Using Data Visualization to Improve Exhibit Program Analytics

Except for accountants, actuaries, and statisticians, analyzing pure numbers can be a daunting task. Although the data collected using sophisticated lead retrieval and RFID (radio frequency identification) systems is extremely useful, it can be difficult to consume as pure numbers on paper. One way to overcome the difficulty is to use data visualization techniques. In other words, to take the data and display it as images.

A Microsoft© whitepaper titled, “Data Visualization Specialization Overview: Reducing Costs and Complexity through Strong Visualization,” details the challenges for companies. “Organizations often lack efficient ways to easily access and explore related sets of data in a unified manner. This makes it more difficult to understand relationships in the data and tap into its value,” the paper says.

There is hope, however, according to Microsoft, the provider of a number of data visualization applications. “Presenting data in a visual format facilitates rapid identification of key patterns, trends exceptions in complex data sets. Presenting this data in context promotes understanding and drives better business decisions,” the whitepaper states.

In the context of exhibit program metrics, data visualization helps exhibiting companies visualize the customer’s physical journey through the booth. In addition, exhibitors can use filters to visually demonstrate specific scenarios such as all of the attendees that visited a particular product station, those that visited a station on a particular day or all those from a specific organization. This allows exhibitors to identify additional revenue opportunities and increase their ROI.

Alliance Tech offers data visualization capabilities to some of its clients to help them interpret large amounts of data more effectively. The booth journey of attendees from four leading hospitals is plotted below. The map indicates that some attendees visited multiple product areas in the booth and others remained within a single section. Such behavior is much easier to interpret using the map than it is from reviewing the raw numbers in a spreadsheet.

Data visualization is another way to analyze the return on investment from exhibit marketing programs. It helps to demonstrate program effectiveness in a very powerful way to senior management. As data collection becomes more sophisticated, data visualization will be an important lens through which to interpret large amounts of complex information and help to improve ROI measurement.