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7 showstopping trade show examples to inspire your next appearance

Create a showstopping trade show experience with JigSpace

Trade shows can be a cost-effective way of connecting your brand with a highly targeted audience that’s actively searching for new products in your industry.

By nailing your trade show materials, and presenting a brand, booth, and product worth stopping for, you can ensure maximum exposure to a whole new audience. In fact, studies have found that 91% of consumers say engaging with branded event marketing experiences makes them more likely to buy the products being promoted. 68% of B2B marketers also agree that in-person events remain their top engagement tactic in terms of top-of-funnel acquisition strategies.

Today, we’ll be exploring some of the best trade show examples, as well as top tips for creating your own trade show materials that draw more people to your booth.

Electrifying trade show examples to learn from

To find out how to create showstopping trade show materials that get your audience itching to try your products, sometimes you’ve got to learn from the masters. Explore our top trade show examples to discover which brands are already nailing their expo appearances.

Michelin ‘be the tire’

Tires are one of those products that most people use daily, but few people think about – unless things go wrong. So how do you demonstrate the value of a product that many people take for granted?

Michelin answered that question at the North American International Auto Show using a tire simulator. Inviting attendees to ‘be the tire’, people were able to ‘feel’ all the bumps, scratches, and impacts their tires experienced on the road. This clever simulation helped represent the rough conditions tires need to stand up to on a daily basis, demonstrating the importance of purchasing a quality set of tires that are up to the task.

Lexus Hoverboard ‘ride the slide’

To launch their new hoverboard at the LA Auto Show, Lexus set up a virtual skate park modeled after their skate park in Barcelona. Using the Hoverboard as a controller, the real-time immersive ride allowed users to enjoy the experience of riding the Lexus Hoverboard around a custom skatepark in thrilling VR.

Participants were also encouraged to share videos of their experience on social media to get the world buzzing about the new Lexus Hoverboard.

Hino Trucks USA augmented product models

Transporting products to on-site demonstrations and trade shows can be a challenging and costly task, particularly when you specialize in heavy industrial machinery and vehicles.

Hino Trucks USA needed to find a way to demonstrate the value of their products, even when people couldn’t physically inspect them. With the power of JigSpace at their fingertips, Hino Trucks USA created highly detailed and realistic 3D models of their class-leading vehicle and engine features, all of which could be viewed in stunning AR.

Trade show attendees were able to open various models on any hand-held device simply by scanning the QR code. With fewer transport and logistical issues to deal with, and less expo space required, Hino Trucks USA were able to bring their entire fleet of trucks to any trade show at minimal cost – and with minimal headaches.

Not only did this mean huge savings for the company, it was also a win for customers who could enjoy an in-depth view of their traditionally complicated products. It was also a win for the planet once there was no longer a need to transport heavy vehicles across the country.

Mazda ‘premium experience’

Renowned for making cars that are fun to drive, Mazda teamed up with Leap Motion to create a virtual driving experience at NAIAS 2017. With the understanding that when you’re buying a car, you’re buying an experience, the Leap Motion VR driving simulation allowed people to get behind the wheel of a Mazda car so they could experience the drive first-hand.

With the VR experience acting as the centerpiece of the display, Mazda also provided a demonstration of the materials, tools, and processes they used to craft every car, while three-dimensional displays in the booth highlighted the key features and benefits of their innovative SKYACTIV Technology. The presentation also featured a Leap Motion clay sculpting experience where attendees could experience the joy of crafting their own creations using digital clay.

All this came together to form a thrilling presentation that captured the entire story of Mazda, while demonstrating the superior care and craftsmanship that went into every vehicle.

Lionsgate ‘get buried’

In the lead-up to the release of the movie ‘Buried’, Lionsgate set up a virtual experience at Comic-Con in which attendees could ‘live’ the experience of being buried alive.

A week before Comic-Con, they created a hair-raising online video – which quickly went viral – inviting people to ‘get buried’ at the event. At the event, there was a life-size, walk-in coffin, complete with ambient surround sound to drown out the noise of the busy festival, as well as creepy lighting to make participants feel as though they really were locked underground.

Each 15 second experience was recorded, with attendees encouraged to share their video on Facebook and Twitter, and also upload it to the ‘Get Buried’ page. The ‘Get Buried’ experience became a Twitter sensation, while almost 12,000 people were ‘buried’ over the course of the 4-day event.

Triangle Waterquip ‘detailed 3d models’

An innovative manufacturer of fully-automatic, self-cleaning water filtration systems, Triangle Waterquip relied on physical demos in order to sell their highly differentiated and configurable filters.

Turning to JigSpace to demonstrate their novel filtration system using high-detail 3D models, Triangle Waterquip was able to show exactly how their products worked, inside and out and from every angle. With the power of AR, they could bring their advanced technology to any trade show, convention, or meeting without relying on physical products.

