o, how did Michelle Bates help Symantec Corp. collect 69 percent more leads and generate nearly three times as many sales from Info-Security Europe (ISE) 2010 compared to 2009? Well, it turns out there's an app for that, and it was downloaded 45,000 times.
As the largest trade show for IT professionals and security vendors in the United Kingdom, ISE 2010 represented a sizeable challenge for Bates, principal marketing specialist for Symantec's U.K. and Ireland office in Reading, England. While her company had collected a decent number of leads in 2009, and converted about 18 percent of them to sales, Symantec set a goal of improving on its 2009 totals by at least 20 percent.
Generating more leads and more sales from the show would be difficult, especially if Bates couldn't get more attendees to visit the Symantec exhibit. So she had to find a way to catch attendees' attention at ISE that would build buzz for Symantec and get them flocking to the exhibit like never before.
Fortunately, Bates knew her audience quite well, and figured that creating interest among IT-security professionals would be fairly straightforward: Give them a cool tech toy to play with, and they will form a line to get it. However, since most IT pros, such as the attendees at ISE, tend to have their hands
on the latest gadgets and gizmos already, the trick is to offer them a techie
tool they can't find anywhere
else. And in that sense, Bates delivered twice.
How to "Wow"
|Michelle Bates principal marketing specialist for Symantec Corp., has more than 10 years of marketing experience working in the IT sector. She joined the company's U.K. and Ireland office in 2005, and in addition to focusing on enterprise marketing within the public and financial sectors, she also is responsible for Symantec's U.K.
Since ISE attendees tended to be attached to their smart phones, Bates decided a smart-phone application would be a way to deliver key messaging, promote the Symantec exhibit, and drive attendees to the booth. But an app that didn't contain information attendees needed at the show would end up just being a wasted program on their phones. It had to deliver content that users would find useful.
Bates' first step was to sit down with her team at Symantec and determine what they wanted to put onto a smart-phone app for attendees. After some brainstorming, the group came up with some basic information that would be helpful for people attending the trade show and conference, as well as some Symantec-specific documents that attendees could read to learn more about the company's "One Breach Is One Too Many" theme for the show. While the Symantec content for the app would all come from information the company already had or was developing, the show-specific information would need to come from show-management company Reed Exhibitions Ltd.
"When we decided on the app, we thought it was important to work with Reed Exhibitions," Bates says. "We wanted to provide delegates with more than just what
Symantec could offer." Bates contacted Reed Exhibitions
in the initial stages of planning the app, letting the company know that Symantec hoped to be able to update attendees on the show schedule and learning sessions, and provide info on booths in the exhibit hall.
But to be truly indispensable, the app would need to deliver news and tips to attendees that extended beyond the show hall. With Reed Exhibitions' help, Symantec added travel information, including schedules for public-transportation (such as buses and the subway), and a list of restaurants near the show hall to help visitors navigate their trip and enjoy their visit. Attendees not only could access all this information on the app, but they could also set reminders for important meetings or sessions for which they had signed up.
To increase leads and sales over 2009 results (but with the same budget), Michelle Bates of Symantec Corp. offered tech-minded attendees at the 2010 Info-
Security Europe show a triple treat: a show-specific, custom-designed smart-phone app, an augmented-reality game, and the chance to win an Apple iPad.
Bates made sure the app included details about the company's Augmented Reality Instant Win Game, through which attendees could win one of three coveted Apple iPads.
The app was downloaded 45,000 times by the end
of the 2010 show,
far exceeding Bates'
original goal of 1,000 downloads.
Knowing the majority of her tech-savvy audience owned BlackBerrys or iPhones (or both), Bates made sure the app could be used on either device.
Symantec's Augmented Reality Instant Win Game kept attendees waiting for up to 40 minutes to play, giving the company a
The app included
timetables and schedules
for the city's public
In addition to
information, the smart-phone app also alerted attendees about presentations and panel discussions taking place in the company's exhibit.
The Symantec app reached No. 4 on the U.K. business-download chart during the week of ISE, making it one of the most popular business apps in the U.K.
