Home TypeFeatures Event technology helping exhibitors get 300% more leads

Event technology helping exhibitors get 300% more leads

by Emily Wallin
ExpoPlatform founder Tanya Pinchuk tells EN Editor Emily Wallin that whilst the purely virtual bubble may have burst, tech innovation can help face-to-face events rise to the top

ExpoPlatform was born from Ukraine-born founder Tanya Pinchuk’s entrepreneur visa application back in 2013.
Pinchuk envisaged a smart event technology solution that could enhance live in-person events – and says most of their original business plan is now in full swing.

The Cambridge-based AI-powered event management platform more than doubled its workforce in the past 12 months.

Pinchuk recognises the virtual event bubble is bursting – but says their success is down to their ability to measure and grow the value at face-to-face exhibitions.

“At the core of our platform is an AI matchmaking algorithm,” Pinchuk says describing how ExpoPlatform works. “It’s person-to-object matchmaking, which is different or more extended to person-to-person, where we provide suggestions and recommendations to every visitor and exhibitor of people to meet, but also products to view, companies to get in touch with, sessions to attend, news to read, different types of objects based on their interests and behaviour.

“We analyse their behaviour and peer-to-peer behaviour and build it. Also, we provide 365 communities and marketplaces, working with industry associations and portfolios of events where they can extend the event experience and keep connecting, entertaining, engaging and educating people throughout the year.”

Virtual vs live

Looking at the future divide between virtual and live events, Pinchuk says: “I think there is a false dichotomy of live and digital. When we speak about events, I think that the last two years proved that technology allowed us to keep staying in business. And when we could not, organisers kept moving, increasing adoption of technology for the audience.

“I think that what we’re seeing now is like tectonic shifts that are happening, where we are building new industry standards.

“The industry standards that we had before Covid-19 are very much improved and enhanced with technology. If we take for example lead retrieval, what we had before Covid-19, it was mostly badge scanning or business card exchange at face-to-face meetings. This this how exhibitors could create a list of leads that they bring from the event, which is the main KPI for them. If you compare it with what we have now, where these leads can be generated from different sources, including people who have used your product, profile views, sessions, if they are speaking at sessions. We provide this list of interactions, messages, meetings, everything that happened during the event.

“What we noticed is the number of leads that exhibitors can get now is 300% bigger than we had pre-Covid. So this is this is where technology can definitely play a great role.”

Irreplaceable value of live

Pinchuk says that as exhibition budgets typically fall under marketing budgets, businesses are comparing the value of leads from exhibitions with other digital sources.

“What is irreplaceable is the value that face-to-face brings, Pinchuk says: “But it has to be enhanced with technology.”

She says 365 communities are a great example of technology adding value.

“The peak of engagement activity is during the event. Before the event they can communicate on the event platform, but after the event, there is a rapid drop of engagement and then months of silence.

“A very good example is Vinexposium. They gathered more than 3,000 wine producers and tens of thousands of buyers from all over the world.

“What they have there is a marketplace with lots of products, where buyers can pre-build interest. Vinexposium organises a different physical events in different countries so they see if there is an audience for face-to-face gatherings. And they can warm up this audience with speed networking or an exhibition or conference.

“The other thing that can also enhance this face-to-face and pre-built interest is request for proposals, which we launched recently. Buyers can gather proposals from exhibitors, and pre-select who they would like to meet at face-to-face events. It’s just one more dimension.”

Tech disruption

For a tech entrepreneur, Pinchuk is realistic about the state of the virtual events world.

“The reality we are in at the moment shows that the projections that some online event technologies like Hopin had were a
bit exaggerated. This purely online bubble is bursting now.

“I think that absence does make the heart grow fonder. We missed in-person interactions, we wanted to come back, but the numbers are not the same as 2019. And I think that we should expect that there will be some reduction. But face-to-face events will definitely stay because they provide the credibility.”

Pinchuk points to a study by McKinsey which asked B2B buyers and sellers about their confidence in remote interactions – 91% said remote interactions were just as effective. But the bigger question is how much they are prepared to spend
online. The research found 35% willing to spend $500,000 or more on remote deals – up from 21% in March 2020.

With that in mind, exhibition organisers need to keep an eye on tech advances – the metaverse, augmented reality, smart glasses – Pinchuk says. While prices for headsets and other equipment are currently high as it becomes more adopted in our personal lives – the prices will go down. Exhibitions will need to keep up to stay in the game.

This feature appears in the October technology issue of Exhibition News.
Read the full issue for more interviews, insight and expert advice on the technology advancing exhibitions.
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