Change is inevitable, and trade shows are no exception. As with any change, there are challenges, but there are also opportunities. Here is what you need to know now.
1. Technology is here to stay
The exhibition industry is captivated by technology, which is having an impact on the way that people experience the shows as attendees. This change is here to stay for the long term, despite some industry resistance. Devices such as interactive tablets are great tools for demonstrating products, giving interested prospects access to technical information, and capturing information for lead gathering purposes. Screens can be used to tell a story and for product demonstrations, and to add another level of interest to an otherwise static display.
2. Economic Changes
The changing economic landscape has had an impact on the way we plan and attend trade shows. It’s not as easy to justify to the boss the loss of work days, “just to go and see the latest innovations” in the industry. This raises an opportunity for the savvy exhibition marketer to create extra value for prospects coming to their stand, beyond simply showing your product or service. An incentive that a serious prospect would consider valuable, which they can redeemed if they come your stand is an example.
3. Customer Relationships
Historically, the reason people came to exhibitions was to find out about new developments in their industry. They were an opportunity learn the latest news, and get familiar with brands, and their products or services.
This has now changed, thanks to social networking. Relationships with our service providers have now become very personal, and product announcements now happen online, as an extension of established online relationships. This has now put prospects and clients front and centre of the latest news and information. Exhibitors are relying less on shoe floor announcements in favour of long term relationship building programs that culminate in trade show engagement. A constant stream of content and interactions through various social networks fuels this process.
4. Success Measurement
Thanks again to social media, because now lead generation is no longer the only prime measurement of exhibition success. Socially engaged brands have a competitive advantage at trade shows. Companies can leverage on year long communication on social media, culminating in the trade show. Trade show success can also be measured by the level of engagement at the trade show, and how well you are remembered compared to your competitors.
There are several trends impacting exhibition marketing which present challenges, but more that present opportunities. By keeping abreast of changing trends and recognising the opportunities they present, you can stay ahead of the game.