Ask The Expert: Using iPads At Your Trade Show Booth
It seems like everybody is using or wants to use iPads in their booth these days, but is it just another cool gadget or it really something beneficial and worthy of exploring?
We went to the expert in trade show lead management, John Hasbrouck, Founder and CEO of NewLeads, for the answers. For 16 years, NewLeads has been at the forefront of providing best-of-class solutions to trade show exhibitors who need better leads, measureable results and clear analytics.
1) What is it about iPads that makes everyone want one for their booth?
iPads are a phenomenon just as iPhones were at their inception. Because people use iPads in their personal life, it's natural to want them in business. They still have that ‘cool’ factor. Plus having in iPad in hand is an easy way to show things to attendees.
2) So it’s a ‘cool’ thing, but how will it help with leads?
The iPad system we developed is a convergence of two marketing tools: a collateral kiosk and a lead detailing station, and it's in the hands of a rep, not stationary like traditional systems. So this means that every rep can have an iPad in their hands and be ready to show collateral to any attendee.
If you think about it, your marketing messages are spread out all over your booth: a video over there, printed collateral over here, signage in three other places, a power point at demo stations. But if you load all of that onto an iPad, your reps are not limited to what is available in the booth nor are they restricted by access when the video “over there” is five minutes in and won’t restart for 10 minutes, that obscure collateral is not available, the Power Point demo is being used by another rep, etc. Think of the iPad like a human-assisted mobile kiosk loaded with all of those things ready to show “on-demand” with an integrated lead detailing system. It’s instant answers, instant gratification and instant lead detail.
3) How does the lead detailing system work better than whatever the show is offering?
The big picture is about business process improvement through consistency. The show’s lead retrieval system provides one-time process; the next time, you go to a different show where the system offered will be different (whether it be better or worse). You’ll have to deal with the ever-changing process both in the way you collect leads and the way they are fed into your back end system. Renting the show system does not allow you to be able to standardize your data collection (leads) for your back end marketing and sales systems, such as marketing automation programs, CRM's and sales databases.
This is the main reason why companies underperform and leave money on the table at trade shows. However, if you use a custom system, you can use the same system at every show and can build a consistent process for collection, distribution, marketing and sales follow-up. Additionally, you'll be able to get analytics to determine the quality of the leads you are gathering.
4) Could you walk us through what lead taking and collateral viewing is like in the booth?
With the NewLeads iPad system, attendee badges can be scanned anywhere in the booth. The scanners may or may not be attached to the iPads--it doesn't matter because the system is built on cloud server technology. This means you scan a badge and that lead is instantly available to each one of your reps in the booth. A typical scenario is when an attendee speaks with a sales representative in the booth on the first day of the show and comes back the following day and speaks with a different representative. That second rep can easily pull up the previously captured lead information of the attendee and continue the conversation.
The collateral interface is built in to the app so showing the attendee videos or PDF’s is really easy. You don't have to switch back to the iPad home page; videos and PDF's are all in one window. The process order is typically scanning a badge, showing collateral, selecting collateral to send by email, and then completing a few lead survey questions that are customized for each exhibitor. Once the engagement is completed, an instant email with collateral download links is sent.
5) It’s obvious that collateral and leads together are a good idea, but why does this help get better leads?
It's all about increased engagement time. If you have more answers for attendees because you are carrying an iPad with easy access to marketing materials, people will spend more time with your reps. More engagement time means deeper conversations which lead to stronger interest, resulting in more sales ready “A” leads.
I wrote a short white paper on the topic of increasing engagement time in the booth which is a free download. Having all of those resources on the iPad will really help you leverage your time and the number of meaningful engagements, ultimately bringing you the tangible improvement that may have proved elusive in the past.
6) Technology changes so fast--what's next?
Windows 8 and the Windows Surfaces tablets may make a strong challenge to the iPad. If they make a big leap in capabilities, they may become the new ‘cool’ thing to replace the iPad, but they will have to at least match the battery life, wireless connection and touch performance of the iPads before we will consider them as a viable option. Our customers have always driven the hardware and features offered by NewLeads so we will be excited to see where they take us next.
Contact John Hasbrouck
Disclaimer: Hill & Partners is dedicated to providing value for your business. The opinions, views and expertise contributed to this blog are credited to the "Ask the Expert" blog authors and do not represent the views of Hill & Partners, Inc.
Topics: From the Experts