From high-tech gadgets, to virtual reality, to mobile applications; as exhibitors look for ways to differentiate and engage with prospects, the trade show floor is beginning to resemble a scene right out of the latest science fiction movie. But is it necessary to adopt all these new forms of technology to be successful at today’s trade show? Probably not.
A successful trade show is one that improves brand perception, grows business with existing clients, and opens doors to new prospects. The good news? You don’t need a teleportation device to do any of those things! In fact, all you really need is a carefully-crafted plan that delivers purposeful engagement.
Developing your Balanced Blend
At Exhibitpro, we believe that most clients will benefit from a balanced blend of high-tech and high-touch solutions; but we also believe strongly that every client’s balanced blend is different based on their own unique challenges. That’s why we begin every new trade show engagement with our proprietary e-process. Through this strategic process, we partner with our clients to uncover their specific challenges and understand their internal capabilities; then, we design a well-defined engagement strategy that purposefully incorporates the right blend of high-tech and high-touch, in the right ways, at the right time.
For some clients and shows, a standard e-lead retrieval program paired with a well-defined engagement strategy may be most effective. Other clients, however, may need state-of-the-art engagements to draw visitors into the booth, simply to make the high-touch engagement even possible.
Developing the perfect balanced blend for each client ultimately comes down to three things:
(1) what are the objectives
(2) what are the client’s internal capabilities for managing the data that the technology will deliver
(3) what does the client plan to do with the data once the show concludes
Below are a few of our top high-tech, high-touch tips:
- Have an engagement strategy that ties to your objectives. Purposeful engagements that tie to your overall exhibit strategy are most likely to yield the highest return on your investment.
- When you incorporate technology into your space, use it as a tool to help improve your engagement; but don’t rely on technology to do all the work for you. As author John Naisbitt of High Tech, High Touch said, “Technology itself is neither good or bad. It’s how we use the tools we develop that determines the outcome. “
- Know your audience. If you are exhibiting at a show known for setting the latest high-tech trends, if your product or service relies on the digital sphere for success, or if you have a prospect list filled with Millennials; then, it probably makes sense to implement a more innovative mix of high-tech, high-touch solutions. But no matter how innovative, your engagement should always be purposefully connected to your total show strategy.
- Know your capabilities. The greatest technology in the world is virtually useless if you have no way to use the information you obtained. Be realistic about what you can – and will – do with the data you gather during the show. Use that knowledge to guide your strategic direction.
One final thought
It’s important not to lose sight of the fact that amidst all the technology, marketing messages, and offers served; people still like doing business with people. That fact alone is why trade shows are such a powerful tool to marketers – they provide face-to-face, relationship-building opportunities that no other marketing medium or technology can provide. We have yet to find a high-tech device that can take the place of a warm smile, a firm handshake, and a “nice to meet you;” and because of that, we can comfortably say that no client should completely abandon the high-touch aspect of the engagement. So if your next trade show plan solely relies on technology to drive engagement or results, then you may want to reassess your strategy. Likely, it’s missing out on what makes trade shows so beneficial in the first place: human interaction.
Need help developing your high-tech, high-touch balanced blend? Exhibitpro is here to help. Let’s CONNECT to discuss your objectives and develop an engagement strategy that will deliver on your specific needs.