Tips and Trends

Draw More Attendees to Your Trade Show Interactive Technology

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

lonely ipad

Exhibitors at last-week’s Western Veterinary Conference invested a lot of money on interactive technology for their exhibits. There were touch screen interfaces on Smartphones and on iPads and on monitors. With a couple of touches trade show attendees could take an educational quiz, register to enter a prize, watch video, scan data, select and explore the deep-dive content of their choice, and/or select eLit for delivery to their desktop. Very. Cool. Stuff.

Unfortunately, more often than not, most of this technology went—well—untouched. In every case, the planning error seemed to be the same: Exhibitors were relying on the technology to do all of the heavy lifting. They wanted their interactive trade show technology to attract, engage, educate—and even build the relationship—with the trade show attendee. And while technology can certainly perform some of this—it certainly can’t do it alone and maximize trade show results. In other words, great trade show interactive technology does not equal an exhibit staff holiday.

If you aren’t getting the results you hoped from your trade show technology, perhaps it’s time to assess not the technology, but how you are integrating it into your overall exhibit engagement strategy. Six tips:

  1. Most people won’t even notice your interactive media unless a person leads them to it. Make sure your technology gets used by as many people as possible by having your staff engage attendees in the aisle, lead them to your technology and help them get started.
  2. Monitor interactions. Increase positive brand perception and avoid visitor frustration by having your staff ready to step in to answer questions or trouble shoot.
  3. If the interactive isn’t working right, shut it down. I watched a prospect in one booth try to get an interactive to work three times. When no one came to help, she turned and huffed out of the booth.
  4. Capture visitor names and data. I watched another exhibitor draw hundreds of people to its interactive challenge and give out an equal number of free t-shirts. Unfortunately they have no hard count of participants, no way to follow up, and no idea if the participants were customers, prospects, competitors—or guys from the concession stands.
  5. Weave human interaction into the experience. This is a little repetitive of #1, but it’s worth reiterating. The advantage of exhibiting is forging relationships face-to-face. Leverage this advantage by going beyond what you can deliver online—human contact.
Finally, if you insist on trying to get people to use the technology unaided, locate it right along a busy aisle. Make sure the welcome screen makes visitors an offer they can’t refuse—such as “touch here to win a _____” or “touch here to learn how to double your profits.” (I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea.)

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