Attendee Engagement

Audience Engagement at Trade Shows - Stick To Traditional or Go Modern?

Traditional trade show engagement ideas not delivering results anymore? Read this post to know why and how modern engagement alternatives can help.

According to a study, more than 80% of the C-suite executives believe live events play a critical role in their organization’s success.

But while live events such as trade shows offer a unique opportunity to build in-person connections, many exhibitors fail with their engagement strategy. More often than not, the problem lies in the traditional trade show engagement solutions that no longer work as effectively with modern consumers.

The Importance of Attendee Engagement at Trade Shows

Engagement means “the act of being involved with something.”

For businesses, it is the process of attracting the target audience and encouraging them to get involved with them or their products or services.

Here are some of the reasons why engaging at trade shows is absolutely essential-

  • With hundreds of businesses, including your competitors, participating in larger events, engagement is one factor that can help you stand apart.
  • Engaged booth visitors are more open to interacting with your booth staff.
  • A well-thought engagement strategy helps you generate engaged leads.
  • Engagement also boosts brand retention. The chances of engaged trade show attendees remembering your brand after the event are significantly higher.
  • If the engagement strategy effectively highlights your USPs, it also boosts the chances of conversions.

Whether you want to collect leads, boost brand awareness, launch a new product, or improve sales, engagement can play a critical role in each of your trade show objectives.

What are the Traditional Trade Show Engagement Methods, and Why Don’t They Work?

Over the years, exhibitors have been experimenting with several trade show booth engagement ideas. Some of the most popular choices are-

  • Signage with bright colors and bold fonts
  • Attractive booth displays
  • Product demo
  • Custom giveaways
  • Branded staff uniform
  • Raffle
  • Fishbowl
  • Attractive lighting
Don’t get me wrong, while these traditional methods are still effective in the overall scheme of things, individually; they don’t generate the level of engagement you need from your attendees at trade shows. 

“Why?” you ask. Here are three big reasons-

1. Poor Personalization

Studies suggest that personalized experiences increase customer loyalty and company revenue. Unlike the past, when customization only meant sending targeted offers to the customers, it has now extended to the overall customer experience.

In other words, modern consumers expect personalization in each of their interactions with a brand, be it online or offline. Unfortunately, the traditional trade show engagement solutions don’t offer ample personalization opportunities.  

2. Engagement Methods Are Too Common

Engagement has been a buzzword in the business world for quite some time now.

Like you, other exhibitors participating in the event are also looking for ways to attract and engage the attendees. And the majority of them would use one of the traditional engagement methods listed above.

If several booths at the trade show you’re participating in, rely on a similar engagement strategy, they’ll lose that opportunity to stand apart from the crowd.

How many attractive booths or product demos can an attendee remember after the event if there is nothing very unique and memorable about them? Not many.

3. Extreme Reliance on the “Fun” Element

It is great that you want your booth visitors to have a good time at your booth. But at the same time, it is essential never to lose sight of your trade show objectives. You’d definitely want to generate maximum returns on your trade show investments.

[ALSO READ- How to Calculate Trade Show ROI?]

No exhibitor would want to spend thousands of dollars on a trade show just to ensure that the visitors have fun. But with many traditional trade show booth engagement methods, especially games like raffle and fishbowl, there is extreme reliance on offering visitors a fun and entertaining experience.

Again, it is completely alright to keep the visitors entertained, but it is more important to look for ways to encourage engagement with your brand, products, or services.

What are the Modern Trade Show Engagement Alternatives?

So, how to engage visitors at your trade show booth if the traditional solutions are not as effective anymore? There are plenty of modern alternatives that can do the trick for you. Here are some of the top choices-

1. Use AR/VR Technology

Modern technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and/or Virtual Reality (VR), along with touchscreen display kiosks, work very well in attracting and engaging modern consumers.

You can use AR/VR to introduce attendees to your brand or products or even tell a story. Touchscreen kiosks can be used for displaying interactive documents. While you’re free to use these technologies the way you want, ensure that the experience you offer aligns with your overall trade show message.

2. Social Media Integration

Brands can no longer ignore the power of social media. If you’re looking for ways to boost trade show engagement, you can consider social media integration.

For instance, you can add a digital photo booth at your exhibition stand not just to entertain and offer something memorable but also to boost brand awareness.

While posting their photos on social media, the attendees can also use your brand or product hashtag to attract more people to your booth.

Moreover, the time spent at the booth clicking pictures will also provide your booth staff the opportunity to interact with the visitors.

3. Trade Show Games

Trade show games like custom trivia are highly versatile as they attract, engage, and educate the attendees.

The questions in these custom quizzes are crafted around your industry, brand, products, or services. As people answer these questions one after the other, they automatically learn more about you and your USPs.

Moreover, the games are connected to a digital lead collection platform, eliminating the need for your booth staff to collect business cards or scan badges.

The gameplay, through iPads and the large LED leaderboards, ensure fun and entertainment.

[READ: How Trade Show Games Boost Audience Engagement]

Ready to Upgrade to Modern Trade Show Engagement Solutions?

Engagement is the key to unlocking trade show success. If the strategies or methods you’ve been employing at your exhibition booths are not delivering the expected results, it may be time for you to upgrade to one of the modern engagement alternatives.

Apart from ensuring fun and entertainment, these modern methods also help you get closer to your trade show objectives and help improve ROI.

Want to learn more about trade show gamification? Visit our website to understand how custom trade show booth games work and how they help exhibitors attract and engage maximum attendees.  

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