myNAB Tool Promotes Early Attendee Networking
The recession wasn’t kind to the trade show industry and as a result, trade show exhibitors today are driving a harder bargain than ever before with show organizers. If a show can’t prove to exhibitors how it’s going to help bring attendees to the booth, it can get quickly cut from the portfolio with little regard for its long legacy with the show. So to rise to the occasion and bring greater value to its customers, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) this year created a tool called myNAB Show to bring the show’s attendees and exhibitors closer—sooner.
MyNAB Show is a web-based service that connects exhibitors with buyers before, during and after the show based on the profile information both parties provide. The show itself was in April, but the campaign began in February so that exhibitors and attendees would have plenty of time to get their info online and start making connections. MyNAB Show allowed exhibitors to highlight their new products and special offers and post press releases. And of course, to schedule meetings with attendees eager to get a one-on-one with the products and services on offer.
The tool has three primary areas of use: expo and conference management, networking and lead management and mobile and social media. The expo and conference management platform enabled NAB to manage the needs of 80,000 exhibitors and sell almost 700,000 square feet of exhibit space on the show floor. In the networking and lead management platform, show managers tracked attendee and lead data on registered users to provide valuable information to exhibitors. Finally, the mobile and social media functions provided real-time data and updates to mobile app users on the show floor. The technology integrated with registration databases, generated up-to-date dynamic lists of attendees and exhibitors in real-time and sent out emails with targeted communications that included passwords, secure sign-on links and personalized recommendations based on the profile information collected at registration.
The two-month-long campaign to promote the tool was designed to acquaint the event participants with the search, planning and networking tools available through the service. Tech provider a2z sent seven newsletters to attendees and five to exhibitors, and provided introductory videos and social media packages along with the email blasts. The marketing emails and videos had step-by-step instructions for users on how to make the most of the various features on myNAB Show, and social media messages provided regular updates and alerts to the participants. Before this technology came into use, NAB was faced with operational inefficiencies, including redundant and out of sync data.
This event management solution allowed the show organizers to streamline the process and consolidate data management while eliminating paperwork and easing communication between exhibitors and attendees. Did it work? In a word, yes. During the February to April campaign period, there were more than 220,000 visitors on the myNAB Show site. Those visitors made 531,000 visits to online e-booths, added 120,000 exhibitors to their personalized expo plans and the email campaigns had an open rate of about 29 percent.