Trading Up: 8 New Convention Trends


Tradeshows have been around for many years giving companies a unique opportunity to showcase their products, services, and brand identities in a personal setting. As companies have evolved over time, so have the trends in tradeshows. Companies are constantly coming up with new and exciting ways to showcase themselves and their products to their wandering customers. Here are 8 trends we've seen in tradeshows throughout 2012:

  1. Social Media Usage
    Companies have taken note of the fact that social media is a great way to not only reach their customers, but to get them involved physically and digitally in their tradeshow booths. Companies are getting their customers psyched up for the show by offering pre-show promotions on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They are then carrying this excitement to the show by offering promotions for those who “check in” at their booth. This drives traffic to the companies’ social media accounts as well as to their tradeshow booths. Customers enjoy having an interactive experience as well as a personal experience.
  2. Exhibit Design Changes
    In the tradeshow world, more and more companies are taking a step outside the normal 10 x 10 box they typically set up their booths in. They are using larger spaces in different shapes to create an experiential space with elements versus a structure. They want to engage customers into their space to view their offerings instead of talking to them over a table in their box. This allows companies to customize their space so that it is unique to their business allowing them to further define their brand. You can see some examples of these creative new designs here.
  3. Best Bang for Your Buck
    The economy is getting better, but companies have become very agile during these times and are experts in stretching a dollar. They are very interested in creating booths that give them the best bang for their buck. They want to have an impact at tradeshows, but want to do so without going broke. This is a trend that will continue into 2013 as companies try to balance their budgets.
  4. Technology is on the Rise with Tablets
    Technology is being heavily integrated into tradeshow exhibits. The use of the tablet and iPad make it easy for companies to give demonstrations of products, and visually show customers what they are talking about. For example, a window d├ęcor company can use an app to show customers what their products look like and what they can look like in different rooms. This is just one element of technology that is being implemented and it is expected to continue to take over exhibits.
  5. Interactive Kiosks
    Kiosks are a great way for businesses to provide information to customers in a quick and efficient manner. Anyone who has attended a tradeshow knows that booths can get very busy and the people working the booth are not always available to provide a sales pitch or additional information on products. In this scenario, a kiosk can allow customers to still feel involved in the booth and receive all the information they need.
  6. Pocket Size Portable Projectors
    Sky’s the limit with technology. Portable projectors can be hooked up to a smartphone and will project a high resolution photo, video, or presentation instantly onto a background. These can be very useful at tradeshow booths when you don’t want to clutter your table with an old school projector. You can review and purchase this product here.
  7. SWAG: Products with QR Tags
    Deciding what giveaways to have at your tradeshow booth is very important. It establishes a first impression with your customer. One of the most popular pieces of SWAG in 2012 has been products with QR Tags. Consumers enjoy this because it carries through with the theme of interacting with the tradeshow exhibit and company as well as receiving free stuff. You can read more about this trend here.
  8. SWAG: Gadget Accessories
    Giving customers items they can use in their everyday life is always a good thing. Giving your customers an iPhone case, iPad case, Droid case, etc provides them with an item they would normally have to buy, but now have for free. Which let’s be honest, free stuff always makes people happy. It also provides advertisement for your brand. People walking around with these items on their devices allows for many people to view them at all times.

Tradeshows and SWAG will continue to evolve as time goes on, and as of now it looks like we are headed to a state of completely digital and customized booths!

Kathryn McGlamery
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