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Tablet marketing at trade shows

This topic is SUCH a sore spot for me, because an idea I thought of about four years ago is beginning to become popular. I know in one case it is EXTREMELY likely I provided the seed of the idea.

A colleague of mine uses hand-held touchscreen tablets as part of the service his company sells. I was at a trade show several years back and I thought to myself, how great would it be to walk around with one of those hand-held touchscreens to not only market some information, but also to collect it. I even went so far as to introduce my colleague to one of two people selling marketing ideas for this particular trade show. Well, the trade show wanted more money than my colleague had; AND according to my colleague, there wasn't enough time to customize the idea.

The trade show came and went. The following year, I was at the same trade show, which involves both day-time and night-time events. Sure enough, throughout the event, but mostly at night, there were people walking around with handheld touch screens. They would ask participants if they were smokers. If they weren't, they'd just punch in some basic data. If the person who was asked DID turn out to be a smoker, they were asked a bunch of questions, AND were shown some marketing information on the touchscreen tablet. Of course, all their preferences, contact information and demographics were being collected. EXACTLY what I proposed my customer do!!!!

Anyway, has anyone else ever seen this in action? What do you think of it? I still think it's a great idea.

By the way, I'm not really bitter about it... In fact, I applaud the people who took the idea and made it such a successful reality. I'm sure they did a better job than I could've done. - by Coda1108
I packed a good sales position in because of this hand-held touch and record business. I was in sales and each night [9pm] after finishing you had to get out this device and record all your activities that day. You then had to phone your figures through. Obtaining a line and doing all they asked took about 20 minutes. It was the number one cause of men leaving. It was unapid and if you had been out all day you wanted to sit down and eat and get away from sales and sales figures. In all about 100 men left over 2 months, the rule was "Do it or your fired". Men took this to mean their figures for the day are more important than us". I still get letters asking me to go back, they've struggled for over 5 years to get and keep reps. - by Incidentally
That sounds like a nightmare, you're right. I don't want to confuse the hardware with the process, though. In the case you describe, you use the tablet to record and send information gained throughout the day. In the case I was describing, everything was live and interactive, so the people used the tablet as part of what they do. AND, the people holding the tablet were not salespeople... they were mostly students doing market research. The real value came in two ways: 1. The information collected can be converted into qualified leads based on the questions asked of participants, and 2. Money for advertising sold on the tablet themselves that participants were forced to view as they answered the 5 or 6 questions.

There was no need to take an extra step to transmit any data, as this was done automatically.

Hope that makes more sense now. - by Coda1108
I understand better now Coda. Thanks.

These street interview leads are often useless, so they re-canvass them again informally over the telephone, the drop out rate is enormous and the sludge that is left is poor. It does contain some orders but reps get very disheartened chasing this type of lead.
Does anyone remember the old cut out the coupon and post it in lead? Now that was a good lead. I worked for a firm who handed me 50 every week, all solid, all orders, and it was bang, bang, bang. I travelled thousands of miles on this firms leads, if your not that bothered about working away from home, and hotel living it was a good life. - by Incidentally
Incidentally, thanks for sharing your experience... I hadn't thought about the quality of the leads a tablet might produce. I'm sure the drop-off rate was pretty high. Heck, even higher than normal, as the trade show was a music industry event and most of the info was gotten from people sitting in a bar. - by Coda1108
Coda,

Before tablet computers even existed, I sold a portable data collection system (using hand held computers) to Coca Cola to collect blind taste test data - that was back in 1989 - so the concept that you have has been around for a long time - just now it has gotten to the point where it is ultimately much more affordable so you will see it more often.

I got out of that industry in 2001, but really any time you have a successful manual data collection process that ultimately needs to be typed back into a system there is an opportunity to automate that data collection at the point of transaction.

I guess all I am trying to tell you is not to beat yourself up over the idea because, while it's a good idea when executed properly, it's not a new idea.

Eric - by Eric Count5
A good topic is how much good leads cost, I have heard of firms doing national UK press advertising, with each lead costing them 50 / 100 [in dollars just double it] so 25 good press leads was a 2500 in an envelope.

Some reps calling on these leads were hopeless, I know of a rep who was given 30 excellent press leads, he signed uo 1 [one] I want sent out to re-do them, I took about 20 orders that he had missed, the buyers complaint was that they were very interested, very interested indeed but:

1. He kept talking and talking.

2. He suggested they needed to sleep on it and think about it.

3. And he never asked for the order.

The orders I took which he had missed, were all baffled and mystified why he had called on them in the first place. He must have thought he was on a goodwill visit. All he had to say was "When do you want it done, I'll write it up now and arrange a delivery date for you, all very basic salesmen patter. - by Incidentally
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