March 23, 2015 | Laura Baines
The Technology for Marketing and Advertising Exhibition (TFM&A), held at Olympia from 25-26 February 2015, offered some intriguing digital insights. The event provided an energetic view of the current digital ecosystem and presented many exciting products and services. The noise from the show floor could be heard outside Olympia as hoards of enthusiastic marketers poured through the doors hoping to uncover the next emerging digital trend.
One seminar that caught my eye was delivered by Fjord, part of the Accenture group, and covered nine emerging digital trends. The over-arching message was clear: successful organizations will form connections between services, devices and places, providing a valuable and effortless personalised user experience.
For me, the key message is that Generation Y will expect nothing more than pure magic from their user experience and companies need to re-humanize their approach towards customer service, moving into the gap between physical and online spaces. Simply being on the web is not enough.
Three trends stood out for me in particular:
The gap between physical and online spaces presents a new challenge for business as buyers demand a more fluid ephemeral way to interconnect between platforms. In the exhibition world we need to make sure that these gaps are finely tuned so conversations keep flowing as customers switch between devices. This could be as simple as a timely phone call from the customer service contact, re-engaging with a customer and perhaps reminding them about a new product or service, which then lengthens pre and post-show engagement. In an age of total connectivity the trick is NOT to catch digital amnesia.
Consumers are faced with a strange dilemma. They have to use their devices but at the same time resent the experience, because it distracts them from the physical world outside. It was also interesting to note that the younger millennials, despite growing up in a digital age, are growing more concerned about privacy issues and looking for alternatives to traditional social media platforms. So what does this mean for exhibitors? Exhibition stand builders should perhaps think about how to create truly inspirational experiences, through unique and creative stand design but also through fun and engaging physical features. I noticed that there were quite a few retro games being played on stands, including table football, as well as pop-up seminars, scribble walls and more. So perhaps think of integrating a physical fun element into your exhibition campaign programme to satisfy hunger for engaging experiences.
The last digital trend highlighted seemed to just make common sense. In order to be successful at getting their message across, companies need to combine effortless interaction, specific sensing capability established by a device, the right communication protocol and the supporting cloud data analytics service. How would this work in the exhibition world? Why not install iBeacons on an exhibition stand and turn your stand into a “hot spot “? Exhibitors could send targeted promotions or messages to attract attendees on to their stand and, with LinkedIn integration, attendees can get a detailed look at who is around them and who they would like to connect with. The possibilities are endless!