Ah, trade shows! That bustling hub where business cards fly faster than time and coffee is the unsung hero. But here’s the twist in the tale: digital marketing, the silent juggernaut, has muscled its way into this arena, transforming how these events are orchestrated and their success measured. Let’s dive into this digital odyssey and see how it’s rewriting the rulebook of trade show triumphs.
1. The Pre-Show Hype: Crafting Digital Buzz
Remember the days when trade show prep meant printing brochures and setting up booths? Fast forward to today, and it’s all about creating a digital buzz. Social media campaigns, email newsletters, and engaging content are the new drumbeats that draw the crowd. It’s a digital appetizer, serving a taste of what’s to come, and oh, how it whets the appetite of potential attendees!
2. Personalized Engagement: Beyond the Booth
In this digital era, engagement doesn’t wait for a handshake at the booth. It starts earlier with tailored content and targeted ads that speak directly to the interests of your audience. Imagine a world where your booth visitors already feel connected to your brand, thanks to that cleverly crafted LinkedIn post or that insightful blog piece you shared. It’s like meeting an old friend amidst a sea of new faces.
3. Data-Driven Strategies: The Secret Sauce
Here’s where it gets even more interesting. Digital marketing isn’t just about flashy campaigns; it’s a treasure trove of data. Every click, share, and registration forms a piece of the puzzle, giving insights into attendee behavior and preferences. This data is the secret sauce in fine-tuning your trade show strategy, ensuring you’re not just shooting arrows in the dark but hitting the bullseye of attendee expectations.
4. The Power of Virtual Participation
Gone are the days when geographical boundaries limited trade show participation. Digital marketing has flung open the doors to virtual attendance, allowing people from across the globe to be a part of the event, sans the travel fatigue. Webinars, live streams, and virtual booths have become the norm, amplifying the reach and impact of trade shows far beyond the physical confines.
5. Post-Show Engagement: Keeping the Conversation Alive
The end of the trade show is not the end of the journey; it’s merely a pit stop. Thanks to digital marketing, the conversation continues. Follow-up emails, content that recaps the event, and social media discussions keep the interaction alive, turning a fleeting meeting into a lasting connection. It’s like leaving breadcrumbs that lead your audience back to you long after the trade show lights dim.
6. Measuring Success: Beyond Foot Traffic
In the pre-digital era, success was often gauged by the number of business cards exchanged or foot traffic at the booth. Today, digital analytics offer a multi-dimensional view of success. Engagement rates, lead quality, and conversion metrics – these are the new yardsticks that measure the impact of your trade show presence. It’s a shift from quantity to quality, from mere presence to meaningful engagement.
As we embrace this digital revolution, trade shows are no longer just about physical presence; they’re about creating a holistic experience that starts and continues in the digital realm. It’s a blend of the traditional and the modern, where each complements the other, creating a symphony of business opportunities.
So, as you sip on that trade show coffee, remember, the real buzz is happening in the digital world, and it’s reshaping the landscape of trade show success in ways we’re just beginning to explore. Cheers to the digital age, where every click, every view, and every engagement counts! 🌐✨
All right, all right, AI is coming! It’s going to swoop in and change the world. Strike that, it has ALREADY swooped in and changed the world. I’ve been curious about it, and as time marches on, I’ve spent more and more time learning how it can be used and what it can do.
It’s very extensive, but it ain’t the end-all-be-all. Still, with the right approach, AI can be very helpful. It can come up with ideas that you haven’t thought of, and it can help execute those ideas once you firm them up.
Some artist friends hate AI and what it might do (already is doing) to the art world. And I get it. But whether it’s business, art, writing, coding, or investing, AI is yet another tool – if you can learn how to use it correctly. This is what I’ve been trying to figure out, once I got over my initial reservations.
The key, as I see it, is to know WHAT to ask and, perhaps more importantly, HOW to ask it. Details are important, but knowing the broad basis for your beginning inquiry is also important.
This morning, I decided to ask CHAT-GPT“How can a marketer use AI to enhance their trade show marketing efforts?”
Here’s what came back:
Using AI in trade show marketing can offer several advantages for marketers. Here are some ways in which AI can enhance trade show marketing efforts:
Audience targeting: AI can help marketers identify and target the right audience for a trade show. By analyzing vast amounts of data, including demographics, interests, and online behavior, AI algorithms can predict which individuals or companies are most likely to be interested in the products or services showcased at the trade show. This enables marketers to personalize their marketing messages and focus their efforts on reaching the right people.
