"Leading Attendees to Buy:" An Interview with Core-Apps' Jay Tokosch

iPad-based, Showcase XD lets exhibitors add an interactive digital display to their booths and provide prospects the information they need to make smart buying decisions.

Available to exhibitors and tradeshow organizers through our agency, Showcase XD is the brainchild of Core-Apps, the leading provider of mobile apps for tradeshows.

Recently, Bob James interviewed Jay Tokosch, CEO, about the new product.

BOB JAMES: Why did you develop Showcase XD?

JAY TOKOSCH: We were attending Summer NAMM and saw an exhibitor using iPads on stands in front of their products. Each iPad was directed to the exhibitor's Website and people could interact with the site, a rather raw way of providing people with product specs. I watched what was going on and said to myself, "What a great idea!" Except there was a problem: people would use the iPad for checking email and surfing websites, so the exhibitor had to have a dedicated staff member in its booth whose only job was to redirect each iPad after it was used back to the company's website. So we set out to take the idea and run with it, while correcting the deficiency.

BOB: But why yet another digital tool? Don't exhibitors already use lead retrieval devices?

JAY: Tradeshow organizers tell us their exhibitors constantly clamor for more leads, even though they often collect more than they'd need to at any given event. Exhibitors will scan badges all day, hoping for new leads, but then never, ever follow up. For their part, exhibitors tell us that's absolutely true: they will return home with a big pool of leads, but since they can't recall what products any of the people were interested in, they don't follow up, because it's unproductive. Simply put, exhibitors are exhibiting their wares, but aren't leading attendees to buy.

BOB: So how does the product help?

JAY: Showcase XD addresses that core issue. It engages people who visit the booth, while giving exhibitors a "digital trace" of their product interests, so they can follow up productively. It also controls where people navigate, so when a visitor leaves, the iPad is still directed to the right web address. In a nutshell, I would say that Showcase XD is designed to be an attendee engagement tool that does the follow-up for the exhibitor automatically. It also helps attendees to further their decision to buy, and provides information on the back end to the exhibitor that allows it to personalize its follow-up after the show, at whatever pace it wants.

BOB: And it lets exhibitors save money on shipping?

JAY: Correct. Exhibitors will now save a ton of money, because they no longer have to ship brochures to shows. What a waste! We all know those brochures never make it back to the office anyway. They get thrown in the trash.

BOB: Who's the ideal user?

JAY: It will not only fit the large exhibitor, who needs a sizable ROI in a show, but even the exhibitor in the 10' by 10' booth. Everyone can afford it.

BOB: How should an exhibitor use the product?

JAY: An exhibitor can use it as a handheld or on a stand. It's based on preference: there's no particular advantage either way. Using stands in a large booth makes sense, but I can also envision the exhibitor in the 10' x 10' simply standing there with the iPad in hand and presenting the entire array of the company's products on that single device. Right now, that's how most exhibitors are using the product.

BOB: What's the attendee's user experience like?

JAY: Attendees get to find out the specs on the product: descriptions, pictures, videos, demos. They get all of that directly while in the booth. Then, when they return home from the show, there's an email awaiting them that summarizes everything they experienced in the booth. It prompts the visitor to recall everything he or she experienced and offers links additional resources. Most importantly, the exhibitor can tell the visitor how to buy the product, something that's rarely, if ever, discussed in the booth, and is vitally important to closing deals.

BOB: Will that really lead to more deals?

JAY: It definitely does. The email can be fully branded and delivered automatically, and can say, "Here's all the products you looked at in our booth, here are demonstration videos, and here's the most convenient way to purchase our products." That form of strong follow-up will definitely increase your sales.

BOB: Are there limitations an exhibitor should worry about?

JAY: There are no limitations on what an exhibitor can upload to the portal, but the standard product currently allows you to display no more than 10 products or digital assets at any one time on a single iPad. That is strictly by design: it's a matter of iPad aesthetics.

BOB: Where's all the data about the attendee experience stored?

JAY: All data collected is stored in the exhibitor's portal in real time, so the exhibitor has direct access to it and can move the data into its CRM at any time. There are also analytics available that show attendees' product-interest levels, by day and by product, and the volume of downloads of digital assets in the aggregate.

BOB: Is use of the product restricted to tradeshows?

JAY: Absolutely not! SHOWCASE XD can be used everywhere you meet customers: trade shows, conferences, airports, airplanes, taxis, restaurants, coffee shops, bars, golf courses, offices, on the street, and more. It lets exhibiting companies engage prospects and accelerate sales "anytime, anywhere."

WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SHOWCASE XD? Call us at 202.641.5131.

You Wouldn't Waste Food. Why Waste Content?

You wouldn't throw away leftover food after your association's convention, when there are hungry mouths to feed.

Why are you throwing away your content?

Most associations take year-long pains to program great content at their meetings, and capture it on video.

But, once the meeting ends, most of that video never sees the light of day.

What a waste! There are hungry minds to feed.

And a golden opportunity to monetize your leftover convention content while you satisfy those appetites.

Provided you've captured the content on video (your keynotes, plenaries, breakouts and workshops, in whole or in part), you can deliver that education "live" to a vast global audience―without investing a penny.

Bob and David James, under an exclusive arrangement with Digitell, can help you capitalize―tomorrow―on yesterday's convention content with Procast.

Procast lets associations monetize convention content—without an upfront investment.

