If you thought 2018 was an exciting year for trade shows, you’re in for a treat.
2019 is here and eruptions of progress are occurring left, right and centre bringing jaw-dropping technology and progressive movements to the heart of the trade show floor.
Let’s take a closer look at the innovative exhibition trends that are likely to explode in the coming months.
Top Exhibiting Predictions for 2019
The Use of Virtual and Augmented Reality Will Rise
Globally we will have spent $7.17 billion (approx £5.5 billion) on virtual reality by the end of 2019.
Using VR, you can create and control immersive environments so people can experience your offerings in memorable ways. Whether it’s racing at Formula One or visiting the dark side of the moon, with VR, anything is possible.
Using AR, smartphones and tablets can be harnessed to add more information to the real-world environment, such as additional product specifications or insider company information.
Jumping on VR or AR is a smart way to outshine fierce competition by creating awesome attendee experiences.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Drive Personalisation
Is AI finally advanced enough to truly personalise a prospect’s experience at a trade show? We think so.
For example, Expo Logic has been developing an application that allows exhibitors to offer a preferred beverage to attendees for personalised engagements:
“When the attendees book a meeting with this exhibitor, they will be asked their favourite beverage. As soon as the camera clocks their arrival the barista will start preparing it.”
Personalisation is the way to a millennial’s heart (which is critical because Gen Y makes up a quarter of the world’s population!): 77% of millennials think digital personalisation is helpful, while only 23% think it’s creepy.
As more and more businesses realise this, the use of AI will increase to help them drive emotional connections with booth visitors and boost performance.
Businesses Will Strive Harder for Sustainability
Did you know that a booth can have a carbon footprint of two metric tons? According to the Event Manager Blog, that’s equal to four barrels of oil.
A rising number of exhibitors are reusing or renting their stands to reduce the amount of material they use. The use of renewable booth materials (such as wood and cardboard) is also increasing.
It’s not just the stands that are getting an environmental makeover. Business leaders are also:
- Introducing recycled marketing collateral, such as business cards and flyers
- Improving their waste management
- Finding ‘greener’ shipping methods
All to reduce their carbon footprint.
Not only does this positively impact the environment but businesses are boosting their brand image, helping them drive loyalty and increase lead acquisition at trade shows.
Social Media Will Be Used More Extensively
We’ve gone past posting a few pictures on Twitter during an expo. Many of us are now using social media to drive our presence online from all angles:
- Before the event – a business might connect with specific attendees on social media to personally invite them to their booth.
- During the event – a trade show team could livestream footage of a product demo or host a competition on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
- After the event – the marketing team might publish a blog or podcast on their preferred channel reflecting on the day’s events.
Engaging with social media followers during all stages of exhibiting increases how often your marketing content is seen.
Promotional Models Will Be Replaced by Professional Booth Staff
As technology journalist, Nicole Kobie puts it: “To me, the use of such women to run a stand smacks of desperation.”
It’s the 21st century, and most of us know that relying on ‘booth babes’ to bring in business is, well, bad for business.
Objectifying women has never been okay and your attendees certainly won’t love you for it.
Sharing this sentiment, more and more business are turning towards hiring professional booth staff – those that understand their company values, goals and products – to generate leads and attract attendees to their stand.
The Power of Content Will be Fully Unleashed
Quality and relevant content creates wonderful opportunities for you to showcase your offerings, connect with contacts and reveal industry developments before, during and after a trade show.
Without it, it’s harder to make a sale from a trade show. While face-to-face engagement is super-powerful when it comes to sales, content can be a gamechanger.
For example, during the show, you can interview attendees to find out what their biggest pains are. Turn this knowledge into a blog post and send via email to those that visited your booth and opted-in to being contacted.
By offering tangible solutions to prospects’ problems, you can help lead them down the buyer funnel through on-point content.
What Do You Predict for Our Future?
Whether it’s this year or beyond, we’d love to hear your forecasts for the future. Will 2019 be the best year yet for exhibitors? Or do you predict turbulent times ahead? You tell us.