Lead generation and qualification: AI-powered lead generation tools can automatically collect and analyze data from various sources, such as social media, website interactions, and pre-show registrations. These tools can help marketers identify potential leads and qualify them based on predefined criteria. AI can also assist in lead scoring, prioritizing leads based on their likelihood to convert, enabling marketers to allocate their resources effectively.
Chatbots and virtual assistants: Deploying AI-powered chatbots or virtual assistants at trade show booths can improve attendee engagement. These AI systems can answer frequently asked questions, provide information about products or services, and even collect contact information for further follow-up. Chatbots can operate 24/7, ensuring that attendees receive immediate assistance even when booth staff are unavailable.
Predictive analytics: AI algorithms can analyze historical trade show data, market trends, and other relevant information to provide predictive insights. Marketers can use these insights to anticipate attendee behavior, optimize booth layout and design, determine the most effective marketing strategies, and forecast the potential return on investment (ROI) for participating in a specific trade show.
Real-time data analysis: AI can process real-time data gathered from trade show activities, such as social media interactions, mobile app usage, and attendee feedback. By analyzing this data, marketers can gain valuable insights into attendee preferences, sentiment, and engagement levels. This information can be used to adapt marketing strategies on the fly, tailor messaging, and improve the overall trade show experience.
Personalized recommendations: AI algorithms can analyze attendee data and behavior to provide personalized recommendations for products, sessions, or networking opportunities at the trade show. By leveraging this technology, marketers can enhance the attendee experience by offering tailored suggestions that match individual interests and objectives.
It’s important to note that while AI can significantly enhance trade show marketing efforts, it should be used as a tool to augment human expertise, not replace it. Marketers should combine AI capabilities with their domain knowledge and creativity to create compelling experiences that resonate with trade show attendees.
That’s not a bad start. But here’s the fun part. Now you can take each one of those bullet points and ask AI to break it down even further like I did here:
Tell me more about how AI can assist in audience targeting. Give me ten detailed ways that it might work and can be easily implemented.
Certainly! Here are ten detailed ways in which AI can assist in audience targeting for trade show marketing, along with examples of how they can be implemented:
Demographic analysis: AI algorithms can analyze demographic data such as age, gender, location, and occupation to identify the target audience for a trade show. Marketers can use this information to tailor marketing messages and choose the most relevant channels for promotion.
Social media listening: AI-powered tools can monitor social media conversations and analyze keywords, hashtags, and user profiles to understand the interests, preferences, and sentiments of potential attendees. Marketers can use this information to refine their targeting and create content that resonates with their target audience.
Lookalike modeling: AI algorithms can analyze the characteristics of existing customers or trade show attendees and identify similar individuals or companies. Marketers can then target these “lookalike” audiences with their trade show marketing efforts to maximize the chances of attracting the right attendees.
Behavioral analysis: AI can analyze online behavior, such as browsing history, content consumption, and purchase patterns, to gain insights into individual preferences. Marketers can use this information to deliver personalized marketing messages and recommendations to potential attendees.
Predictive analytics for attendee acquisition: AI algorithms can analyze historical trade show data and external data sources to predict which individuals or companies are most likely to attend a particular trade show. Marketers can leverage these predictions to focus their targeting efforts and allocate resources effectively.
Natural language processing (NLP): AI-powered NLP algorithms can analyze written content, such as blog posts, articles, and social media posts, to understand the interests and intentions of potential attendees. Marketers can use this information to create content that aligns with attendee needs and engage them effectively.
Sentiment analysis: AI can analyze social media posts, reviews, and other forms of feedback to determine the sentiment associated with a trade show or its exhibitors. Marketers can identify positive sentiment to leverage as testimonials and address any negative sentiment to improve attendee perception.
Geo-targeting: AI algorithms can analyze geolocation data to identify individuals or companies located in proximity to the trade show venue. Marketers can use this information to run targeted ads, send location-based notifications, or offer special incentives to attract local attendees.
Contextual targeting: AI can analyze the context in which potential attendees engage with content, such as websites, articles, or online forums. Marketers can use this contextual information to deliver targeted advertisements or content that aligns with the topics or themes relevant to the trade show.
Purchase intent analysis: AI algorithms can analyze online browsing behavior and purchasing signals to identify individuals or companies displaying high purchase intent related to the products or services showcased at the trade show. Marketers can prioritize targeting these prospects to maximize conversion opportunities.
Implementing these AI-driven audience targeting strategies may involve leveraging existing AI tools and platforms, partnering with AI technology providers, or developing custom AI solutions. The specific implementation will depend on the resources, budget, and technological capabilities of the marketing team or organization.
You can see how quickly you can get down into the rabbit hole.
