The advent of digital and mobile technology has changed the way we live, work, and network. It’s dramatically influenced our marketing plans, increasing the need to both connect and engage in the right ways, with the right tools, and the right messages at every phase of the path-to-show: from pre-show, to the show floor, and even post-show lead retrieval. Technology has absolutely made connectivity at each phase easier. But, there is still one fundamental reality that technology alone cannot deliver: it doesn’t build relationships. And in the trade show world, relationships mean business.
When it comes to converting prospects into clients, cognitive studies have long shown that consumer purchase behavior (even in the B2B world) is driven by emotion. Sure, a prospect may first analyze information about your products – how your widget is made or why your gadget uses superior parts – but, relationships and trust are ultimately what will drive the purchase. It comes down to the simple fact that people want to do business with people – not phones, apps, snaps, or websites.

And while we think that both face-to-face marketing and technology play extremely important roles in the trade show path, it’s important to define how and where each can be used to improve customer experience and sales. Here are three simple tips to get started:

1.Face-to-face marketing develops relationships; technology makes it easier to stay connected. The truth is, when it comes to marketing plans, digital may be easier; but on its own, it’s not always better. When was the last time you built a relationship, based on trust, with a mobile phone? Probably (or at least hopefully) never. Thanks to the symbiotic relationship between face-to-face marketing and technology, we believe they each have their place in a trade show marketing plan – what’s most important is how, when, and where you use them. When beginning to think about how and where to insert face-to-face and technology into your trade show marketing plans, Exhibitpro recommends the following simple equation: use (1) face-to-face marketing to meet, engage, connect, and close, and (2) technology to nurture, warm, deepen, and extend.

2.Follow the Path: For years, the trade show marketing path had been more of a linear funnel: how do we attract prospects, get them to the booth, and convert them to clients. But, just as modern technology has influenced our everyday lives, it’s also had a major impact on how we market at trade shows to prospects and clients. In today’s world we still have the core elements of attract, engage, connect at the center of what we do; but it’s not necessarily a linear funnel anymore. Now, Exhibitpro, through its proprietary e-path process, counsels clients to be thinking about how to attract, engage, and connect at each point in the journey (pre-show, at-show, post-show, sales cycle) in order to build and deepen the relationship along the path. By leveraging the right blend of face-to-face marketing and digital technology tools – with the right messages – at each phase of the path, we increase the relevancy of our touch-points, ultimately creating stronger relationships that lead to long-term results.

3.When all else fails, use your “technology” to schedule a “face-to-face” conversation. Too often we find that, in order to keep up with the Joneses, brands are looking to have the latest and greatest application or technology that will guarantee sales. But, the reality is, we’ve never met a phone or a tablet that takes the place of a welcoming smile, a firm handshake, and a friendly introduction. And it doesn’t always have to be that complicated. There’s no form of technology alone that will close the deal – no email, tweet, or snap. Many times, what we find works the best, is to return to your roots: use your technology (your phone) to schedule a time to reconnect face to face with clients and prospects. Focus your conversation first on everyday life, and if the opportunity presents itself, discuss the product or service. By remaining focused on the human element of the relationship first, you’re showing your prospect that you’re invested in more than just a sale. More often than not, being truly connected will lead to the trust that will deliver the sale.

At Exhibitpro, we are experts in designing solutions that marry the function of sales with the emotion of human connection. We believe that digital and mobile technology have a powerful place in the marketing toolkit; but, if you’re really interested in converting sales, you need to understand how/when to pair those tools with the power of face-to-face marketing, to deliver the ultimate trade show experience. Are you interested in learning how your brand can balance technology and face-to-face marketing to drive increased sales? Exhibitpro is here to help. Let’s CONNECT to discuss your objectives and develop an engagement strategy that will deliver on your specific needs.

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