Technology as Part of the Total Exhibit Package

Recently, I participated in a demonstration of new online technology given by an industry partner. It is such an eye opener to see how quickly technology changes and adds newer, better features for exhibitor promotion, way-finding and matchmaking.

I’m no dinosaur, but I do remember when the fax machine was considered cutting-edge. To see how far technology in this industry has come in just a few years is really amazing. But what is even better is the real return on investment technology provides now, not just for exhibitors and attendees, but for show organizers as well.

Providing exhibitors with real, measurable return on their investment is something my sales team discusses often, and I’m sure your teams are no different. Most exhibitors have limited marketing budgets and tradeshows are competing with other opportunities for these dollars. Tradeshow organizers need to find ways to create more value.

New technology offers creative branding and promotion options for exhibitors, but unlike some traditional sponsorships, measurable data is available. For exhibitors lacking sufficient budget to purchase additional advertising, offer them—as part of the overall exhibit space price—listings on mobile apps and online exhibitor directory/product searches. This will afford your clients  extra exposure during that pre-show period when attendees are preparing for the show.

Other tech programs take the exhibitor from the start of the sales process, to booth selection, to invoicing and then beyond for all service and information needed up to the show. This is a level of efficiency appreciated by exhibitors in today’s complicated business environment.

Speaking of efficiency, there are now options that make a show organizer’s life a little easier, too. It wasn’t long ago that a show manager had to find an online map and directory vendor, a different mobile app vendor and maybe a separate sales/CRM vendor. Will these vendors all work together? Can they integrate data with one another—or better yet, with the registration provider?

Fortunately, there are solutions now to move data seamlessly between different platforms and different vendors. Ease of use, customer service and product flexibility all add to the significance of new technology to show managers (not to mention new revenue streams).

The right technology solutions and the right partners can give real ROI to exhibitors, attendees and show organizers alike. It is a part of the value proposition provided by tradeshows. What’s next on the technology horizon? I don’t know. But look forward to using these innovative solutions to help exhibitors have a successful show experience and to keep coming back.

Melissa Magestro is senior director, exhibitions for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), responsible for overseeing all exhibit sales activity for AEM trade shows, including CONEXPO-CON/AGG and ICUEE -The Demo Expo. She is also show director for the IFPE exposition and for CONEXPO Russia at CTT (held in Moscow) and director of bC India. Reach Magestro at mmagestro@aem.org.

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