With the array of AV equipment available for trade shows and the burning desire to avoid looking outdated, it’s easy for exhibit managers to overcomplicate the technology in their booths. Sometimes, it’s helpful to take a step back and evaluate your exhibit design to narrow down surprisingly easy tech ideas.
The First StepThe first step in determining how to use tech at a trade show is in understanding the audience. Attendees’ schedules are usually packed, so technology should be used to catch their attention, keep it, educate them and leave them impressed without taking too much of their time. Additionally, many people don’t want to get bogged down in technology or admit they don’t understand it, which means smooth implementation and efficiency are key.
A couple of flat screens or a video wall are the easiest ways to dress up a booth and provide information to people walking past.
Idea 1: Quickly Introduce Your Brand or Product
If you don’t have the budget for a custom-produced video, keep away that PowerPoint “expert” who accosts viewers with 50 lines of text per slide. Two or three sentences is enough to catch interest and make a point on the screen. Then see if you can engage the prospect in conversation to explain more.
The advantage of digital displays over banners is they can be updated quickly and provide a focus for the specific show. “Welcome to Mortgage Banking 2014” this week and “Consumer Banking World” next week.
If you don’t display specific product information, use the screens to describe what you do. Whether for a new, unknown company or an industry giant, this means aggressive editing of the message — an easily-digestible version of what do you do, what advantage your product offers and then maybe a limited bit of company history.
- Keep it short and catchy
- Make it about the customer, not about you
- Avoid overused buzzwords like passion, seamless, value, world-class
- Use technology to project personality — for example, mix images of employees with their pets among your marketing messages
Idea 2: Beef Up the Business Card Exchange
Business cards are about as low tech as you can get (but are still important at trade shows). However, Evernote allows easy mobile scanning to capture the information on cards electronically on iOS devices. Take a picture of the card and it populates the fields in a directory in seconds, then imports a picture of the person if one is available on the internet. It’s a good way to build on a brief meeting while you remember the other person and help them remember you.
If one of your trade show objectives is to produce on-site sales or one-on-one presentations, workstations can do wonders. Simple setups of up-to-date computer equipment loaded with necessary database and sales software can make things easy and professional.
Idea 3: Make it Easier on Your Salespeople
The value of trade shows has changed with the rise of the web. No longer are attendees interested in picking up brochures for every company -- they can check you out from your website before they even get on the showfloor. Implementing even easy trade show technology ideas in your exhibit helps you make a lasting impression with attendees.
Guest Post By Tom Groenfeldt
Tom Groenfeldt is a longtime journalist and conference connoisseur who writes about financial technology at Forbes. He's a regular contributor to the Peninsula Pulse, an independent newspaper in Door County, Wisconsin.