A ready-to-be true story: How RFID helped your company improve event ROI

March 6th, 2014

This is the second in our two-part look into how RFID technology can add value to face-to-face events. In the last blog post, we briefly traced the history of RFID and listed some popular applications. Now let’s look at RFID’s potential for meetings and its key role in bridging the online/offline measurement gap. So let’s dive in with our imaginations open.

The scenario: Your company is hosting a big marketing event to enlighten attendees on new trends in widgeting and solutions to problems that plague widget makers.  Joe Roberts arrives at the registration area prior to the morning kick-off session to get his name badge.

Joe’s journey at your event

Joe scans the barcode from his confirmation email, and his badge is automatically printed.  The badge looks similar to those Joe has received at numerous other functions he has attended.  But Joe knows this badge is more than just a “pass” to the sessions and exhibit hall.

With its barely noticeable RFID chip, the badge is also the enabler of a bargain Joe made with your company.  In exchange for allowing you to monitor his whereabouts at the event, he can receive carefully targeted information from you—and gain access to a VIP lounge with work space, power outlets, and refreshments.

When Joe registered, he completed an online form with the typical contact information.  The form also asked Joe to share his social media contact information with you, and he did.

Radio waves don’t require line-of-sight transmission—so as Joe enters the event, there’s no need for him to wait in line to “swipe” barcodes at a reader station. More importantly: Unlike bar coding, which logs only a point in time, RFID technology can provide real-time tracking of Joe’s movements inside your venues.  Joe’s duration at any location (such as a breakout session room or exhibit booth) can be monitored, too.

Here are a few things Joe did—and why those behaviors are good to know:

  • Joe was planning to attend a breakout session on widget quality control, but changes his mind at the last minute and goes to a session on widget warehouse workflow.  Following the session, Joe receives an email on his mobile device with a link to a survey about that breakout.  He also uses the conference app to tweet how valuable he thought the session was.  As a “moving target,” Joe has now become an unexpected new prospect of one of your product managers. Knowing his interest and sentiment about the session, the product manager sets up a meeting with Joe to discuss how your company’s workflow solutions fit his needs.
  • Joe’s badge can link his physical and virtual worlds in creative ways.  For example, RFID readers can collect information and let Joe approve the sending of pre-populated messages about his event experience to his Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter followers.  (“Just attended a great session on widget workflow at Acme’s WidgetWorld Conference” reads one Tweet.)
  • Joe uses the conference mobile app to identify other attendees near his location with similar interests and contact them to set up a meeting.
  • Joe’s session attendance and exhibit attendance reveal that his interests are highly focused on matters specific to the widget supply chain rather than widget manufacturing.  He’s engaged, too—not once did he leave a session early.  And he didn’t go the hotel bar during session hours!

These are just some of the ways that RFID can be employed at events to deepen engagement with attendees without any manual data entry.  Your new, data-rich understanding of attendee behavior helps you segment attendees based on interest during an event and give them special attention.  After the event, you have a wealth of new insights for scoring them as prospects and following up more intelligently.

Omnience sees vast potential for RFID at events, so we’re ratcheting up the integration of RFID with our event management software and mobile apps.  Recently Omnience struck a partnership with Stark RFID, a leader in applying the technology to venues.

Casey Cote

Casey Cote

Casey Cote is the Chief Executive Officer for Omnience. Joining the company in 1995, Casey established its strategic direction as the industry leader in marketing event management and a technology innovator. He launched initiatives that made the company a pioneer in applying technology to the challenges of managing a large portfolio of events. Casey is also actively involved in managing customer relationships, seeking out partners and acquisitions, and directing the company’s expansion into new markets. Previously, Casey managed forecasting and budgets at Sprint.

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