So what’s really happening here? As I understand it, AI has been, and continues to, scrape the web as content, and when you ask a question, it pulls pertinent information and regurgitates it back to you based on the questions you ask and how you ask them. It’s not giving you anything new – it doesn’t think it just responds. But it has millions and millions of data points, articles, expert analysts and more to pull from, so the info it gives you is going to be as deep as you want it to be.
And having read the responses to those questions, I can see how AI can be used to come up with ideas that you may have missed, didn’t know about, or hadn’t paid attention to, and AI can help you implement them.
Now: would you us AI to help in your tradeshow marketing efforts?
Are you interested in using video to enhance your trade show booth and attract more attendees? If so, you’re not alone. Increasingly, businesses are recognizing the power of video to engage trade show visitors and drive leads. If you’re considering adding video to your trade show strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind from the Tradeshow Guy Blog.
Video will help you stand out from the competition.
Video is an incredibly effective way to engage and captivate trade show visitors and can help you drive leads and conversions. In a sea of other exhibitors, a well-executed video can help your booth and product or service stand out and capture attention. Video is also an engaging medium that can help you communicate your brand story and message in a powerful way. When used correctly, video can be an incredibly effective tool for getting your message across to potential customers at a trade show.
Videos can communicate your message and tell your brand story.
When it comes to communicating your message and telling your brand story, there are few mediums more engaging than video. The right video content can be instantly memorable, helping to engage viewers and evoke a personal response. Furthermore, videos can provide context that transcends the boundaries of text-based content such as blog posts or articles. They enable you to visually demonstrate the personality of your company and showcase the truly unique aspects of what you have to offer.
Make your video visually enticing when audio isn’t an option.
Making an engaging video without sound can be a challenge. After all, audio is often the most powerful element when it comes to conveying emotion. However, videos without sound can still have an impact if they’re visually enticing. Start by creating a color palette that stands out and sets the mood for your video. Then use movement like pans, zooms, and fades to keep your viewer’s attention.
Don’t be afraid to use unconventional shots either – close-ups of small details or bird’s eye perspectives can be mesmerizing with the right lighting and composition. Animated elements like overlays, transitions, and logos can provide visual interest as well. Finally, build in enough time for post-production to make sure your video looks its best in terms of saturation, contrast balance, and other adjustments.
One way to reduce the cost of your trade show video is by using royalty-free stock footage. This approach can be a great way to save money while still getting high-quality visuals for your video. Check out these royalty-free videos that are priced affordably. When selecting stock footage, be sure to choose clips that are relevant to your product or service. You don’t want your video to feel disjointed or out of place. Also, make sure the quality of the footage is consistent with the overall tone and style of your video.
Drive traffic to your booth with the help of social media.
Social media is a powerful tool for promoting your trade show booth and driving traffic to your exhibit. When used correctly, you can reach a large number of potential customers and generate interest in your products or services. One of the best ways to use social media for trade shows is by creating a dedicated event page on Facebook. This page can be used to promote your exhibit, provide information about the event, and give people a way to connect with you online. You can also use this page as a central hub for all of your other social media activity related to the trade show.
In addition to creating a Facebook event page, be sure to post regularly about the trade show on all of your social media platforms. This will help keep your followers informed and engaged. Use images, videos, and text-based posts to create excitement around the event and drive traffic to your booth. Make sure you’re also using hashtags related to the trade show so that your posts will appear in relevant search results. And don’t forget to respond promptly to any comments or questions from followers.
Are you looking for a way to make your next trade show even more successful? If so, consider using video. This medium can help you connect with potential customers and create an engaging, interactive experience that will leave them wanting more.
Emma Grace Brown lives her life by her rules, and it works! When she’s not snuggling puppies, Emma promotes female empowerment through her website. Her mission is to help those who live with self-doubt to realize they don’t have to mold themselves to conventionality.
Tradeshows are a great place to bring in more sales. But to bring in sales and grow your company, tradeshows are also a perfect place for setting secondary and tertiary goals. Here are some you might want to consider:
It doesn’t take that much to exhibit at a tradeshow. Just rent a booth space, bring an exhibit, a handful of staffers and do your thing.
Uh, what’s your thing, though? That’s the big question. Are you there to increase brand awareness? Show that you have a bigger or cooler exhibit than your main competitor? Take a client out for dinner and drinks?
It’s better to have a plan. To know what you want. More leads? Sales? Giving away a specific number of samples? Getting more social media followers? Certainly, you want to pick goals that are important to growing your business. But one step beyond that is to not only pick good goals, but to make them concrete goals, such as:
We want 150 good leads, 50 of which are new.
We want 300 new Instagram followers.
We want to hand out 1000 product samples.
We want to do 100 in-person demos of our product or service.
