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  • The May/June 2017 Issue of Corbin's TechTalk News/Blog Now Available +

    The May/June 2017 Issue of TechTalk is now available and is packed with new meetings technology articles, links and ideas! This issue is packed with articles, links, videos and ideas on how you can use technology to improve the business process for events and tradeshows.
    In this issue:
    • NEW ARTICLE: How Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Is Making Headway at Exhibitions and Events
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  • Corbin to Chair IBTM's Technology and Innovation Watch Award for the 13th Year. +

    This award is the longest running and one of the events industry's most significant award recognizing technology innovation. I am very pleased to I have been asked again to chair the judging committee. This award is a great opportunity for technology companies to show their new stuff and get a free booth at IBTM in Barcelona as well. More information
    Read More
  • Corbin Ball & Co. Marks Its 20th Anniversary +

    In April of 1997, I left my career as Head of Conference Operations for a high-tech association (SPIE) and set out to form my own speaking, consulting and writing firm focusing exclusively on technology for events, exhibitions and meeting venues. I was the first person to do this full-time -- the 'OG' of event tech! Today, I am happy to say
    Read More
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    Latest Articles

    • 1 How Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Is Making Headway at Exhibitions and Events
    • 2 Maximizing B2B Sales from a Tradeshow Exhibit
    • 3 Negotiating the Internet Landscape at Hotels and Convention Centers: A Primer for Event Planners
    • 4 Chatbots, Voice Activation and AI – What to Expect for Events
    • 5 8 Content Ideas for the Screens in Your Trade Show Booth
    • 6 Meetings and Marketing Meet: Three Ways Events Are Becoming Central to an Overall Marketing Effort
    • 7 5 Stages of Digital Marketing for Sold-Out Events
    • 8 Trade Show Traffic 101 - How To Get More People Into Your Booth
    • 9 Meetings Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2016 Technology & Innovation Watch
    • 10 How to Use Your Blog to Promote Events and Tradeshows
    • 11 Seven Meetings Technology Trends to Watch for 2017
    • 12 Event Data Analytics – New Options for Improving Events and Tradeshows
    • 13 Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-centric
    • 14 Wearable Beacons for Events
    • 15 5 Apps to Better Share Your Next Event
    • How Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Reality Is Making Headway at Exhibitions and Events

      ©2017 Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES

      Google, Facebook, Samsung, Microsoft and other technology companies have each invested billions of dollars in developing Virtual reality (VR- immersive multimedia) and/or augmented/mixed reality (AR - a layering of computer-generated sensory input onto real-world views), Although this will take a few years to fully develop,

      Read More
    • Maximizing B2B Sales from a Tradeshow Exhibit

      ©2017 Chetan Saiya, Zoomifier

      Tradeshow exhibits are a great way to spread or strengthen brand and product awareness, especially in a niche industry. Designing a tradeshow booth, training your team members, tradeshow fees and traveling to the event requires substantial investments. The most common metric used to justify these investments

      Read More
    • Negotiating the Internet Landscape at Hotels and Convention Centers: A Primer for Event Planners

      ©2017 Ian Framson, Trade Show Internet

      In the free market, telecommunications carriers compete for your business. They make investments to keep up with demand. When the market is functioning well, competition puts downward pressure on prices and forces vendors to improve their quality of service. With relative ease, consumers are

      Read More
    • Chatbots, Voice Activation and AI – What to Expect for Events

      ©2017 Corbin Ball & Co.

      A classic scene from Star Trek IV: Scotty, the chief engineer transported back to 1986, was attempting to communicate with a computer of the day. He did this by bringing the computer mouse to his mouth and speaking into it “Hello Computer” as if it

      Read More
    • 8 Content Ideas for the Screens in Your Trade Show Booth

      Guest Post from Samuel J. Smith,  SocialPoint

      If you are like most exhibitors, you have screens, monitors and tablets in your booth … but you aren’t really sure how to best use this powerful digital tech to create more impact.

      According to a 2015 white paper Tech for Trade Show Exhibitors from Skyline

      Read More
    • Meetings and Marketing Meet: Three Ways Events Are Becoming Central to an Overall Marketing Effort

      ©2017 Corbin Ball & Co.

