At your next tradeshow, you'll likely be competing with numerous organizations for the attention of a finite pool of attendees. Take into account, too, that those attendees have likely predetermined which booths they'll visit. The task of capturing (and keeping) their attention, therefore, is downright daunting. The solution may lie with mobile.
The continual improvement of mobile technology has already made a significant impact on the world of tradeshow marketing. Consider, for example, how the use of QR (quick response) codes mirrored the adoption of smartphones. QR codes already allow attendees to interact, to a limited extent, with presenters and booths, but they also have the potential to make a lasting impact.
A QR code provides a call to action that's usually more compelling than one that comes from thumbing through a mountain of brochures. The content—whether an app, website, whitepaper, or otherwise—is more likely to last longer on the attendee's smartphone than a leaflet might in a purse or pocket.
But how can you take mobile interaction a full step further in a way that pulls people over to your booth and makes them stay?
If you've ever been to a tradeshow with at least one very popular exhibit, you know that a cluster of people huddling around a booth causes a perpetual crowd in that area, with everyone gathering to see what all the fuss is about.
Apply the following tips, and those running the booth next to yours will rue the day they had to compete with you.
1. Build an interactive game
A game has several obvious benefits: It allows your audience to engage with your brand and your brand's content, it serves as a great ice breaker, and it builds buzz. But a game is also memorable, a quality you shouldn't underestimate, considering the average tradeshow attendee visits at least two dozen booths.
Don't make the game overly complex. The game should be easy, fun, and casual; but, ultimately, it should be tied to your value proposition. Make sure you test the game many times before unveiling it at the tradeshow. A game that because of glitches repeatedly force-quits, freezes, or displays error messages will do your brand more harm than good.
2. Allow attendees to use their own devices to interact with your content
What better way to get people engaged with your content and your offering than by enabling them to use their own smartphones and tablets to interact directly with your booth?
Incorporate more traditional mobile marketing tactics, such as polls or text-to-win contests, with a custom-branded app. Give your booth a unique check-in so that attendees can share their experience via social media. Stay active on social media yourself by monitoring event hashtags on Twitter, for example, or even creating one of your own.
3. Arm your employees in the field
An employee equipped with a smartphone has access to an infinite amount of information. You can, for example, give your boots on the ground access to sales material that can be customized to the needs of individual attendees.
The classic "show vs. tell" also comes into play here. If absorbing information first-hand has a greater impact on attendees (and it usually does), offer a presenter-led walkthrough via a tablet or a larger monitor.
4. Appeal to as many senses as you can
An effective tradeshow booth can't be static. Your booth needs to be dynamic and aesthetically pleasing, from the color scheme to the copy used in its materials.
Make tablets available to anyone who walks up to your booth, and connect them to larger screens so they can get a full-sensory experience with visuals, sound, and touch. (As for smell and taste, maybe you can put out a plate of cookies. Everyone likes cookies.)
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No matter which approach you take, consider how long your presentation will live. If you use a custom app, will that app need to be updated prior to your next tradeshow, or is all of its content transferable? Give yourself ample time to incorporate feedback from the event into the next iteration of the presentation.
One key benefit of a mobile-equipped tradeshow booth is that it lends itself to easy information collection and measurement. Measure how often your team is accessing certain content to determine which information attendees demand and which information they are not interested in.
Don't ignore metrics from the customized application or game offered at your booth. Measuring the length of interaction can give you insight into what needs to be improved.