Trade shows are exhilarating. The lights. The sounds. The energy. Everyone is showing off their latest and greatest products and trying to set themselves apart in a sea of competition. There are videos at every booth, panel discussions to attend, and endless networking opportunities. But all the glitz and glamour—the flashy displays and swirling noise—won’t matter if you’re not leaving attendees talking about you after the show. If attendees remember you for a contest you held, but don’t remember the product you promoted, you missed the mark and lost the opportunity to have the influence and impact you planned for.
In this highly competitive field, and on the trade show floor where everyone is battling for attention, set yourself apart from the crowd. Ditch the gimmicks that don’t speak to attendees’ needs and desires. Instead, leverage the power of new and emerging technologies to attract more attendees to your booth than ever before—and more than your competitors. Set yourself apart by engaging attendees with complimentary strategy sessions. Give them the information they need to make the critical decisions their industries and leaders demand of them. In short, give attendees an experience that’ll make them say, “WOW.”
Here’s how to give them memories of your brand, product, and dedication that’ll influence their decision making long after the trade show has come to an end.
Alter their reality with XR technology
Extended reality (XR) is the term used to encompass the wave of new technologies allowing people to interact with digital objects and environments or digitally-enhanced environments. You’ve definitely heard of XR technologies—augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR)—and maybe even used them. While implementing VR and AR at your next trade show might sound like a tall order, these are two of the most influential and impactful technologies you can leverage to impress your audience, and allow them to see and interact with your products in exclusive ways.
Bring your products to life with AR
No matter what industry you’re in, there are opportunities to bring your products to life and into the hands of trade show attendees by using AR. Your products can be pocket-sized and portable, or large enough to house the entire trade show itself; with AR, your audience has the opportunity to see your products from every angle, in detail, right where they’re at by launching an app on their smartphones or tablets you provide as part of your booth experience.
Imagine being able to see the engine and drivetrain components of a new model of car in detail, change engineering specifications and operational parameters in the moment, and then witness the facial expressions of your booth’s visitors change immediately in awe. Or say you want your audience to see exactly how a new piece of surgical equipment could change their experience in the operating room. AR can do just that.
In addition to the interactive experience that AR provides, there’s the practical component of eliminating the need to transport expensive, cumbersome products to trade shows. You have every product you need—in any number you need—right on your mobile device. Let your attendees spend as much time as they need with your product, let them see what it can do, and let them adjust it however they want. Your audience is in control of their own product interaction with AR.
Alternatively, you also have the power to guide the way and show off all the minor details that set your product apart from the rest. Which, by the way, you may not have been able to do had you brought the actual product due to its size, safety concerns, or other limitations of the trade show environment.
Take your attendees to new places with VR
While AR can bring your product into attendees’ hands, VR can take your attendees into an immersive digital world that they can explore in depth. They can interact with your product in the setting where they would use it most, or experience an environment that would otherwise be impossible to replicate at a trade show. Though a video game is a common place to experience VR, the technology is not limited to entertainment. VR has the potential to change the way we do our jobs, interact with others, and go about our lives, and using VR to support your brand and products should be among your top considerations.
Imagine you’re a surgeon stepping into a virtual operating room, using a digitally-rendered version of a new product on a virtual patient, and being able to experience in real time how that product simplifies, improves, or eliminates one of the parts of your surgical process. VR can make that happen. Or take touring the inside of a new class of cruise ship as another example—looking out at the sea and listening to the sounds of the ocean, watching an exciting show amidst a lively gathering of virtual guests in a venue that’s not yet open to the public, or rushing down a water slide and splashing into the pool below. With VR, the world you can experience is only limited by what you dream up.
Bringing this kind of technology into your trade show booth will not only amaze attendees and blow your competitors’ minds, but it’ll provide the kind of experience attendees recall when they’re in the real world, solving real problems, and realize how your products can be there for them.
The results speak for themselves. In a surgical VR experience we designed for a medical device partner, they saw the value in bringing VR to the trade show floor, and have seen an impressive return on investment.
Make your booth pop with 3D animation and motion graphics
If a picture says a thousand words, then incorporating 3D animation and motion graphics into your next trade show booth will speak volumes. Though 2D designs and static images have their places—such as in flyers and handouts—their simplicity can lack the value your attendees are looking for.
Rather than let attendees’ experiences fall flat, using vibrant screens with eye-catching 3D animation is a great way to draw a crowd and get people excited about your products before they engage with sales representatives. 3D animation will allow your audience to literally see your products from new perspectives compared to 2D photos and drawings.
Motion graphics can be a fun way to educate attendees about your products using a combination of animation and infographics. They can take more of a lighthearted approach, creating relatively simple graphics and interlacing them with informative data to offer much more wow-factor than the old standbys of static charts, tables, and diagrams. Attendees are more likely to remember the advantages of your products when associated with a character or symbol from a motion graphic, which will allow representatives to engage attendees on a deeper level, and not spend so much time going over initial data points they already saw.
Stand out with strategy sessions
Another way to show up your competition is to engage your booth’s attendees on a deeper level by offering a strategy session—or other one-on-one consultation—that would normally be a paid engagement. This is a great way to get to know your current and potential customers, their needs and expectations, and how you can better serve them. It’s also an opportunity to integrate your product or brand into attendees’ minds and strategic plans, and show them how your products can solve their problems in ways other products are lacking. Giving trade show attendees who come to your booth the opportunity to sit down and talk strategy with your team one-on-one shows your dedication to their mission, to them as people, and to providing a level of service that others can’t meet.
Astonish attendees and crush the competition
Each trade show is an opportunity to showcase your brand, connect with current and potential customers, and see how your products stack up against the competition. After going to trade shows year after year, attendees know what to expect—or at least they think they do. At your next trade show, give attendees new ways to experience your products and wow them by taking your trade show game to the next level.
- Bring your products to life right in front of your visitor’s eyes by using AR technology. Create the opportunity for attendees to interact with digital versions of your products on mobile devices and explore them from every angle right from the trade show floor.
- Take attendees to another world—or their work world—with VR technology. Let them see what it’s like to use your products in a realistic digital simulation of the environment they’ll use them in every day. They’ll be blown away by the experience, crowds will gather to watch other attendees become engrossed in the magic of VR, and they’ll be lining up to try it themselves.
- Upgrade your display content with 3D animation and motion graphics. These are fun and exciting ways to keep your booth visitors hooked while presenting information that lays the groundwork for one-on-one conversations.
- Sit down for on-the-house strategy sessions with current and prospective customers. These are great opportunities to build relationships with the people who use—or will use—your products the most, and you’ll be integrating your products and brand into their minds way past the last day of the show.
Ready to turn it up at your next trade show?
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