Monday, November 3, 2008

Making Your Trade Show Booth Go Places

How can you get maximum visibility for your trade show booth? By taking it around. Virtually.

Over the weekend, I had the pleasure of hosting for dinner the president of a large industrial manufacturing company with an international presence. Great conversation, great food, and I must add that it is always very refreshing to talk to someone who does not keep checking a blackberry in mid-conversation.

Part of our conversation veered towards trade shows (of course). He said that his company is preparing to exhibit at a trade show coming up soon, where they put up an exhibit, meet industry professionals face to face, gather a lot of business cards which get swiped into a CRM system and then.... once the trade show is over, his sales force goes back to the office, analyzes the leads and sends them literature and brochures via snail-mail, along with a thank-you note. He said it was very expensive. He also thought that it is possible that it may be considered to be not a very environmentally friendly way of follow-up. He thought that the 'green' angle was a legitimate one to consider when following up after the trade show.

An alternative that I brought up which he liked, was to

  • set up a stand-alone virtual booth
  • we can customize it to look just like the real trade show booth your visitors see at the convention center, to help them remember you by association with the real-world experience
  • with a few point-click actions, load that virtual booth with relevant rich-media content, literature, slide-shows, videos, and even add ways to provide direct and instant contact with relevant product managers
  • in the thank-you emails after the trade shows, include a link to the virtual booth
  • has the capability to make your virtual booth 'to-go'.

Here are the advantages as he saw in them:

  • It is highly cost-effective
  • They can send a lot of relevant content neatly organized, along with the thank-you note, without bulky attachments that normally get trapped by firewalls
  • It is 'green'

Here is the other advantage that I mentioned to him:

  • Your virtual booth can be forwarded to people within the visitor's organization, who could not make it to the trade show in person. Your message and your virtual booth, if engaging enough, assumes a viral quality about it.

If you are a company that needs a virtual vehicle for very targeted information that can be changed on the fly without the need for an IT expert, then the technology is available for your use. If you do not do trade shows but just need an info-vehicle, use it like Perry Lawson & Associates have done - as a virtual office and embedded on any chosen web page (see the embedded virtual booth with live clickable icons, in the first paragraph of this blog post).

Your virtual booth can literally go places!