Monday, March 1, 2010

Better, Faster and Cheaper Events

I met the CEO of Kaon Interactive, Gavin Finn, the other day at Mass Innovation Nights (a great local event) and immediately found yet another reason to get excited about the future of face-to-face events.

They call it Experiential Marketing. Kaon founded in 1996 (the same year we started our company), is a former online multiplayer game animation company that morphed into an innovator of 3D interactive product models and demonstrations.

You can send product avatars to your next show. Finn was showing off his Kaon v-OSK. It’s like a big touch-screen tablet computer, positioned precisely where you want it if you are standing at trade show booth talking to a prospect. He was demonstrating how the unit, programmed by his company, can display your product in 3D so that the product can be spun around, viewed from all angles, opened up, or animated in action.

With a flick of his finger Finn showed how, video, fact sheets, power points and interactive components could be utilized along side the 3D images. It’s been written up in the trade press but seeing is believing.

Definitely wiz-bang technology but the economics are what’s really exciting. “Clients have been able to save so much by using our device instead of shipping and setting up actual products, that they are doubling the number of shows they are going to,” Finn explained.

It is now easy to cut costs and enhance the value of events. That same night, I learned about the Hubcast international print on demand network that looks like it could be used by event producers to cut exhibitor costs. And I talked to David Jenkins, CEO of Conversion Associates about how his company’s technology enables exhibitors to track lead conversions whether the leads respond on line or by phone as a result of a show. Additionally, I’ve used or reviewed numerous platforms that extend the event experience by bringing virtual participation into an event or by bringing an event into the virtual world.

It’s breakthrough time! Events really work. We know that. And events are intrinsically satisfying. We feel that. Events can also be expensive, limited in reach, stubbornly fixed in time, and tough to execute. But we now have the tools to clobber these issues.

We all need to get out more. Events are the essential social media. Nothing beats face-to-face, especially for high value information and big-ticket prospecting. Better, faster, cheaper events are poised to capture more information and marketing demand than ever before.

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