Best Technology Tools for Planning & Hosting Events to Reduce Stress

Events can be one of the most successful solutions to facilitate business connections, develop relationships, share ideas and recognize people or efforts. However, events are also the one of the most stressful types of endeavors because they have so many minute details that require extreme organization and strategy.

The key to de-stressing an event is to keep everything as simple as possible. We phrase this as an attempt to “reduce complexity” rather than to make something “simple.” “Simple” doesn’t even cover the Herculean effort to takes to streamline processes, make things easy or de-stress.

So, in the midst of a multi-faceted and detail-bogged event, it’s important to choose tools, equipment and a team that wants to make things as easy as possible.

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Lead Generation Debate: Quality vs. Quantity

Build your pipeline instantly with Captix for lead retrieval A colleague and I were recently chatting at the Spider House Cafe and ballroom in Austin, Texas over coffee about an age old debate for marketing and sales teams.

When you attend an event, is it about returning with QUANTITY or QUALITY leads? There are several schools of thought.

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4 Gadgets Every Event Professional Needs

Go-Go-Gadget: plan my event. That’s not exactly how it works, but there are a few gadgets on the market that can increase productivity and lower stress for event professionals.

1) Power Bank. A power bank allows you to charge all your devices without any outlets. The portable charger is perfect for working while traveling. However, be sure your power bank is charged before your flight since portable chargers are known to consume large amounts of energy and drain faster than the average smart device.

2) Pocket Projector. These tiny gadgets can fit in your pocket, yet allow you to project your presentation to a room full of people. Pocket projectors integrate well with your smart devices so you’ll be able to share projects on walls, notebooks, or really any blank surface.

3) Chromecast. Although this technology isn’t new, the streaming system continues to be the most efficient way to stream videos from the Internet onto your TV – no cables needed. Anyone in the room can connect to the Chromecast and use their phone or tablet as a remote to share videos via apps like YouTube and Netflix.

4) Digital Tape Measure. It’s lighter and easier to use than a traditional tape measure. Instead of calling over an assistant to help you measure the length of the venue wall, the digital device allows for easy measuring with laser point technology. Although some mobile apps allow for digital measuring, nothing has proven as accurate as laser measuring devices.

Know of a great event management tool that we didn’t cover? Let us know and we may just add it to our post. 

Sales Needs A Human Touch

There is no denying that technology has drastically changed the way we work. While robots have completely replaced some jobs, technology has maximized human efficiency for others.

Take sales for example. Clipboards and landlines have been replaced with CRMs and mobile apps. However, the “human touch” of sales is still completely necessary – maybe more now than ever.

Remember the archaic period before existed? I don’t. But I can imagine sales and marketing teams spending hours in front of 3-foot deep monitors plugging in each lead and then using their dial-up Internet to log into Yahoo mail to share their list of leads.

That might be an exaggeration but it doesn’t negate the fact that automation and integration have saved sales reps time to, well, sell things.

While some products may sell themselves (insert ShamWow Guy voice), it seems unlikely that robots will replace the influence of a good sales rep.

Converting Leads To Customers Is The Result Of A Good Sales Person

The ability to build relationships is the mark of a good sales person. However Don Draper would frown upon how much this key part of sales is being overshadowed by new and shiny technology. Instead of using a badge scanner as a time-saving tool (which it was meant to be), many sales teams are building strategies around it. They are focused more on capturing as many business cards as possible than building relationships with quality leads.

While your boss may give you a pat on the back for bringing home 250 new leads with the new badge scanner, s/he will not be happy with the lead to customer conversion rate.

However, when used correctly, technology can separate the good sales teams from the great ones.

Organizing And Syncing Leads Is The Result Of Good Technology

Without context, sales reps are sending the same generic follow-up email to every lead captured, which exponentially decreases the customer conversion rate. By using lead capture technology properly, sales and marketing teams can not only capture the context needed to increase the conversion rate, but they can also save time inputting each lead.

The Human Touch + The Tech Crunch

After establishing trust and likeability, sales people need to collect the context needed to send customized follow-ups. Technology makes this much easier.

By using tags in lead scanning apps like Overpass, you can sort leads into categories like “sales-ready”, “marketing qualified” or your own custom field. If the conversation is going well, you can implement an on-the-go survey to gain even more insight. And finally, you need the ability to take notes about this person – not on the back of the event brochure – but on the same device you just scanned the badge, tagged the lead and administered the survey. Then you need to be able to seamlessly integrate all that data into Salesforce, Pardot, Marketo or your chosen CRM.