Using the video footage you provide, we will produce and host a vibrant, world-class, fully branded online convention―one that sponsors and attendees are willing to pay good money for. How do we know? Experience generating revenue for hundreds of associations like yours.

You'll be amazed at the additional non-dues revenue―and brand equity―you can generate with Procast, without demands on your staff or your treasury.

Call us today, to learn how: 202.641.5131.

Want to learn more? Go here.

How to Time Your E-mail Blasts

The secret's out.

There is none.

The best time to blast depends on several factors, and differs for different marketers.

Propeller's Emily Bauer spells it all out in this remarkable infographic, which we're pleased to repost.

2017 Email Marketing Field Guide from Propeller

Reposted with the author's permission.

The D Word

Q. What's the fastest way to stampede a herd of exhibitors?

A. Use the "D word."


Its mere mention thrusts otherwise serene folks into fits of apoplexy, turning lambs into lions and Jekylls into Hydes.

"Arbitrary and greedy," they gasp. "A complete scam."

Drayage is the price a tradeshow decorator charges exhibitors to move materials from the convention center's loading dock to the exhibit space on the show floor. Charged by the "hundred weight," it increases as the weight of an exhibit does.

Exhibitors loathe the pricing scheme, wondering where it originated and why it's perpetuated.

You can blame J.W. Midgley.

Midgely was a railroad engineer in the 19th century. He's the man who instituted the "hundred weight."

The word "drayage" comes from the maritime industry, and denotes the transport of goods over a short distance, often as part of a long-distance move (for example, a pickup of goods by truck from a seaport and their delivery to an inland warehouse).

The word's also used to denote the price of the transportation.

Drayage originally meant "to transport by a sideless cart", or dray. These carts, pulled by dray horses, were used to move goods short distances (short because of the physical limitations of the dray horse). Over time, the dray horse was replaced by the delivery truck.

Pricing the service by hundred weight is a scheme that allowed operators of the various modes of transport (ships, trains, carts, etc.) to charge uniformly and treat all users fairly (farmers, for example, paid no more than ranchers, miners, or loggers to have their goods hauled). It also allowed for easy verification of the charges.

J. W. Midgley, although disavowing that he originated the practice, took credit for making the hundred weight a national standard for charging for freight hauling.

Midgley wanted to help harmonize hauling. And that's a good thing, because harmony breeds efficiency.
Runaway drayage has certainly altered the tradeshow industry, causing, most notably, exhibitors' flight to fabric. (I remember a time when US tradeshows were chock full of hardwall).

The industry players point fingers whenever runaway drayage gets mentioned. Exhibitors scapegoat decorators. Decorators scapegoat organizers. Organizers scapegoat convention centers. Everybody scapegoats labor.
But nobody scapegoats J.W. Midgley.

It's high time they did.

It's also time to put drayage into context:

  • A woman once asked Picasso to sketch her on a piece of paper. The artist complied, and handed her the sketch. “That will cost you $10,000.” The woman was astounded. “Isn't $10,000 a lot for only five minutes work?" Picasso replied, “The sketch may have taken five minutes, but the learning took 30 years."

  • Hospitals typically charge you $20 for an aspirin. That's because they "cost shift" constantly. They couldn't function if they didn't charge insured patients $20 for an aspirin, because their beds are filled by poor, uninsured patients, as well.

  • Starbucks charges $3 for a small latte, but a whole pound of Arabica coffee beans costs only $1.50. When you buy a latte, you're also paying for labor, store rent, furniture, and college tuition for 4,000 employees. The beans comprise only 20% of the price.

    Exhibitors, sure, you may want to squeeze runaway drayage.

    But remember: when you clamp down on one side of a balloon, the other side just gets bigger.
  • Retargeting: The Best Thing to Happen to Events Since the Postage Stamp

    When it comes to attendance acquisition, direct mail remains the world heavyweight champ, because response rates exceed every other attendance marketing channel by a long shot.

    But there's a new contender on the scene: retargeting.

    With response (click-through) rates reaching as high as 24%, according to Brandon Williams, Senior Product Specialist at Feathr, retargeting is fast emerging as the event promoter's best new friend.

    What is retargeting, anyway?

    Well, it's a web thing. And even if you've never heard the word before, you've seen retargeting at work.

    Think about shopping on line for shoes.

    You check out your favorite website and find the perfect pair of shoes for the summer.

    But you think about your credit card balance and put off buying the shoes until your next paycheck comes in.

    You exit the website, shoeless (for a week, anyway).

    Then, for a day or so, wherever you go on the web, an ad for that same pair of shoes seems to pop up.

    You feel like that new pair of shoes is stalking you.

    That's retargeting in in action!

    The tactic (also called "remarketing") has been shown to lift response rates for B2C marketers by as much as 700%, and conversion rates by as much as 70%, according to Wishpond.

    B2B marketers (including event promoters) can, and do, see the same results.

    “People who are trying to grow their events should use every tool at their disposable," Aidan Augustin, Feathr's president and cofounder recently told BizBash.

    That would include retargeting. Think of it as a series of smart and inexpensive follow-up ads that chase after interested buyers, and you have the basic picture.

    "Usually people don’t end up on an event website by accident," Aidan said. "They were probably led there by a search, or they were led there by a social post, or they typed it in directly. So if people are visiting an event website, they are signaling interest. Retargeting is just a way of converting those people who already expressed interest into registering.”

    If you'd like to learn more, call us at 202 810.9568.

    We promise not to stalk you.