When trade-show goers walk the vast exhibit hall floors and come upon highly creative, interactive trade show displays, they get to stop and join in some fun. They become part of the exhibit. By using experiential activity, the trade show exhibitor not only entertains, but also educates key customer prospects with entertaining, hands-on experiences.
Why are participatory activities important at trade shows? Quite simply, they boost traffic to a trade show exhibit site, leading to product interest and often substantial sales as a result of experiencing—first-hand—a dynamic new product.
When Event Marketer covered the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January 2006, they found exceptional trade show exhibits that offered interactive experiences. Here are a few exhibitors that had hands-on trade show displays that showcased new product trials on the trade show floor:
Canon’s goal was to get attendees’ hands on its products. They had three hands-on display islands staffed by representatives. One island featured PowerShot and EOS cameras and camcorders, another showcased printers, and the third island featured smaller digital cameras and camcorders.
Canon also set up a theater that mimicked a working film set with camera booms and professional stage lighting. Visitors demonstrated Canon’s new products and took photos and videos of a working model-train village chugging around in the center island.
A TrueHD Theater was Dolby’s centerpiece, running demos of its high-definition audio technology. Separate, semi-enclosed zones showed off Dolby’s audio technology for HDTV home theaters, surround-sound video gaming, and PC home audio. The gaming zone offered visitors a chance to try Burnout, the new Xbox 360 racing game. The Xbox’s Dolby Digital sound technology seduced game enthusiasts to come try their new products.
Several interactive demonstration stations helped Garmin get its portable navigation systems into people’s hands. Two circular islands each featured eight handheld navigation units for visitors to try, while plasma screens atop the stations ran videos about the products.
The company divided sections of the trade show exhibit—which featured everything from its mobile office products to its latest Bluetooth-capable phones—to create individual environments for products and presentations. Visitors checked out the products at tables on the main floor. Nokia created interactivity with touch-screen computer kiosk booths, where trade show attendees learned more about key product features.
People want to try before they buy. At trade shows, they want to see for themselves and be part of the action. That’s why the use of interactivity works especially well in custom trade show displays that introduce new products and services.