Combine this simple and intuitive technology with the “human touch” and you have next-generation lead capture.

Ask us how and we’ll be happy to show you!

Keeping Secrets: Why a Little Secrecy is Good for You and Your Event

Keeping Secrets: Why a Little Secrecy is Good for You & Your Event

Make a list. Create your invitations. Clearly relay the time and address of your event.  Tempt guests with your giveaways.  Send attendees a reminder email as the event approaches.

Clarity and organization are sacrosanct to event managers.  It goes against instinct to be anything less.

The idea of using secrecy in events is not widely publicized as a marketing or events strategy, but secrecy is much more prevalent in society than we realize.  Some companies, such as Apple, use secrecy on a large scale to generate demand.  Before the release of a new iPhone, there are whole websites devoted to investigating the phone’s new features, all because they are kept secret.

Other companies use secrecy in different ways.  At the start of the food truck craze, many trucks would Tweet their location daily and their loyal customers would race through city streets to get their food fix before the truck changed locations again.

Even superstars use secrecy to boost sales.

Take Beyoncé.  Her most recent album was released as a complete surprise.  She recorded and produced 14 new tracks and 17 music videos in complete secrecy. Her fans went wild when they woke up one morning to a simple Instagram post from the singer reading “Surprise!” and linking to her new album.

If you want to try using secrecy in one of your events, it’s important to remember a few key things.

  • First, you are probably not Beyoncé.  To pull off a stunt like hers, you need an extremely loyal following of customers.  Using secrecy in event planning can be very fun, but it’s necessary to maintain a balance and not go overboard.  Remember to add enough structure to keep your attendees comfortable, but enough secrecy to engage them. So start on a small scale.  Try incorporating surprise giveaways into your event, or invite a surprise guest speaker!
  • Additionally, it’s best to let your audience in on the fact that there is a surprise coming.  If you want your attendees to have a positive reaction, tell your guests ahead of time that there will be a surprise element to the event.  Not only does it give them something to look forward to, but you also avoid blindsiding anyone.  A good way to do this is by engaging your audience in the secret during the planning and invitation process.  Carlsberg, the renowned Danish beer brewery, has an event called “Where’s the Party?”, in which they do just this. They reveal the famous DJs who will host their event to build hype, but then they keep the event’s exotic location a secret until the day before the party.  Every year, thousands of engaged fans show up excited and ready for showtime!  People love being in on the build up, and look forward to anticipated surprises. (Think birthday parties and anniversary gifts.)
  • Secrecy can successfully be used at business events as well.  Dell hosts an annual event here in Austin, TX, called Dell Unconference.  When Unconference attendees arrive, there are no set schedules or speakers.  Instead, the attendees volunteer to lead sessions when they arrive and create the schedule as they go.  While Unconference may not be a textbook “secretive” event, its makers certainly engage their audiences in the surprise.  Business events can be just as surprising and engaging… it just takes a little creativity and the right technology to pull it off.

Secrecy can be a powerful weapon to keep in your event arsenal, and it certainly adds some spice to the event management routine.  Keep this tactic in mind the next time you’re looking to get creative with your next event.  Happy planning!


Go Meet Them.

Go Meet Them

When you are in the lead retrieval technology business, and spend much of your day packaging and perfectly formatting SalesForce-compatible leads, it is only natural that you begin wondering where all those smoking hot leads are acquired.  Where do your clients round up all the good ones?  Are trade shows stuffed with business people looking to make huge purchases?

While my initial thinking was that this was good to be true, I did research and learned that trade shows really are attracting quality potential buyers. There are several reasons companies choose to exhibit at trade shows (brand recognition, industry visibility, testing new products, etc.), the main goal of most exhibitors is lead generation. The leads gathered at trade shows easily validate how much companies spend exhibiting because trade shows are generally packed with targeted, high-quality contacts.

Let’s look at five reasons to get out on the trade show floor and go meet decision makers. Of course, remember to use your Overpass app!


45% of attendees only go to one trade show a year. Exhibiting at trade shows can give you extremely unique leads. Exhibiting at many trade shows could give you many unique leads.


46% of attendees are executives or upper management.  These people are typically the hardest to reach through traditional marketing and sales methods, yet they are almost half of the attendees you pass by on the trade show floor!


