Interview with Steve Shatsoff, VP at SmartSource Rentals
Sep 15, 2014 by Karen Daniels

The Right Way to Tap into Technology Trends for a Successful Event

Human beings like trends. Whether it’s home theater systems, movies, smart phones, or other technology, we are driven to keep up with the trends – and events and tradeshows are no exception. If you’re going to attend an event in a field of interest, you always want to check out the “latest and greatest.” And when you’re putting on a tradeshow or other big event, you’ll most likely face some decision-making around which technology trends you want to put to use to increase market interest.

Because trends by their very nature mean that more and more people are interested or involved, it’s pretty much impossible to put on a successful event in any field today without utilizing at least some of the tech trends that are flooding the market. And if you don’t, you’re going to be labeled obsolete.

There are many people working in technology-related industries today who can offer great insight into important technology trends, but when you have the opportunity to learn from someone who has been around the technology business for a few decades, you get a hugely valuable perspective on what the important upcoming trends will be and how you can utilize them to your advantage.

So when we were given the opportunity to pick Steve Shatsoff’s brain – Senior Vice President at SmartSource Computer & AV Rentals – we took the opportunity and ran with it. Steve has been part of the SSR family for 29 years, so he has great perspective from the past along with laser focus vision towards the future of technology and technology trends.

Steve, can you talk a bit about why tapping into technology trends through rentals can be such a good move for someone planning to host an event, or exhibit at one?

Well, there are literally millions of reasons why people would need to rent technology for their event – and often at the last minute. It’s not uncommon for us to get people who call up and say they need 25 computers tomorrow. Because technology and technology trends are evolving so quickly, in recent months renting has really taken off in popularity.

The truth is that there are very few companies that can afford to be constantly upgrading and buying all that new equipment. And if you’re not completely in front of the trends by the time you budget for equipment and then get it, you’ve already been passed by and you’ll end up putting on an event that is not state of the art.

For instance, anyone coordinating or creating an event or tradeshow who’s been around at all knows that bigger is becoming better – such as the latest trend with video walls. And people who attend events expect that ‘bigness.’ But it’s not only size that they expect, it’s the clarity – you can now get equipment with tremendous clarity that was unavailable just a short time ago, and we know that that trend will continue – better equipment with better clarity creates more buzz and therefore higher event attendance.

So, it’s just like our home televisions. By the time we save for that larger better screen, there is already something more advanced on the market.

Exactly. But at home you can easily decide, “well, okay, we can live with this television for a few years and then upgrade.” But if you do that at events it can cost you a lot of attendees. No one wants to go to an event to see what they’ve seen before.

Let’s suppose you are creating an event and you’re trying to decide just which technology to rent. With the constantly changing trends and so many choices, how can someone decide which equipment is going to be the best choice?

Clearly understanding trends and how to tap into them to create more successful events goes way beyond just choosing the latest and greatest or the bigger and better.

Here’s the key: You have to ask yourself, “What am I trying to accomplish?”

Too many people do this backwards. You can’t pick a piece of equipment and then decide how you’re going to use it. Define your needs, then find the right equipment.

As an example, suppose you are going to have a booth at an upcoming event. You know what your company goals are for that specific event and you know your budget. If one of your primary objectives is capturing leads, then you would look at which technology equipment or trends can help you do that more effectively than if you did not have that equipment.

One of the biggest trends in this area is charging stations because more and more people have tablets and smart phones. Let’s face it, there are at least 19 ways you can use your smartphone – with #20 being that you can make a call – so everyone is desperate for power. So they come into your booth to charge up their equipment and then they’re standing or sitting there, visually exploring your booth and you have their attention for more than the average booth time. What you do with that time should feed back into your goals.

And that’s when things get really interesting. If the charging station you rented has a large touch screen, you can do a lot of advertising and promote branding. You can presell sponsorships to help subsidize your booth or you can highlight a product launch. With an interactive touchscreen you can capture their vital stats and get them to sign up for your email list. Anything that has a touch screen can capture data and produce real-time analytics. All of this helps you capture leads.

And don’t forget, technology does not have to keep us from the human factor. When you have someone in your booth using your charging station it’s easy to have an engaging face-to-face conversation that creates the basis for a relationship which then turns into a hot lead.

Charging stations are one of those great ideas that create a win-win situation – the potential customer gets their batteries recharged and you get their time and attention.

The bottom line is that tapping into technology trends in the right way can help you create the atmosphere you need and the customers you want. Whether you’re getting set to market an upcoming event or to host a booth, renting the right technology for your business is one of the key ways you can ride the tide and use it to your marketing and sales advantage.

 

 

 

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