Inspiring Your Audience to Participate at Events & Trade Shows

By Beth Ebert, Sr. Project Manager

Published: February 6, 2014

Growth and adoption of technology has changed the way people communicate – enabling companies to shift the landscape of trade shows and major events, fast. People want to intereact. They want to engage. They no longer want to talk to a salesperson, grab a brochure, stuff a bag and walk away as they’ve done in the past. They want and expect new ways of engagement thanks to a fundamental shift in the way people gather and digest information. As expectations shift, companies who host events, man booths at trade shows, and hope to expand and monetize a prospect and customer base must provide an integrated, compelling, and interconnected experience. The common problem cited by most companies when it comes to trade shows is: Getting the captive attention of an audience. This is typically done in one of two ways:

  1. The at-show debut of an innovative new product.
  2. Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment

The first option is great. Highlighting a new product is a sure way to attract attention and spur dialogue, especially if you have an industry changing feature or new concept. The problem, however, is this isn’t always an option. This leaves option two – entertainment. In 2013, the average human attention span was estimated at 8 seconds. This does not give a whole lot of time to draw someone in and articulate or educate on a value proposition. Whatever you do – it must be instantaneous.

That spontaneity and draw of passersby is key, and it is what much of the current trade show landscape is built on – social media, tangible fliers and promo material, etc. But, since everyone is doing that now, it’s time to welcome in the next phase. Forget social media, forget apps, forget everything that most people are calling “new” as part of event engagement strategy. All of this is already old news. If you start implementing this and jump on the bandwagon now, you’re simply adding yourself to the trade show noise that is already out there.

Vermeer Trade Show App

Don’t get us wrong. There is a time and a place for social and mobile apps throughout the course of an interactive event strategy. But, it is no longer enough to use them as primary solutions. Instead, use social media conversations, hashtags, event promotions and mobile apps and games to supplement and add to an integrated experience that also takes approaches that many companies have yet to embrace and leverage. Yet, even the boldest and most innovative trade show displays and stands might only produce momentary interest in passersby just before they move on to the subsequent visually compelling exhibit. To truly dominate the venue and efficiently garner the attention of the crowd with a key consideration for visibility, engagement and relationships, businesses need to stand out and apart from the competitive firms they are rubbing elbows with throughout every occasion. When leveraged properly, the following tools and strategies can assist in generating constant interest in your exhibits or events and guarantee that your enterprise is reaping maximum return on investment at every single occasion.

  1. Phototainment through tools like TapSnap.
  2. Interactive Sensors like Leap Motion.
  3. Gadget Giveaways
  4. Automated Lead Collection
  5. Roving Reporters
  6. Competitive Campout
  7. Games
  8. Augmented Reality
  9. Conferences IO
  10. Perspective

To learn more about how to leverage these tools and organize your trade show strategy, download our interactive trade show checklist below, which includes suggestions for pre-show, at show, and post show engagement. Contact us if you are interested in a personalized checklist and trade show strategy. Welcome to 2014 – the era of interactive experience.

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