The app also helped
hungry visitors find
the show hall.
"Working with show management to create an app that was specifically for the show was a smart move," one All-Star Awards judge said. "That certainly gave the app robust content and broadened its appeal."
Finally, the app needed to be loaded with Symantec information. This included a white paper that supported its "One Breach" message, information on Symantec's products, and several company reports about data security. The app also contained information on the Symantec exhibit, including
a giveaway game that would use augmented reality as a tool. "We wanted to supply delegates with relevant
information while getting the Symantec brand to a wide audience," Bates says. "The app was the perfect way to do just that."
Having a comprehensive plan in place before starting work on the application was important, Bates says, because once programmers began to build the app, it would be harder to make major changes down the road. With an overall plan in place, Bates turned to advertising agency Exposure Promotions Ltd. of London for help in building the app.
The process of getting an app built took about three months, Bates says, requiring several sit-down meetings between her team and representatives from Exposure and Reed Exhibitions. As the app took shape, Bates set the additional goal of reaching 1,000 downloads for the app by the end of the show.
Once the app was built,
Symantec had about a month before the show to get attendees to start downloading it to their iPhones and BlackBerrys. Attendees took to the app right away with download totals growing gradually from the launch through the start of the show. Again, the partnership with show management - which was able to boast a cool free tool for its expo - helped as Reed Exhibitions promoted the app via show advertising. Attendee registration and all e-mail confirmations for attendees included a link to the app on the Symantec website. And Symantec ran banner ads promoting the app on Computer Weekly's website.
Finally, a week before the show opened, the U.K. newspaper The Guardian
printed a network-security supplement to coincide with ISE. The 360,000-circulation newspaper featured an interview with Symantec's senior vice president, Francis de Souza, titled "The Anatomy of a Data Breach." In the advertorial article, Souza talked about the app, promoting it to techies in general and show attendees specifically.
Before the show even began, the app had been downloaded more than 30,000 times with a spike occurring during the show, pushing the total for ISE to 45,000 downloads by the end of the show. Those monumental numbers far outpaced Bates' goal of 1,000 downloads. In fact, the app reached No. 4 on the U.K. business-download chart during the week of the show, making it one of the hottest smart-phone business apps in the U.K.
All-Star Awards judges were impressed by the response to the app. "The number of times the app was downloaded is unbelievable," one judge said. "These are amazingly impressive results."
While part of that 45,000 total included downloads that happened at the show - some in the Symantec booth - the majority of downloads came before
the expo. Considering the show attracted 12,500 IT
professionals, the popularity
of Symantec's app was
staggering. Designed with ISE attendees in mind, the app seemed to gain a broad appeal within the industry, resulting in tens of thousands of downloads from people who didn't even attend the event.
As the opening of the show drew nearer, attendees were able to utilize the full functionality of the app, starting when they made their way to the show. When attendees launched the app, the Symantec name appeared along with the company's theme for the show, "One Breach Is One Too Many." With the app running, users could access information on ground transportation - particularly the schedule of London's subway system (aka the Tube) to Earls Court Exhibition Centre - and check on any changes made to the show schedule. All this enabled attendees to be up to date the morning the show opened.
While the information about conference sessions and speakers was continually updated throughout the show, attendees could also take the app to the show floor to help navigate the many exhibits. A copy of the floor plan could be accessed through the app, which also allowed attendees to hold up their smart phones to any given booth and view details about that company displayed on the phone's screen. Finally, the app alerted users about the goings on at the Symantec exhibit, giving updates on scheduled presentations and panel discussions within the company's booth, and providing information about Symantec's Augmented Reality Instant Win Game.
It was through the game that Bates delivered her second cool techie toy to attendees. Knowing that once she had attendees' attention she would need to deliver a great experience, Bates worked with Exposure to create the high-tech game for attendees with a prize of a new iPad. The cool, must-have computers were not even available in the U.K. at the time of the show, meaning the three iPads being given away by Symantec were highly sought-after items on the show floor.
