There is no doubt that when done properly, exhibiting at trade shows and conferences is a phenomenal way to skyrocket your brand visibility and boost your business.
There is also no doubt that when done poorly, it is a great way to spend a lot of money with very little ROI to show for it.
A big part of today’s successful trade shows is technology. Technology can greatly enhance your visibility, support your goals, and engage potential customers. In order to ensure that your technology works for you—rather than against you—here are 10 Top Trade Show Technology Mistakes to avoid.
Technology Mistake 1. Not Using Technology At All
It is very hard to compete for those new customers when all those booths around you have sleek, engaging technology while you’re trying to hand out last year’s flyers. You only have one first opportunity to grab a potential customer’s attention and engage them in a new and exciting way, and technology is absolutely the best way to do this. Additionally, only with technology can you instantly store a visitor’s information, which is invaluable for your company’s future.
Technology Mistake 2. Using the Wrong Technology
One of the biggest mistakes exhibitors make when it comes to technology is selecting the technology based on the wrong criteria. Your technology choices should always be based upon what you are trying to achieve and never solely on the basis of what looks cool.
So to make the best tech choices, follow these steps:
1. know your needs and goals
2. know your end user
3. then figure out what technology is going to satisfy your needs while at the same time engaging your specific audience.
Technology Mistake 3. Using Outdated Technology
Technology is always changing at lightning speed. Everything becomes better, faster, and able to do more. For most companies, big and small, this means that it is likely more cost-effective to rent rather than buy any technology that you need for a trade show.
Renting allows you to be more adaptable to new company needs and goals while satisfying the public’s need for the latest and greatest gadgets.
Technology Mistake 4. Not Budgeting Enough
No matter the size of your business, money is always tight. This means the key to success is knowing when and where to put your money. Since technology is one of the primary places your budget should go, it’s important to recognize it as the important investment it is to enhance the user experience and to set yourself apart from the competition.
Technology Mistake 5. Not Maximizing the Technology You Do Use
Don’t stop at using your booth technology to fulfill only one of your trade show goals. For instance, if you’re going to rent iPads to display information about your new product, you should also consider utilizing them for your document library, to take polls and gather audience responses, and to collect data.
Technology Mistake 6. Not Drawing Your Customers In
If you’re going to use any sort of technology to capture attention, work hard to set up your booth in a way that catches the eye but also draws customers into your booth. If you have a table set up across the front of your booth with a big touch-screen display, then you are signaling your customers to stay out. You’d be better off turning your display table perpendicular to the booth entrance and then having the tech display set in a way so it can be seen from the aisle and beckon people in for a closer look. Or, consider no table at all.
Technology Mistake 7. Not Engaging Your Customer
Human beings love touchscreens. We like to interact with technology and have it interact back with us. So rather than highlighting a new product with a video running on a simple monitor, consider renting touch screen monitors and creating a responsive, interactive presentation. Not only does this do a far better job at captivating clients, it allows you to collect contact information too.
Technology Mistake 8. Going too Small or too Big
Yes, bigger is better. However, you still need to select technology that fits the size of your booth (and budget). So, just like Goldilocks did, aim for that just right, eye-catching technology solution that wows but doesn’t overwhelm. And just because you have a smaller 10×10 booth doesn’t mean you can’t have a really cool video wall. So know what options are out there before you assume a certain technology is not for you.
Technology Mistake 9. Not Properly Training Your Staff
No amount of technology will make up for an improperly trained staff. Don’t assume they know how to work an iPad. The only thing worse than no technology is to make the investment and not be able to use it properly. So once you’ve selected that “just right” technology to support your trade show goals, train your staff on all the ins and outs of the equipment.
Technology Mistake 10. Allowing Bad WiFi to Mess You Up
Don’t assume that those putting on a trade show or conference are going to have perfect WiFi set up. Make sure you ask the right questions of the right people and then go from there. If WiFi is critical to your goals and technology, do what is necessary to guarantee that your booth technology will run without a hitch. If you’re not satisfied with the WiFi the trade show staff is providing, there are solutions for your booth. (For example an ‘Internet-in-a-box’ kit). Bottom line, it’s up to you to ensure that the technology you’re using runs as it should the whole time.
Trade show technology is a must. Avoid the above 10 mistakes to ensure you stand out from the competition and get the greatest bang for your technology buck.