by Casey Cote | March 19, 2014

Casey CoteThe scenario: Your company is hosting a big marketing event to enlighten attendees on new trends in widgeting and solutions to problems that plague widget makers. Joe Roberts arrives at the registration area prior to the morning kick-off session to get his name badge.
The badge looks similar to those Joe has received at numerous other functions he has attended. But Joe knows this badge is more than just a “pass” to the sessions and exhibit hall. With its barely noticeable RFID chip, the badge is also the enabler of a bargain Joe made with your company. In exchange for allowing you to monitor his whereabouts at the event, he can receive carefully targeted information from you — and gain access to a VIP lounge with work space, power outlets and refreshments.
When Joe registered, he completed an online form with the typical contact information. The form also asked Joe to share his social media contact information with you, and he did.
Radio waves don’t require line-of-sight transmission, so as Joe enters the event there’s no need for him to wait in line to swipe barcodes at a reader station. More importantly, unlike barcoding, which logs only a point in time, RFID technology can provide real-time tracking of Joe’s movements inside your venues. Joe’s duration at any location (such as a breakout-session room) can be monitored, too.
Here are a few things Joe did, and why those behaviors are good to know:
•  Joe was planning to attend a breakout session on widget quality control, but he changes his mind at the last minute and goes to a session on widget-warehouse workflow. As a “moving target,” Joe has now become an unexpected new prospect for one of your product managers, who sets up a meeting with him to discuss how your company’s workflow solutions fit his needs.

• Joe’s badge can link his physical and virtual worlds in creative ways. For example, RFID readers can collect information and let Joe approve the sending of pre-populated messages about his event experience to his Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter followers.  (“Just attended a great session on widget workflow at Acme’s WidgetWorld Conference,” reads one Tweet.)

•  Joe’s session attendance and exhibit attendance reveal that his interests are highly focused on matters specific to the widget supply chain, rather than widget manufacturing.  He’s engaged, too — not once did he leave a session early. And he didn’t go the hotel bar during session hours!
These are just some of the ways that RFID can be employed at events to deepen engagement with attendees without any manual data entry. Your new data-rich understanding of attendee behavior helps you segment attendees based during an event and give them special attention. After the event, you have a wealth of new insights for scoring them as prospects and following up more intelligently.
Casey Cote is the chief executive officer for Omnience (, a specialist in marketing event management solutions.