      Events and tradeshows have posed a significant challenge to marketers. Although events are proven promotional tools, they have lacked detailed data collection and analytics capabilities found with other marketing vehicles such as email campaigns and websites. Much of what happened at the event or tradeshow,

      Read More
    • 5 Stages of Digital Marketing for Sold-Out Events

      © 2017,  Emily Taylor, Digital Marketing Manager, Tradable Bits

      Ever wonder how events like Lollapalooza manage to sell out so fast? Analysing social data from hundreds of events reveals much insight into how best to market conferences.

      Typical conferences go like this: hardly anyone talks about you before event day except

      Read More
    • Trade Show Traffic 101 - How To Get More People Into Your Booth

      ©2017 Mark Koa,  COSRental

      The value of trade shows for marketing is immense. For starters, people at trade shows are already in a shopping mindset, with 92% of attendees looking to discover and learn more about new products.

      But remember:
      Other exhibitors will be competing for the very people you
      Read More
    • Meetings Technology Innovation Trends Highlighted with IBTM World’s 2016 Technology & Innovation Watch

      ©2016 Corbin Ball, Chair of the IBTM Technology & Innovation Watch Judging Committee

      Established in 2000, The IBTM World Technology & Innovation Watch is the longest running and regarded by many as the most significant technology award for the meetings industry. The goals are to recognize technology innovation and to

      Read More
    • How to Use Your Blog to Promote Events and Tradeshows

      Everyone may have different goals for a trade show. Typical goals can include:

      • Educating people and raising brand awareness,
      • Adding names to an email list,
      • Networking with other people in your industry,
      • Positioning your company or yourself as an expert,
      • Handing out marketing materials,
      • Locating new clients or investors.


      Read More
    • Seven Meetings Technology Trends to Watch for 2017

      © Corbin Ball & Co., September 2016

      These are exciting times. The rate of technology change is accelerating with thousands of ideas, apps and innovations bubbling up to help meeting planners, exhibitors, venues and other meeting participants to do their jobs better and improve the attendee experience.

      This annual review covers

      Read More
    • Event Data Analytics – New Options for Improving Events and Tradeshows

      By Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball & Co.  © 2016

      Big data analytics (the ability to analyze large volumes of data from many sources) are making headway into events.

      There has been an explosion of data collection sources before, during and after events:  mobile event apps (where every touch is trackable), beacon

      Read More
    • Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-centric

      Social Media Channels Increasingly Becoming Event-centric

      © 2016 Corbin Ball, Corbin Ball & Co.

      Social media and events, at their core, bring people together. When used properly, they should go hand-in-hand. Social media providers have recognized this and are increasingly becoming more event-centric in their product offerings.  Here are a few

      Read More
    • Wearable Beacons for Events

      ©2016 Corbin Ball Associates

      Beacon technologies (small, digital “lighthouses” sending out signals that interact with mobile phone apps) are making headway for events. Companies such as DoubleDutch and Eventbase have been using this technology to automate event check-in, for networking, for wayfinding, location-aware polling, generating heat maps of crowd flow

      Read More
    • 5 Apps to Better Share Your Next Event


      © 2016 By Jackie Eisenberg, Fueled


      It’s important to get your event out into the world quickly. It shows that you take initiative, you’re an awesome planner and you know how to get the guest list poppin’ in a second.

      Everyone knows how to create an event on Facebook,

      Read More

    Coming Engagements

    Meetings and Marketing Meet: Three Ways Events Are Becoming Central to an Overall Marketing Effort

    Meetings Meet Marketing
    ©2017 Corbin Ball & Co.

    Events and tradeshows have posed a significant challenge to marketers. Although events are proven promotional tools, they have lacked detailed data collection and analytics capabilities found with other marketing vehicles such as email campaigns and websites. Much of what happened at the event or tradeshow, stayed at the event or tradeshow!

    However, this is changing.

    With the recent explosion of onsite data collection and analytics tools, meetings will no longer be the “black hole” of marketing analytics. Events and tradeshows are beginning to provide a goldmine of data detailing attendee preferences, interests, movements and interactions. These data can help meeting planners make mid-course corrections on existing events and improve future ones; they can provide significantly more value for exhibitors; they can provide attendees with a much richer and more personalized experience.

    With the integration of sales automation tools and CRM systems, customer behavior at events can now be tracked in precise detail. Event analytics are moving to a central position in the marketing mix and can help planners using these tools take a seat a C-Level table with sales and marketing executives. New corporate positions such as VP of Sales Analytics and SVP of Sales Effectives point to this shifting trend towards the importance of analytics. Event planners and marketers can work together to improve the event and provide a much more detailed profile of the attendee (customer) interests and desires while elevating the importance of events within the organization.

