The trade show pass, event ticket, wrist band, etc – how many do you save each year?

If you’re like most people (us included), the answer is probably a sharply resounding zero.  Unless it’s something clever,  like the 900th anniversary of the Rolling Stones first concert, but after a while those are kind of old hat too, one would think.

The trade show pass and badge is probably the largest waste of money…

…let’s face it, someone spent the money to sponsor the trade show pass, and someone else spent the money to sponsor the lanyards, and someone else spent the money to sponsor the plastic wickets that the badges get shoved in and the lanyards attach to for wearing around one’s neck.

Oh, and if it’s a conference or event with evening segments, then there’s probably a wrist band component as well, since most people aren’t keen on being seen gadding about town in their lanyards, unless their complete newbs or it really is the 900th Stones anniversary with full backstage access.

People have gone blind to wristband writings, lanyards are normally swapped for some other, competing sponsor lanyard (as if anyone takes the time to read lanyards anyway); the back of the trade show pass is completely ignored even if you put the directions to finding the Holy Grail in bold letters on it.

How can you make a trade show pass that actually gets used for more than just the trade show?

That part is easy, make it mobile!  You’ve got a couple of choices when it comes to mobile options:

  • Stand alone app – pretty easy to determine what’s what on this one – it’s your app, that’s a pro.

You have to maintain and convince people to update and use it when there’s nothing going on, that’s a con.  And you have to pay a coder to maintain it and secure it, another con.  It’s not unusual to be into a five figure budget before you get your first install, another… ok I know you get it.

  • EventBrite, MeetUp, or some other kind of scheduling app with mobile –  even if it was ACTUALLY free, why on earth would you want to give these people a copy of your hard labor and sweat equity in building your attendee list?

Are you NUTS?  Now they know that this guy with a valid credit card likes to go to tattoo shows that also feature antique quilts.  Man, you’re giving up a lot of data for nothing in return.

  • And of course, our personal favorite – mobile wallet marketing passes!  It’s not going to get any easier than this.  And probably not any more cost effective, either.

When was the last time you told your flagship sponsors that you’d guarantee them the opportunity to market to attendees as part of their package for MONTHS after the event?  And that they could do it directly to mobile?  Or that there was a location based element to it with geofencing and iBeacons? Yeah, it does sound like Santa Claus just ran into a money tree on his way down your chimney about right now.

If you’re not already familiar with mobile wallet marketing, we’d highly suggest you check out our podcast – Mobile Wallet Marketing Made Easy – we just ran a new episode about using mobile wallet passes to create the ideal trade show pass, event ticket or conference badge.

What else can you do with a trade show pass that lives in a mobile wallet like Apple Wallet?

These are infinitely adaptable and customizable, so you can do a variety of things with them.  Notifications go to the lock screen of the iPhone (and usually the Android), and both sides of the pass can be seen while the phone is locked (but no action taken).

That means you can keep attendees in the loop when things change.  We were at a WordCamp SF once, and the fire alarm went off during the second presentation of the morning.  The decision was made to shift the third presenter to the end of the day, but the notification system wasn’t so great – lanyards and paper tickets and the UCSF public address system; this essentially meant that a fantastic presentation about typography was very poorly attended since no one realized it had an updated schedule.

This means you can send last years attendees direct reminders to their mobile phone when its time to sign up for the next event.  And you can collect their entry fees directly from mobile and issue their new event tickets at the same time.

  • Send reminders throughout the course of the year with relevant information
  • Offer other products and services in an unobtrusive but highly effective manner
  • Take advantage of the 90% retention rate in the mobile wallet that passes currently demonstrate
  • Push directly actionable messages – Click to Call, Click to Email, Click for Survey/Poll/Quiz
  • Launch apps such as Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Vimeo, etc directly from the back of the pass

Obviously this post could go on forever; there are THAT MANY things you can do with a trade show pass or event ticket that’s been created with mobile wallet marketing software than any other method of delivery.  They are cost effective and extremely effective for long tail marketing and communications, with geo and proximity alert options, as well as time based or immediate distribution for updates.

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We are happy to talk to you about your next event and share the multitude of options to make it the most interactive and well remembered event for both attendees and sponsors!