Turn Your Next Trade Show Exhibit into Your Next Digital Marketing Campaign

Written by Mark Rice and Ron White
Managing Partners, Displays That PAY
Young Entrepreneurs Working at the Office
Despite downturns in the national economy since 2008, marketing dollar investments in trade shows nationally have continued to grow.  Trade shows and conferences continue to be a valuable outlet for showcasing products/services, building brand awareness, generating leads, and nurturing business relationships.
Research from the Center for Exhibition Industry research indicates that 81% of trade show attendees have buying authority and that 45% of attendees only visit one exhibition per year. This means decision makers could very well be visiting your booth and you may only have one opportunity to influence their opinion about your company, your brand and your offerings. You have a story to tell that encompasses product, customers, applications, a social media community and your brand identity. How can you present this story in a 10 x 12 booth?
Leverage Your Digital Marketing Channel Mix
We all talk about how to integrate multi-channel marketing into print applications. The same tools and processes can be applied to design a digital display for tradeshow exhibitions. Gartner indicates that marketing automation platforms will account for more than $4.2 billion of marketing spend by 2016 (Gartner Magic  Quadrant for CRM Lead Management, April, 2013). As more CMOs are investing in marketing automation platforms, you may already have a digital marketing arsenal to help you increase your visibility, brand and leads at trade shows.
Marketing automation platforms provide power tools to score and nurture leads through marketing campaigns. Why not put these same tools to work at trade shows? Your digital marketing campaign mix should also include your most active social platforms, video content, web forms and mobile apps. You can blend this multi-channel mix and present the content through a multi-panel layout on a large HDTV display. You can scale down your trade show costs by scaling up with a digital display that will boost your company’s brand, story and opportunity to capture new leads. Marketing service providers (MSPs) can help you with one or more of the digital assets you may require to plan and execute a successful campaign.
Trade Display Exhibits Made Easy
St. Louis-based DataServ, specializes in the delivery of accounts payable, accounts receivable, and human resources automation through their Software as a Service (SaaS), Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solutions.   The marketing team at DataServ engaged our services to produce and launch an interactive, multi-channel and multi-panel display at Fusion 2014, the financial operations industry’s annual trade show in Dallas, Texas.
DataServ was able to leverage their marketing automation platform landing pages, video content, social media platforms, and branded QR code on one large display to produce leads, visibility and brand resonance. Through our unique “Display as a Service” (DaaSX) platform, DataServ was able to push “at the moment” communications, such as “Giving away a laser keyboard at our booth in the next 30 minutes – signup now.”
By managing dynamic content on one display, DataServ was able to “share their story” about the company, what they do, who their customers are and how to reach out to them. Behind the scenes, DataServ was capturing valuable tracking data in their marketing automation platform as visitors interacted with the Twitter feed and the data capture form linked to the QR code.
Key to the success of the implementation was the remote screen-sharing capability that allowed our support staff to view, annotate and adjust the customer’s content on the display. Greg Dietrich, DataServ’s Director of Marketing, shared his reaction after the show: “The display was a huge hit and made a big impact in the booth”.
What’s Next – The Way You Want to Display at Trade Shows
The marketing mix is constantly changing. Just as we strive to provide personalized, targeted and relevant customer experiences through print and digital marketing campaigns, the tradeshow and event space afford similar opportunities to uniquely communicate with customers and prospects.
Managing your marketing channels and “your story” across one large display is a new, innovative and competitive approach to boosting visibility, interactivity, leads and building your brand at trade shows.  Isn’t this why you invested in a trade show in the first place?

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