As a result of events and exhibitions being cancelled due to Covid-19, our offices are temporarily closed. However we are monitoring telephone messages and enquiry emails so please do stay in touch. We are looking forward to resuming our work when events restart after the summer.

GDPR: Show your customers some love

16 May 2018 Exhibitions

From 25th May, new legislation will significantly change the way we can collect, store and use personal data. And, ensuring compliance is a minefield for even the most seasoned tradeshow professionals.

But, while much of the talk over the new General Data Protection Regulation (GPPR) has focused on the hefty fines for non-compliance (up to €20 million or 4% of annual turnover!), the GDPR doesn’t have to keep you awake at night. But what do you need to know about GDPR and exhibitions?

To keep our clients safe and protect our industry as much as possible, last year Apex pulled together a handy summary to help you get ready for the changes. And, if you want to find out more about what you can to do prepare, you can read this here. But, for now, we want to talk about how exhibition teams everywhere should be looking at the legislation - not as a threat - but as a way to improve their lead generation activities.

Take the opportunity to focus on face-to-face interactions

At the start of the year, a study[1] revealed that live events were set to be one of the most important marketing trends for 2018. Of course, the power of face-to-face marketing doesn’t come as a surprise to us. The ability to interact with a potential supplier or customer, ‘kick the tyres’ of a product, attend seminars, and see what your competitors are up to on more than a superficial level has always been done best face-to-face. And, with email and online marketing set to become increasingly challenging because of the GDPR, this old-school method of building relationships becomes even more compelling.

However, a quick a word of warning. Even if you collect personal information face-to-face, you still have to store and use it correctly. Which takes us to…

Invest in best-in-class software

The events and conference industry relies upon the sharing and manipulation of data. This includes information such as delegate/visitor data, subscriber lists, etc. We might also have access to sensitive data such as name, date of birth, disabilities, etc., and we use a plethora of different tools to capture and make use of this info. So, companies that are still using Excel spreadsheets to store information - or even antiquated CRM software - could be in big trouble.

The GDPR is going to force us all to look after the personal information we hold with much more care. And, rather than moaning about the headache this is causing, savvy exhibitors are taking the opportunity to invest in best in class software that ensures 100% compliance.

However, this software won’t just help you meet your data protection obligations, it can also add a new dimension to your exhibition marketing. So, if you want to get ahead of the crowd, review how you use your data now, and identify how you can legally turn any insights into actionable improvements and innovations.

Remove the noise

Under the GDPR, it’s not illegal to send marketing emails to contacts; but you do need their permission to do this. So, the legislation will help put an end to spam and make us all focus on building relationships with people that WANT to talk to us.

For exhibition teams, this can be a positive development which generates more streamlined sales activities at events. Think quality, not quantity.

What’s more, rather than sending out e-mails using a scattergun approach, businesses will have to think hard about what their customers will find interesting. Such compelling communications won’t just make people love your brand and create more valuable relationships, it will also encourage them to share more information with you. Data that you can use to further enhance and focus your marketing activities at your next tradeshow, and beyond.

At Apex, as well as creating eye-catching exhibition stands, we also keep you compliant, remove the stress, boost footfall and make your tradeshows a success. To find out more contact us today, or give us a call on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.


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Pete Forse

Pete is the Exhibitions Director here at Apex. He has one clear business objective – to produce memorable exhibition stands that add real value to our customers’ brands. With a background in event production - spanning 30 years in places as far flung as Rio and Manila (and quite often the NEC!) - Pete brings his experience to the task of making exhibition visitors stop and take notice. Like everyone at Apex, he is driven by the excitement of this challenge, and the vision that we can make a long-term difference for our clients. To find out more about how Pete and the Apex team can help you, give us a call on 01625 429370 today!