EXHIBITIONS: EFFECTIVE OR NOT?
With new technologies allowing for cheaper and more widely viewed marketing, all from the comfort of your office, many businesses are now wondering whether exhibitions are still an effective, and more importantly efficient, form of marketing. It has always been difficult to realistically measure the ROI of exhibitions, and collecting valuable data from prospects can be a challenging task.
So with email marketing, webinars and social media, providing cheap, easy and informative alternatives, we ask: Are Exhibitions Still an Effective form of Marketing?
One obvious way to simply improve the ROI of exhibitions is to make the cost of exhibiting cheaper. Companies often look to upcoming cities, often in the Midlands or further north, as cheaper exhibiting alternatives to London. With a dramatic improvement to the infrastructure in these cities it can now prove much cheaper to transport exhibition stands and staff to these locations than it is to exhibit in London.
Another way of making your exhibition more cost-efficient is to invest in a reusable stand-build. Companies such as Quatreus can create spectacularly eye-catching stands from reusable modular components, meaning a reduction in build, storage, transport and set-up costs, not to mention being much greener toward the environment. To see a great example of the kinds of builds that can be achieved with these reusable stand-builds click here to see a Google case study.
One of the key points that has emerged from our discussion on LinkedIn has been the challenge in collecting data and the often atrocious follow-up many prospects receive. I’m sure you have all had the experience of going to an exhibition and having your passes scanned and information enthusiastically logged by some great sales reps only to have a really generic and lacklustre follow-up call. So how can we improve the ease and quantity of data collection as well as the quality of the follow-up?
Well, technology may have the answers. We are a generation of technophiles, preferring to play with some new and exciting technology than we are to give our information to a slightly pushy salesman. At Thread we have found that by simply asking people to use an iPad to fill out there information we have dramatically improved the amount of information people are willing to supply.
Another technology that has come into the fore as an all-round spark of genius is QR (Quick Response) codes. They are the little squares of black dots that are now found on many products, print items and websites. Creative use of these codes encourages prospects to scan them with their smart phone devices and visit various pre-programmed sites or store your contact information. They can be generated for free on a huge number of websites, and if you install tracking into the link (either through a URL shortening website such as bit.ly or through your own analytics) then you can track how often and from where your codes are being scanned. Used on collateral, special offers and business cards these codes are a fantastic way of encouraging site visits and provide track-able metrics. Look out for our forthcoming article guiding you through the fascinating yet confusing world of QR codes.
The other way in which you can use technology to improve your exhibition follow-up is by using one of BT Global Service’s virtual hosted call centres. These centres employ some of the most cutting-edge technology to gather and react to a whole swath of information collected from prospective clients. Combined with emerging technologies such as Xerox’s XMPie platform you are now able to filter the increasingly precise data into your online and print marketing, adding that personal touch that people are so keen to see in this world of ever decreasing familiarity.
So, to return to the original question we asked: Are Exhibitions Still and Effective Form of Marketing?
The answer is both yes and no. No they are probably not going to provide the ROI you desire if you are still exhibiting in the traditional, low-tech way. However, if you can integrate new and emerging technologies into your exhibition strategy there is significant costs that can be cut and prospects to gain – leading to an altogether healthier return on your investment.
For a more personalised solution give us a call on 0207 226 0099 or use our contact page.