In marketing, you have the classic acronym AIDA. It stands for attention, interest, desire, and action. The first thing you want to do is get your audience’s attention. According to The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 2016 Changing Environment of Exhibitions Report:
The exhibiting companies place high value in using exhibitions to achieve their top priority marketing and sales efforts.
- Top Priority Marketing Objectives: Building or expanding and reinforcing brand awareness
- Top Priority Sales Objectives: Relationship management and engagement efforts with customers
In the past year, we have documented, that while year-over-year attendance at most trade shows is down, those who choose to attend are generally better qualified, and a more engaged audience. We think this trend will continue, and that can be a good thing!
So, with all the genuine audience and only 5-seconds to capture their attention what engagement approach is best to ensure the likelihood of them coming back to transact business?
First off, Engagement should NOT be limited to show period itself. Pre-Show Engagement (ideally starting 45 days prior) & Post show engagement (45 days after the show) is important. You can check out this 90-day program concept on our website under “Marketing Services.”
Second: Keep in mind engagement doesn’t have to involve a high-tech solution, although in today’s world of technology – they are often the foundations.
Now, let’s looks at few successful engagement techniques:
- Tell a Story: Use humor. Something that surprises people and breaks expectations. Pique people’s curiosities. Put your social media channels to work, build stories and engaging audience Pre-Show (Treat Your Show Like A 90-Day Event!) Develop a one message/theme for the program and use its creative ways to convey it throughout.
- Have Influence marketer at your booth: No, I’m not talking about getting Michelle Obama, Bill Gates or Richard Branson on the show… I’m talking about industry influencers that can stimulate attendee interest.
- Host a photo booth: People love taking photos, and a photo-booth is a fun way to break the ice and network in a more casual way. The photos are also great for a business’ social media presence as it adds a lighthearted, human element.
- Host a game at your booth: Make sure that your games have an element of fun and attract positive attention. If plan on giving out a Tesla in a Raffle draw like Apartments.com did at the NAA 2017 show in Atlanta and I’ll sign up too! The visitors and participants entered a Test Drive Sweepstakes grand-prize drawing and the winner, left the conference with a brand-new Tesla stocked with $50,000 cash!
- WOW with VR environment: VR can create exhilarating experiences that draw a crowd through awesome guest reactions, it can drive a competition among your guests that keeps them coming back to your booth, or it can develop tranquil activations that allow your guests to sit back and relax. It shouldn’t stop with that, take pictures of people using your VR demo. Do video testimonials and show the video of people engaging with you.
- Blow their minds with Augmented Reality: For those of you who don’t know, Augmented reality is a form of technology that provides an enhanced view of reality by overlaying digital content like images, sounds, and information on a live 2D image or video viewed through devices like cameras, smartphones or tablets. Companies use AR technology to enhance catalogs and brochures with 3D views that educate readers, better showcase large-scale products and promote wider use of collateral using cutting-edge technology. Augmented reality could give visitors a real reason to hold onto the info you’re giving away, and up the chance that they will pass it along and show it to someone else.
- 3D Projection Mapping: Projection Mapping instantly gives life to the lifeless. Statues come alive, walls burst open to reveal new worlds, and simple 3d objects become centerpieces. You can expect to see cell phones pop up as attendees record and share the enchanting digital experience.
- RFID and NFC: These technologies deal with proximity chips. By providing guests with these technologies, you give them the ability to connect with your booth in a seamless and deeply customizable way. You can make details come to life.
- Holograms: Nothing brings ideas and products into the future quite like holograms do. Make your attendees feel like they are in a Star Wars movie where Obi-won Kenobi is their only hope!!
At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Samsung created a story of “Smart Homes” lifestyle with the help of Bixby–Samsung’s virtual assistant (I personally like Alexa more, but that’s a debate for another time). They used AR, 3D Projection as well RFID & NFC for their exhibit. An exhibit that created lasting impression and conveyed a message of Smart Homes by bringing to life more than 150 Smart Home devices that can connect to Smart Things (Samsung’s Hub, – “easy way to turn your home into a smart home”)
A non-stop full-court press gives weak basketball teams a chance against far stronger teams. In other words, no matter the size of your company or your budget, if engagement techniques are used right it helps your exhibit stand out from the crowd.
Also, no matter what technique you use, remember: content comes first! Being creative developing a specific message, describing your brand and developing a design guideline on design for the look, feel and experience is important before choosing the appropriate technology to convey the content. And engagement is merely the first step to meaningful conversation and your next action should be planned to further the sales cycle.
Here at Divinitas we literally think outside the box (and booth) and help you develop a tailor-made strategy suitable for your needs and budget that can help win support, so you can rock your next show!
To learn more about all we can do to help you, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 407.601.4606
By: Nidhi Gandhi, Certified Exhibition Manager & Trade Show Strategist