It may seem cliché, but the trade show industry is undergoing yet another bout of massive change. Newer technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, among others, are giving booths of all sizes the ability to bring their presentations to the next level.
While event planners need to always be up-to-date on new trends, they may not always have the time to implement them. By defining a distinct role for event technology, organizers can stay on top of changes while still servicing other areas of the exhibition.
Why you need an event technologist
Event technology is a fairly well-accepted concept, but the idea of having a specific staff member whose duty is to integrate new and burgeoning electronics into tangible aspects of your trade show is newly minted. According to Event Marketer, Dannette Veale, head of digital practices at Cisco, believes this role has been around all along, but now responsibilities are rapidly changing.
Once the Great Recession hit in 2008, budgets became restricted forcing event coordinators to develop new ways to enhance the experience, but at an affordable level. It was at this time where technology being introduced changed from badging and tracking to wearables and different ways to display products.
Fast forward to 2016 and there are a number of new methods that can now be used in this same capacity, but many trade show organizers have yet to fully integrate them into their exhibits or events.
- Augmented reality
- Virtual reality
- 3-D printing
- Gaming and gamification
- Photo booths
- Live streaming
- Free Wi-Fi
While these pieces may be employed in one way or another at many exhibitions, their true impact, as it relates to ROI, has yet to be fully understood.
Inclusion and examples
As you gear up for your next event and work with your installation and dismantle contractor, general contractor or audio visual provider, make sure event technologist is a role that is going to be covered. It's often better to leave it in the hands of a professional so that when show time comes and your booth is flooded with attendees, you don't experience any downtime with your presentation.
That being said, the return on investment that accompanies the inclusion of technology can be beneficial when weighing the time needed to include it. According to Certain, 56 percent of marketing directors view using the space given on the trade show floor in the right way as the most important aspect in maximizing ROI. In turn, bulking up on space-efficient technology like virtual reality or holograms can generate returns on each square foot in the form of participation by attendees.
"Keeping attendees at your booth can boost chances to get qualified leads."
Another statistic to keep in mind is that 70 percent of event marketers believe media exposure is a common form of judging ROI gained from a trade show, MarketingProfs reported. In this sense, the same old sales pitch used 10 years ago won't suffice, as it won't create any stir. New tactics like using augmented reality to display products can certainly draw eyes and ears to your booth.
When it comes to implementing new technology, focus on buzzwords. Augmented reality is becoming increasingly popular because you can essentially bring your entire inventory to a show with a small space. In another sense, it also extends the time people stay at your booth, which gives your sales team a better chance at gaining more qualified leads.
3-D printing, while new and expensive, can be used as a means to provide giveaway items for your attendees. It can also be leveraged as a way to show your product in a new light. If your item is small enough to be printed, that can be going on in the background while your sales team explains the production process.
There are many ways to include technology at your next event, though one thing is for certain – you'll need someone with the experience to implement it effectively.