February 11, 2021

Making the Most of Digital Tradeshows

by Cristina Murray


As an industry that is built on personal networks and quality relationships, 2020 made it challenging for us to maintain the same professional connections as years past. One of the venues most affected were tradeshows and events. These important business opportunities were often watered down to Zoom calls and digital platforms where attendees tried their best to keep engaged and crossed their fingers their kids or pets didn’t interrupt any real-time conversation.
Though there may have been a few positives to being able to log in to some educational sessions in your slippers, the energetic environment and bustle of a tradeshow floor were impossible to replicate online. Associations scrambled to shift hundreds of thousands of square feet of company booths, products and conversations to an online forum that was engaging, interactive and worthwhile. Many lost money in the process. Some shows didn’t have the time to think through a shift and simply cancelled their proceedings outright.
But with 2021 now underway, we have months of trial and error under our belts to learn from and get the most out of digital experiences moving forward.
Here are a few best practices to make the most of your tradeshow dollars, time and experience:

1. Control what you can control. Some associations will be better than others when it comes to virtual shows. CES 2021, for example, had exceptional technology and engaging presenters bring the CES experience into each attendee’s home at a very reasonable ticket price. Other shows we attended simply didn’t have the resources to create quite as interactive and engaging a space online.
Take control of the situation and leverage your own resources to make a splash. If the event platform is lacking, create your own landing page with relevant resources, share your news on social and set up video calls for media appointments. At Quanex we have always supported our tradeshow efforts with most of these channels, but we amped them up in 2020. You may not be able to control how successful the show as a whole is, but you can still make your company stand out.

2. Leverage video. Video is your friend with virtual events. Encourage your sales team to use it for customer conversations, record SMEs talking about industry hot topics, even dabble with the live features on social channels if you’re up for it. In-person conversation can’t be replaced, but most people will watch a video over reading a press release. Zoom and Microsoft Teams both have easy-to-use recording functions—experiment with them ahead of the show, and leverage video wherever you can.

3. Get social. Now more than ever before, joining the conversation on social is important. Keep an eye on any event hashtags, help your organization’s experts push content out during the show and don’t be afraid to engage in online conversations. Having your name alongside the others who are talking about relevant topics will increase your visibility beyond the event platform.

4. Share insights. A lot of the virtual tradeshows keep presentation recordings available well beyond the show dates. For example, CES recordings are still available as of this week. Take advantage of the additional time to virtually attend sessions, capture insights and share them out via a content piece to your customers and internal stakeholders. You no longer have to run from session to session while skipping lunch. With digital events, the resources are at your fingertips on demand.
I think we’re all looking forward to the day when we can come back together for in-person meetings, have a cocktail and toast to a successful tradeshow. But until then, take advantage of the extra time you have to dig deeper into what’s happening in our industry. We’ll be back at it (hopefully) soon enough  and I look forward to meeting you at my first GlassBuild America in 2021.
Cristina Murray is the Director of Marketing, NA, for Quanex Building Products.


For more information about Quanex visit www.quanex.com
Posted: February 11, 2021 by Cristina Murray Filed under: digital, marketing, tradeshows