Bully Dog fetches iPads for maximizing presence at trade shows

by Michael Singer

Bully Dog's salespeople engaged their fans with iPads in hand.
Bully Dog's salespeople engaged their fans with iPads in hand.

Trade shows can be an exciting place for companies who want to engage as many customers as possible. But for Bully Dog Technologies, keeping up with the crowds meant salespeople were overwhelmed with questions from start to finish and that wasn't always the most effective use of their time.

Enter the iPad. Bully Dog decided recently to deploy Apple's device in a kiosk setup around its exhibit booth to help answer basic questions about its various products for customers. This let salespeople gather sales leads, newsletter subscriptions and other customer information.

The choice came in very handy during the SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) tradeshow in Las Vegas this past fall. Popular with off-road racing enthusiasts, American Falls, Idaho-based Bully Dog Technologies makes custom performance gear for gas and diesel vehicles.

This year, Bully Dog’s PMT 2 (which is an in-vehicle tuner, controller, monitor and gauge with 4.3-inch full color touch screen) was chosen as one of Truck Trend Magazine’s 25 Top New Products. This meant that a usually busy week for Bully Dog was elevated to “Rock Star” status at an event that already plays host to over 100,000 companies from over 100 countries.

"Having the iPads set up as extra portals around the booth was great for helping answer customer questions especially if sales reps were swamped,” Adrian Croot, a marketing project manager for Bully Dog told TabTimes. “With the iPads, customers could still get information for themselves. Without them would mean customers might move on and we’d miss a sale.”

Extra boost from custom software tool

The iPads also were additionally valuable on the show floor because they made capturing customer data easier than before. Historically, sales teams hand-wrote information at the events for manual input perhaps a week later. Croot said Bully Dog’s custom iPad app helped them capture four times the number of potential customer information.

“We basically created an app that is a catalogue that provides people a way to browse our product line and show video and photos that we don’t have a way to do in print material,” Croot said. “We do use big screens in the booth that show off our products but that doesn’t allow for customer interaction. When customers use the iPads, they can break down specific information about our particular products." The app was built with the help of Yooba, a Boston-based service provider that builds development tools.  

Typically, trade show customers are looking for some type of handout that they can bring home with them, Croot said. And while the iPad did not completely replace Bully Dog’s circulars, it drastically reduced the amount of paper the company took to the show. Customers could look up specific products within Bully Dog’s catalogue either by themselves or with the aid of a sales person.

Bully Dog said it plans on using the iPad kiosks at all of their industry trade shows. Next up for the company is a truck and jeep show in February and their own spotlight show in July. And if you're in the aftermarket automotive business you can catch up with Bully Dog at the SEMA show in November.  

Michael Singer is Business Editor for TabTimes.

Our Tablet Leaders series is brought to you by FileMaker and Toughpad, with the support of the Savo Group.

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