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Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

Mobile marketing at trade showsLet’s face it, our mobile devices and smartphones are a big part of our lives.  We take them everywhere with us like our wallets and keys.  And with the rise of smartphone usage we are also seeing an increase in mobile marketing.  According to a survey by the Mobile Marketing Association, budgets for mobile marketing spend is set to rise 124% from 2010 to 2011.  As event professionals and trade show marketers there are some great ways to implement mobile marketing with your trade show promotions.

How To Use Mobile Marketing On The Trade Show Floor

Mobile marketing gives exhibitors another way to engage with users on the show floor and drive traffic to your booth.  Make your messaging concise yet compelling.  Set yourself apart from your competition and share the benefits of attendees visiting your booth.  Remember this is not a time for selling, this is a time to share your value proposition.  Use mobile to engage attendees with promotions like text to win contests, informing users of speakers or product promotions in your booth.

Need real time information from your attendees about their experience in your booth?  Use your mobile marketing efforts to learn more about the demographics of your attendees to ensure future success.  Poll your attendees while on the trade show floor to discover their impressions of products, your booth staffers, and services.

Mobile also has a green element to it.  We’ve all attended events and walked away from them armed with a stack of literature only to dispose of it once we’ve returned to our hotel.  Instead of lugging around all of those brochures and whitepapers, use a QR code to scan or give attendees the opportunity to receive information via bluetooth on their mobile device.  Or, have attendees text you their email addresses requesting these materials.  Your clients and prospects also see the value in the innovative ways in which you’ve managed their trade show experience by lightening their load.

Getting Started

So, what’s the best way to get started in utilizing mobile marketing for future events?  David Miller, VP of Strategic Partnerships at ConnectMedia Ventures offers these suggestions on how to get started:

  1. Make sure the firm you select has experience working with trade shows.  Ask to see demos and testimonials from current clients.
  2. Start small.  Start with a mobile landing page for a text-to-win contest.  You can always add more features to your site as you discover what functionality works best for your company.
  3. Don’t over-engage!  You will quickly lose interest if you take advantage of those who have opted in.  Mobile phone numbers are private and personal to us all, by over-engaging you will easily lose the following you’ve worked to build.

Miller also says, when combined with an attractive offer and when attendees are told to go to the trade show booth to complete their registrations for contests, “text-to-win contests are very effective at generating traffic.”

And for those of you who have an excess of traffic at your booth space and can’t keep up with the masses that surround your booth, a mobile marketing campaign may be an effective way to reach those who are intimidated by the crowds surrounding your booth.  “Interacting with attendees via mobile can actually act as a buffer to some attendees so they don’t feel as if they’re being “sold,” says Miller.

What are some of other ideas or success stories that you’ve had using mobile marketing for your trade shows or events?  Let us know in the comments box below.

The Evolving Role of Exhibit MarketersMobile marketing for promotions is one way trade shows are evolving.  Discover more ways your job is changing in The Evolving Role of Exhibit Marketers, a free 36-page white paper.  Click here to get your copy.

About the Author

Reggie Lyons was a Trade Show Marketing Consultant with Skyline Exhibits by Larry Reitz & Associates, located in Indianapolis, Indiana.

5 responses to “Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

  1. Your article focuses on how exhibitors can use mobile marketing, but what about trade show managers attracting exhibitors and attendees? Mobile marketing is also a great way for managers to market their trade show. I noticed many of the points you mentioned matched a recent blog about web-based trade show marketing for managers. As mobile capabilities continue to expand, the amount of content generated about trade show attendees no longer requires direct contact or even a computer. Mobile devices provide a means of capturing data quickly, conveniently, and in a cost-efficient manner.

    1. Hi Coby-

      Thanks for your feedback. You make a great point and it’s absolutely in a show manager’s best interest to facilitate the use of mobile for their shows. Yes, my focus is on the exhibitor side because those are my clients and who I engage with the most. Leveraging this technology makes sense on all fronts.

  2. Hi Coby-
    You bring up an excellent point. In fact, we are seeing tremendous traction with mobile technology being used within the trade show/event industry. Many of our clients are trade show organizers. They have learned that not only can they provide this service that benefits the attendees and the exhibitors but they can monetize the application making it a revenue producing service as well. Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like more information.

  3. Trade shows are a great place to interact with attendees on mobile. has a proven solution with its IMS interactive software that will identify phone MAC address and download messaging in proximity to attendees and confirm acceptance and delivery at no charge to the recepiant. All data is captured and logged for real time analysis. Identifies thousands of devices and can log location as well for less than 1.5 cents per confirmed message received and confirmed.

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