My previous post, Marketing Trade Shows as Content, focused on the concept of using exhibitor-produced content to market a show and build a community. Traci Browne featured the topic on #expochat last week and the discussion yielded some excellent ideas on exactly how exhibition organizers can help exhibitors create and promote good content:
Helmet Cams—It started with disposable cameras. Organizers would hand them out to exhibitors and attendees and ask them to capture the most relevant moments of the trade show. With the advent of Flip cameras, participants were able to grab actual video footage of the event (in addition to still photos) and YouTube came alive with everything from cooking demos to flash mobs. But, as far as we can tell, no one has given exhibitors wearable cameras (dubbed helmet cams by the #expochat group) to chronicle the exhibitors’ experiences first-hand.
Content Marketing Tool Kit—Not everyone understands the difference between shareable content and a sales pitch. Perhaps exhibitors would benefit from training and materials on how to convert press releases, show demos, and YouTube videos into shareable content. The kit would also include advice for exhibitors on how to roll the costs for ebooks, case studies, and research into their trade show budgets.
Exhibitor Concierge—The concierge idea shouldn’t be limited to theater tickets and restaurant reservations. An exhibitor concierge can help match exhibitors with opportunities—made available by the organization—before, during, and after the show to share their content.
Exhibitor Innovation Support—Show organizers from TS2 2010 (co-located with the IAEE Mid-Year Meeting) helped The Expo Group promote their in-booth broadcast studio called the In Zone, “an interactive communications pavilion,” by publishing the In Zone schedule on their website. The live-streamed coverage from the In Zone gained visibility for The Expo Group and attracted attention for the event.
Trade Show TV—Not every exhibitor has the resources to build its own in-booth studio, however, organizers can provide space and/or equipment and resources for a TV station to capture content on site. In 2011, The International Housewares Show organized in-booth interviews with a roving reporter like this one: Another option is third-party platforms such as the Pulse Network, or TMCnet.
Digital Content Carousel—an updated version of the brochure carousel might be coming to a trade show near you. This example of kiosks in Mexico City that allow citizens to download music, ringtones, audio books, and videos street side is a prime example of the types of support that organizers could offer to exhibitors in the future. Live attendees could obtain digital content—white papers, videos, ebooks—by connecting an external storage device to the kiosk on site and remote participants could access this “one-stop-shop” via the Internet.
Takeaways: Once trade show organizers begin to think about exhibitor offerings as valuable assets, the innovation process can begin. As part of the new rules of marketing, event producers can and should take an active role in supporting the creation and dissemination of exhibitor content.