The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) plans the largest food and beverage ingredient event in the United States. Their Annual Meeting & Food Expo® includes the 221,860 net square foot IFT Food Expo®, attended annually by 18,000+ food scientists and technologists. Over 1,000 companies exhibit at the event. A few months before the 2012 event, Director of Exhibits, Tracy Garcia, received a call from a2z about trying a hot-off-the-press exhibitor-marketing platform—the ChirpE attendee acquisition widget. The plug-and-play widget, which enables exhibitors to promote their participation in a show using their own websites, proved to be an essential marketing ingredient.
In 2012, the IFT meeting was held in Las Vegas for the first time since 2004. Tracy Garcia was concerned about attendance numbers after the show's eight-year absence from the city. In the past, the organization provided exhibitors with tools—logos, show information, and links to registration—to market the show via their websites, but the results were inconsistent and untrackable. Exhibitors frequently neglected to download the event logos. She was interested in a solution that would amplify the show's existing attendance promotion efforts and make it easy for exhibitors to participate.
Garcia selected the ChirpE attendee acquisition widget—promoted to exhibitors as the eBooth Promotion Widget—for the 2012 expo. It extended the show brand beyond IFT's website and provided show management with reports on the number of clickthroughs to the show website, views of exhibitor eBooths and visits to the registration page. Exhibitors could place the widget directly on their websites with a few simple lines of code. The widget allowed attendees to register, place the exhibitor on a list of “must see” exhibits (a personal expo plan) or click over to the event website to learn more. a2z also provided IFT with a complete marketing and user-support package, including training videos, targeted email campaign, user technical support and a dedicated exhibitor support person.
Reports detailed the success of the widget.
- 315K total views
- 579 visits from exhibitor websites to the IFT event site
- 350 entries were logged in exhibitor expo plans
- 279 visits to the registration site
- 112 visits to exhibitor profiles (eBooths)
"Our exhibitors are low adopters. I was thrilled and amazed at the speed with which they implemented the widget. Part of that has to do with how they learn about the widget through a2z's marketing program," says Garcia.
IFT's Food Expo moves to Chicago in 2013, followed by New Orleans the following year. The ChirpE widget will help Tracy Garcia access exhibitors' existing client and prospect bases to build interest in the new destinations. In 2012, the platform was implemented only three months before the June show. Next year, Garcia will start promoting the widget as soon as attendee registration opens at the end of February, with a “hard push” in mid-April. As for being a “guinea pig” for a2z's new app, Tracy Garcia says she'll always be among the first in line to try new things. “We are a long-standing a2z user, eager to learn about new technologies. We like to stay abreast of their new products. And since we were in crunch mode, my project manager was sure to call my attention to it, knowing it would be a great fit for us. That's one of the great benefits of partnering with a2z; they understand your business and know how to really help you,” she says.
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