The LATEST Sales Technology for Improving ROI in Trade Show Marketing

Sales Technology for Improving ROI

Trade shows and other events are one of the best ways for businesses to connect with current and prospective customers. They help organizations move beyond digital and virtual marketing and sales. It makes them — and the people who work for them — seem human, accessible and real.

Sales Technology is being developed and adapted that makes interactions at trade shows more meaningful and effective. It helps increase sales and improve the return on investment (ROI) in event marketing.

Check out some of the latest examples along with ideas on how to use them. I also provide insights about where trade show technology could go in the future.

Facial Recognition

You probably use some form of facial recognition technology every day, whether it’s to pass through building security systems, log into devices or tag friends and family members on social media.

Sophisticated algorithms are able to recognize facial features, hairstyles, body shapes and expressions. The latest read and interpret body language.

The same technology is being used at trade shows and other events.

For example, some companies encourage their sales reps to take pictures with trade show attendees and post them to social media. The reps ask attendees to tag themselves and their friends. It seems like a simple and innocent request to post a selfie. However, it’s actually the beginning of a digital trail that helps reps learn about — and follow-up with — attendees.

The future potential of facial recognition technology at events is limitless. Soon, software will predict the mood of booth visitors by scanning and reading facial expressions, body language and other signals. This will give sales reps the information they need to gauge the likelihood of prospects to connect and make a purchase. 

It will improve trade show ROI by giving reps the power to pursue the best, most likely prospects. They’ll also know when they should be prepared to overcome objections.

Radio Frequency Identification

Many trade show organizers use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) to replace paper and digital tickets and handle payments. Small sensors speed check-ins and move people quickly through security. It’s also used to gain access to break out sessions and other trade show experiences.

Sponsors are able to gather significant information about attendees that can be shared with participating organizations. Attendees enter raffles and polls through RFID taps. They also tap to check into booths or share contact info. These engagements can be tracked over time, creating highly detailed maps of attendee behavior. A good marketer or sales rep can translate the behavior into consumer insights.

Of course, privacy concerns must be addressed, but history proves that people are willing to trade personal data for prizes, gifts or access to information. 

When sales reps know things about the people they meet — including their interests and the competitors they’ve interacted with — they can better tailor their conversations. This helps close more deals and improve the return on participating in trade shows.

Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial intelligence is everywhere these days, even at trade shows. It delivers personalized experiences to 10,000, 20,000 or 30,000 individual attendees, or more.

A simple — and relatively common — example of the use of artificial intelligence at trade shows is chatbots. They’re a good way for people to get answers to basic questions while keeping reps focused on closing deals. This drives efficiency while still delivering a high level of service. If designed correctly, chatbots collect attendee information that can be used to improve interactions at — and after — events.

A more advanced use: Video experiences, quizzes and games that change and evolve depending on how users interact with them. They’re a fun way to drive people through the marketing and sales process in highly intuitive and responsive ways, all at their own pace. At the end, they’re given personalized recommendations and solutions that are shared with sales reps. Salespeople can use the insights to close deals faster because they’re able to bypass a lot of discovery.

Investing in artificial intelligence might seem costly. However, when compared with the cost of hiring and training additional booth personnel, it’s relatively inexpensive and provides a high return on investment.

Badge scanning

Most trade shows provide some form of badge scanning software. It provides participating organizations with basic contact information about booth visitors. While it’s valuable, it requires significant research to learn more about visitors before it can be used.

With the next generation of scanning software, reps take pictures of attendee business cards. The information on the cards is immediately uploaded to a database. At the same time, the software scans the internet looking for additional information, including things like education, affiliations and interests. It’s made available to reps working the booth in real time so they can use it to improve their interactions. They can also leverage it to inform their trade show follow-ups.

An investment in this cutting-edge software has been proven to pay off in increased sales at events and after. Another benefit is that it can be used at all trade shows, which improves efficiency and makes organizations less dependent on software provided by trade show sponsors.


Every company — and pretty much everything these days — has an app. The same is true at trade shows.

It might seem like app overload, but if they provide value to attendees, event apps will get downloaded and used. If smartly designed, the companies that offer them will be able to collect — and benefit from — information about users.

The key to maximizing ROI on trade show apps is to figure out what attendees want, need and can’t live without. Then develop an app that delivers it. Make it so valuable that attendees will give you permission to collect data about them in return.


Live-streaming isn’t new. In some cases, it’s been over done. But NOT if it’s handled in fresh and surprising ways.

Are you hosting a breakout at the show that people outside will find meaningful? Perhaps it features an in-demand celebrity speaker or industry expert.

Live-streaming lets you to expand your audience beyond the trade show. Giving outsiders a chance to ask questions or participate in other ways makes it more likely they’ll tune in. Perhaps a part of your panel could be virtual. Or maybe it could go global, demonstrating the value of your brand all over the world.

Live-streaming provides a BIG bump in your ROI in trade show marketing. Add to that the intel you get about viewers, and the increase is exponential. Encourage people to share your live-streams, and your results are even greater.


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About the Author

Mark Stralka is a leading entrepreneur and sales enablement expert. After co-founding Kazaam Interactive, the 9th fastest growing company in the Philadelphia 100 in 2011, Mark has been dedicated to paving the future of B2B marketing and sales optimization. Today, Mark is the founder and CEO of Mobile Locker, a global sales enablement platform that helps businesses increase their selling power and trade show success. Outside of his role as a business leader, Mark is a craft beer enthusiast, youth sports coach, and an active member of the Seton Catholic School Board in Hudson, Ohio where he resides with his wife and three kids.