To win an iPad, attendees needed to get a flier, which doubled as a game piece, either at the booth or from a roving Symantec employee passing out fliers on the show floor. With a game piece in hand, attendees waited in line at the exhibit for their turn to play and see what they had won. At a special station in the booth, the fliers were read by a webcam and results - what the attendee had won - were shown via an augmented-reality display that virtually unwrapped a computer-generated gift box on a large monitor.
Every attendee was guaranteed to win, with prizes ranging from the iPad (one was given out each of the three days of the show), to a Bose speaker system for the iPhone, to a variety of Symantec-branded items that included travel mice, webcams, earphones, and metallic travel mugs.
"The augmented-reality game was all about getting
people to the booth," Bates says. "Once there, we could engage them with presentations and face-to-face conversations. While the smart-phone app helped make the Symantec exhibit a must-visit exhibit, it was the game that drove the company's success at the show."
When attendees came to the Symantec booth, they lined up to play the Augmented Reality Instant Win Game. That, however, put those attendees into a long line wrapping nearly two-thirds of the way around Symantec's exhibit. "The augmented-reality game far exceeded our expectations," Bates says. "We had queues of 40 minutes or longer of people just waiting to play the game."
With a crowd circling its booth, the Symantec team went to work delivering its security message. Adjacent to where the game was played was a theater for presentations and panel discussions, which all tied into the "One Breach" message, explaining how security breaches can come in many forms and how Symantec's security tools work together to keep networks safe.
The booth itself, a triangle shape covering roughly 1,000 square feet, featured signage with the "One Breach Is One Too Many" message and the Symantec logo in the company's black and yellow colors. The wide base of the triangle contained theater seating and product-information kiosks, which were also decked
out in the company colors and manned by Symantec
staffers. Symantec's security-channel partners staffed two more kiosks, and one final kiosk contained a workstation for downloading
the smart-phone app to BlackBerry phones. Behind the theater was a 10-by-10-foot lounge where booth visitors could relax and chat with staffers.
Meanwhile, booth staffers also approached queued attendees to make sure they had downloaded the app to their phones.
The Symantec folks used the prized iPads and iPhones to demonstrate the app to attendees in line. A wireless Internet connection
allowed the app-less to download the phone software right in the booth. And just to make sure attendees did not wander away, a pair of entertainers joked with the crowd in line to keep the mood light.
A team of technology
specialists also moved among those waiting to play the game, asking about the attendees' security needs. When attendees were done
playing the game, more techie folks were available to continue those conversations started in the queue at one of four product-info pods. These information kiosks focused on how Symantec could protect IT infrastructure and data, and help its clients develop and manage their systems.
The Real Wow Factor
Over the course of three days, 2,283 attendees
participated in Symantec's
augmented-reality game. From that crowd, the company mined 181 qualified leads at the 2010 ISE expo. That number represented a 69-percent increase over the 107 qualified leads gathered at the show in 2009. Even better, Symantec converted 52 of those leads to sales, a 174-percent increase over the 19 it converted in 2009, which represented a conversion rate in 2010 of 29 percent, up from 18 percent the year before. As for the goal of getting the Symantec name and message out to attendees, the 45,000 downloads and the 40-minute wait to play the Augmented Reality Instant Win Game are evidence of how Symantec became the talk of the show.
"The new technology was the big difference," Bates says. "And for us, 2010 was a game changer as far as what we can do, not just at this show but others, too."
Even though the show has ended for 2010, Bates says, the app lives on: "We continue to see downloads long after the show has finished." A big reason for the continued success of the app has to do with the fact that Symantec still sends updates such as security alerts, reports, and product information to users through the app. And Symantec plans to roll out the app in new global regions at other shows in 2011.
Now that the app has proven itself, Symantec plans to update it and make improvements to it. "Right now, the app is still updated with information from Symantec, but it's an ongoing project, and as more is put on the app, we hope there will be more usage," Bates says. "The end goal is that it will become much more than just an event app."
Having met the challenges of ISE 2010, Bates is looking forward to building on
her success in 2011. Fortunately, she's already got an app for that. E