How To Monetize The Attendee Experience

Event Tech Brief

How To Monetize The Attendee Experience



By Michelle Bruno

The concept of a live-event operating system—connecting attendee experiences through a central, unifying software platform—is not a new idea. Neither are technologies like RFID, NFC, and beacons. But, when you combine strategy and creativity with an apparatus that can enrich attendee experiences while streamlining data collection and integration, the possibilities are practically unlimited.

Twelve years ago, FISH Technologies began “looking for ways to make trade show booths and lead capture more experiential and more streamlined in the midst of a budding CRM market,” says Matt Engelthaler, vice president of conferences and meetings at FISH. After a few years though, the company transitioned to the b-to-c experiential marketing space, supporting agencies and enterprise brand activations. Now they’re back in the b-to-b event arena with creative new strategies to share.

On its journey across the experiential event spectrum, FISH perfected a system in which an attendee is authenticated, i.e. his or her identity is associated with a credential, wristband or other wearable at check-in using NFC, beacons or QR codes. From that point on, wearers can participate in activities (photo booths, rock-climbing walls, or swag vending machines, for example) with a tap or a swipe of the wearable. With each activity, the guest learns about the brand and the brand engages with the guest.

FISH provides a cloud-based software platform that connects the experiences, collects data, and builds participant profiles as guests move through the environment. The data provides brands with visibility into the behaviors and preferences of attendees so they can personalize experiences on the fly: guide attendees from one activity to another, deliver different messages to guests based on their unique profiles, or customize the entire attendee journey.

In the last few years, Engelthaler explains, FISH has become deeply involved in marquee sporting event activations. For example, the firm spent the past three years orchestrating the Super Bowl Fan Experience for the National Football League (NFL). For Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco, FISH registered over 200,000 fans and plugged in over 30 different brands (think different activities, technologies, and vendors) to its operating system.

FISH’s ability to connect people, places, and things enables some amazing deliverables. For instance, video stitching technology combines video clips of attendees captured randomly during the event or as they perform tasks (throwing a football). Participants tag the videos with the bump of a wristband or credential on the back of the camera and at the end of the event (courtesy of a algorithm that stiches all of the clips together), they receive personalized footage of their event experiences sandwiched between official event footage and accompanied by music.

FISH aims to apply what it has learned in experiential marketing to business events like conferences and meetings. But, rather than virtual reality or basketball shooting contests as the spokes on the operating system wheel, they will connect conference sessions, keynotes, other programming elements, and/or sponsor activations. “We’re using long-range and short-range RFID in combination to streamline the delivery of content to attendees, personalize their experience, and measure activity,” Engelthaler says.

FISH’s operating system addresses some of the major challenges around data collection at business events—the data silos and bottlenecks created by each of the different technology vendors. With FISH’s platform, data flows from the collection points throughout the event into one centralized system and bypasses the multiple and varied vendor applications and platforms.

FISH’s approach to data collection provides event organizers with something besides raw data. “It’s important to know who is going to sessions and which sessions are the most popular, but those are static data points. Our clients also want to know who the speaker was, what the topic was, what the time of day was, what other sessions the speaker was going up against, and be able to align that information with feedback to put the attendee behavior in context,” Engelthaler explains.

Integration is another capability of the FISH technology. It can take data collected at an event and flow it directly into an enterprise CRM or take information from the CRM and flow it into the event.  For its customer Amway, FISH pulls in data on the company’s sales force—representatives’ profiles, performance, and products—from the CRM and uses it to suggest an agenda for each of the attendees participating in the annual sales meeting.

Event organizations are at different stages in their ability to use event data. Some are only capable of using the basic data points gathered from existing tools to make small, incremental changes to programming. Others are using various solution-integration strategies to connect existing technology vendors and pool data for deeper insights and action steps. FISH is a solution that can not only deepen engagements between attendees and brands, sponsors, or event organizers, but also deliver data from those experiences, which can be potentially monetized in any number of ways.

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