by Jason Lee, Senior Product Manager, DoubleDutch

DoubleDutch provides tools to improve strategic event planning and marketing.

We live in a world where we are often reminded of a digital age that is already here and a physical world that struggles to keep up. We are often greeted with headlines about the inevitable end of the newspaper business, or how online retailers generated more sales than brick and mortar stores this past Black Friday – one of the biggest shopping days of the year here in the United States. We’ve watched marketing channels go online one by one – email, search, display – and watched marketing teams become quantitative optimization machines that can justify their worth with numbers to bolster their creative ideas.

Although we are seeing a new age of marketing in the digital world, the state of exhibitor products – tools for event marketers – is sadly behind. The most innovation that comes from our industry year after year is just more “stuff”. More physical “stuff” to slap your logo on – in hopes that someone will recognize your brand and hopefully do business with you one day. It makes sense – the event world is a physical space and all of the physical branding is the obvious first step. Still event organizers approach mobile event apps with a physical world lens – looking for places to put logos like splash screens or branded app sections. Exhibitors take advantage of these things and hope for the best.

The word “hope” is an important one. Event marketers spend hours deciding which events to exhibit at each year. Once the decision is made, a lot of effort is put into pre-event marketing that consists of sending email blasts to random people in hopes that they may be attending and might visit the booth. Then, exhibitors have to show up and hope they have a good booth location and hope that the right attendees show up and hope that they generate positive ROI. When the event ends, the same event marketers are left to hope that the event was really worth it since there isn’t any way to really measure what’s going on.

But, there’s a better way: a digital approach to the physical world.

Because it’s been this way for so long, it seems that everyone has forgotten that there has to be a better way. There has to be a way that organizers can provide better outcomes for exhibitors, allow exhibitors to drive their own performance, and provide the insight necessary to show ROI. There has to be a way for exhibitors to stop relying on luck, to stop blaming booth location, and become quantitative optimization machines directly from the show floor. There has to be a way for attendees to have a pleasant experience on a trade show floor that has become chaotic in recent years.

Our team at DoubleDutch is bringing new technology to the event industry that can help organizers, exhibitors, and attendees. We’ve built a marketing channel that allows event marketers to take control of their performance at an event right from their booth in order to drive relevant, high quality booth traffic. We all know an empty booth is bad, but what we also need to remember is a busy booth with the wrong attendees is even worse. Why? The lack of measurement makes the busy booth appear to be a good situation.

I’ve talked to countless event marketers and exhibitors who simply measure if an event was successful by gut instinct. A busy booth with the wrong audience gives the perception of value although the true reality is poor ROI. This is problematic because there’s a hyper focus in the industry on driving traffic – but not all traffic is created equal. Exhibitors that bring swag need to remember that 90% of the attendees who come by for the t-shirt, the stress ball, or the cup of coffee will unlikely result in any business. Organizers that provide passport programs or try to gamify booth traffic need to remember that sending unqualified booth traffic to exhibitors doesn’t help. Perception of a busy booth is not really driving true ROI at an event.

DoubleDutch for Exhibitors provides the tools to change this situation. We provide technology that allow exhibitors to target their ideal audience ahead of time, get their message to the right people at the right time (optimized by the power of an algorithm), and drive highly qualified traffic to their booth while measuring results along the way. The real-time measurement allows Exhibitors to understand what is happening, what is working or not working, and the problem places. This allows them to optimize what they are doing throughout the event in order to tweak their strategy and glean more from the event. This is great for attendees who not only receive more personalized content but can more easily discover the exhibitors they want to spend time with. The show floor suddenly becomes a much more pleasant place for attendees since exhibitors have tools that can precisely reach the right people and obtaining more face-to-face meetings.

As an organizer, you’ve worked hard to throw a high quality event – an event that is truly beneficial for your attendees. Exhibitors are willing to utilize your event as a marketing channel to meet the community you’ve nurtured. It’s time to use technology to amplify the power of your event. There is no technology out there that will transform your physical event by giving it the power of online marketing channels like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn. There is no other advertising network that allows marketers to target audiences who they know are physically hundreds of yards from their booth. There is no other advertising network in the world where a click through on content results in a face-to-face conversation. The cherry on top? A truly new revenue stream for your event that actually delivers value to exhibitors – precise, measurable value that can be tied to ROI.

When you look at the headlines today – you’ll see that the story has already been written. Industries that have responded too slowly are being dominated by technologies that seemingly came from nowhere. DoubleDutch is taking the first step at bringing new technology that can benefit all stakeholders involved – attendees, organizers, and exhibitors. Events are a critical part in a marketer’s strategy – it’s time to bring better tools, product, technology in this industry.