The dawn of interactive technology at events…finally!

By | July 18, 2012

In B-to-B Online this month, Charlotte Woolard wrote an intriguing article entitled “Best in Show: Marketers make smart investments as events industry posts gains.” The second sentence immediately got my attention:

But when the company set up its booth at the Air-Conditioning, Heating, Refrigerating Exposition in Chicago last January, only one water pump made it to the show floor.

Rephrasing a popular expression, ‘she had me at hello.’

She was of course referring to the fact that the company (Xylem, Inc., a water technology company), brought technology that showed their products, instead of the larger products themselves. Another line in the article caught my attention:

The addition of technologies that allow customers to interact with a product virtually…

I was wondering ‘the addition’? It’s only been about 10-15 years now!

While it is great to hear that people are now starting to ‘get it’ regarding possibilities, I am afraid that we’re going to see a glut of product demonstrations using technology that faithfully represent the product visually, but don’t do the story and marketing integration right (such as different types for different parts of the sales cycle, or enabling the capture of the right user data so it can fit at the right point in the sales), and hence lead into a hype-boom-and-bust cycle for this segment of technology.

I am encouraged by the comments of Jon Hickey, executive director at George P. Johnson, who said “[i]t allows us to go beyond product information that can be static. He continued that the novelty factor is not the focus. The real innovation comes in creating a centralized, easy-to-update library of digital assets that can be carried anywhere.

I would go even further…the digital assets can be personalized (through some of the ideas I’ve expressed on this blog), so it can be made more relevant to the prospect as well as more valuable to the marketer/salesperson in terms of advancing the prospect along the sales cycle.

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