    There are three trends that are making this possible:

    1. The explosion of onsite data collection tools:

    The past few years have seen very significant increase in onsite data collection tools:

    • Mobile event apps: Mobile event apps have become the norm at many events and provide participants with rich detail about the event and a range of networking tools. As every touch in the app can be trackable, a wealth of data about user interests, likes, dislikes and interactions can be gleaned.  The mobile app providers are beginning to refine the data analytics within their products to provide significant marketing insight.
    • Fixed beacons: BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) devices (known as iBeacons or beacons) working with mobile event apps can measure crowd flow and individual participant movements. Interactions are based on location.  With beacon technology, not only is every touch trackable, every movement can be.  Some of the capabilities include:
      • Heat maps: the measurement of crowd flow through an exhibit hall to see where the hot spots are and where they are not.
      • Dwell times:  Beacons cans measure the time an attendee stands in front of a booth – if an attendee spends 15 minutes in a booth, they are likely more interested in the product than if they were just walking by. This list of interested booth visitors is very valuable to the exhibitor, but, from the other side, a list of the exhibitors and the time spent would be useful to attendees as well.  
      • Session attendance for CEU (continuing education units) tracking: This is very important for medical, pharmaceutical, some financial events and other meetings requiring continuing education, but is also valuable information about attendee interests in general.
      • Networking: It is possible using this technology for attendees to detect people of like interests who are near them for networking purposes. These interests are also a valuable component of attendee interest profiles.
    • Wearable beacons: Wearable beacons can do everything that fixed beacon can do and more. About the size of a U.S. quarter, they are inserted or attached to badges and can work independently from mobile apps. So, the attendee doesn’t need to download a specialized app and have their mobile device charged with Bluetooth on for them to work. The result often is a much higher use utilization rate, but at a higher cost.
    • Mobile polling, survey and social Q&A applications: Mobile event apps and standalone apps have made surveys and audience polling much easier and cheaper for an event planner to manage… and at a small fraction of the cost of renting polling keypads. The results can give immediate feedback to planners and speakers about attendee thoughts and sentiment. Social Q&A tools, where attendees text and up-vote questions, facilitate group interaction and point to what matters to the audience.
    • Second screen technology: Second screen technologies, such as Educational Measures, allow attendees to interact with onscreen visuals on individual tablets and other mobile devices. This technology can provide very precise detail of engagement, of individual attendee interests and responses to built-in polling and survey data.
    • Gamification: Gamification tools, increasingly found as part of a mobile event app, create better and more meaningful experiences. These data points are also very useful for adding to attendee profiles.
    • NFC badges and NFC USB sticks:  Although NFC (near field communication technology) has been around for some time, the ability to quickly exchange contact and other data between attendees and exhibitors with a tap of a badge or a standalone NFC device (such as Poken) is extremely helpful as well as valuable from a marketing perspective
    The myriad of data collection tools listed above provide very precise detail of attendee actions, behavior and interests. This starts to become actionable when combined with the increased analytic capabilities of registration, mobile event app and standalone engagement technologies combined with interoperability with sales force automation and CRM and marketing automation systems (see next sections).
    2. The rise of data integration capabilities:

    Data management systems are maturing to where integration is a much simpler task. With state-of-the-art cloud-based event technology systems and advanced APIs (application programming interfaces), it is now possible to collect and analyze onsite data and connect them with CRM tools such as – closing the loop from a marketing standpoint.

    Interoperability is at the center with much of the change that is happening.

    One example is Eventbrite, a basic consumer-oriented event invitation, registration and ticketing system. This San Francisco based company has been built from the start to be interoperable with others and lists hundreds of software products that it integrates with in its Eventbrite Spectrum page.

    Consortiums of newer cloud-based event technology companies are working together to share data and work as one.  For example, Swoogo (event registration), Hubb (abstract collection/exhibitor management/scheduling/task management), InGo (social marketing), DoubleDutch (mobile event app), and InsightXM (data analytics and marketing) work together integrating data as if they were a single platform providing rich data and marketing capabilities among them.

    Other options for planners are integration platform-as-a-service products such as, providing solutions to more easily integrate a wide range of software systems into CRM and marketing automation tools.  Features include workflow maps, ties to enterprise collaboration tools such as Cisco Spark or Slack, data mapping, activity triggers for complex workflows, mobile app integration, API builders, API debugging and testing tools and more. In essence, they make the process of integrating modern software products much simpler.

