Are you prepared?
Read Time: Approximately 6 minutes
Inefficiencies, diminishing returns, and changing customer expectations create opportunities for disruption, and the event industry is ripe.
Trade shows and events are expensive, and many exhibitors are experiencing diminishing returns. Exhibiting at a single event can easily cost five figures when you add up the cost of renting space, displays, print, swag, hotels, and travel. On top of it all, there is often an opportunity cost to being out of the office for the duration of an event. Multiply that by a few events per year, and you have a significant investment at risk.
Owners and managers are scrutinizing spending and demanding accountability.
A good show can provide significant traffic and exposure, but your key messages are often forgotten when an attendee reaches the end of the aisle.
Costly badge scanning systems do little more than capture an attendee's badge information and spit out a list at the show's end. Unfortunately, these systems only work when someone is willing to let you scan their badge. Many attendees find this practice obtrusive, and fewer are being scanned. In the end, too few of these leads are qualified, segmented, or sales-ready, creating even more expenses for your post-show follow-up.
After the show, many exhibitors get back to their office and get so distracted catching up that leads are not adequately followed up with- and they often go cold. Don't even get me started on the opportunity cost of losing a well-qualified lead.
Then there's the physical waste. Many exhibitors find it less expensive to scrap unused print material than to ship it back to the office. The average overall waste generated per venue is an astounding 1115 Metric tonnes. (2017 Green venue report). Print collateral is a significant part of this waste.
All this leaves the tradeshow and events space ripe for disruption. Here are three main trends you need to prepare for:
Trend #1- Measurable
The days of ego advertising are over. Unless you have bottomless pockets, the bottom-line demands that you focus your marketing dollar where it is working best, which means choosing your best-producing events and optimizing them for cost per lead.
Trend #2- Meaningful
Be clear about your purpose. 2 out of 3 consumers would switch brands to support a good cause. 6 out of 10 have bought a product to support a cause regardless of price (2009 Edelman Trust Barometer). The trend for events is to create meaningful and personalized experiences.
Here are a few tips we have found that help.
1) Engage your prospects in your purpose. Give them a compelling reason to jump into action to support your brand over your competition.
2) Support a cause that aligns with your vision. There is nothing like a cause to rally your ideal audience. Beware, though; your intent must be pure. If it is just PR or an initiative, it will likely fail.
3) Create a dedicated landing page for each event that captures, qualifies, and segments leads
4) Consider gamification to keep your attendees engaged
5) Encourage and incentivize social sharing
6) Provide attendees with a souvenir of their experience (a well-placed promotional product that acts as a reminder of their experience with you can work wonders).
Trend #3- Sustainable
Sustainability is probably the most significant trend, both from an environmental and a budget standpoint. An environmentally sustainable event cannot continue without being economically sustainable.
1) Plan better. The old shotgun marketing approach relies on sending your message to as many people as possible and hoping it will connect with a few. This outdated strategy wastes enormous amounts of resources. Plan to increase your number of opportunities to capture leads, qualify and segment those leads, and then convert them at a higher rate. Follow the tips below for Trend #1.
2) Print your marketing collateral on post-consumer recycled stock, or better yet, go paperless. GreenTexts™ allows your audience to download what they want on their terms, captures their information, and allows them to self-segment. You get a sales-ready list. They get what they are interested in and nothing else to clutter their inboxes.
3) Create a lanyard library or purchase lanyards made from recycled or biodegradable materials. Badge holders are also available, made from biodegradable corn cellulose.
4) Choose useful promotional products that reinforce your key message. Print a call to action on them or require effort before someone receives them. It's incredible how innovative these products are getting. We just discovered journals that are made entirely from apples. The cover even looks like leather. We also love working with our bag manufacturer, who repurposes printed vinyl banners to make bags.
5) Choose booth materials that are made from repurposed or recycled materials, such as booths, pop-ups, or table covers made from recycled plastic bottles.
6) Measure the success of your event against pre-determined KPIs such as qualified leads, cost per qualified lead, or time to converion to revenue.
Follow these tips, and you will be well on your way to an event that continues to be both sustainable and profitable- in our age of disruption.
Reduce your event print costs by 75%, shorten your sales cycle & save more trees.
David Betke has dedicated his career to helping brands that give back make a bigger difference. His campaigns have helped save a 65 000-acre forest forever, reduced carbon emissions in a city measurably, and helped recruit three senior engineers during the height of a labor crisis. One even generated a 6000% return within six months and attracted many great customers for life. David has been recognized with seven national marketing awards.
Greenshows™ is a division of Avatar Brand Management Inc.
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