The Death to the Booth debate rumbles on and is unlikely to be resolved any time soon as the closest we have managed to get to an alternative title for this universally understood term is meeting point and that doesn’t quite fit the bill.
But another important theme has emerged, one which chimes very closely with the experience of live event organisers – that of educating your exhibitors to ensure that they get the very best out of their investment and meet the goals they have set themselves for attending.
Goals… now there’s a concept that some organisations haven’t grasped right from the start. Motivations for being at an event are many and varied: from “my major competitors are going to be there, so must I” to “I want to tell everyone of your visitors what a big player in the market I am” (generally said by someone with a 2x3m stand, no display graphics and no literature to hand out). For some organisations, the concept of using an exhibition as the hub of an integrated marketing approach is a complete anathema: there is no dedicated sales message; inappropriate or old literature is taken to the event; there are no experts on hand to talk visitors through very specific issues; there is no pre- or post-event marketing efforts planned.
A presence on a booth in a virtual environment is no different. During the live days visitors expect to be able to communicate with representatives in real time; to find a wide variety of documentation that is clearly targetted at them; perhaps some instructional videos; or even an opportunity to join in a chat session with the CEO.
With no print costs, and an almost unlimited array of media that can be taken advantage of there really is no excuse for not grasping the opportunity to really engage with virtual visitors in all areas of the virtual environment. And as organisers of virtual events it is up to us to educate our partners to do this, and do it well.
But then there’s no excuse for sitting on an exhibition stand that represents £50K of company investment reading a newspaper, and yet people still do it…