Trade shows are some of the best networking opportunities available for trade and professional associations, as well as vendors, and for years, the traditional model of “check-us-out-here’s-my-business-card” has worked; however, in 2015, trade show attendees are expecting more, especially when it comes to technology. If you’re still applying the traditional model of handshakes and elevator pitches, consider the following three trends in trade show innovation:
SEE ALSO: Are You Putting the Show in Trade Show?
Cutting-Edge Floor Plans
What attendees at trade shows, and maybe even some planners, may not realize is that the layout and floor plan of such a show is vitally important in keeping interest up and networks growing. Traditionally, at least in North America, the tendency has been for such events to begin in a circular manner with attendees entering and moving immediately to the right to begin their journey.
This approach is thought to speak to North Americans due to the traffic system across the continent, along with the idea that most people are right-handed and therefore gravitate toward the right-hand side when entering a dual-entrance structure. A new idea has emerged, however, in which the floor space at a trade show is not only cut horizontally and vertically, but also diagonally. Such an approach gives attendees access to various areas of the floor space in short time without being corralled along a set path.
Technology Invites Attendees When the Time is Right
Another way to innovate at a trade show is to use messaging technology, such as Apple’s iBeacon, a simple service that pushes messages to subscribers, alerting them to special events, demonstrations, talks, and so on. When attendees arrive at a trade show, they can sign up for such a service and then be alerted in real-time when an exclusive event or demonstration is about to begin. In order to target certain attendees, such technology can be programmed to only send out invites and updates to individuals who are within the target B2B market.
By persuading attendees to download an app prior to entering the show, you’ll be more likely to interact with and attract potential customers like never before.
Have You Heard of TED?
If you browse industry websites (or YouTube) for a while, you’ll likely run into videos that include “TED” along the way. TED stands for “technology, entertainment, and design”, and the phenomenon of these relatively short presentations began in 1984. Today, TED Talks encompass a large variety of tech-related discussions that are meant to not only engage audiences, but also to enrich them. This is where you can take advantage and build over the competition. A TED Talk is used as an inspirational, motivational, informative discussion presented by experts in an industry that serve to promote an idea, service, brand, or product.
Consider having someone from your association or organization give a “TED-style” talk on a regular basis throughout the day during a trade show in order to engage visitors, vendors, potential clients, and general show attendees. Another idea is to record your presentations, pick the best one, and then upload it to social media and your brand’s website for added exposure.