July 24, 2024

Campaign Marketing Online

Online Marketing Techniques

Navigating Trade Shows in a Post-Pandemic World

Trade shows often provide a better arena in which to forge new relationships than networking banquets. But they also offer the drive for innovation and economic growth that such headline-grabbing events lack.

Yet after COVID-19, corporate people were unused and uncomfortable to travel or meet in person. And then, just as abruptly, networking events started to open up again, but the threshold for the tech-infused experience at every networking event is heightened.

People can feel free to schedule a one-on-one video meeting online at a time convenient for them, and reschedule meeting times if needed.

Be Prepared

Planning for a successful trade show begins with preparing your team, and identifying and understanding their objectives. For example, if your team is planning to host a demo at their stand for a product, it’s best to prepare multiple products to compare and contrast in more detail side by side for attendees. This will help them have a more thorough look at features and functions, which is vital for attendees to decide on which product to buy. Working with your user consensus to tease out requirements and demands, and then incorporating that feedback into your material will lead to content that is seen as relevant and thereby engaging. If your customer constituency is concerned about being infected with coronavirus at your venue, perhaps you could provide a couple of sanitiser stations or wipes to make people feel safer and cleaner? Perhaps video conference capabilities would make attending your event easier for the unavailable contingent?

Be Flexible

Perhaps due to the coronavirus pandemic, trade show participants are bringing a new set of expectations with them to the event floor. Delegates are increasingly insisting upon personalisation and flexibility in their event experiences, but perhaps that means less stress for exhibitors and organisers alike. Indeed, some exhibitors are fundamentally changing how they interact with attendees, such as switching handshakes out for no-touch greetings (think: foot bumps or air high fives), or incorporating physical barriers into their booth design in order to make sure that health and safety rules including social distancing or masks are followed. However, the majority of our clients are looking to stay away from resort convention centres that force attendees to fly in from all over the country – and internationally – to attend conferences, and instead gravitating towards venues closer and more local to their potential customer base. This could help protect against risk and still increase personal connections with attendees all at the same time.

Be Purposeful

Trade shows are returning – soon, at least – but they might not resemble trade shows of the past. Many companies still doubt there would be any benefit in attending, but they’re also wary of losing the opportunity to demonstrate brand vitality and re-establish connections with clients if they decide to stay away. Indeed, exhibitors are increasingly starting to view trade shows themselves as ‘partnerships’, one in a myriad of ways to make a connection and convert. This may well be reflecting how exhibitors are taking their exhibit strategy and their tactics. Accordingly, ensuring safety for COVID-19 will be one of the key goals for delivering vital messages via advance registration for the guests before the show begins so they’ll know that any concerns about visiting will be taken care of and that everything will be safe. Relieving anxiety and stress upon arrival at the show will be one of the major goals to ensure a positive guest experience. Exhibitors can also design on-site activations activities that reflect the brand’s values, deliver messages about sustainability and create free Wi-Fi connectivity and charging stations for attendees to stay ‘connected’ from start to finish on-site.

Be Mindful

For many people, the idea of a trade show probably conjures mental images of hundreds of vendors and/or attendees all gathered into one large space … or of one that takes place virtually/hybridly by which thousands of people around the world can attend. In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, it is easy to be skeptical that all the time and energy you pour into trade-show participation yields a worthwhile return; but, if you have your sights still set on your exhibition-event horizon, it is worth remembering that shows can still be a valuable and rewarding component of your efforts if you have a handle on your goals and your attendees. People go to a trade show in search of solutions for their specific business problems: they will be visiting booths with exhibitors who they have a known need for their products and services; they will be looking to pick up industry news and network; so real interest expressed in the person matters a great deal: memorable connections are often sales. Both for the exhibitors and the visitors, it’s beneficial to exchange a business card or some notes regarding the conversation to be able to follow up in a personalised manner.