As marketing continues to move entirely into the digital space, trade shows are alive and well, and in many ways more important than ever. Reaching a target audience has always been the central challenge of marketing and sales, but with trade shows, everyone is a potential customer or brand advocate-in-waiting.

Even though you know they’re interested in your products—why else would they be at a trade show—you still need to woo them, wow them, and win them over. A great way to do this is by using 3D animation and motion graphics at trade shows to enhance your booth’s appeal. Not only will animation excite trade show attendees and draw larger crowds, but it’ll enrich your message, bolster your brand, support your sales team, and make the competition wish they had done the same.

3D animation will do more than turn heads

When you want to stand out at a trade show, 3D animation will give your displays the wow-factor to pull eyes away from competitors’ booths and toward your own. Though we’re all familiar with 3D animation to some degree, many of us probably haven’t given much thought as to how to leverage that technology to improve marketing and sales strategies at trade shows.

Before we get any further, let’s take a look at an example of how commercial vehicle and diesel engine manufacturer, PACCAR, uses 3D animation to take viewers inside their new powertrain technology. The powertrain animation shows how their engineering and innovation translate into the performance and reliability their customers expect. This is just a slice of the 3D animation pie, but it might leave you craving 3D animation to support one of your own products.

You can understand why it’s such a powerful tool that will not only impress attendees at your next trade show, but it’ll enhance their understanding of your products and make your products more accessible.

3D animation brings out the details

When it comes to showcasing your products, 3D animation is more than a flashy way of grabbing attendees’ attention. This is especially true if your products are complex, technical, have many moving parts, or there are key processes occuring that you want your audience to understand.

By taking advantage of the digital environment, you can create videos that let viewers see inside your products and how they work. This is great for a number of reasons, but particularly for showing how a product operates, what a specific component does, the effects of engineering choices, or the importance of an internal process that would otherwise happen too fast to see in detail or be invisible to the human eye.

3D animation makes the future possible today

When you’re constantly innovating and focusing on the future, sometimes the products you want trade show attendees to see most aren’t always in their finished forms. Your potential customers might be thinking about purchasing products months or even years out, and a physical prototype may not exist yet. 3D animation still lets you showcase your latest inventions and improvements by bringing your big dreams to life on the small screen to get that jaw dropping reaction from trade show attendees.

If you already have a 3D model of your new product—or even if you’re at the point in development where you need to create a 3D model—then you’re in business. Designers can create 3D animations to make all the things you’ve envisioned your product doing happen right before your eyes. You won’t have to try to describe what your new product does, or how a small specification change to an existing product has big effects. Instead, you can show each one of your booth visitors every detail about your products and give them the key information they need to make decisions. 

This will support your sales reps too, as they won’t have to memorize as much information about your products, reducing the difficulty of describing potential specifications or future enhancements. Instead, they’ll be able to show attendees your products and talk through the innovations and advantages using the power of 3D animation to back them up, which will also enhance the memorability of the product and reputation of your brand. Every detail is under your control when it comes to animation. You only have to imagine it, and animation can make it possible on screen.

3D animation makes your products portable

Sometimes it’s not a problem to bring your actual products to trade shows. Other times, that might require a semi-truck, forklift, crane, more space than your booth provides, or it just may be too costly to have expensive products on hand at every trade show. 3D animation can help you maximize your budget and booth.

Leverage technology to reduce your logistics costs—or make it possible for you to bring certain products at all—by creating 3D images to show off your large-scale products and animations to show your booth attendees what these products do in action. This will save more of your budget for other activities and it’ll let your booth’s visitors engage with the relevant aspects of your products that you want them to understand without having to search for these innovations themselves or wait for a guided tour by a member of your booth staff.

In addition, 3D animation is also useful if there are safety concerns associated with operating your product in a trade show environment. Take, for example, a new jet engine. No doubt a jet engine on a trade show floor would get head turns from the crowd, but there’s no way you’d be able to demo it. Besides safety, can you imagine the tornado of trade show booths it would create? Not to mention the jet engine’s differentiator could be located on the inside of the engine. For similar reasons, you can’t deconstruct a jet engine on the trade show floor—so how do you provide the value for potential customers?

An alternative would be to rely on 3D animation to let visitors see the airflow entering the engine, watch the turbine spinning, and see the trails of exhaust streaming out. This would be just as informative—if not more so—than witnessing this happen with the real engine, and visitors would achieve a better understanding of how the engine works and what sets your engine apart from the competition. Though we’ve used a jet engine as an example that’s easy to visualize, the same principles apply to any large, expensive, or complex product you may be representing.

3D engine image

3D animation drives engagement with your sales team

Getting potential customers to understand the advantages of your product—or sometimes what it does at all—can be a tough job. It can take a lot of time, require detailed explanation, and you might have to demo how it works using a model or diagram. 3D animation can do all of this for you.

By showing your booth’s visitors animated 3D videos, they’ll be able to familiarize themselves with your products, key specifications, and major talking points before they set up another meeting with your sales reps. This will also allow attendees to ask more detailed questions and better understand sales reps’ answers. On the flip side, this will allow your sales reps to focus more on making a lasting connection with visitors who’ll want to reach out to continue discussions after the show, rather than spending so much time reviewing the specs and operation of a product with the potential to bore visitors away from your booth.

