Organising an own online trade fair is completely new territory for many companies and their B2B marketing. The format naturally offers many advantages and opportunities, yet poses unfamiliar demands on planning and design. Here is where decision-makers can discover the most important factors to success for their virtual showroom.
Online trade fairs: these advantages make them attractive for companies and visitors
Online trade fairs have come of age – out of necessity. This is thanks to the fight against the corona pandemic, with its social distancing rules and the many cancelled “normal” trade fairs. Companies are therefore forced for the time-being to make the most out of the situation and organise company trade fairs that they plan and execute themselves.
First and foremost, the creativity of the marketing department is called for. After all, with good ideas, the right communications strategy and the matching tools, presentations can also be convincing in a company virtual showroom. Particularly as online trade fairs offer all players interesting opportunities and chances.
Advantages for organisers:
- Flexible dates
- No travel expenses
- Creative design of the showroom
- Communication and integration for the specific target group, with very low scatter loss
- (Theoretically) unlimited number of participants
- Complete focus on the presentation (guest catering and other “small jobs” are eliminated)
Advantages for the visitors:
- Participation is possible at any time and from anywhere
- No travel expenses
- No distraction from the hustle and bustle of in-person fairs
- Paperless information (brochures, white papers, deals, etc.) available quickly via download
- Live events and talks can be streamed directly or later on
For the digital version, much more IT technology is needed, whose use and integration, however, is often problematic.
3 factors for a successful online trade fair
Planners of company trade fairs have to completely rethink the approach. The organisation of traditional showrooms is fully different from those for online trade fairs. For the digital version, much more IT technology is needed, whose use and integration, however, is often problematic. This is why it makes sense to find out more about the opportunities and their execution in the digital realm at an early stage.
The basis for this are clear goals: who should the online trade fair address, and what should it be about? Once this is set, a convenient date should be determined to develop a communications strategy in advance (e.g. event and information pages, teaser on the company website and/or in social media channels, email marketing) and, of course, the kind of presentation should be planned. Also important is if participation should be for a fee and how the ticket sales should possibly be organised. And: success monitoring reveals improvement potential for the future.
Preparation for the event is also very individual. It depends on the industry and the company, its offers and target group. This makes it difficult to provide concrete tips for organising online trade fairs. However, there are three basic factors for success:
1. The right team
The organisation and execution of digital in-house trade fairs requires new qualifications. This means special attention should be paid to the set-up of the team. At the core of this team are online, direct and content marketing specialists as well as those from other departments. It not only makes sense to integrate sales specialists, but also IT experts, of course, for the required infrastructure. Together, the trade fair team develops the content and presentation of the digital showroom. In some cases, external expertise is sensible.
2. The right execution
If you consider an online trade fair to be just a few virtual informative pages and some videos, you are wasting lots of potential. And the event will lack all the character of being an experience. The effort for a well-made event, however, is high. So high that a company with little know-how of such things can be quickly overwhelmed. Support is offered by service providers specialised in online trade fairs. Upon agreement, these platforms take care of the planning, organisation, technical execution and selection of participants (lead generation).
3. The right communication
Early on, during the planning phase, the in-house online trade show should be announced via all suitable channels. In other words, when the programme is not yet finalised and a host of content is still being collected for an optimum communication. Just like the planning, the communication can also be developed bit by bit. A landing page can be filled successively with content, and news can be provided via social media channels over time, with more and more concrete and fine-tuned information. It makes sense to leverage all the possibilities of B2B marketing from the very beginning.
Digital consultation in the online showroom: Hyundai Deutschland
An essential factor of every trade fair is and will remain personal contact. This is also possible with online events, if only indirectly. But it does not automatically diminish the success of a virtual consultation, as an example from the automotive industry shows:
Due to the corona pandemic, Hyundai Deutschland showcases its models in a digital showroom. However, to make a good impression amongst customers of the vehicles, the South Korean manufacturer presented them in a special studio from several camera perspectives. The individual consultation is taken over by an employee, equipped with a smartphone and headset. He goes around the car and takes pictures of it with his smartphone’s camera. To give an impression of the interior, he slips in behind the wheel while filming. In this way, the customers receive an idea of the car as intensively as possible. Questions are answered by the consultant live via headset.