Reaching, Retaining, and Following Up with Attendees
By Kaitlyn Wallace
In a world increasingly influenced by generational divides, transformed by technological innovations, and characterized by wide varieties of similar products and services, grabbing and holding the attention of millennial customers has never been more difficult. This is particularly true in the context of conventions and trade shows, in which options abound and attention is pulled from booth to booth and product to product at an alarming pace. In this environment, it is essential for vendors to capture the attention of attendees – particularly young professionals, who are so often at the cutting edge of technology and innovation– in order to capitalize from your trade show experience. To this end, MM&E has compiled the following list of 8 Tech Ideas and Innovations to Engage Young Professionals at Tradeshows– ideas and innovations which will transform the experience of the attendee as well as markedly increasing young professional involvement with your products and services.
VR and AR
VR, or Virtual Reality, is the latest of many technologies intended to fully immerse the user in an experience by engaging multiple senses and tricking the brain into believing it is present in a created reality. AR, or Augmented Reality, is similar– it allows additions and alterations to be mapped over and added into the existing event space around you. Both technologies can showcase a variety of products and services, and perhaps would be most suited to services with design elements, movement, and large-scale products. VR and AR, as importantly, also show young professional that you are riding the wave of technological innovation and are willing to shift and adapt to changing conditions in the business world.
Projection mapping is a design technology which allows images and videos to be projected perfectly onto irregularly shaped objects and is often used by advertisers and artists to engage with an audience in unique and often breathtaking displays. Using a presentation of this type in a booth is both intensely eye catching and able to effectively convey information about your product or service. Young professionals will be drawn to the novelty and originality, enticing conversation as well as a marked increase in interest in your product or service.
Often used in conjunction with apps, beacons are devices that locate smartphones within a certain physical radius and interact with them using Bluetooth Low Energy signals. They are often used to send notifications with users that have consented to contact through the app. This allows you to send notifications to potential customers with messages or information, attracting them individually, through their own personal device, rather than relying on them to decide to visit your booth based on aesthetic interest alone. Beacons can be used effectively used for distinguishing your products and services from surrounding booths, to impress young professionals with underground technological proficiency, and for transmitting information. All these functions serve to improve engagement with young professionals.
Striking visual presentations are a must for booth recognition and product draw. Revolutionizing visual presentations with technology brings them into the modern era, as well as creating eye-catching displays that draw in professionals of all ages and generations. Creating a video wall is a perfect example of this technique– the increased aesthetic appeal of video walls over standard monitors can serve as an excellent venue to showcase product features, social media feeds and pertinent visuals. Another option is to include images and videos of employees or satisfied customers, which increases the personal appeal of your company as well as showcasing a personal touch to your technological approach.
Although interactive experiences can be engineered without the help of technology, the added boost of modernity will be a stronger draw to younger audiences. These could include image polls, games showcasing your product or service, or a design experience in which users can virtually interact with your product or service. Experiences like these will distinguish your booth in order to draw in potential customers, as well as cementing your product or service in the user’s memory – largely increasing the chances of user re-engagement.
Free Mobile Charging Stations
Though this may seem like a strange addition to your booth plan, consider this: almost all your attendees will have mobile phones, and chances are some will be rapidly losing charge. Providing attendees with a place to charge will bring a variety of customers near your display and will give presenters an opportunity to engage with and pitch to guests which might have otherwise passed by. It also can build rapport with the young professionals, who might be more likely to see your company as tech-friendly, positive and thoughtful.
Of course, no article about young professionals can go without mentioning social media. As we know, business is increasingly shifting from physical to online interactions, and vendors must consider how this impacts customer outreach. Easy add options like Instagram nametags and Snapcodes can be printed or projected and used as QR codes in order to facilitate easy engagement and follow-up with tech-friendly users, allowing long-term customer retention and advertising opportunities.
Similarly, engaging with an existing meeting and event map or creating your own can promote long-term interest by young professionals. Apps can be an effective way to showcase content, as well as remind users of your products and services when users disengage. This, as well as social media content, can act as a replacement for traditional paper handouts as meeting spaces and communities continually transition to online spaces. They give the user something to take home and distinguish your products and services from the numerous others they will have seen.
As we have seen, there are three basic aspects to increasing engagement with your booth or display: grabbing the attention of attendees by distinguishing your display from surrounding booths, holding the attention of attendees long enough to successfully pitch, and retaining engagement post-event. Tailoring these goals to young professionals means incorporating exciting and unique technology. It means appreciating young professionals as innovators and as key players in the business world. And most importantly, it means pushing the boundaries of what is traditionally expected in a trade show experience to engaging more meaningfully with young professionals– and ultimately, achieving meaningful ROI for your trade show experience.
Kaitlyn Wallace is a contributing writer from St. Louis.