Personalised user experiences are a ‘must-have’ for exhibitions, says Tanya Pinchuk, Managing Director at event platform provider ExpoPlatform
The customer journey becomes increasingly complicated as tradeshows grow. And, with the recent acquisitions in the global exhibitions landscape, talk in our office has switched to the issue of keeping the visitor experience personal throughout the formation of increasingly large businesses.
Perhaps technology can offer a solution. In much the same way as a company such as Amazon aims to provide every one of its millions of customers with a unique experience, event technology can help focus the communication process for visitors and return that personalised experience to an event.
For example, when a user is not registered for an event, the widgets on the show website display may show generic information. Once they register for the show or log in the information on the website (exhibitors, sessions, speakers, etc) becomes unique to that user. A carefully applied AI-powered matching algorithm can enable visitors to see a preview of exhibitors they should meet, the sessions they should be part of and the speakers they’d like.
This means a personalised experience regardless of the size of the event and number of sectors it covers; your version of the website will have the information you are interested in. Big events become just as large as the visitor – or exhibitor – want them to be. Technology can reduce the problems that accompany these supersized shows.
Visitors who don’t look at their conference schedule, browse exhibitors or interact, instead just attending the event blind, will spend a lot of time going pointlessly from hall to hall. A good matchmaking engine decides what entities (exhibitors, people, products, content) are interesting for a person, and is able to adapt based on how they then interact with those entities. The results of the matching engine can then be used to create personal recommendations.
It is equally important to allow visitors to actively take advantage of relevant matches by driving them to interact with the results in a meaningful way. These interactions can take the form of meeting requests, messages, addition of sessions to personal agenda, product likes and so on.
The value of such a system lies in the ability to meet with new leads or business partners, with whom you may never have had contact in the past, in a convenient and data-safe way that doesn’t expose contact details directly. This enables visitors to interact with exhibitors without fear of being forever pestered by their marketing campaigns.
The organiser, of course, exists to facilitate the needs of both exhibitors and visitors, and is uniquely placed to do so in this instance. It need not be a complicated process. With efficient technology the organiser can create customised templates for pre-defined cases that use information about how far along the engagement pipeline a user has progressed. Based on the stage the user is at, the system will send out a tailored message to get them to explore the features they have not yet come in contact with.
Additionally, for users that have become inactive, an email with content and entities (exhibitor, visitor, content previews etc), selected for them personally, is sent out automatically, urging them to have a look at what they are missing out on.
A technology provider can perform this laborious task for organisers with the result that both parties will get improved value from the event. And in doing so we can ensure that as organisers grow, or as their shows expand, the visitor experience remains as personal - if not more so - as ever.