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Using Video Conferencing for Trade Shows


As we are all staying home trying to flatten the curve during the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people and companies also have to work on their learning curve to get up to par with video conferencing and web meetings. A lot of us have been using it for years and this was just a transition from physical meetings to virtual ones. But what others are realizing is that a lot of meetings could have been done this way before and it will be here to stay once the confinement is over.

I personally use different platforms: Microsoft Teams for internal meetings, Cisco WebEx for webinars and client meetings, Zoom for my weekly meet-up with friends, Facebook Messenger for family talks, Houseparty for random meetings with friends, and, of course, FaceTime for one-on-one with close family and friends. It doesn’t really matter what you use, the common denominator is that we’re all using it and the fear of technology will be gone by the time we get back to business.

So how can you use video conferencing in your trade show program?

Keep your experts at the officeI’ve been suggesting for clients to do this for years, but now that video conferencing will be part of the norm it will be easier to integrate into your program. How often do you bring the expert to the show in case specific questions arise? Unless they are answering questions non-stop, let them do what they are good at from the office. Set-up a station in your exhibit space (iPad, tablet, laptop computer) and contact them on a “need-to” basis. Let them know they will be on-call during the duration of the trade show. Not only will this help you save a few dollars on your trade show budget, but it will also avoid the cost and trouble of them not being in the office.

Following-upThe traditional way of following up is by phone and email, but couldn’t it be better via a web meeting instead? Set yourself up to keep consistent branding for that meeting so that the prospect will not only recognize your face, but also your company. Using web meetings combined with having a link to your calendar to let prospects choose the date and time should help you with your follow-ups. In my point of view, it’s harder NOT to pay attention when you’re on camera.

Reach the ones who couldn’t make itIf there were prospects that you invited to the trade show, but couldn’t make it to your booth, set-up a webinar or online presentation using some pictures and video footage from the event to show them what they missed. There are no set rules on how you should (or could) use web meeting software or video conferencing apps in your exhibit program. This is a great way to communicate with clients and bring your trade show experience to new heights. Just make sure your staff has the proper training and support they need to make it happen.

About the Author

Sebastien Robillard joined Skyline Entourage in Montreal, Quebec, as an exhibit consultant in 2009 after spending 15 years establishing international business and marketing strategies for companies. He brings experience in the trade show industry through being both an exhibitor and attendee in tradeshows of different industries worldwide. This dual perspective gives him greater insight helping his clients with their Montreal trade show displays.

2 responses to “Using Video Conferencing for Trade Shows

  1. We have found that trade shows haven’t had the best wifi connections. At one place even with a hot spot we pay for internet to be installed in our booth so we can just show some things to people.

    We did try that idea in 2012, but it ended up the people never connected with staff back home.

  2. You are right, not all connections are good but they are better especially if you pay for them. Like any other part of your tradeshow program a good strategy has to be put in place to entice the visitors to use it and connect to your people.

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