Is there a place for virtual exhibitions in the Process Industry?
In this blog we’re exploring the future of trade stands at Process Industry events & exhibitions. Could virtual exhibitions be the future? Or are they just a gimmick that couldn’t possibly replace being there face-to-face? Here at PIF we would love to hear what you think. Join in the debate by leaving a comment below or tweet us @pifalert using the hashtag #pif.
Process Industry trade shows and exhibitions
Are they worth the hassle anymore?
You’ve got your invitation to the must-attend exhibition of the year. Of course you’ll be there. Everyone else will be. Or will they? And should you?
According to Hubspot: “Trade shows can be extremely expensive. By the time a company pays for exhibition space, employee travel, giveaway items, the costs quickly add up. In addition to the expense, many companies don't have the clear processes in place for measuring the return on investment of trade show dollars.”
Facts that have not gone unnoticed by industry leaders across every sector. No wonder that the Center for Exhibition Industry Research reported a 12.5% decline in the exhibit industry in 2009. Budgets continue to be slashed, manpower is precious and consequently expo attendance figures are still not what they were in their heyday.
Virtual exhibitions for the Process Industry
Can we forego exhibitions for this new virtual technology?
This year Bürkert Fluid Control Systems launched their very first virtual exhibition stand – an exhibition stand that visitors can peruse from the comfort of their desks.
Based on a real stand, it includes a series of short videos featuring a selection of innovative products from the company. Bürkert experts are present 24hrs to personally talk visitors through all the products launched on the stand.
Virtual exhibition stands Vs. attending Industry Exhibitions
Surely virtual exhibitions are no substitute for negotiations on a personal level?
Can anything truly replace the shake of a hand? Isn’t building a personal rapport, and trust, through the human experience essential to great business relationships? Not to mention being able to hold and touch a product in the flesh.
Of course not. And that’s why Bürkert has tailored this innovative solution to dovetail with existing marketing methods. It’s an addition, a clever adaptation to the fast-paced needs of an increasingly tech-savvy B2B market.
One of the advantages of virtual exhibition approach is that visitors can download a wide range of product literature from the site as well as making direct enquiries for more information. Anyone who registers are also sent exclusive show promotional goodies and a Bürkert catalogue covering the extensive range of Bürkert process valves and Bürkert Instrumentation.
The world of virtual exhibitions for the Process Industry
Consider the implications for a moment. There’s a vast online market to be tapped into. Specific audiences can be targeted and engaged. Vast swathes of product specifications, schematics, white papers and anything else of interest can be shared with potential buyers in a way that’s far more immediate and interactive than a traditional trade stand could ever hope to be.
But, are the cost savings sufficient to go down this route? Can a virtual tour convert leads to sales as effectively as a real-time experience? We suspect that, like Bürkert have found, that this is another feather in your marketing bow; one to be used in conjunction with traditional methods, to go after new markets in particular (think of the global reach!).
How long will it be then before you’re opening your electronic invitation to set out your stall at a virtual exhibition hall? It may well be sooner than you think.
Are Virtual Exhibitions the way forward? What do you think? Have your say by commenting below or join the debate on Twitter @pifalert and hashtag #pif.
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