Last week was InfoComm week, one of the most anticipated events each year for the ProAV market. After purchasing floor space, building exhibits, flying in staff, and entertaining customers, many companies spend 6 or even 7 figures showcasing their products and services at InfoComm. Based on the enormous outlay, these companies naturally look to maximize their investment and track foot traffic and badge scans as some of the metrics to prove that out.
With 1000 exhibitors on the InfoComm floor, standing out is key. How do you attract people to the booth? It has to stand out so bigger is better and if you can create a visual spectacle with graphics, new equipment, video or music that’s extremely helpful too. As such, trade show marketing has been about branding, merchandising, and experience.
However, this year is different.
The global events of the last few months forced our trade shows to go virtual, and in the digital arena, you can’t make your booth bigger. You can’t rely on huge banners, music, or a great location to draw people off the floor and into your exhibit. The experience offered can be no bigger than the screen your customer watches it on or any louder than the volume setting on their headsets. Merchandising and branding are almost neutralized in a virtual show. So how do you stand out?
Enter content marketing.
It seems the unlock to creating buzz around your virtual experience all comes down to content marketing and online community engagement.
- What videos are you pushing out through social channels to pique interest?
- How are you writing your webinar, panel, and course descriptions, so that when someone scrolls down a list of hundreds of them, yours stands out?
- How are you leveraging well known industry experts and influencers to either participate on your panels and in your presentations or to create buzz around your offerings?
For AV firms that rely on booth placement and brand recognition to create awareness and loyalty, many of those haven’t really taken the time to develop a good content marketing strategy or invest in the online community. But that community and the content you post there are what drive virtual events.
We don’t know what the future holds, but I anticipate that we’ll be getting together again in person soon. However, I also believe that after this year, the increased digital and virtual parts of our trade shows will be increasingly important as well. I’m not saying you need to ditch your amazing merchandising and branding folks, but if you’re not taking content marketing and online community engagement seriously, you’ll lose to your competitors in this part of your engagement for years to come.
Content marketing has just become exponentially important in ProAV.