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Expo! Expo! Recap: Leveraging Digital Insights to Create Brand Experiences

Learn how you can leverage data to create memorable brand experiences

Podcasts and content related to Expo! Expo! is an exclusive IAEE member benefit. For more in-depth tips and tactics, listen to the official Expo! Expo! 2017 podcasts here. Special thank you to GES for being the 2017 Expo! Expo! Education Title Sponsor.


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Digital technology has changed the way we engage with others in our personal and professional lives. For event and exhibitions professionals, digital provides new opportunities to engage key stakeholders in unique ways. This session examined data analysis and digital trends to create a customized engagement journey for different audience segments. Utilizing the right digital tools can make interactions faster and easier, ultimately improving customer satisfaction, branding effectiveness and sales conversion.

Data can come from a range of sources including websites, mobile apps, second screen, lead retrieval, social media and customer relationship management (CRM) tools. The session focused on the quality, not quantity, of information and how it can be used to inform strategies, key messages and personalized interaction before, during and after an event.

In this session, speakers explored the Splunk Users’ Conference “.conf2017” and how they applied data to enhance the attendee experience. Not all tactics will be mentioned in the write-up. We encourage you to purchase the podcast for more successfully proven data tactics that create unbelievable brand experiences.

Speakers for the session included:


What is .conf?

.conf is Splunk’s premier education and thought leadership event for thousands of IT and business professionals who are keen to use machine data insights to find answers. It is very much a data-driven event. The goal of the conference is to showcase technology and give users something useful to take home while also adding an element of fun and whimsy. How do you add fun and whimsy to a conference based solely on the cut and dry world of data? This was no small task for Splunk and Freeman.

Visualize the Data

Splunk is all about helping customers gain insights from Big Data. The most meaningful way for their attendees to gain insights is through visualization. On the show floor, visualization was everywhere.

Splunk and Freeman leveraged beacons for indoor mapping. This allowed them to track the density of people on the show floor to understand where people were spending their time during a specific period. With this type of data, the team produced real time visualization throughout the event.

Recording the time an activity took place is critical because it allows you to present context. Context provides the meaning behind the data. Data is not just about what activity someone did, but you have to present the context of when, how and where one did an activity. At that point, the data can tell a story.


With great power, comes great responsibility. All the data that was collected, was anonymized. Data is very powerful, but dangerous if in the wrong hands. This was a deliberate move by the show team to protect the show and attendees.

Voice Activated Assistance

Voice-enabled devices are on the rise in homes, but you can also use them for your show. The team built an Alexa skill to provide Splunk attendees a convenient way to find more information about what was going on and answer simple questions.

Voice is the number one way we communicate and how we pick up information. Audio communication is the way we learn information about the world. Voice is a powerful way to interact with the show.


However, utilizing voice-activated assistance requires extensive planning. You would have to think ahead as to what your attendees would ask at the show. While it does require more effort, more and more shows are using voice-activated assistants to grab valuable data on what their attendees want and need at the show. The data received from the voice activated devices can then be used to plan the following year’s show.


Who doesn’t love a good game? The team used gamification within their mobile app, called The Butter-CUP. The in-app gamification component provided attendees with a fun experience, while also incentivizing the attendees.

Events are all about the face-to-face connections. However, we have experienced how hard or uncomfortable it may be to make the first step in networking. Splunk used their show’s mobile app to make that happen. It is ironic how they used the very technology that many assume is hindering face-to-face connections. How did they do it?

The team leveraged QR codes as a simple way to scan and gain points as you go. Points were gained with each networking opportunity presented to the attendees. Leaderboards were shown in the dashboard so attendees could see where they ranked.  The game turned out to be a hit and attendees were able to make the most of their time at Splunk’s conference.


Final Thoughts

Data is here to stay! Once you get over the initial reaction of fear and take that long breath, you will see that data is going to be the most reliable friend you’ll have in building your show strategy and creating brand experiences for your attendees.

It is important to note that data does come with responsibility. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will take effect on May 25, 2018. Event organizers and suppliers are taking the necessary precautions to protect their customers’ personal information. We at IAEE have released a white paper on Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and compiled a list of resources dedicated to data security.

“Data will talk to you if you’re willing to listen to it.” – Jim Bergeson

Podcasts and content related to Expo! Expo! is an exclusive IAEE member benefit. For more in-depth tips and tactics, listen to the official Expo! Expo! 2017 podcasts here. Special thank you to GES for being the 2017 Expo! Expo! Education Title Sponsor.

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