How To Make Your Exhibit More Effective With Video

We all know that trade show attendees are a fickle bunch. As they stroll down the aisles, you have only seconds to capture their attention, persuade them that you offer something of value and make them commit to visit your booth. At the same time, you’re competing with every other exhibitor on the floor for each attendee’s attention. How do you stack the deck in your favor? Video marketing can help—but there are some caveats to bear in mind to make it work for you.

20x20 Island Trade Show Exhibit Rental with multiple video monitors and iPad kiosks

20×20 Island Trade Show Exhibit Rental with multiple video monitors and iPad kiosks

It’s easy to rely on video to communicate your message to attendees, hoping that the video itself will attract interest and flip that internal switch that gets attendees involved in your product marketing message.

But video is a passive medium, and it’s not going to pull people off the aisles in the way you hope it will, unless you use it the right way.

Purveyors of video equipment and production services will tell you that video is a magical tool that attracts people like moths to a flame, but take this with a grain of salt. After all, they’ve got something to sell. And you’ve got to think of how you can make the most of it before you simply rely on the presence of video to make your trade show exhibit effective.

It is true that people are attracted to video, but as I said, it’s a passive medium. Their attention can drift away just as easily as it landed on your screen. The secret ingredient is simple: a person working in concert with the video.

You see, adding that person (and that’s probably going to be you) transforms video from a passive thing into a means of bringing attendees into your factory or your manufacturing process, or showing a demonstration of your product or service. You simply couldn’t do this on the show floor without a well-produced video.

But don’t plan on a long, involved presentation. Think like a news program director: present your material in short, concise and information-packed chunks. This allows you to engage visitors with a targeted presentation that you (as the host) will walk each attendee (or group of attendees) through.

I saw the effectiveness of this myself some years ago with a presentation done by a major oil company. They’d outfitted a van with a video monitor on the side, and used it as part of a larger event to teach drivers how to drive more efficiently. At first, they created a twenty minute video that covered every single gas-saving driving technique. People stood by the side of the van, watching the presentation for a short while, but then—just as in a trade show environment—something else captured their attention and they began to wander away.

Before their next event, they made two important changes in their video presentation: they edited the video differently, patterning it after a news broadcast, with several short stories instead of one long show. This alone was an improvement.

But the other critical component was the addition of a host, who stood beside the video monitor and introduced the segments and answered questions after each short program. This dramatically increased the “stick factor” of the audience. Seventy four percent of visitors stayed for three or more two-minute segments, improving the effectiveness of their presentation by a huge margin.

You can use the same approach in your exhibit by creating a video presentation that gives your visitors information about your product or service in short bursts that tell your story in a way you simply couldn’t do without the support of video.

Here are a couple of tips to help you make your video as compelling and effective as possible:

1) Produce video especially for your trade show exhibit

Just playing your marketing video on a loop is a poor choice. As I’ve said, video can attract eyeballs, but it’s not good at nailing attendees’ feet to the floor in front of your exhibit. Anything else that can grab the attention of a show visitor will draw them away from a long, non-engaging video that might have been effective in some other environment.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of creating your video according to the unique needs of a trade show audience. What might be interesting and mesmerizing in front of a captive audience will likely bore booth visitors. Remember the model of the news broadcast: short, pithy stories that tell you what you’re going to see, show you the images, then return to the news anchor for commentary. Your video can handle the first two elements, and then you (or someone in your booth) become the anchorperson, explaining or answering questions introduced by the video.

ECO-2003-B 10' x 20' & 10' x 10' Sustainable Hybrid Display

ECO-2003-B 10′ x 20′ & 10′ x 10′ Sustainable Hybrid Display

2) Present both video and text onscreen

Just like a news broadcast, if you mix video that shows your product or your process along with text that explains what you’re presenting, you’ll overcome the primary problem of using video on a trade show floor: the cacophony of noise that competes with your video’s audio track.

I’m not suggesting you don’t use audio—there are times on the show floor when what you’re showing onscreen can be heard during a lull in the normal auditory overload of a trade show. But you’ll be better off if you caption your video so people can see what’s being said, even if they can’t hear. Today’s technology allows you to turn captioning on and off, so you can use it only when necessary.

But you should also include titles in your video, presenting each new topic with the equivalent of a PowerPoint slide, introducing what you’ll be showing next. This appeals to twice as many of the viewers’ senses and is thus more powerful than communicating with images alone.

If you’re ready to add video to your exhibit, talk to us. We represent more than a dozen manufacturers of modular displays that can support video monitors, and also offer a range of interactive trade show digital displays and iPad/tablet display kiosks. You can choose to change your entire exhibit, or just add a new component to house your video monitor—or even use one of a large number of free-standing monitor supports that will blend with your existing exhibit architecture. For more information, call us at (425) 556-9511 or email [email protected].

For more, learn the seven steps to a successful exhibit or how to breathe new life into your exhibits.