Written by Chad Frank
“Wow” has many meanings. Merriam-Webster’s definition is:
1. used to express a strong feeling (as pleasure or surprise)
2. a striking success
3. to excite to enthusiastic admiration or approval.
Wow is generated in different ways at conventions and conferences. What once wowed attendees doesn’t necessarily wow them today. Not all wows are created equally, nor are they all strategic marketing tools that accomplish more than just a big wow. Take, for example, today’s leading-edge interactive event technologies. When leveraged effectively, they create a wow factor to the umpteenth degree and a marketing/sales value that is meaningful, measurable and consistent with the goals of all good events – to connect, engage and build relationships. It’s important that event planners and exhibitors learn how advanced event technologies are leading the pack in wow factor for branding and lead generation.
The Wow Factor: Then & Now
Remember the fish bowl? Drop your business card in the fish bowl and hope to be the lucky winner of golf clubs, a television set, or the mother of all wow gifts, a vacation. Other perennial favorites were beautiful girls in bikinis or branded cheerleader outfits walking the floor and escorting attendees back to their employer’s booth. Also, who could forget the magician mystifying attendees with mind-boggling tricks, or the mime mimicking attendees until they have to stop at the booth if for no other reason than to have the mime stop mimicking them?
Okay, so at one time, these were the show-stoppers getting the wows. And, to some extent, these tried and true methods still work along with things like prize wheels, money blowing machines and great food giveaways. Today, however, exhibitors are looking to engage event attendees at a higher level and derive more benefit. They are investing less in booth displays and more in sophisticated event technologies. Event planners may invest hundreds of thousands of dollars to create a huge wow factor at a general session using advanced A/V and lighting technologies.
The Wow Line-up in Event Technologies
The best event technologies captivate while achieving other vital business goals. They streamline registration processes, help attendees navigate an event, deliver information and brand messages, track attendees’ interests and drive them to a booth or workshop, create good will, and capture valuable data and ultimately, sales leads. Consider these technologies:
— Seamless LED Video Walls, created by arranging a series of 42” LED or plasma video wall monitors, offer big screen, marquee impact for conveying brand messages and product information video, animation, photos and other graphics in super high resolution up to 1920 x 1080 to capture attention, engage and market. They can be customized or used in standard configurations using 2×2 and 3×3 grid shapes placed vertically or horizontally. Connected to mobile devices, PCs, DVDs, Blu-ray and cameras, they facilitate interactive broadcasts and presentations.
— Charging Stations, available with different size touch screens, create a good will wow factor for attendees relieved to have an easy solution for charging their mobile devices. While waiting for their devices to charge, targeted product or institutional messages can be delivered to this captive audience through the station’s interactive touch screen or through good old fashioned conversation.
— iTab Core and Giant Smartphone, together deliver a one-two wow punch to engage attendees/potential customers and drive higher engagement and sales. They transform an ordinary display into a bigger than life, high impact, easy to use smartphone format. The iTab Core transforms touchscreen displays into an iPhone or Android phone giving access to various apps, brochures/PDFs, picture galleries, games, and key branding messages. The Giant Smartphone is a fully-functioning smartphone of huge proportion which operates on iOS and Android platforms.
— Digital Signage, armed with dynamic content management software, helps meeting planners and exhibitors deliver information in an engaging manner, while achieving cost savings and sustainability goals by eliminating printed materials. Digital signage is more visually compelling than a brochure, and facilitates target marketing.
— Mobile Event App Software drives attendees to specific, high engagement activities (e.g., product demos, contest drawings, celebrity receptions, etc.) in real-time, creating a connection while capturing valuable behavioral data.
A 2015 Regalix survey found that passive offline content as in static billboards and printed materials will see a decline in marketing budgets. Today’s convention planners and exhibitors are seeking interactive, high impact event technologies to achieve engagement, gather market intelligence, and create the wow factor.
Chad Frank is Vice President of Sales, Event Solutions, Corporate Events & User Conferences, for SmartSource Computer & Audio Visual Rentals, www.smartsourcerentals.com)