We want to meet with CEO’s of three major prospects.
Once you delineate those goals, create a plan to get there. Create the roadmap. If you want to meet with specific people, set appointments. If you want to line up new social media followers, make it easy. If you want new leads, have a method for uncovering the right prospects.
Tradeshow marketing can be expensive, but since you are at a place where thousands of prospects are all gathered in the same place, it’s also the ideal setting to generate leads at the lowest cost-per-lead you’ll ever manage.
Building software to host a virtual event poses a million questions, many of them hoping to address the user experience. And the exhibitor experience. How to keep people engaged, how to keep them from being bored, how to have conversations, how to connect, how to give keynotes. And so on. I recently caught up with Sandy Hammer, co-founder of AllSeated, which has recently launched virtual event software that looks, well, impressive. She and I sat down to talk about it, and to give her a chance to show us a little bit about how it works:
The use of virtual tradeshow exhibits may not be exploding, although my sense is that it is increasing. Some big tradeshows have gone completely virtual for the next year or so, maybe longer, depending on the depth and breadth of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Which leaves exhibitors in a bit of a quandary: what to do about virtual exhibits. Should you invest in one? Should you just wait out the pandemic and hope you can get back to live tradeshows in the next six to twelve months?
And if you are seriously considering a virtual exhibit, it’s important to consider all of the various things you can do in the exhibit. I’ve seen a few virtual exhibits lately, and there is a wide variety in the approach. Some exhibitors have chosen the simple, let’s-keep-the-cost-down approach. Others have tried to throw everything in but the kitchen sink.
As an aside, one exhibit maker I spoke with recently said that a recent client of theirs did a virtual exhibit and found that at the virtual tradeshow, they experienced a 700% increase in leads for a fraction of the cost of appearing at a live show. My eyes opened at that stat, and while it’s impressive, it’s likely not going to be a common experience for every virtual exhibitor. But it does demonstrate that there is a lot of potential in virtual tradeshows if you plan ane execute well.
Having said that, there are a number of ways to get engagement at virtual tradeshows. The first is crucial: make sure that potential visitors know about your virtual tradeshow exhibit so that they are prepared, put it on their calendar, and have expectations.
The second is to build the expectations and prepare for them by putting specific things in your virtual tradeshow booth that visitors want. Things they’ll respond to, interact with, and share with others.
From that starting point, the question remains: what should be in your virtual exhibit? There are many answers, and your company’s specific needs should help frame the answer. Here are a lot of the things, perhaps not all, that could go into your exhibit. Keep in mind that each piece will add to your overall cost, much like a 3D real world exhibit, and that each piece of content, such as videos or white papers or PDF reports, all will take time and money to create. Before finalizing your plan, create a budget based on all of the pieces you think are necessary to make your virtual tradeshow booth a success.
Here are a number of things you can and should consider:
A place to collect visitor’s contact information
Download Center (PDFs, coupons, sales sheets, special reports, etc.)
Live stream video
Schedule a meeting
Learn about your company
Learn about new products
Give people the ability to share things on social media
Steer people to your social media outlets
Leave an audio or video message
No doubt if you put your mind to it, you can come up with more. What am I missing?
Year ago, I wrote a brief article on doing a tradeshow marketing SWOT Analysis, which would be a bit different from a more general SWOT Analysis.
But now that we’re in a pandemic created by the COVID-19, how would you approach doing a SWOT Analysis and is it worth doing?
I would argue that while a formal SWOT is probably unnecessary, it’s not a bad idea to at least examine some of the changes the pandemic has wrought, to see what obvious and perhaps significant changes your company is facing.
Strengths and Weaknesses:
How are you positioned in the marketplace? Do you have new products about to launch? How are you perceived by your customers and clientele? Are you doing things to keep relationships going? Are sales strong or flat? Just knowing these and other related things will help you understand your position in the marketplace compared to your competition and compared to how you might have been with no pandemic.
With no tradeshow marketing coming for at least another quarter or two, can you put the budget towards something else? Is a virtual event worth the investment? Can you do another kind of outreach for a fraction of the cost of exhibiting at a big tradeshow? Take a look at your options and see if there are missed opportunities that you may have overlooked.
Are there marketplace threats you sense but perhaps haven’t put your finger on? Are your supplier lines still open and working well, or are there kinks that may signal something worse down the line? Do you have any competitors that are taking this time to move aggressively into an area that you thought you dominated? Threats are often overlooked because, unless you actively think about them and look for them, they can sneak up on you without you knowing until it’s too late.
All in all, doing a brief SWOT check-in may help you understand how the company is doing and give you insight and context in how you’ll handle the rest of the year and move into 2021.