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6 Tips for Video at Your Next Event
By: Marion Guthrie
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Humans are internally wired to notice movement. In fact, vision is the most sophisticated of the human senses with 65% of us being visual learners.* This makes video a compelling tool at a trade show for grabbing the attention of buyers, provided it is delivered correctly. 

Different from videos that are produced for corporate, commercial, or online messaging, the trade show video is developed to cut through the clutter and draw your prospects. It calls upon the development of a concise message that’s delivered quickly while capturing the crowd’s curiosity. Creating a video for your next show? Here are a few guidelines.

1. Be visually engaging. A well-designed trade show video has only seconds to grab the attention of passers-by. It has to make itself heard against the din of the PA system and must be interesting enough to engage the prospect’s attention long enough to deliver your message.

2. Use just music and visuals. That trade show din is why you don’t want a narrative. You just want music with lively graphics integrated into relevant content. This is not the place for how-to detail, which is best on a tablet with a salesperson. This is the place for introducing your solution. One word of caution: watch out for copyrighted music.

3. Keep it short and snappy; repeat. Nobody is going to spend five minutes watching your video while standing up. So keep it short; one to two minutes is best. Also remember that your audience doesn’t all arrive at the same start time, so the video should loop and play back.   

4. Make it available from a distance. Your monitors should be slightly elevated so that people standing in front don’t block the view for others. A winning scenario is the video on several monitors, attracting viewers into the booth, where your sales team can intercept them.

5. Use and reuse. It’s a beacon for your brand, so use it before, during, and after the event.
  • In the pre-show, blast email invitations to your customers; include it on your website home page to share the excitement there as well. Don’t forget to include the company name, the show’s name, and booth number to improve search. Here’s what Aerielle did before the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show to market their product solution for streaming audio wirelessly.
  • At the booth, the video is the draw. Here’s an example of Superior Jetties’ trade show digital video presentation loop. It ran on LCD displays at various major boat shows worldwide. It offers a brief overview of the company's offerings while running passively on display. You’ll see that there is minimal documentation; just a few photos and a page of content was used to create an eye-catching digital video with motion graphics. Another example comes from iBOXfilms, who recently created this video for SuiteLinq, a single-source provider of in-room, on-site, and mobile content, connectivity, and commerce to hotels.
  • Use the video as part of the reward. With thanks for their time, give your prospects a USB Memory Stick that includes the video with a complimentary white paper or other value-added content.  
  • Stage interviews and get customer testimonials while your top executives are visiting the booth and your best customers are stopping by. Budget for a camera person and a producer/director who will guide the subjects and make sure you get the right kind of footage. 
  • After the event, when you get the list of attendees, create a special email with links to the video that you’ve posted on your company’s site. For promising prospects on that attendee list that missed your booth, send a letter that incorporates a message from a selected salesperson along with the memory stick.
6. Leave a smart Impression. Viewers will be left with an impression of what type of business you are and what to expect when doing business with you by watching your video. A poor quality video will not only turn people away, it can damage your brand image. It doesn’t need to be Coppola, but use a professional.
Video delivers information in a fascinating, eye-catching, and concise form. At a trade show a big video presence with a quick message can both intrigue and prime your audience to discover more about your product. But like all great marketing tools, the effectiveness of video is determined by who is designing and using it. When appropriately deployed and strategically utilized, video can be a very useful method to engage your prospects, drive sales, and insure that you get the most return out of your tradeshow investment. 
*Bradford, William C., Reaching the Visual Learner: Teaching Property Through Art (September 1, 2011). The Law Teacher Vol. 11, 2004. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=587201

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About the Author
A marketing strategist, Marion Guthrie grows businesses by developing solutions for consumer engagement. Her mantra is, "Your customers are the best marketing department you can have."
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