The unique technology allowed attendees to enjoy a more in-depth exploration of the filters while giving the company greater flexibility to demonstrate their products anywhere in the world without spending a lot of time or money on set up.

NRMA Insurance ‘crashed car showroom’

A survey conducted by NRMA Insurance discovered that approximately 95% of Australian drivers said that safety was their first priority on the road. Despite this, only about 1 in 10 drivers actually felt truly knowledgeable about car safety.

To help raise awareness, NRMA created the ‘Crashed Car Showroom’ where Australians could safely experience what a car crash was like through a VR headset. The showroom also educated drivers on other important safety considerations, including how car color can increase the risk of crashes. Visitors also had the opportunity to fire a chunk of ice at a car door so they could witness for themselves just how destructive a hailstorm can be.

Over the course of ten days, the Crashed Car Showroom helped highlight the importance of safety while also guiding drivers to make smarter purchasing decisions when buying a car.

Trade show materials and ideas to wow your audience

There’s lots to learn from the trade show examples we’ve explored today. And the good news is, you can make a showstopping appearance too – without costing the earth. Here are some ideas for trade show marketing materials and techniques that can help you stand out from the crowd and demonstrate value to your audience at every expo.

12 ideas how to impress your audiences at trade shows
12 ideas how to impress your audiences at your next trade show

Make it experiential

Humans connect better with brands they’ve had an experience with, which is likely why experiential marketing is counted amongst the top 5 marketing strategies that companies leverage. So don’t just tell your audience why your products are better than all the rest, show them, and then let them experience the difference for themselves.

Explore a new reality

With the rise of the metaverse, and an increasing trend in people seeking experiences online, AR and VR has a strong future for marketers. The great news is that as digital experiences become more popular, AR and VR technology such as JigSpace have become more accessible and affordable than ever before.

Be eye-catching

Trade shows are busy places, and your booth will need to be able to draw people in through a sea of competitors. Make your booth stand out with eye-catching displays, banners, pop-up tents, and other unique features to attract attention, inspire curiosity, and encourage people to approach.

In short, be interesting!

Integrate technology

Integrating technology into your trade show booth can be a great way of demonstrating your products and unique sales proposition while making your booth more interesting. Try installing screens, tablets, and digital displays in your booth, and even experiment with interactive AR and VR experiences to tell your brand story.

Get your swag on

Everyone loves free stuff! That’s why cool giveaways are an excellent option for building affinity and trust for your brand. Decking your audience out in branded t-shirts, hoodies, and hats can also help spark conversations and turn attendees into brand ambassadors, raising awareness of your brand – both at the trade show and beyond.

Hold a contest

Hosting a contest doesn’t just help you engage with your audience, it can also help you build lead lists for sales and post-event marketing. Whether it’s a prize wheel, a trivia contest, or something a little more unique, as long as there’s good prizes to be won, you’re sure to draw a crowd.

When holding a contest, don’t scare people off by asking for too much information as an entry requirement. A name and their contact details should be more than enough.

Launch a new product

In a survey exploring why people go to trade shows, roughly 92% of respondents said that they come to learn about new and exciting products and services. So if you’ve got something new coming out, a trade show may just be the perfect opportunity to announce it.  

Get people buzzing prior to the event

Your marketing should start long before the trade show begins, so be sure to generate excitement early on and let people know you’ll be there. Start by informing your existing customers about the event, and use videos, social media, and your website to encourage people to visit you at the expo. You can even offer a code that visitors can redeem for free swag at the event.

If you’re launching a new product, you can start dropping hints online about the upcoming announcement to get people buzzing about your big news. A countdown clock on your website is another great way of building excitement.

Encourage people to share

Word-of-mouth and user-generated content can turn your greatest fans into some of your strongest brand advocates. In fact, 92% of consumers report trusting reviews and recommendations from people, such as family and friends, over any other form of advertising.

To develop a strong user-generated content strategy, start by building a trade show experience that attendees want to record and share with their friends. You can then encourage them to share the photos and videos online to help spread the word.

Create a multi-sensory experience

The more senses you can engage, the more likely a person is to remember their trade show experience with your brand. So go beyond the visual and carefully consider how you can incorporate sounds, textures, lights, colors, and even tastes and smells – depending on your industry – into your booth and presentation.

Bring an industry expert

Build trust and credibility by bringing an industry expert to the event and having them present onstage, as well as engage with visitors to your booth. Partnering with an industry expert not only helps educate potential customers, it also shows that your brand is backed by an experienced professional in the field, proving your product’s legitimacy and value.  

Follow up after the event

The brand experience shouldn’t end when the trade show does. During the event, you should have been collecting customer information to feed to your sales team. This information may have been collected when visitors registered for a competition, signed up to participate in your booth experience, or simply filled out a form indicating their interest in learning more about your products.

Reconnect with these people once the event is finished so you can start nurturing leads and turning that interest into sales.

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