Traditional trade shows often have a significant cost and carbon footprint. Virtual trade shows offer an alternative with lower cost and environmental impact—being green can save some green.
I have been to traditional face-to-face trade shows in the past and recently decided to attend a virtual trade show to see how it compared to a traditional trade show.
Setting the Stage
The virtual trade show I chose advertised a keynote speaker I wanted to hear and education sessions I could attend to earn continuing education units. I was familiar with some of the vendors. It was easy to sign up and admission was free.
The event began at the crack of dawn my time but fortunately all I had to do was get up, make coffee, and log on.
The virtual environment was 2D with a lobby, exhibit hall, auditorium, networking lounge, FAQ area, and help desk.
A brief video explained the virtual environment. I was pleased to learn there would be a drawing for a tablet so read about how the give-away would work.
Attendees could earn badges by completing various activities which included downloading information, visiting every booth, participating in chat, and taking surveys. Sounded like fun. Although my main goal was to attend the education sessions, I decided to try to earn the badges and win the tablet.
During the Show
The keynote speaker gave his speech from his office. It was informal and informative.
While working on earning my booth badge, I visited each vendor booth and looked around. When a visitor enters the booth their name appears and the booth salesperson can send an instant message. The visitor can also see who else is there. I looked through the information available, watched some videos, and downloaded case studies.
Throughout the show, messages popped up to let attendees know that something was starting in the auditorium or networking lounge.
The education sessions were interesting and useful. It was well worth attending the show just for those. I passed the quiz and earned my continuing education units.
I collected the necessary badges but due to a system glitch they were not recorded correctly. From the chat stream, it was clear others had the same problem. The help desk was unable to resolve the issues before the drawing. Bummer.
After the Show
A few vendors followed up with emails. I forwarded some information I found interesting to someone I know. The site is available for the next year so I can go back and look at information or watch recordings of presentations I missed.
I got to wondering if virtual trade shows are effective for the vendors. The purpose of a trade show is to make sales. Right? Which is better? A traditional or virtual trade show? I decided to do some research and write another post.