When Customer Experience Is the Ticket

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The importance of offline experiences, and their connection to online targeted marketing, is by no means limited to B2C. For a great number of B2B firms, industry events are still one of the top places to meet and network with the most important people at various companies. Providing excellent, engaging experiences that enable people to connect is important in this setting.

Anyone who's attended an industry event—particularly a large one—knows they can be overwhelming. Several times a day, people will speak to someone they've never met, make a brief introduction, and promise to be in touch or follow up. But what often happens is they forget immediately who it was they spoke to, or various other important details about that interaction. Those who come prepared might trade business cards, but those are easy to lose or misplace. Also, they force people to enter more data than they’d like.

Surprisingly, a lot of people are still thinking about conferences as a purely offline experience, points out Hampus Jakobsson, cofounder and CEO of Brisk. One of Brisk’s most recent additions to its sales solution addresses this tendency to skip business cards in favor of exchanging emails—though the intention is good, trading emails only often results in lost opportunities, as salespeople tend to forget to reconnect. What they can do is capitalize on the opportunities that live in places such as email and connect them to CRM to classify the contacts according to opportunity type.

Automating the process of exchanging information can help people keep track of what they’ve done at a trade show. And one vendor, Loopd, is making an effort to redefine the way people navigate events. “Event organizers have a lot of tools going into the event, but during the events it’s a black box,” Brian Friedman, CEO of Loopd, says.

Those who attend industry shows are familiar with name badges. At the beginning of a show, attendees are each given one with their name, title, and the company they are representing. Throughout the show, each attendee uses the badge as a ticket of admittance into various talks and gatherings. Loopd has developed bidirectional smart badges that enable attendees to trade information whenever they cross paths. This also makes the conference setting frictionless, as it allows people to check into sessions without having to show their badges. It aims to give event sponsors more insights into the success of their booths. Using the tracker badges, companies can get better analytics surrounding attendee behavior, and the information will help organizations figure out how to better target prospects concerning future products.

These are just a few examples of organizations that are hard at work delivering great customer experiences. The reality is that many companies are, and customers are taking notice. "More companies in more industries are [offering great experiences], so consumers are coming to expect [them]," Turchin says.

This is why organizations that aren't focused on delivering a positive experience must start to now: If customers don't get one from you, they'll be happy to find it somewhere else.

Associate Editor Oren Smilansky can be reached at osmilansky@infotoday.com.

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