86% of event attendees have purchasing power.  Obviously the leads with purchasing ability are the ones you want to meet.  How convenient!  Since 1998, this statistic has stayed consistently within the 80th percentile, indicating that a steady stream of decision makers will keep coming to trade shows in the future.


On average, a company only has meaningful engagement with 52% of its potential trade show audience.  Exhibit Surveys, Inc. defines ‘meaningful engagement’ as “face-to-face interactions like talking to exhibit staff, viewing a demonstration, and/or requesting a follow up”.  While trade shows are already a strong driving force in sales, this shows that most exhibitors have the potential to nearly double the leads they currently generate!


Approximately, 50% of attendees intend to buy a product as a result of attending a trade show.  It’s much easier to sell to customers looking to buy.

There you have it! Now go out and meet your people…!

Resources: and Center for Exhibition Industry Research

A Tiny Horror Story: Bad Wi-Fi

A Tiny Horror Story: Bad Wi-Fi

October is a spooky month so it’s a good time to share our own tiny horror story.  There is no better villain for our tale than that terrifying specter we all dread facing: bad Wifi.

On a dark and stormy night, my colleague, Elizabeth, was attending a large conference as onsite support for our lead capture application.  At the show, the exhibitor booth was using our real time reporting lead capture application on Dell Venue 8 tablets. This real-time reporting version of Captix:Scan requires a local Wifi connection to work properly.

Before the event, the exhibitors had shelled out nearly $20,000 for the costly trade show Wifi connection. However, in the middle of the show, despite everyone’s best efforts, no one could connect to the network!

It was then that Elizabeth first knew things would take a terrifying turn if they couldn’t get online. Without lead capture, leads would be lost and ROI would fall dramatically. Luckily, the clever Captix team managed to solve the problem — getting our client connected and our application running properly — but only at the expense of considerable time and manpower.

The moral of this story is that sometimes Wifi is not the answer but the problem.

In fact, there are two main benefits to staying offline at your next trade show:


1.  More Face Time: And no, I’m not referring to the popular iPhone application.

We are part of a business generation that likes to be connected, but the downside of this techno-centric mindset is that most people are glued to their phones.  If you peel your eyes away from your PC, you just might strike up a conversation with your next hot lead.

So, set down your social networks for an hour, and actually be social.  Remember, you can always Tweet or check your email during a coffee break, but you only have so much time at the trade show to make real-life business connections.  If you and your team focus on the real world instead of the online world, your booth becomes more lively and attractive to potential clients and partners.

(Not to mention, less internet time is proving to be good for your own mental health. The first person to be checked into rehab for internet addiction due to wearing GoogleGlass has happened.)


2.  Less Wifi Dependency: There are many great lead capture apps out there, but the catch is that most require you to be connected to the Internet.

Unfortunately, even if the application is working flawlessly, any bump in your Internet service can cause you to lose both leads and valuable time trying to get back online.  In essence, when you are dependent on a Wifi connection that you can’t truly control, you risk looking unprofessional.

Thankfully, the truth is that you don’t have to be online to capture leads.  As many of our own clients have discovered, it’s  much more reliable to pick a lead retrieval application that works in airplane mode by storing leads locally on your device until you’re ready to sync with the cloud.


There are still reasons to purchase and use Wifi at your show! If you have the budget, and can afford to spend hundreds to sometimes even thousands on a dedicated Wifi connection, then it can’t hurt to provide that option.

Mobile hotspots can also be very useful at trade shows.  You never know when you’ll need to hop online in a business emergency.  However, it is definitely best to restrict online time to only what is necessary for demonstrations and vital administrative tasks. Staying offline can give you an edge and help you engage with your real-life audience.

Escape the horror story. Stay offline.

(Altered) Photo Credit

Crowdsource Your Perfect Event




  1. obtain (information or input into a particular task or project) by enlisting the services of a number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet.

Crowdsourcing allows event organizers to gain deeper insights while actively engaging attendees. For example, South by Southwest has public voters choose 30 percent of their conference sessions via an online “PanelPicker” system. Not only does this strategy give the festival organizers a better understanding of public interest, but it also allows their guests to feel more empowered and involved in the decision making process.

Here are three ways you can crowdsource your next event.

1)   Entertainment

While it’s not always sensible to let attendees vote on the entertainment portion of an event, it can be beneficial in some circumstances. For example, with events like South by Southwest or even smaller conferences, you can release a choice of speaker topics or breakout session options and allow attendees to vote on their favorites. Depending on the size and timeframe of the event, this same strategy can also work when it comes to choosing a theme, band, art display, etc.

