The Coronavirus pandemic of 2020 has changed everything, even the way we speak.
Phrases such as “Social Distancing” and “Lockdown” are now as everyday as “having a cheeky Nandos” or “indulging in a little retail therapy” used to be back in the “good old days” just three months ago.
We even have an up-to-date name for it – the “New Normal”.
Of course, staying at home has put paid to the usual crop of mass marketing events for the moment. And while a Zoom conference with dozens of talking heads can help to keep the wheels of industry turning for the moment, it’s hard to say when the trade show merry-go-round will begin turning again.
One thing’s for certain, “business as usual” is a way off yet.
Large gatherings are extremely unlikely for the foreseeable future in a post-Lockdown world. So, perhaps, it’s time to adapt, and prepare for when the better times finally return.
Virtual trade shows are a thing
Some events are already going digital. It’s a cost-effective and risk-free way to source, sell, and showcase new products.
“Delegates” can engage with “exhibitors” by scheduling meetings, chatting live, and watching presentations.
But the experience doesn’t have to end there. If this were a real-life expo, they wouldn’t walk away empty-handed.
A good marketing ploy is to give your “virtual visitors” a little something to remember you by. Why not send them a promotional tote bag or another long-term keepsake (like a notebook) as a reminder?
Face-to-face trade shows after Lockdown
Of course, lead generation and building business relationships work best in person, but when the conferences and shows resume, social distancing measures are still likely to be the order of the day.
These might include increasing the physical pace between stands, enforcing one-way aisles, or capping the number of attendees at a manageable level, just like the supermarkets currently allow in a fixed number of shoppers.
Visitors may be encouraged to choose which exhibitors they want to engage with before the event starts. Booking an allocated timeslot could help reduce crowding and assist with event organising.
Adapt your marketing efforts
If you’re planning to run your own event or exhibit at a trade show after Lockdown, you should already be considering your use of social media to make it known and answer any questions in the lead up.
With the inevitable uncertainty surrounding the events, highlight a safety-first approach by detailing all the measures in place to maintain social distancing.
Face masks may be part of the solution to maintain the safety of staff, visitors, and exhibitors. The latest advice from both the UK Government and WHO is that face masks do offer some protection against spreading the virus through coughs and sneezes.
With this in mind, we can already supply certified face masks printed with your logo or message that can be worn at trade shows to help your staff feel safer. They also double as a useful promotional giveaway and could become the must-have item for 2020s discerning conference delegate.
For more ideas about how to maximise your RoI at your next event, read our 10 Steps to Trade Show Success.