This is a recording of a webinar that was broadcast on Friday 27th November 2020.

The webinar discussed how event owners can help exhibitors get the most out of this online experience by covering the following topics:

-Choosing the right platform
-Pre-event marketing
-Post-event, how can you make sure exhibitors get the most relevant data?

Our speakers were:

Guy Timson, Director at The Event Training Company

Martin Fullard, Editorial Director for Mash Media. 

Amanda Helm, Corporate Relations Manager at European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology

Gavin Newman, Leading specialist in virtual events, CEO at Ivent and lecturer on digital event solutions.

Host: Clare Forestier, experienced Event Host, Media & Presentation Skills Coach at Speak Up Event Hosting & Communication Training


Our Panel were on hand to answer any questions viewers had, here are our top questions and answers from the webinar.

Q: There are delegates to engage but we are struggling to get them there. How to do actually drive people to exhibitions? On virtual a lot of people are like “webcam break” and go off and not visit the exhibition booths. So that is the problem. Is it a case of getting the booths a lot better or what else do we have to do to change that mindset?

“It comes back to what I was saying before about the experience and the engagement and would require someone more qualified than me to understand to do that. When it come to on demand with virtual, you don’t get the same chance encounters. When you’re walking around the live setting you stubble across an exhibition stand or a brand of a company you haven’t heard of before; it picks your interest. In the online setting, in my experience, I have not had that same engagement, I have to know where I’m going in advance and do my pre research. So how are we teaching people and engaging people that is a different way to actually navigate the event”.
Martin Fullard.

I think this has been one of the hardest things for us to address in the organisations I work for. What people are wanting are the content and educational content, so perhaps there’s a way of providing some educational content on each of the booths. We were looking at providing abstracts and programme information on one of our biggest sponsor booths. If you sat in front of your laptop, watching talks all day, and then you have your lunch break. You’re unlikely to go to the exhibition, so it’s important for when you’re planning the programme to actually allow some time for that activity alone”.
Amanda Helm

Q: Do we need to offer more information, knowledge and sessions within the exhibitions? Providing great incentives and free stuff, or whatever they’ll be looking for.

Incentivisation has worked really well. It is a big issue and a major challenge. There are a few things that we have introduced that have worked wonders. The first thing is how an exhibition booth is actually just a piece of plastic with a logo on it. It’s not about the booth or the exhibition sign, it’s about the people. So, we kept the exhibition sign but said “lets humanise” that as well. So we created an exhibition hall that was actually mainly the people who were manning the booths. So you have the best people to talk to about those products and services, they are specialists. So these people will become apart of the programme. Secondly, we designed a tool that allows the exhibitors to go out and see who else is in there and registered. The third thing is making the exhibition apart of the event, putting it as part of the programme”.
Gavin Newman

In the live setting of exhibitions and trade shows, from the top of my head the statistics for follow ups is only around 20%. Which is pretty poor. Is there an increase in follow ups on online events?”
Martin Fullard.

80%. This is purely because of the data provided with online events. You can see what they did: download, put in event bag, search website, watch video. Straight away you’re building up this three-dimensional image of that person, and therefore that lead is substantially better” Gavin Newman

Q: What about the issues with GDPR? People do not want their information to be shared.

“You do have to be careful, especially with pharmaceutical companies. If people do come to your booth, they tend to be a higher quality contact, so they are motivated to go there and are interested in what you have to other and say. I would assume if someone came over to our booth asking for information, then they would be happy for their information to be shared”.
Amanda Helm

Q: How do you get people to go to the booths and to look at the sponsors?

There’s a certain about of pre-promotion as with any event. But you have to remind the booth is just a gateway to the personality of the company, so you have to make that gateway as appealing as possible. Use a video with some sort of theme that you are wanting to promote and project at that conference or exhibition. It is the capture of information and the capture of leads. With online leads, aiming for that 80% of leads, but there may be some natural wastage on them anyway. It will be getting more scientific and imaginative as we go on with how we will follow people up.  Overall, with online it’s not unfriendly and is more approachable. As long as you know how to do it, which start with your preshow marketing and your presence at the show as well”.
Guy Timson

Q: Most platforms will tell you they provide the data tracking but do not deliver. What are the kind of questions to a platform to ensure you have this data?

“They more quality you can gain is when you have a conversation for a longer period of time, so we looked at the importance of this. We looked into the dwell times of the attendees. How long are they staying within the exhibition? It then gives us benchmark, but you don’t need to much sophisticated data, you just need stuff you can work with”.
Gavin Newman

Q:What are the panellist’s thoughts on gamification?

In the right place and in the right scenario, it can really work as an entry point and a promotional tool. But it can also be deflecting, time consuming and use up people’s dwell time. I think there’s a place for it, but there’s a time and a place for it”.
Guy Timson

It does depend on your audience. It does expose at what the online event model comes up against. You go there for that purpose, you don’t just mill around in an exhibition. Are you wasting people’s time going down the gamification route? I don’t know if its necessary”.
Martin Fullard

I agree with Martin and Guy. The leader boards you can get with online events now is totally irrelevant, you’re forcing people to do things to go up in the leader board. We do offer treasure hunts throughout the whole of the event because it’s in the background, its not a focus of the whole event”.
Gavin Newman

Mainly for the regulations, it’s out of the question. I think we’re all agreed on this point thought. It can be nice to certain audience and help to drive traffic to stands, but really do it achieve generally what you want with spontaneous engagement?”
Amanda Helm

Q: Should the before and after elements of any exhibitor packages be given more consideration now than the onsite element?

“Yes. You have got so much more time to pre-promote and have a longer tail following the event. You can use this time to build up a potential client’s interest. Usually after a event, the first contact you would have is the dreaded follow up call. You can use that follow up as part as the overall marketing campaign for a much longer period”.
Guy Timson


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