I left my love for digital at the registration process…

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For many corporate brands, the trade show is a pretty big part of the annual marketing plan and budget. If you’ve selected the events wisely, each one should present the opportunity to engage with 1000s of target audience members and get them to think, feel and do something positive with your brand.


Now, what to do with that stand – here’s an idea: Why not use some branded roll-up banners combined with a box of Celebrations to draw people in (everyone loves chocolate). Sales execs can then deliver the brand experience face to face, the accuracy and effectiveness of which will be completely reliant on their mood, motivation and how many people they can physically talk to at one time. Brochures can be the leave behind – after all, every other exhibitor uses them and I’m SURE yours will stand out in the bunch that remains in the event bag under the delegate’s desk for weeks to come.


Got it – let’s do some data collection, that way we can definitely measure success. Get people to fill out a contact form or hand over a business card for the chance to win something desirable like an iPad. Tablets are really in at the moment and not that expensive to buy, and it will only take you about a week to complete the data entry – if anyone has time.


Most people we work with are all too aware that the above plan is a little outdated and missing one or two tricks, but at this year’s Skills London event, a careers event aimed at CHILDREN, we were shocked to see how many blue chip organisations still seemed to be doing this.


One stand at the event certainly threw this approach out of the window and, as a result, attracted incredible traffic and results right from the minute the event doors opened.


The stand, called PROPERTY NEEDS YOU, was built as part of a joint campaign by a consortium of the UK’s top property firms. Aimed at generating a more positive view of a career in property, the stand included 5 securely installed iPads, each armed with a simple yet engaging property based game app – you can view more details on our work on this project here.


And being different worked – voluntary data submissions from completed games came in at 1 per minute – take into account that each game player was typically joined by two mates, we can assume that for every email there were 3 or 4 additional witnesses who engaged collaboratively. Show us a brochure that can do that!


We see this as a prime example of how digital engagement can turn a trade show presence from so-so into a raving success. By enabling people to interact with your brand message using technologies we’re all interested in (not just the kids), you can shift visitors from thinking your stand looks interesting, to feeling like they want to know more, to doing what you want them to do.


For the objectors out there – digital experiences cost less to produce, last longer, can be repurposed or amended at little to no cost, needn’t be complicated to build and are completely measurable. There really is no excuse for not investigating what it can do for your trade show presence.


And anyway, tablets are really in at the moment… well that and foam fingers … apparently everyone loves foam fingers.