Virtual showrooms and brand spaces exploded in 2020. Their best use will be to enhance the physical tradeshow experience.
In the wake of COVID-19, many traditional exhibitors brought their offerings to virtual spaces, events and forums. Many B2B marketers were skeptical about these ersatz virtual marketing channels as full replacements, and for good reason – human beings are fundamentally social.
However, virtual products have a bright future in the tradeshow channel. With new skills in virtual, savvy event marketers will usher in a new era of exhibitions and tradeshows, dramatically improving their visitors' experiences with virtual products.
Here are just 4 of the most straightforward ways virtual showrooms can drive tradeshow results:
1. Pre-marketing: put your stand on the map and build event anticipation
Embedding a virtual showroom or brand experience in your pre-marketing pipeline can get your stand on the radar. Increasingly, visitors are taking a planned approach to visiting tradeshows. They will map out very detailed routes to visit high-priority exhibitors most efficiently. Many organizers even offer apps to generate these maps through the halls.
Marketers need to trade off familiarity with “revealing creative.” Research shows, B2B buyers need multiple touch points to move towards a sale; the “awe” of seeing a new exhibit is less likely to overcome fewer touch touchpoints. Previewing your brand space can entice visitors to take another step in the sales and marketing process on their own, even before coming to the show.
2. Everyone has a website. Differentiated media can tease differentiated offerings.
About 92% of trade show attendees look forward to learning about new products and services. Exhibitors can reach out to these attendees and hype them up even before the actual event.
Exhibitors can use virtual showrooms to tease new offerings, innovations, and key people. Again, this can drive buzz around the project without revealing all the important details at once. It makes the audience want to learn and see more.
In virtual showrooms, exhibitors can add product videos, share collateral, and even host product showcases. Combining cutting-edge design with interactive community features enables exhibitors to deliver unique value to their guests.
3. Improve and deliver the brand continuity your customers expect.
Unlike face-to-face exhibits, a virtual showroom isn’t limited by the confines of a trade show booth. Exhibitors are free to tell their brand story extensively using an immersive digital environment.
Plus, unifying offline and online efforts can make the brand experience appear more seamless in the eyes of the audience. Having virtual showrooms can help brands connect with their audience before and after the event.
Guests can even participate in the event from afar with a customer virtual exhibition booth or showroom. Whether through live streams or interactive elements, they can reach anyone and anywhere. This can broaden their reach, enabling them to generate leads from prospects who can’t be at the event in person.
4. Supercharge your team. Elevate the quality of your exhibit training and orientation.
A virtual showroom can be used as a premier training tool for stand personnel. Your staff can coordinate training meetings in smaller, more effective meetings to go over stand selling strategy in conjunction with the concept. It enables them to fully grasp the brand elements on the show floor and the best ways to engage with them. It can also serve as their guide for interacting with visitors.
The multiple hours long orientation and training meeting that typically kicks-off each big tradeshow can be shortened dramatically. A quick meet-up on scene can really focus on physical elements: orienting on product demos, venue logistics, competitor scouting, and a final review of the visitor management process.
As the world gradually eases out of COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, in-person trade show events are coming back stronger than ever. But this time around, exhibitors are going to leverage newly acquired skills with virtual media to give visitors a better experience, and drive better tradeshow results.