The word is out- technology is in. But what does that mean? Here are some facts: Technology has advanced more in the last 30 years than in the previous 2000, and it is poised to continue at an accelerated pace. Technology affects how we attract attendees, how information is transmitted and how attendees are engaged before, during, and after events. According to LondonLaunch.com, roughly 72% of marketers are increasing the use of digital elements in their marketing mix.
The world is going digital. So, how does that translate in to the trade show, meeting and event space? Let’s look at some specific examples of technology and a few applications we’re using to help clients better engage their audiences and get more from their programs.
- Email – Most of our information is now received through electronic communication. Through email you can start the conversation with your attendees early and can more easily provide pre-show campaigns, messaging, and appointment setting.
- eLiterature – Printed materials cost you money to print, ship and store which can add significant costs to your program show after show. eLiterature solutions can eliminate these costs while putting information in your attendees hands quicker in a powerful digital format that you can track and use to measure your customers’ interests and interactions.
- Augmented reality – Enhanced reality can add a visual wow factor that will set you apart from your competition. This may entail adding 3D views for immersive product demos, or interactive video presentations.
- Mobile devices – These can greatly affect the attendee experience if used correctly. For example, some companies are getting personalized information in attendees hands faster – sometimes immediately – by adding new tools for real-time interaction via text & social media. This type of communication on the trade show floor and at events is becoming “the new normal” and solutions for more interactive, faster and more efficient communications via mobile devices are being developed at an ever-increasing rate.
- Online/mobile gaming – This digital realm can create an interactive and engaging brand experience for attendees by making learning about the brand entertaining. With customized infotainment apps, a message or story can be told in a way that draws people in and leaves them smiling.
- Mobile specific applications (meeting apps) – These types of apps (such as attendee networking/notification apps) are becoming ubiquitous in the exhibit and events world. This is the single largest change in the area of transmitting information. This amount of digital connectedness that mobile meeting apps create allows for a streamlined means of communication and information exchange between all parties involved in a particular event.
- Web based learning – The move toward online information exchange means attendees won’t have to carry around pamphlets and brochures with them in order to learn about your products or brand. Instead you can engage with attendees before, during and after the event, allowing for a more holistic brand experience.
- Interactive touch screens – Video has long been a part of the meeting/event industry and is a proven way to captivate and engage an audience. Interactive touch screens take this engagement a step further by allowing the audience to be a part of the presentation. Now the messaging is not just being received through eyes and ears, but through touch as well, further solidifying that message in the minds of the audience.
The traditional way to exhibit (engage, qualify, communicate, and close) is passé. The way we attract, communicate, and deliver educational content needs to change to reflect the current demographics. Information that used to be communicated by sales reps at trade shows is now delivered through other electronic channels. Product introductions are no longer limited to yearly trade shows.
The goal is to create digital interactions with the customer that create a thirst for a face-to-face experience, where the product can be brought to life.
Now, most likely this information is not surprising to you. What is surprising is that event managers are leery of incorporating technology into their events. A recent survey posted by Londonlaunch reveals that while 66% of the surveyed respondents view technology as being fundamental to their events, only 18% incorporate technology at the beginning of the planning process.
Currently, event managers are comfortable incorporating iPad polling and event apps, but e-registration, lead capture, and measurement/analytics are rarely included in the mix. The reason? A perceived lack of budget and clear understanding of the possibilities are the biggest barriers to incorporating technology in events.
Here’s what we know. The number one objective for the attendee visiting the exhibit hall is education. They want the opportunity to learn something new, in an engaging and memorable way. A report called The Future of Healthcare Exhibiting is Learning by marketech360.com shows that 56% of attendees prefer electronic communications to printed materials, and they want to receive this information quickly (3 seconds or less).
Engagement is about creating interactions that occur over multiple channels and tactics. For maximum results, go beyond simply drawing a crowd. Engage your audience by enhancing the attendee experience with innovative digital solutions.
DisplayWorks can help you define your digital strategy and seamlessly integrate technology and applications to enhance your trade show and event programs. We aim to make the process simple so you can start realizing the benefits of this new technology much sooner than you might think. Once you begin to incorporate smart technology solutions into your program you will better engage, better perform and better measure your results. So start researching your options today.