Simulating events and exhibitions
14th May 2020 - 0 comments
In this blog we explore digital alternatives to exhibitions and events.
For many companies, conferences, exhibitions and other live events are a crucial part of their marketing activity, used as a launch platform for new products and services, networking, product demos, and of course lead generation. We’ve been looking at options available to businesses to reproduce these touch points in a virtual environment.
Key requirements for most solutions will include:
• Live video/ Webinar
• Answering customer questions (live chat)
• Product videos
• Ability to download product information, white papers etc
• Data capture
• Social media feed
• Branding opportunities
There are three main options available, each offering something slightly different to suit individual requirements:
1. Off the shelf virtual exhibition
A number of providers offer template platforms which include most of the functionality listed above, depending on provider. Sites such as Inxpo.com offer extensive functionality all presented to emulate a virtual exhibition including a graphical representation of a virtual stand with different areas that can be clicked on to access product videos/demos. However, because of the ‘packaged’ nature of these services there will be limits to flexibility, with items included in the cost that may be superfluous to your requirements.
2. Tailored interactive microsite
The more bespoke interactive microsite obviously allows you to control the specific functionality included and therefore associated costs. There is also an extensive range of functionality available as the template allows a wide range of plug-ins. The other advantage of this method is once built and populated, it is available for as long as needed with only the minor cost of hosting and security updates. As opposed to the off the shelf option, the interactive microsite offers all of the required functionality on one page meaning the visitor doesn’t have to click in and out of various pages to access information. As the client has complete ownership of this type of solution, if used as a launch platform, it can be used again and again by simply repopulating the site with fresh content, saving the majority of cost of the original microsite. Many businesses are restricted by the functionality of their own websites CMS systems, this option uses an extremely flexible CMS system presenting all the media required on one page. This can then be used as a platform to drive traffic back to your main website.
3. Third party Media
Virtual exhibitions are nothing new, but many publishers are now investing in more comprehensive virtual events as a key part of their service offering due to the cancellation of so many shows. The 3rd party option most closely reflects the traditional exhibition environment as usually there are other brands present in the virtual show. The media option does provide access to the particular publisher’s audience. Promotion is usually included in the package cost and it’s often possible to negotiate a minimum number of visitors, allowing you to more accurately calculate potential ROI upfront.
The three main options above offer slightly different ways of emulating the exhibition sales environment and present the opportunity to reach out to customers with varying functionality. The main advantage of the off the shelf option is the “wow factor” of the graphics, designed to simulate the exhibition environment.
An interactive microsite offers the most flexible functionality and enables everything to be easily accessed via one page. It also has the advantage of being repurposed for future use at a significantly reduced cost. The media owned option affords access to its established audience with other brands also drawing visitors to the main virtual show.
Each business will have differing requirements. Those with sophisticated outreach marketing can generate their own user traffic and do not need to rely on, or pay for, the media’s databases for visitors. In which case, the off the shelf or a bespoke interactive microsite is probably the most suitable option. Those with more limited reach may wish to leverage the contacts provided by the media offering.
If you wish to have a conversation about any of the above please get in touch. We would be more than happy to share the benefit of our experience to find the best solution for your business.