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Apps are a godsend in my personal life, but are there apps that can also improve productivity and effectiveness in my trade show exhibit?
In the never-ending search for tools to make trade show exhibits more effective at capturing leads and driving sales, a growing number of exhibitors are turning to exhibit-marketing apps. And rightfully so, as apps can provide an efficient means of attracting attendees to an exhibit, encouraging them to interact with your brand, obtaining their contact information, and then continuing the relationship after the show. While seemingly countless apps are available to aid exhibitors, here are a few of my favorites, which range in price from $2.99 to more than $6,000, based on their capabilities.

Fatstax. Designed for use with an iPad, Fatstax is a sales, presentation, and catalog app designed to allow salespeople to help attendees search through your product catalog, share product information with interested leads in various formats – from video and PDF brochures to PowerPoint presentations and HTML5 – and even guide them through the buying process right then and there.

Fatstax's interface can be fully customized to correspond with your company's image and logo. The app works with or without a Wi-Fi connection, and allows for CRM integration of leads captured, as well as integration with any marketing-automation system you use. It also boasts built-in analytics to help users determine the ROI of every trade show they attend. Given its customization options, costs vary, but the company's website (www.fatstax.com) indicates that an off-the-shelf configuration starts at $6,000 per year for medium-sized sales teams.

QuickTapSurvey. This app does just what its name suggests – it allows exhibitors to quickly survey attendees. Just like the preceding two apps, it is also fully functional without an Internet connection. The QuickTapSurvey app enables exhibitors to create custom surveys for any purpose, from market research to lead capture to customer feedback. It can be set to score surveys, assigning a weighted score to each answer, and surveys can even be designed with skip logic, asking certain questions based on the answers given.

Its analytics and reporting are robust, with features that allow for instant survey-result analysis, report generation, and even real-time user monitoring. Attendees taking a survey can access a variety of features, such as liking a Facebook page from within the survey, taking a photo with the tablet, or swiping the screen to uncover hidden images – and upon completion of the survey, an automated email can be sent immediately to nurture the lead. Suitable for iPad and Android tablets and available at www.quicktapsurvey.com, the app offers Free, Basic, Advanced, and Expert packages that range in price from $0 to $99 per month.

Conference Pad. The Conference Pad app enables exhibitors to make a sizeable impression on visitors – and to potentially do away with big bulky flatscreen monitors used for in-booth presentations – by commandeering attendees' own personal iPads, iPhones, and iPod Touches as part of the sales presentation. With Conference Pad installed on the presenter's iPad, salespeople can transmit PDF presentations wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to up to 15 audience members' devices in real time, allowing attendees to follow along without the need for cumbersome handouts or pricey in-booth monitors.

Presentations can also be shown simultaneously on multiple big screens in various locations, if each is attached to an iPad. Or presenters can choose to hand out iPads with the app already installed to audience members for the duration of the presentation. In any case, the presenter controls the presentation from his or her iPad, but can also allow attendees to take control, to zoom in or explore the presentation on their own for a time, before resuming control. Available for iPhone and iPad, the app is sold through iTunes for $4.99.

iPrizeWheel. If you're looking for an app that will help build traffic to your booth, look no further than the iPrizeWheel app. Rather than wasting money on a bulky, physical prize wheel that can't easily be changed to reflect new prizes or campaigns, you can get all the fun and excitement of a trade show giveaway game with this app, which is customizable, costs a fraction of typical three-dimensional prize wheels, and includes none of the hassles – or costs – of transport, drayage, and setup.

This app also allows exhibitors armed with an iPad to take the prize wheel out of the booth to events or for use in guerilla-marketing techniques. Plus, they can display the wheel in an iPad kiosk at the booth, or hook an iPad up to a large screen to make the wheel larger and more visible from a distance. Sold via iTunes for $4.99, iPrizeWheel features realistic sound effects and a spinning motion.

Air Video. To showcase your company's videos at your booth, try the Air Video streaming-video app. This app enables exhibitors to convert, transfer, and save videos from a PC to a mobile device, rather than streaming them from the Internet, which can be a vital asset in case of Internet connectivity issues at a trade show. If Wi-Fi connectivity is assured, however, an unlimited number of videos can also be streamed live, with no need to wait for them to convert – the conversion is done as they stream. The videos can be shown from your booth's tablet kiosk to attract the attention of passersby. This simple iPhone and iPad app is only $2.99 and available through iTunes.

So if you're looking for new exhibit-marketing apps to enhance your trade show exhibit, the aforementioned options are a great place to start. From helping you capture and nurture leads more efficiently to attracting more visitors to your booth, they can make your marketing communications more effective and maximize your trade show results.

— Shama Kabani, CEO, The Marketing Zen Group, Dallas
Help Wanted
Send your tough questions about exhibiting to Linda Armstrong, larmstrong@exhibitormagazine.com.

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