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Greetings my fellow tradeshow enthusiasts! It’s May, summer is around the corner and temperatures are rising. It is in this germane that this month’s lesson is about what’s “hot” with electronics for exhibitors on the tradeshow floor.

Electronics and in-booth technology is becoming less of a craze and exceedingly more commonplace each and every year. Effectively reflecting your company’s pulse on cutting-edge market trends and innovations has a tremendous impact on an exhibitor’s widespread credibility and relevance within any given industry.

Whether an electronic exchange of information, promotional photo booths with social media integration – and everything in between – being “plugged  in” (or wireless as the case may be) to the landscape of global commerce is critical to remaining sustainable and competitive in the current economy.

QR codes: The electronic handshake
QR codes, two-dimensional barcodes derived from the “Quick Response” concept designed specifically for the ever-expanding market of smartphone users (and similar devices), are becoming more and more mainstream at tradeshows and corporate events. In fact, these days they seem to be everywhere in and outside of the industry. In an effort to increase traffic and networking and enhance lead management, many show producers use QR-type codes for information exchange – an electronic handshake of sorts – between all parties. Attendee badges contain assigned QR codes embedded with professional contact information and generally are easily integrated into existing CRM systems, are scanned by exhibitors who are simultaneously exchanging and retrieving pertinent data to and about each respective “user.”  Easily created electronically through countless online providers, QR codes are also typically published and posted on banners, advertisements, business cards, in tradeshow guide books and other printed collateral navigating the scanner to programmed information embedded within the codes.

Wipe boards are all washed up
There is nothing that screams “passé” and “tired” more than an exhibit booth with a standing or mounted oversized wipe board with colored marker scribble listing anything booth related, such as demo/presentation schedules, raffles, giveaways and the like.  Purchasing or renting an oversized flat screen or projector screen for a booth display is almost a prerequisite these days to remain aesthetically and visually on par with neighboring booths and competitors. The screen(s) can serve double duty in that it can be used to display demos and presentations (previously installed on exhibitors’ tablet devices or flash drives) as well as 3D and other “wow” factor-generating graphics, messaging and slideshows. Notwithstanding the sizeable investment made in promotional giveaways, booth displays and the exhibiting cost – in and of itself – a wipe board can easily wipe out all your other hard work and forward-thinking efforts with one stroke of a dry eraser.

Pushing your buttons
Since the introduction of iPads and PC tablet devices in the last few years; they have flooded the tradeshow floor.  There are many manners in which the in-booth use of iPads and tablet devices can revitalize the energy of an exhibit space. Social media and interactive demonstration features top the list. Let’s face it – the world has become a hands-on; screen-widening; mouse-clicking place. Gone are the days of shoptalk chit chat; a mere exchange of business cards and a Frisbee giveaway! Booth guests want to get a “feel” of what you are showcasing; a firsthand experience that can be provided with such lightweight, user-friendly devices and interactive displays. The additional perk is the reciprocity – besides, scanning and retrieving pertinent prospect data; every time an attendee signs “in” or is tagged in social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter from your booth – an exhibitor increases its network; its following, its “likes” and overall global exposure.

Other benefits besides enhancing that one-on-one, sales-to-prospect experience is storing, connecting and displaying a presentation on a larger monitor or screen, wireless capability and an extensive 11-12 hour battery life (although, always keep your charger handy). Additional hardware accoutrements include mounting units, counter inserts and swivel presentation stands.

Leading the charge
Recharging stations can be a veritable electronic oasis amidst an attendee’s exploration through an expo hall’s endless aisles of products and services. This in-booth feature requires minimal space, offering booth visitors the convenience and luxury to refuel their electronic communication devices and peripherals while drawing traffic to and creating “good will” towards an exhibitor.

Exhibitors offering booth visitors the option to securely leave their electronic device, for a complimentary recharge, while circulating the exposition hall almost guarantees the exhibitor double (drop off/pick up) exposure of their booth at the very minimum. And for those guests who stand and wait while their gear is getting a power boost, the exhibitor has a captive audience.

Strike a pose (or post)
Curtain-style photo booths of the future, drawing on the nostalgic and festive nature of amusement parks and state fairs, not only create that traffic-drawing booth “buzz,” but also can serve as a powerful marketing and social media tool with instant electronic (JPEG) photo “posting” and “sharing” options as well as tracking and lead retrieval capabilities. The more sophisticated booths offer additional analytic and even video capabilities. Exhibitors can customize the experience with green-screen backgrounds as well as promo prints and photo strips graced with a company’s logo in addition to digital or physical prop add-ons and custom, eye-catching graphic and messaging booth wraps. Also available in the less traditional form of stations and kiosks, photo booths rentals start at approximately $750 perday.

HOMEWORK

  • Join the electronic world of global commerce; realize what was once considered modern is now mainstream!
  • Lead the “charge” in re-energizing your company’s exhibit with electronics and digital devices!

About Linda Musgrove, the TradeShow Teacher
Linda Musgrove is founder and president of TradeShow Teacher, an award-winning tradeshow management and marketing firm. Linda, along with her team of specialists, focuses on assisting companies increase tradeshow ROI through a comprehensive results driven formula. Author of “The Complete Idiots Guide to Tradeshows,” published by Alpha Books/Penguin Publishing; Linda is also a regular, expert contributor to several industry publications and sites. Learn more at http://www.tsteacher.com and sign up for the FREE monthly TradeShow Tactics newsletter. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsteacher or email to info@tradeshowteacher.com.

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