Trade Shows Are Now Going Digital
Given the proliferation of digital content and digital devices in our society, it should come as no surprise to learn that digital content and digital devices are also heavily used by exhibitors during trade show events. In fact, research concludes that 75% of all exhibitors in the past twelve months used digital technology as part of their exhibit! This percentage will only increase in the next twelve months as more and more businesses realise the true potential of digital marketing and using digital content.
A Few Growing Pains
Despite the majority of exhibitors using digital technology, there is a catch: research in 2015 showed a more favourable perception of digital technology than the results from 2016. The problem, as some exhibitors have stated, is that using such technology comes with a few problems, including but not limited to size and weight of devices, exorbitant costs, complexity and the learning curve, and not being able to make a real human connection due to technology getting in the way. Some of these views may be very specific, but they point to a bigger problem about the efficiency and complexity of the use of technology.
Additionally, some participants complained that there were too many occasions when primary lead generation systems disconnected from Wifi or crashed altogether. This is clearly not a great thing to happen when a business wants to record information and generate new leads for marketing purposes!
Furthermore, most of the digital content that is used during trade shows is created by internal staff and is therefore subject to issues involving marketing expertise and professionalism. Compare this to the fact that island exhibitors tend to use a marketing agency to create their digital content, and some of the problems become clearer.
Improving the Use of Technology
Despite the problems with digital technology, there are a few ways that it can be used more effectively, including the following:
Time and planning:
How important is the next trade show event to your marketing efforts? If it is very important, don’t you think it is worth spending more time in the planning and preparation phases to ensure that you meet all strategic goals and that your digital strategy is coherent? Why not use microsites and social media well in advance to engage with your audience? The extra time you spend can also be used as a dry-run so that your final exhibit has all of the wrinkles ironed out.
Apart from the fact that it is important to plan and prepare early for an exhibition or trade show, it is also worth it to simply spend more and increase your budget for the event. The fact is that digital content can be improved if many businesses are simply willing to spend a little more money. Indeed, it is even possible to outsource some of this content creation to an expert third party that has more marketing experience. With 62% of exhibitors spending only $1000 or so on digital content, their budgets could really stand to be increased!
There is no doubt that digital is the way of the future when it comes to trade shows and other industry events. If you are only dipping your toes in the water, it may be time to go all in and look for that digital edge!