The Dummies’ Guide to Using Digital Trade Show Displays

A trade show booth is virtually always going to be "multimedia" at heart.  When you have such a great opportunity to put your wares on display, you're going to want to use as many techniques as possible for getting people to visit.

Video is, of course, probably the single most popular medium for communicating with people today.  It's rare to find a trade show display that doesn't incorporate video in some form.  However, this automatically begs the question:  how effective are those videos and to best optimize the presentation?

Well, obviously, this all depends on implementation!  So today we wanted to focus on the use of digital media presentations in your trade show displays, and how to get the most out of them!

Build Leads and Make Sales With Great Trade Show Videos

1.  Don't rely on sound.

This is a "newbie mistake,” but it's one we see amazingly often:  Companies bringing in promotional videos that are heavy on narration, dialogue, interviews, or other auditory components.

The problem here is akin to putting too many words on your banner stands and trade show graphics – no one is going to read it all. Or in modern internet slang, tl;dr.

There are plenty of places in your promotional campaigns for in-depth specifications and information, but trade show graphics, and trade shows in general, are usually not one of them. It's virtually assured nobody will listen to the entire presentation – and in the deafening hubbub of the trade show, it’s unlikely they can hear it very well anyway.Instead, as a few alternatives:

  • Visually-strong videos which convey useful information via graphics
  • Video "wallpaper" displaying images of your products without much messaging
  • Videos with a loud musical soundtrack will "punch through" the din better than voices (check with booth neighbors and show management for allowable sound levels)
  • Private showing rooms that reduce outside noise and visual distractions

 2.  Don't forget your branding.

While this is a good tip to remember in all digital media productions, it's doubly important when you're showing videos at trade shows.

At the very least, always include your brand at the top and bottom of a video, as well as somewhere in the middle.  The "bookending" brand positioning is especially critical, since the beginning and ending of videos are usually the most dramatic, and therefore the most eye-catching.

Generally speaking, the best product placement and branding in videos is also contextual and relevant.

  • As a simple example:  Rather than shots of the product by itself, include shots of the product in use.  Make the branding feel as organic as possible.

3.  Don't simply repurpose videos.

This is another common mistake we see too often:  Companies bringing in promotional materials intended for other (much quieter) venues and running them in their trade show booths.

Honestly, these days, absolutely anyone can do basic video editing on their PC or mobile tablet.  It's worth taking time to produce new videos that are shorter, snappier, and more focused on visuals.  Sure, repurposing your videos is a bit cheaper, but what's the point if they won't be watched?

Again, to reinforce the point: Your trade show videos really should be tailored for use in your trade show booth specifically.

3.  Don't overstay your welcome.

This one is going to be something of a judgment call, based on your read of the guests at a given trade show.  However, broadly speaking, a shorter video is almost always more effective.People at trade shows are, at the best of times, distracted and extremely attention-deficit.  Depending on just how loud and busy the trade show is, they may be bordering on shell-shock.  And they're almost always in a rush, trying to see everything they can in a limited amount of time.

Bottom line, most people are simply not going to hang around a single trade show display watching a twenty-minute film.

As a rule of thumb, we'd suggest keeping your trade show videos to five minutes or less.  You'll attract more visitors with a shorter video loop, and have more chance of them sticking around for the whole thing.

Going back to the above point, we'd suggest trying to reedit your materials into a series of shorter videos.  If you had a loop of six five-minute videos, rather than a single half-hour disc, you'll ultimately communicate your messages more effectively.

4.  Don't use a small screen.

When it comes to video screens, size does matter.  In the flashing and shouting of a trade show, small screens are likely to be overlooked entirely.

When it comes to digital trade show displays, SIZE does Matter! Click To Tweet

We sometimes see ambitious trade show exhibitors trying to run several different videos on several smaller screens, but the end result seems to be about the same:  Few people notice, and no one enjoys crowding around a tiny TV screen.

Big digital signage and displays, preferably with high resolutions, are what grab people's eyes at trade shows.  While such displays are sometimes expensive, the good news is that the best digital trade show displays can be put to use throughout your organization when they're not at your trade show appearance.

5.  Don't neglect your tech-savvy viewers.

With mobile devices ubiquitous, and cloud storage so cheap, you should be trying to send visitors home with copies of your videos on their mobile devices.

QR codes and other interactive gimmicks can quickly send visitors to a cloud server that downloads your videos straight to their phone or tablets.  This, in many ways, creates a "best of both worlds" scenario.  The in-booth interaction makes you more memorable, and then your visitor can enjoy the video -including sound- at their leisure.

They can also be made available for online visitors just as easily.

If this sounds a bit too high-tech for your own operations, try giving away pre-loaded branded USB thumbdrives instead.  Thumbdrives are one of our favorite trade show freebies because people always find a use for them.   And, of course, a well-used promo item is an effective promo item.

It's a convenient way of storing all your videos, even in high resolutions, while giving the visitor an honestly useful bit of branded swag.

6.  Don't rely on data in your videos.

We recommend videos that focus more on emotional appeal than on pure data and statistics.  Again, it's a matter of choosing the right material for the medium.

While the occasional infographic is fine for a trade show video, chart-heavy videos are plain boring for most visitors.  Don't overload them with graphics.

This should be especially useful advice at the moment, since 2014's trends in advertising seem to be trending strongly towards evocative visuals and emotional appeal in general.  As we saw at SuperBowl XLVIII, ads right now are focusing on personal stories, emotional appeal and, well, cuteness.

7. Towards the future:  More interaction.

Finally, a last thought to consider.  Interaction is quickly becoming the wave of the future, and static non-interactive videos may soon be seen as antiquated.  The proliferation of "smart" devices, like TVs with Xbox Kinect-style motion sensing, can quickly lead to interactive video displays.

A group of people all waving their arms in front of your giant video screens will quickly attract attention.

So, even if it's not on the menu for your next trade show display, start looking into the possibilities offered by interactive media.  If you can find ways to get people actually participating with your video displays, they'll be far more memorable to visitors.

Use Some Forethought In Planning Trade Show Video Displays

In virtually any circumstance, the most effective videos will be those created specifically for a given forum or audience.  Creating digital presentations aimed specifically at trade show attendees will pay off with better leads, and more sales down the line.

Available technology keeps changing. We currently have the Blade Digital Video Media players on sale; this digital trade show multimedia display won a Buyers Choice Award at Exhibitor 2014. If you’re looking for a simple and high impact entry into trade show digital media displays, you won’t find a better place to begin.

The Blade is available with either a 40” or 46” monitor, comes complete with a durable trade show shipping case, sets up in just a few minutes, and all you do to “program it” is plug in your USB memory stick – digital media advertising just doesn’t get any easier than that!

There are a lot of options in trade show promotion.  For more tips on effective outreach, just Contact Us or phone us: 1(800) 676-3976!

Animated Light Boxes

Animated Light Boxes

Charging table with rotating ipad mounted

Charging table with rotating ipad 

Monitor stand with added ipad mount

Monitor stand with added ipad mount

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