By David Walker
If you’ve been scratching your head about how to strike gold at your next industry event, then it’s time to clue yourself up about the trends currently making waves in the world of exhibiting.
Don’t go back to a table and chair scenario that just adds a clear barrier between your business and potential clients, break the mould and represent your company in a unique way that will clearly demonstrate its philosophy and ethics without having to read it off a leaflet.
For attendees to any event we all know how exhausting and time consuming they are, so provide them with an experience that will have them staying, and most importantly, enjoying what your stand has to offer.
A recent study about the habits of millennials demonstrates that those in their 20s and 30s care more about experience than possessions, and have an increased desire to learn.
Many brands have taken this information on board to make their entire marketing strategy a complete immersive experience that their clients can get involved with, for example creating a themed event is becoming standard practice to entice attendees with far more than a jargon filled chat about a product. Offering a game, a quiz, or even the chance to actually use the product you’re selling. By give them a fun incentive attendees have a chance to experience something completely different from their normal 9-5 working day.
Pen and paper is now for history books, so don’t even think about taking anyone’s information in this way. The new era of tech gadgets such as iPad and iPhone, now enables you the chance to collect as much data about your potential leads, without having the mind numbing task of having to decipher everyone’s writing when you get back to the office.
Plus with the help of games and quizzes on these portable devices, you can collect information without it feeling like a task for your visitors.
Create an interactive piece that will keep your clients amused and they’ll not only remember your quirky marketing technique, but they won’t have the irritated feeling of being targeted just for their information. Even incorporating feedback forms can give you the chance to up your game at next year’s event.
Embrace as much digital technology as your budget will allow and ensure it is all set with a task to entertain or inform.
Everyone is sick to the teeth of listening to men in suits spout salesy jargon, so it’s no surprise that marketers and sales people alike are going back to their roots of simply being human.
By all means give information, but gain it from your attendees as well.
Take the time to learn about them, their business and the issues they’re currently facing, as only then will you know if you’re product or service is really going to help them and be relevant.
This new means of ‘honesty is the best policy’ has been filtered down from the social platforms, as companies have been forced into conversing with their customers, it’s now become ingrained in every marketing strategy going, that conversation is key!
“I think 2015 will be the year that the events industry begin to embrace ‘social’. Events ARE social as they bring together like minded people. It makes sense that the industry will start to utilise social connections”, commented Tamar Beck, CEO of GleanIn.
Let’s admit it, we’ve all been hooked on Angry Birds of Candy Crush, but this form of gaming isn’t just for the minutes we spend waiting for the bus home.
Game play is highly effective in creating active participation, and seen as you need your visitors to participate the gamification of events is becoming increasingly popular.
Part of the ‘experience’ of attending your stand, games can not only keep those visitors staying for a little longer, but they can also improve conversions during slow periods, improve networking, encourage social media conversations and give the attendee a better experience overall.
A recent social study recorded that only 20% of people play games to win, whereas 80% play games to socialise. This is a staggering statistic that should be seriously considered when looking to stimulate a conversation with your next visitor.
Most event visitors view the goody bag as a benefit of attending the trade show, but many companies over look this powerful marketing opportunity, and instead to fill it with useless rubbish that won’t build any value.
Targeted goody bags are far more likely to gain a reaction you desire, and this is essentially where you need to begin.
Whether it’s drawing visitors to your website, getting them to give you a call, or following you on social media. Don’t try and cover all areas, pick your part and stick with it, because from this you can ensure your goody bag fulfils its goal.
Minimise all of your promotional material onto one branded USB Drive, rather than let it take over from the real treats, and then begin to invest your money into a fun product that will be used once again. One example of this is Hospitality Challenges cocktail shakers which they distributed at the ITO conference, with the slogan, “Shaking it up at this year’s ITO”. A clear message that they were there to innovate and get people talking, the cocktail shaker was certainly a way of epitomising this message.
The whole concept of these new exhibition trends is to put the attendee at the centre of the event, to make them feel like they’re the ones in control and who matter the most, because they do!