Digital transformation is in everyone's mouth. With the growing importance of online media and social media, companies must find the courage to take a step forward. But what does this mean in concrete terms for an exhibition company? What measures can be taken today to digitize a trade show?

Promoting b2b trade shows effectively with digital media

As a rule, it can be said that the entire customer journey of an exhibition visitor can be accompanied and improved by digitization throughout its entire journey: from the first contact to the actual participation in the event.

Before the exhibition, advertising is certainly the most important tool to attract the attention of existing and potential customers. Here, social media should play a key role in trade show communication. Through social media such as Facebook, Xing, etc., advertisements can be directed to a desired target group, determined using special filters. The creation of forums for the exchange of information on trends and innovations can also be a valuable tool for communicating about social media and attracting the target group.

Before a trade show, end-user groups, exhibitors, and industry bloggers should be actively involved through a social media marketing campaign.

Conversion and registration provide valuable data

When an interested user registers to visit the trade show, it means that through social communication the "conversion" has taken place. Measures such as social login significantly facilitate and speed up the registration process for the visitor. The data obtained, which should be supplemented with optional structural questions during registration, is an important basis for the exhibition organizer. The demographic information obtained in this way represents a valuable basis for further communication measures such as e-mails, as a good data pool should also lead to personalized targeting.

In addition, social media access can be integrated with a social marketing tool: visitors who have logged in via the social platform can post about their trade show registration, and can also see which friends are planning to go to the trade show. Generally, all data should flow into a central CRM system to work with them significantly. Matchmaking after registration promotes networking of visitors and exhibitors, as well as among visitors themselves, and increases involvement from the start. Here, the advantage of well-designed digital processes becomes evident: the aim of the trade show - to be the meeting point between supply and demand - will already be optimized during registration using data.

Nowadays, the subsequent ticket purchase in e-commerce should be fully digitized and optimized. Ideally, this will allow visitors to transfer a ticket to their smartphone wallet and thus access the trade show without the paper ticket. Access to the trade show also becomes digital, whether scanning with a mobile device or reading at the turnstile.

Set-up and infrastructure for trade shows

Before the trade show opens its gates, digitized processes help to save time and nervousness, for example through optimized vehicle access planning during the set-up phase. The organizers and the exhibition grounds could also control the flow of traffic to the car parks by using digital solutions.

The digitalized visit to the trade show

At this moment, an increasing number of trade shows have developed their own apps, offering visitors and exhibitors important added value. Generally, these apps provide useful information such as the exhibitior search, matchmaking, event and congress agenda, and appointment management. It is also possible to integrate lead tracking to allow quick and easy storage and management of contacts without exchanging business cards.

All data collected will be grouped and stored in the central CRM system. This data is very useful for analysis. Who are the visitors and how did they find out about our trade show? Who is participating, when and for how long will they stay at the trade show? Are there interconnections between socio-demographic variables and interests at the trade show?

The after-trade show is the first one

The follow-up work after a trade show is also optimized to a large extent through digitization. The data obtained through the registration process provides organizers with additional important information with which to address the leads generated through customized mailings.

In general, mailings should be used after the trade show as a follow-up measure to increase the added value of the visit.

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