You probably don’t consider smartphones and trade shows as having much in common. After all, one is small enough to hold in your hand, and the other is a large attractive display in an exhibit hall. However, you might be surprised at how similar they really are.
9 Ways a Trade Show is Like a Modern Smartphone
1. Videos. After Google.com, YouTube is the most popular site on the web. We love watching videos on our smartphone whether for entertainment, education, sports, or news. We are equally captivated by videos on the trade show floor, and the rise of large format LED Video Tiles has turned the typical show floor into a walking YouTube with real people who greet you and answer questions about the video. This trend will only continue as the prices of video tiles comes down, and even smaller inlines start to take advantage of the benefits of video.
2. Alerts and Notifications. Smartphones are like a clingy girlfriend or boyfriend, always wanting your undivided attention. What’s new? What’s next? What’s happening? Smart trade show marketers know that attracting your attention is critical — before, during, and after the show. Exhibitors can’t rely on you randomly wandering into their booth at the show. Smart exhibitors spend significant marketing energy notifying and alerting you to visit them on the show floor.
3. Apps. There are apps for just about everything from shopping, exercising, nutrition, cooking, home improvement, and even the handy flashlight (that you probably can’t imagine not having). Apps are our handheld experts on every topic. You have your own experts in your trade show booth, namely your employees. Your knowledgeable employees are essential since attendees expect exhibitors to answer their questions about your products and services. Nothing is more frustrating to an attendee than an exhibitor who can’t answer basic questions, or when the “expert” is unavailable.
4. Operating System (OS). Whether your smartphone runs on iOS, Android, or some obscure operating system, you rely on it to keep your phone running smoothly. Every successful exhibitor needs their own booth operating system, one that handles traffic flow, presentations, lead retrieval, and a myriad of other essential show tasks. And just like an OS, it doesn’t have to be the latest version. It simply has to work for your team.
5. Social Media. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn – Your smartphone is undoubtedly your go-to device for social media because it’s convenient and easy. Think of a trade as a live version of Social Media, where you post news, updates, and share stories about your company or your team. What could be more social than chatting face-to-face with someone? Consider the booth an extension of your existing social media campaign before, during, and after the show. Use social media to create a buzz, drive traffic, and create conversations in your booth about your company.
6. Fully Charged. Face it. You’re a very happy camper when your smartphone is fully charged. The possibilities are endless, whether you want to watch hours of videos, exchange text messages, or navigate around town using GPS. At a trade show, staying upbeat and charged can be challenging after several long, grueling days on the show floor. However, most exhibitors have stories about meeting that perfect client on Day 3 at 4 pm in the booth. Those once in million customers are as likely to walk in your booth on Day 1 as Day 3 – and you better be prepared. Those golden opportunities don’t close into deals when you’re operating at 25%.
7. Photos. Smartphones changed photography forever because it allowed us to capture memories effortlessly. Think about how often you share those photos with friends and family, and how just scrolling through your phone’s photo album reminds you of those moments.
Think of photos like leads in your booth. Imagine taking that same time, attention, and energy to capturing the details of meetings with clients in your booth. Those details are invaluable when following up with the prospect after the show. Specifics make it easier to address their needs quickly without stumbling through an awkward re-introduction.
8. Service. We all have our preferred cell phone provider. Sometimes it’s because they have a stronger network where we live. Other times, they have pricing and plans that meet our needs. Or, they have proven time and time again that their customer service is superior to their competitors. It’s easy to forget that customer service is important in your trade show booth. Whether it’s existing or new clients, they are judging your customer service at the trade show. Critically. They expect you to be at your best… and yet, many companies stub their toes by “going through the motions” in their booth.
9. It’s Just a Tool. Smartphones are essentially a communication device, a way to stay connected with others. But as we’ve learned, they’re not a substitute for face-to-face human interaction which we all want and crave. For twenty years, “experts” have predicted the demise of trade shows, and yet, trade shows and trade show attendance continues to grow. Why? Because shaking someone’s hand matters. Because looking someone in the eye as they explain their product or service has value.
Like smartphones, trade shows are a tool that allows us to communicate with others. It’s how we use it that gives it meaning in our lives and adds value to our lives both professionally and personally.
So, at your next trade show, whether as an attendee or an exhibitor, be sure to bring your smartphone. Not that you need permission. But remember to occasionally glance up from the screen from time to time. You just might discover there’s another human eager to talk to you. Not through email or text or Skype, but in person and face-to-face. Who knows, you might just meet a new friend or a supplier or customer that will change your life. Happy Exhibiting!
Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, custom, rental exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.