
IP & Mobile Targeting: Advanced IP geo-fencing enables marketers to target a client’s or prospect’s office IP address weeks before the show. This enables marketers to drive their target audience to put their exhibit on a “must-see” list. Mobile geo-fencing targets mobile devices at or near the event site. This enables marketers to connect with targets when they have the greatest opportunity to act … when they’re at the show.
Interactive Mobile Apps: Interactive mobile apps for AR, VR, and interactive touchscreen interactions are popping up everywhere, especially in verticals that highly regulate attendee engagement & education; the technology itself drives the draw. The handheld nature of most electronic devices also enable companies to upscale interaction and storytelling without dramatically expanding their booth size or rearranging their floor layout. And since custom apps are easily gamified, interactions and learning become fun and memorable.
Bluetooth Beacons: This is a low-cost, low-power way to engage attendees at-show via their mobile devices. As attendees approach an exhibit (or anywhere you install a beacon), attendee mobile devices receive Bluetooth alerts about special booth promotions, demo invitations, product coupons, etc. These alerts can be interactive, gamified, or designed to build community. They also reach attendees when they are steps from your exhibit.
These are only four ways marketers are integrating digital tools into their tradeshows and events. It won’t be long before “digital apps” becomes as ubiquitous at tradeshows as colorful booth signage, roasted almonds, and the $7 hotdog.
 2018 CEIR Spend Decision Report