The Next Phase of Tradeshow Engagement

Onsior Tradeshow Dog

Tradeshows get a bad rap for being boring, so it’s time for us to redefine in-person engagement.

Tradeshows can have a pretty bad rap in the industry. A lot of modern marketers recognize this perception, which is why there is list after list after list detailing ways to improve tradeshow experiences. However, most tactics focus on how booth operators can engage better with show attendees. While business-to-attendee conversations are important, fostering attendee-to-attendee connections should be the focus of your tradeshow engagement plan. 

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DuPont Crop Protection noticed attendees rarely spoke to each other at its tradeshow events and wondered: How can we get people with everything in common to actually create meaningful connections and networks?

The solution was live polling stations. Attendees chose an answer from a button box to the question being displayed. Results changed in real time as answers came in. The physical presence of the polling stations meant attendees had a location to gather at, often commenting to each other on the answers and asking follow-up questions.

In another example, Elanco Animal Health needed a way to connect with its professional veterinary audience at the 2017 NAVC conference. The company had recently launched Onsior for dogs, a 24-hour post-operative pain medication, with a campaign that focused on turning the infamous Cone of Shame into the Cone of Fame. Elanco wanted attendees to experience the rebranding for themselves.

Elanco set up an augmented reality photo booth at NAVC. Using facial recognition technology, the photo booth let conference-goers take a picture and video of themselves wearing a decorated e-collar. They could then download an animated GIF. Participants shared their photos with each other and compared their cone designs, all while learning more about Onsior for dogs. Instead of going home with something physical, they went home with a story.

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When it comes to live events, don’t just think about how your company can talk to attendees. Event engagement isn’t about how many cool baubles people walk away with; in-person engagement is really the way your brand enhances the overall experience at a show. Assisting attendees in forging genuine relationships with one another is far more memorable than any swag could ever hope to be.