The same difference

A good friend of mine and I struck up a conversation about the striking similarities between websites and trade shows. Even though one is purely a digital experience and the other is firmly rooted in the real world, both are about projecting the brand to achieve the same goal, but in their own way.

For example:

The experience of walking onto a trade show floor is the same thing as surfing around the web. There’s this noisy chaos as you meander through it all. You may head right over to where you know you want to go, but you might get distracted along the way and stop somewhere when something catches your eye. Or, you might go right to see what you want to see, then launch off to check out the competition afterwards.

Once at your destination, you explore and can ask questions. Or remain anonymous and poke around at your own pace. Obviously, when you engage with a real person, the experience becomes richer.

The goal of both experiences is the same, too. Create enough interest to motivate the audience to action. Over the years, I have rarely seen actual sales taking place on a booth or on a site, except in the B2C space. Thinking about it a little more, this is perhaps the one significant difference between the two experiences. But in the B2B sector, the digital and physical experiences are nearly identical.

Rarely would anyone make a huge purchase online (too costly and no one wants to expense that much on their credit card), but the web is a great way to get info needed to be able to make an informed decision.

Driving quality leads to the CRM is the main goal for getting more foot traffic to the booth as well as more eyes on screens. But it should be more about pushing people to action. We want them to make an inquiry — chat with a booth worker to or click the “Contact Us” button to get more info. Allow us the opportunity to contact you. It’s funny to me that I have this same discussion with both the web them and the trade show folks and everyone says the exact same thing.

This makes for an interesting correlation between two totally different functions of marketing.

The worlds between the digital and the physical are blending as more and more as virtual experiences are created to help bring people to the booth and help them get the information they are looking for. Just look at the pictures above – how many screens do you see in the physical space? What does this say about how we deal with customers?