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4 Trade Show Trends to Watch for in 2013

In an earlier blog, we discussed the reasons why you should attend trade shows this year and no matter whether you go to build your brand, for the networking opportunities or to generate leads, you need to go prepared.  Trade shows are a constantly evolving activity and it can be easy to miss your targets if you just show up without knowing what to expect. To help you shape a winning battle plan and meet all your business goals, we’ve put together a short list of four critical trends to watch for at industry events in 2013.

1)     Attendance Bouncing Back

As recently as 2011, trade shows attendance was decreasing, primarily as a result of new technologies such as social media that increased virtual interaction between businesses and their clients, customers, competitors and partners, reducing the need for in person meetings in the eyes of many marketing directors. Nonetheless, recent years have seen a rebound of interest in these events, often as a way to reinforce the online interactions with peers and customers: to “put a face to the name.” 2013 could be a great moment for you to reach out to your fellow marketers and prospects.

2)    Interactive Technology

Technology has, is and will always be a pillar of any company’s strategy when attending trade shows. Large display monitors, iPads, QR codes and other visual presentations are the most popular tools in use today when putting booths together. They encourage interaction between firms and attendees, improving awareness and memorability, eventually leading to increased sales. The time of strictly paper-based collateral and documentation is over.  Trade shows are getting more modern, adapting to new audiences and utilizing more environmentally friendly forms of communication. “Exhibitors need to think more creatively than simply handing out a few leaflets,” says Richard Braddick, Managing Director of RB Design and Display.

3)    Social Media

It’s been burned into every marketer’s mind for years now, but social media platforms play a major role in all of today’s industry events. Every large trade show has a Facebook page for you to “like” and a dedicated Twitter hashtag associated with it, both of which are fantastic tools to reach out to peers and customers who will be attending and to cultivate and strengthen relationships with them before, during and after an event. Make sure whoever represents your brand at an event is savvy enough to make the most of these opportunities to connect.

4)    Sustainability

Sustainability will also be a keyword this year. Products, exhibition booths and giveaways are all getting greener while brands are now moving to share information digitally via email and social media platforms. Companies are getting rid of hard copies in favor of digital ways to present their commercial offers, brochures and promotional pieces significantly lowering the amount of paper and other materials used as a result. These changes are paving the way for more sustainable and eco-friendly trade shows and marketing interactions.

Planning to attend or even exhibit at an industry event in 2013? Make sure to check out our full three-page tip sheet on ten things to do before the show to ensure success.

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