Equifax Best Practices

Part
01
of two
Part
01

Trade Show Best Practices

Trends in trade show best practices are focusing on engaging the customer experience in a variety of ways. Companies can create tangible products on the spot, allowing customers to customize the product, see how it is made, gain valuable understanding of the process, and have a unique item to take home and share. Some companies are utilizing impressive technologies such as robots and virtual reality to engage customers and attract attention. Other companies are capitalizing on the needs of customers to have a place to rest during tiring trade shows, and these companies are attracting customers by creating exhibits that offer inviting chairs and a relaxing environment, which are conducive to photo opportunities and extended conversations.

Real-Time Product Creations

  • A current creative trend is when companies create their products in real-time for customers to take away a personalized item. Customers can interact with the creation of the product by seeing how the product is actually created, ask questions related to the product while it is being made, and even customize aspects of the final product.
  • For example, Sole Revival offered customers the option to pick a shoe from their selection or bring their own, and then have artists personalize the shoes with logos, phrases, or graphics.
  • Real-time creation allows customers to interact with the product and artists on a personal level, and have a physical item with a story to take home and share with friends and other business colleagues. It also provides a highly interactive experience for the customer with both the artisan, brand, and physical item.
  • Another example of real-time creation was by DSS, an apparel printing company, where customers could choose a t-shirt design, t-shirt color, and ink color. Customers were able to see how their t-shirts were screen-printed while allowing the exhibitor to talk about the brand and printing process. Again, customers took away a customized product, enhanced understanding of the process, and a memorable experience.

Technology — Robots and Virtual Reality

  • Robots are a highly interactive and impressive way to attract customers. The FURO-D Robot by Advanced Robot Solutions is 5'3" tall, and is able to talk and interact in real-time with customers. The robot can roam around the exhibit hall to attract customers to the booth, and can be programmed to answer questions related to the company in conversation form, even scanning name badges and addressing customers by name. The robot also has a customizable touchscreen for customers to interact with to watch slideshows and videos, and can capture email addresses and other information. The robot creates a very memorable interaction, and people will want to take photos of themselves with the robot to share with friends after the event. In addition to attracting customers and creating an interesting story for them to share, the robot serves a practical purpose of gathering information to be used after the trade show.
  • Using Virtual Reality is another technology trend used to create a personalized and memorable customer experience. Car companies like Ford used virtual driving games to allow customers to virtually test drive race cars, making the experience like a game. Adding video walls and other interactive elements can further engage customers in a very personalized way with the product.

Relax and Recharge

  • Another trend is to make exhibits into places where attendees can sit and relax, as well as charge electronic devices. Customers are grateful for a place to sit during a long day of exhibits, and this may encourage them to stay and chat longer, such as at a McDonald's exhibit with tables for eating and lounge chairs.
  • Adding charging stations for phones and laptops gives an additional incentive for people to stay longer, giving exhibitors more chance to engage in conversation.
  • Providing a park-like experience can also attract customers to sit and unwind, such as Filson's outdoor environment at the Outdoor Retailer and Snow Show in Denver. In addition to creating a much sought-after resting spot, creative branding in this setting can lead to unique photo opportunities for attendees, such as putting a brand name at the bottom of a koi pond.
Part
02
of two
Part
02

Case Studies: Data-Driven Companies

In the first case study, Starbucks, the cafe chain, built a floor-to-ceiling data wall in their first store in Milan. Seen through an app, the wall shows customers overlapping datasets that depict Starbucks' story, geography, and coffees. In the second case study, Esri, a company that sells mapping and spatial analytics, offers sequential visualizations that overlay multiple dimensions of customer data to give a map-based way to see and segment current customers (combining location with behavior) and target new customers.

Case Study #1: Starbucks and Accurat's Data Wall

  • In September 2018, Starbucks, the cafe chain, unveiled a floor-to-ceiling, brass, data-visualization wall in its first store in Milan.
  • Seen through an augmented-reality app, the wall shows layers of information about Starbucks, its geography, and its coffee blends. Designed and built by Accurat, a data visualization design company, the data wall's main story is about the journey of Starbuck's CEO, Howard Schultz, with underlying datasets to contextualize the information and present related stories.

Case Study #2: ESRI GIS (Geographical Information System) Marketing

  • Esri, a company that builds mapping and spatial analytics software, markets visualizations that overlay several types of data to generate powerful imagery of customer behavior.
  • Map-based, the company's use of data, such as psychographic characteristics and spending behavior, allows it to match products to customers and to perform fine-grained customer segmentation.
  • The company markets its data services as a multi-step process that moves from identifying customer concentrations to profiling them to targeting new customers in a series of easy-to-understand visualizations that combine high-level information with detailed micro-data.

Research Strategy

Finding data-driven companies that innovatively market products in-person, such as at trade-shows, proved to be difficult. After exhaustively working through trade show design companies, data-centric trade shows and expositions, and data-driven companies that market products or services, we only found two: the Starbuck's data-wall example above (which, though not a trade show and not in the United States, is in-person and by a U.S. company), and a data visualization exhibit designed by Brisk Interactive, a digital design company. Since the Brisk Interactive example did not have a lot of detail, we turned to researching data companies that market data whether or not they had in-person examples.

During our research, though, we determined that if the goal is to identify ways to make data engaging and exciting (i.e., not boring), then there are dozens of data exhibits by artists and museums that have powerful, creative, and insightful examples of how to turn data into meaningful stories. See for example, the Museum of the City of New York's exhibit, "Who We Are: Visualizing NYC by the Numbers" or this story about artists who are using big data to tell stories.
Sources
Sources

From Part 02
Quotes
  • "In today’s competitive marketplace, successful brands are listening to and understanding what customers really care about. Traditional and previously proven forms of marketing are no longer as effective as they once were. This is where geographic information system (GIS) technology comes in, allowing you to visualize where your customers are located by analyzing demographic, psychographic, purchasing, and spending characteristics for accurate customer segmentation and helping you find more like them."
Quotes
  • "The wall can be read through three overlapping and interplaying layers: the story and journey of Starbucks, the meaningful places in the company’s history and the actual coffee blends. "
Quotes
  • "Create a tactile tangible way of expressing a data connectivity service – make magic out of ones and zeros. Bring data to life and create an engaging display showing the real-time transmission and relationship of data between partners."
Quotes
  • "In anticipation of the 2020 census, Who We Are: Visualizing NYC by the Numbers showcases work not just by data analysts and demographers, but also by cutting-edge contemporary artists and designers who use these tools to enliven and humanize statistics and to shed new light on how we understand our urban environment and ourselves."
Quotes
  • "As a raw digital material, data may seem dry and inaccessible, but it has given rise to a new type of artist. Data artists specialise in making the unseen visible through artworks, using innovative data visualisation techniques to show the viewer something that the numbers alone cannot. "