Walking into trade shows such as IAAPA and EAS for the first time is an exciting experience. If like me the flashing lights, sound of rumbling bass and the downwind smell of the latest hotdog takes you back to being a child...for me, going to London and walking into Hamleys for the first time.
These shows offer a unique theme park and attraction experience, but what makes you stand out from the crowd? As a frequent attendee and through exhibiting with clients it's interesting to see how some people do it right and others are just not seen.
Now its fairly obvious that some exhibitors have big shiny and sparkly products that create intrigue and look good, but its not just larger companies that lead the way with the show experience.
It's always great to see what latest 3D ride installation Holovis are showcasing and which 5D cinema experience is being housed and showcased by TrioTech but I expect these big players to make an impact and draw in the crowd, their products are immersive and engaging.
So how do you make an impact if your product is something a little less exciting? IAAPA hosts a range of suppliers to the industry from lockers, insurance and bins to fans, high ropes and swings.
Exhibiting can be costly, covering floor space hire, electrics, stand design/build and shipping (especially for international exhibitors having to deal with transportation logistics.) But there are some effective methods to achieving an engaging show experience for your visitors and creating a clear return on investment...without breaking your yearly marketing budget.
Creating a video to showcase your product or service can be the golden carrot that leads customers to your stand and differentiates you from your competitors. Traditionally video production was an expensive process and a timely exercise. Since the shift to broadband and mobile technology, video has become a far more accessible channel to distribute content.
With the use of motion graphics and animation, videos can do wonders for getting across messaging and benefits to your customers in a clear and concise method. Products can be brought to life highlighting key features and services can be demonstrated via the means of storytelling to create a benefit led experience which engages and captures the attention of your customer.
This doesn't mean that video will replace the great work done by your staff working the stand but it can be a vital tool to you stand out and lure customers in with a clear understanding and introduction of what you do and how it can help them.
The investment is minimal but its reach can be wide. Creating a fresh piece of video content for your show not only provides you with a clear stand engagement piece but this content can also be placed online as a pre or post show marketing tool.
Here are some video key content themes that can help raise the profile of your exhibition experience:
Showcasing the functional aspect of your product is important. Nothing too detailed, if someone is interested then they can find out more. This is an opportunity for you to run through what your product does, highlighting key features and benefits.
Case Studies and Storytelling:
"Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but the stories you tell." - Seth Godin @thisissethsblog
Customers expect you to like your products and if done correctly this should be reflected throughout your marketing materials. However, the savvy customer needs more than your word, what they respond to is referrals and authentic recommendations from your customers.
Having your client talk through their experience can create a powerful story that will be authentic and stimulate that all important touch point with your next potential customer. As with any good story, captivating the viewer is achieved by taking them on a journey using the BME technique, 'Beginning, Middle and End'.
- What was the customer's problem and pain point?
- How does this manifest into a brief?
- What was the solution?
- How was it delivered?
- What were the measurable outputs and successes?
Showcasing your video masterpiece
So you a have a great video but how do you make best use of this?
Video Wall and Huge Screens
Video wall or large TV screens make me happy, transforming me into a human moth, I'm drawn in... and I don't think it's just me. At shows, hiring or even purchasing screens can be cost effective, especially in relation to other show marketing options like exhibition stand design and panels or light boxes etc.
Standard screens are increasingly getting cheaper and it's often better to pop down to a local electrical shop and purchase one to avoid any import and shipping logistics issues.
Large video walls can be expensive to buy and to hire, but there are alternative solutions to create your large video canvas. There's a wide variety of video wall solutions out there from hardware based media playback servers to software solutions. We have worked with a range of platforms from Hiperwall, Green Hippo's Aviary range (Par4keet, 2Kan and MagPi) and the less expensive Rasberry Pi solution.
Touchscreens, Tablets and Interactive Content:
“Play is the highest form of research.”
– Albert Einstein
People love to play. Give people a button and they will push it. The same methodology applies to your potential customers at a show. Having a large screen can draw in the crowd, but a more strategic method of managing your content is to use a large screen as stimulus for the initial touch point, then having interactive content on your stand.
Segmenting your content into sub-sections gives you an opportunity for your customers to find exactly what interests them without having to trawl through content or waiting for a looped video to come around to their relevant section.
To name a few examples, we have produced interactive content for iPads, tablets and Windows based touch screen devices.