2)   Time and Location

Crowdsourcing the time and location of large-scale events isn’t very feasible since there are so many variables beyond attendee opinion that go into making that decision. However, polling attendees and event guests on their time and location preference is perfectly acceptable – and likely appreciated.

3)   Gamification

Gamification is one the fastest growing ways to engage and excite attendees. However, without proper planning, adding games to an event can be a complete flop. Companies invest thousands in event apps that receive less than a 10 percent download rate. Organizers plan trivia games that are completely overlooked and ignored by guests. In other words, it’s not always easy to succeed with gamification – which is why it’s a perfect topic to crowdsource beforehand. Ask guests if they would be willing to download an app, which game they are most likely to play, what types of giveaways they prefer, etc. And remember to check out how we can help!

Have a crowdsourcing idea that we didn’t mention? Let us know below!

exhibitor booth theater best practices from oracle openworld2014 by Captix

Booth Theater Best Practices for Trade Show Exhibitors

The first best practice that is non-negotiable is having a customized lead capture experience so you can track which parts of your exhibit attract the most interest; naturally, we recommend our app called Overpass. Beyond that, here are some best practices that can be game-changers at any show.

1. CROWD GATHERERS (for booth presentations)

Live marketing is a huge trend in events today. Here is an article written in detail about why to use them.

A great crowd gatherer is:

  • An actor / actress (capable of multiple accents and languages and playing the role as a team member)
  • Eloquent (never stumbles across words or falters with industry jargon)
  • Smart (see above)
  • Charismatic
  • Funny
  • Attractive (Disclaimer: beauty is in the eye of the beholder so we mean someone eye-catching and appropriately dressed for the occasion.)
  • Dresses as a team member
  • Makes LOTS of eye contact
  • Well-versed (knows about the booth’s goals of collecting many scans, the theater’s presentations and the booth’s giveaways)
  • Aware of booth promotions (able to highlight the various incentives the booth is giving away to increase lead engagement)


Professional presenters are hired to give really engaging and informative presentations for increased audience attendance. The presenter is sent a deck before the show to become fluent in the material of the presentation. This ensures their presentations are completely on-point and extremely well-delivered. Everyone wants to listen to someone use subtle and engaging methods to captivate an audience.

Here is a resource for professional presenters.


Sales folks, solutions managers or savvy experts within your own company are great people to look to – and easy to find! – for presentations about your company’s brand or products. Anyone who is an expert on a product and who can talk at a very high level is a great person to put in front of an audience. The internal expert will gather even more leads by connecting the dots about how exactly your high level product directly solves the audience’s pain points.


It’s really effective to collect leads through a booth incentive. The universal truth is: people *love* free stuff.

As ways to provide fun and engaging ways of getting people to come to your booth, here a few ideas:

  • A relevant product of the booth’s brand (a new tablet, or one that is pre-loaded with content)
  • Money (we’ve seen one tradeshow exhibitor give up to $10,000, which attracted over 5,000 leads at the giveaway drawing)
  • Really fun toys (like drone / helicopters that salespeople demonstrate and fly around while on the floor)
  • Free services from the booth

There is somewhat of a debate around giveaways at tradeshows. Do those who enter have to be there in person for the drawing to win? Or can you just take down their information? Decide in advance if you will require people to be present for the drawing.

You may want to invite a lead who, every time they hear a presentation, to enter into the giveaway drawing for that day (with different giveaways each day).


Guest speakers include savvy customers or partners to your company who come and speak. Having a customer speak on behalf of your solution is a really interesting dynamic for the listening audience. It comes across as more genuine because it’s more relatable.

Is there a relevant customer who is an avid user of your product and a fan of your company’s solution? If they’re a great speaker, and can truly identify with the target audience, give them some speaking time of their own!


The best booth presentations are fun and personable.

Remember that show attendees are already listening to days of speakers and lectures. As incredible as the keynotes may be, you want to make sure that your booth presentation is not just adding to more lecture noise. Be engaging. Use intonation and inflection when you speak. Use industry jargon your audience understands.

More than anything: be personable. Tell a joke. Speak in a different accent for every presentation (Irish, Jamaican, Pirate).

But above all (for goodness sake!) – SMILE! 🙂

If you have other ideas that you have seen work, please share in a comment below – thanks!