    The benefit for meeting planners is that they can choose a assortment of specialized event software products and figuratively bolt together to work together seamlessly. Meeting planners will be able to find highly customized solutions using multiple technology products with the ability to extract valuable marketing data is if they were a single platform. 

    This rich interoperability makes it much easier to analyze the data and bring it back to CRM systems.  Customer behavior and interests expressed at meetings can, therefore, be tied to customer profiles allowing for much better marketing intelligence and more customized sales communication.

     3. Advances in analytics and marketing automation systems:

    Marketing automation refers to technology used streamline, automate, and measure marketing tasks and workflows to increase operational efficiency and grow revenue. Companies such as Marketo, Eloqua, SilverPop and HubSpot have been evolving progressively capable marketing automation products over the past few years.

    Finally, with advances in cloud-based computing and APIs, event technology companies have been able to integrate with these companies to greatly improve marketing efficiency. We now have the technology to make data actionable. Events and exhibitions can now be integrated into a unified marketing program.

    Here are some examples:

    • Vista Equity Partners’(owners Lanyon and Cvent– the world’s two largest event technology firms) purchase of marketing automation firm Marketo for US$1.8 billion is an example of how the big players are recognizing that live events are a significant component of a broader marketing landscape. The ability to wed live event data with customer (attendee) profiles is a major step forward for combining the data flow from all sources to provide a much more targeted relationship. Ties to marketing automation platforms and CRM systems are a natural step forward.
    • DoubleDutch, one of the leading mobile event app companies, integrates with Eloqua, Marketo and Salesforce. Their homepage emboldened title is “LIVE ENGAGEMENT MARKETING” without even a mention of mobile technology indicating the importance of using onsite technology in a marketing campaign.
    • Certain Software has been an industry pioneer with marketing automation. This major attendee management software firm has had ties with Eloqua and other related companies for the past several years. The opening page of their website now proclaims “Enterprise Event Automation Software” with a white paper on Integrating Marketing Automation and Events indicating a significant corporate move in this direction. Certain’s new “Event Intelligence” functionality allows marketers to tie event data within a marketing automation platform. Onsite attendee activity can be scored within the marketing platform allowing marketing campaigns to connect more directly to attendee needs.
    • Etouches, another major attendee management company, provides an “all-in-one event management platform” with 16+ modules to perform a wide range of event technology tasks. They have allied with Silverpop, part of IBM Marketing Solutions portfolio, for marketing engagement and acquisition services.
    • Feathr, originally a mobile event app company, promotes “Feathr’s Marketing Cloud,” a set of digital marketing tools to track event websites, publications, and newsletters to analyze more than twenty features for every action registrants perform – including time of day, session length, platform (mobile vs. desktop), browser, screen size, cursor position, geographic location, and more.
    • Splash markets as a “one-stop event shop” to provide “all the tools Event Marketers need in one place.” They provide a range of guest list management, web design tools, email marketing tools, mobile apps and more with integration to Marketo, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics.

    Future Trends:

    Financial services, pharmaceutical and technology companies are some of the key vertical markets pushing the events analytics envelope. And the efforts are paying off! Tracking the wealth of onsite behavior and incorporating into customers’ profiles allow a more precise measure of the event ROI and helps companies make marketing decisions with a better view of customer needs and preferences. As the trends mentioned above mature, we will see costs come down and become more accessible and routine for a wider range of events.

    Additionally, new data options including artificial intelligence and predictive analytics (making statistically-based predictions of behavior through analyzing current and past behavior) will becoming available. Event planners and marketers will be able to make the best choices based on the data.

    As meeting planners are often intimately involved in the onsite technology purchase decisions, they can help to elevate their events marketing impact with the right technology choices. This is a rapidly changing area, but there are many good choices to make now. Event planners should embrace these new onsite data collection, integration and analytic tools to figure out which ones are most applicable for their events. They, then, can work with their event marketers and other C-suite executives to grasp the true power of face-to-face marketing.

    Corbin Ball, CMP, CSP, DES, MS is a speaker and independent third-party consultant focusing on meetings technology. With 20 years of experience running international citywide technology meetings, he now helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity He can be contacted at his extensive web site Corbin Ball Associates - Meetings Technology Headquarters ( and followed at Subscribe to Corbin's free every-other-month, high-content TechTalk Newsletter/Blog at

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