Use of technology at exhibitions is growing, so why are people so afraid to take the plunge and use it when exhibiting? How did everyone else become experts with exhibition technology so quickly?
The fact is they haven’t. Like you, they probably had all the same reservations before using it. Their success with technology simply comes from being brave enough to speak to experts and try it. However, for businesses not already using such technology, there is probably a natural sense of trepidation stopping them from exhibiting.
These fears stem the idea that many of these technologies aren’t cheap, look hard to set up, and probably need experts to work them. But is that the case? Well, that’s a question worth asking, so we’re asking it:
Cost: ★ | Complexity: ★-★★ | Expertise: ★
Social Media has changed how we communicate. It’s also changed how visitors attend and manage their time at exhibitions. A map and a programme aren’t able to cover all the must-see impromptu things that are just about to happen. Exhibitions are live events, and social media lets them truly come to life.
Everyone at an exhibition has a mobile, and are using them. The benefit of Social Media for visitors is its predominance, familiarity and simplicity. It’s cheap, so your staff probably already have the tools they need. It’s simple: just keep people informed throughout, although you can be more strategic if you wish.
Understand what each exhibition offers and how you can use this to generate a return, by asking what they are looking for? Your activity must respond to this. For example, if the exhibition has media coverage, it might be more beneficial to make a splash and get noticed. The ROI on this publicity can be more invaluable in the long run.
Once you understand the exhibition, then you can consider the types of ROI you might get from it. Then set targets to let you measure the success of your response.
Cost: ★-★★★ | Complexity: ★-★★★ | Expertise: ★-★★★
Live streaming is a fantastic tool for driving engagement and gaining greater visibility beyond the confines of the exhibition. With it, you can reach much larger audiences, create a compelling sense of urgency around your brand offer, build “social uproar” through online excitement (which will feed back into your social media) and stand out from your competitors. All from your stand.
However, cost, complexity and expertise can go either way with live streaming; it’s all about quality. If your brand suits a more ragged, reportage style of messaging, then you can get away with Facebook Live or Periscope level of video. You simply need a phone and a WiFi connection. But for others higher production values are necessary, to let you share your product in full HD glory with the world.
Cost: ★★-★★★ | Complexity: ★★-★★★ | Expertise: ★-★★★
Look around most exhibitions today, and you’ll be hard pressed to see a pop-up stand and a banner. Everyone’s got tablets, PA systems and touch screens, etc. Or at least they seem too. But are these expensive luxury “add-ons” or essential tools?
Data collection tools like iPads have become essential. You could use a pen and paper, but it is just making things harder than they need to be. Quality data is worth the expense, and will only make your exhibition experience simpler and more successful.
As for items like touch-screens, video walls and the like, it’s very much down to your brand and budget. But where possible, you probably should opt for them as they help you create better experiences. But remember, you don’t simply need a screen, you will also need something on it; which means more expense and expertise.
Cost: ★★-★★★ | Complexity: ★★-★★★ | Expertise: ★★-★★★
Experiential doesn’t immediately seem tech-heavy, but DMN know from experience that technology will be fundamental at some level, from VR and lighting to a Twitter feed or live stream, it will be an essential element of the production at some level.
So, expertise, experience and ultimately cost will be required. The benefits of experiential, however, are the immediate excitement, recognition and association they build for a brand, coupled with a tremendous potential for long-term brand recall. Experiential is brilliant for bringing together traditional and technological approaches to maximum effect and delivering entertaining, human and yet advanced and exciting experiences.
VR, augmented reality and 360 video
Cost: ★★★ | Complexity: ★★★ | Expertise: ★★★
Put simply: these technologies are not as daunting as they might first appear.
Yes, they can be expensive and complex, will require expertise, and are not for every company or exhibition. But they are simply tools that extend the concept of experiential marketing.
So, if you are willing to brave the expense and complexity, then the benefits are very exciting. As VR and the rest can bring concepts to life in ways nothing else can.
Big data and remarketing
Cost: ★-★★★ | Complexity: ★★-★★★ | Expertise: ★★★
Big data and remarketing are reliant on data collection, which is simple enough to do at the event, as you’re already there collecting it from prospective leads. It’s just about taking this to the next level and making this data work harder for you.
The data collection can be done by anyone in any format, but better data equals better opportunities. So it’s worth having the right tools to make this simpler. Alternately, using this data will involve some expertise, but the benefits are innumerable. It gives you insights and access to your customers that was previously unavailable. Use this data correctly, and you have a powerful tool for continued dialogue with your most engaged customers. While also knowing what they want from you.
Tech. vs. Trad.
The reality is, concerns around cost and complexity are not unfounded, but with consideration, they are easily mitigated.
Technology is complicated and can be difficult to set up or use. So use experts who know how to seamlessly integrate this technology into your exhibition, because this knowledge can make your exhibition extraordinarily engaging and persuasive. You use technology every day in almost every aspect of your life, to contribute to making your job simpler and more efficient. Exhibitions are no different and with technology they can be simpler and more successful.
So there really is nothing to fear, it’s simply part of the continued evolution of exhibitions, and technology is only there to benefit you and help you better achieve your goals.
Do you have a project or want to find out more?
Contact Matt Briggs on +44 (0) 1484 451061 or click here to drop him an email