Key marketing trends of 2018, and how to use them to boost your exhibition success

7 Feb 2018 Exhibitions

At Apex, at the start of each year, we put our heads together to brainstorm the key marketing trends over the next 12 months. More importantly, we look at how our clients can use these trends to boost their exhibition success.

Here’s what savvy event teams will be investing in throughout 2018:

Big data

Big data has been growing as a marketing trend for some years. But the complexity of the tech required has meant that only larger brands have been able to exploit it fully. However, with machine learning and AI making big data more accessible, it will soon become available to small-to-mid-sized business owners.

How to incorporate big data into your exhibition stand design

Data is a valuable feedback tool. The more information you capture about what has worked in the past, the easier it is to create appealing exhibition stands. Stands that go one better every time.

Data can also be used to provide visitors with the info they seek, and to promptly follow up with people after shows. With technology now available that captures leads at events and integrates them into your CRM systems, sales teams can stop worrying about the hard sell and focus on generating beneficial conversations with more prospects.

However a word of warning; in response to the rapid growth of technology, the GDPR will significantly modify the way we can collect, store and use personal data. And, ensuring compliance could be a minefield for even the most seasoned of event professionals. Find out more about what you can do to prepare.

Face-to-face networking

Today, online and social networking is increasingly popular. But, even with the tech available to network remotely, you still can’t beat face-to-face interaction with potential suppliers and customers. In fact, a recent study has shown that live events will be one of the most important trends over the next 12 months.

How to incorporate face-to-face networking into your exhibition stand design

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This might sound straight-forward, but event teams can't do what they have always done if they want to ensure exhibition stand success. Just showing up isn’t enough. You also have to reach out to visitors in new and absorbing ways. With businesses everywhere looking to up their game, you must create an exhibition presence that people will want to visit, engage with and remember. Find out more about how to do this.

Live video streaming

As well as using social media to post pictures and videos, people can now stream live content. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter are all capitalising on the live stream trend, giving businesses the chance to interact with their audience directly.

How to incorporate live video streaming into your exhibition stand design

Use live streaming to reach out to people at trade shows and drive them to your stand. By communicating with visitors in real time, you can help create a buzz and boost footfall. Of course, you can also use live streaming to engage with potential customers who are not able to attend. What’s more, because your live video still exists after you stop streaming, you can continue to use it to support your PR and social media activity long after the exhibition is over.

Content marketing

Content marketing is the creation and sharing of interesting, informative and engaging content with customers and prospects. It can take a variety of formats including videos, blogs, whitepapers, infographics, e-books, case studies etc. Content marketing is nothing new. In fact, as far back as 1895, John Deere reached out with a magazine designed to help farmers become better at business. But in 2018, content marketing is still trending upward.

How to incorporate content marketing into your exhibition stand design

If you want people to attend your exhibition stand, you have to give them something worth giving up their valuable time for. So, ensuring the right content is crucial when it comes to finding the right messages to attract and influence visitors. Think about themes, identify what type of material you need at your stand, generate this collateral, and promote it to visitors before, during and after the event. In 2018 you should also look to personalise your content wherever possible. Find out more about the power of content marketing at events.

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Social media stories

Social media “stories” are growing in popularity and are set to make a real impact in 2018. Capturing the best moments from a day (and vanishing soon after), stories are a fun, bite-sized way to present video content. And encourage people to view them before they disappear.

How to incorporate social media stories into your exhibition stand design

Even though they disappear a few hours after being posted, stories have incredibly high open rates. So they can provide excellent exposure for your brand during a tradeshow. If you’re exhibiting, you can use stories to create in the moment content, get people talking, and promote you on the day. Because they don’t last forever, consider using stories to develop temporary promotions and offers that can only be used at an event to boost engagement even further.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

In 2018, the use of Augmented Reality on mobile devices is set to increase (e.g. Apple animojis). Not least because it’s quick, easy and very interactive. VR, however, is lagging behind slightly, mainly due to the tech needed to access it.

How to incorporate VR/AR into your exhibition stand design

AR and VR are changing the world of events; giving brands an ingenious way to engage with potential customers and promote products it isn’t feasible to transport to tradeshows.

Today visitors are seeking experiences that are experimental and which evoke genuine emotions. Using immersive technology makes you uniquely memorable. It gives people a reason to strike up conversations with you and experience the benefits of your product/services for themselves.

At Apex, we use a combination of traditional expertise and inventive technical know-how to ensure your stand sets you apart from your competitors. And kick-starts those all-important conversations. If you’d like to find out more about how we can make your exhibition stands a success, contact us today to find out more, or give us a call today on + 44 (0)1625 429370 to discuss your requirements in more depth.

Pete Forse

Pete is the Exhibitions Director here at Apex. He has one clear business objective – to produce memorable exhibition stands that add real value to our customers’ brands. With a background in event production - spanning 30 years in places as far flung as Rio and Manila (and quite often the NEC!) - Pete brings his experience to the task of making exhibition visitors stop and take notice. Like everyone at Apex, he is driven by the excitement of this challenge, and the vision that we can make a long-term difference for our clients. To find out more about how Pete and the Apex team can help you, give us a call on 01625 429370 today!