Motion graphics will inform and entertain your audience

Although 3D animation and motion graphics share some similarities—namely that they’re both animated—there are some distinct reasons you might choose to use motion graphics instead of, or in addition to, 3D animation. Before we jump into those reasons, it’s important that you first see the capabilities and distinction between motion graphic videos and 3D animation. Let’s take a look at a video we made to support Stryker’s online care coordination and patient engagement platform, JointCoach.

Motion graphics work with every brand

If your brand’s offerings are service-based rather than product based—or if your products are fairly static and lack the action of moving components—you might feel a little left out when it comes to capturing what you can do for customers with 3D animation. Motion graphics to the rescue! 

Motion graphics will allow you to draw in attendees, and hold their attention, much in the way 3D animation does by adding elements of energy and motion to your product displays with kinetic typography or stylized videos. They’ll be captivated and intrigued by the story, characters, and scenarios you present, as well.

Speaking of characters, motion graphics are an excellent opportunity to incorporate your brand’s mascot—or a product-specific mascot—into your booth. Though this depends on whether or not a mascot is right for your brand and will be appreciated by all groups of stakeholders, using a mascot in motion graphics videos will without a doubt enhance the association between your brand and the product you’re promoting. In addition to this, you can also incorporate mascots into other aspects of your brand’s booth marketing, specifically when it comes to promotional items (aka swag) which can further enhance the reach and impact of motion graphics videos by tying them to tangible items.

Motion graphics inform and educate your audience 

Understanding the details of your products is important for prospective customers. The details—their competitive advantages—are what make your products special, and your booth’s visitors need this information to explain why your products are the right choices to decision makers in their organizations. While 3D animation is great for showing off eye-catching moving components, detailed sequences, and lots of action, motion graphics are fantastic for informing viewers about data by using infographics.

Motion graphics will not only help you build the knowledge your potential customers need, but it’ll allow them to have fun learning about your products through engaging animation. With motion graphics, you’re able to highlight the most important pieces of information you would find in data sheets, technical specs, or clinical studies, and present them in easy to understand, memorable, and perhaps even fun ways. These will stick in attendees’ minds more than seeing data statically displayed on charts and graphs. 

Motion graphics lighten the mood

Another benefit of motion graphics are the change of pace they provide—they’re usually more fun and lighthearted compared to 3D animation. Additionally, the characters, environments, and icons you include can be simplified more than 3D animation, making them highly memorable and easy to understand. This translates to increased brand recognition and a greater understanding of the data that sets your products apart from the competition. It also reduces the amount of explanation your sales reps have to do when they engage attendees one-on-one, freeing up additional time for sales reps to have better and more interactions with potential customers.

Motion graphics support your sales team

That brings us to how motion graphics can support your sales team. Because of their capacity to teach your audience via infographics, motion graphics can essentially pre-pitch to your booth’s attendees before they speak with sales reps. This, of course, depends on the information and data you include, characters or objects you associate with your brand, and the ways you showcase your solutions. Nevertheless, if you begin the sales conversation with friendly animated characters or your brand’s mascot before visitors even speak with a sales rep, your brand, products, and key talking points are already in prospective customers’ minds before the real sales pitch even begins.

Are you ready to engage through animation?

While 3D animation and motion graphics are certainly cool—and that may be all the reason you need to suggest them to your team—they also have some clear advantages and certainly have a place in your next trade show booth. Not only will your booth’s visitors remember your products from striking 3D animation or clever motion graphics, but because the animation is so captivating to watch, they’ll immediately be better informed about your products, too.

Using animated 3D videos in your booth will do more than turn heads and help set you apart from the competition. 3D animation will allow you to showcase the details of your products in ways visitors otherwise wouldn’t have been able to fully see or appreciate. It’ll enable you to show off products that are still in development and that don’t have finished prototypes to display. They can make products that are far too large or costly to transport become viable additions to your booth’s visual landscape. They can also help attendees better understand your products while freeing up sales reps to interact with more people, enabling more productive conversations and stronger relationships.

Likewise, motion graphics aren’t just entertaining animated videos, though they certainly can be—afterall, lightening the mood and making a serious experience more fun are among their many benefits. Rather, they’re powerful marketing and sales tools that can be used by anyone, for any product, in any industry to bring energy and action into the environment. Additionally, their educational value goes without parallel in that they’ll entertain and engage your visitors while informing them about your products with easy to follow and interesting infographics. As a result of motion graphics videos being an excellent vehicle to educate your target audience, they serve to lay the groundwork for your sales team.

3D animation and motion graphics are innovative and exciting trade show tools that your marketing team, sales reps, and booth visitors will without a doubt enjoy and appreciate. 3D animation will make your products more accessible, allow potential customers to gain better insight into your products and what sets them apart from the competition, and support your sales reps on their mission to engage with attendees. Likewise, motion graphics will also inform and educate attendees about your products, while lightening the mood, and laying the groundwork for sales reps to do what they do best. Whether you choose 3D animation or motion graphics—or double-down and incorporate both into your trade show booth—your audience and your team will all be engaged with and excited by the experience you create. 

Still unsure whether 3D animation or motion graphics is what will draw a crowd to your booth?

We can help you find the right solution that fits into your trade show strategy in 2020.

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