A few months ago, we attended the recent Austech 2005 Expo. It was a large trade show that showcased over 500 manufacturers selling machines, equipment and systems.
The good news was that around 40% of the exhibitors had a trade show video running. It was inspiring that many exhibitors understood the power of video to quickly convey how their products work. Made us feel warm and fuzzy inside.
The bad news was that most of the videos were absolutely appalling.
Why so appalling you ask? Some were bad because they had no idea of the power of production values in giving the right impression to their target market. Others had no strategy whatsoever.
You need a trade show video strategy
A lot of companies believe that playing their marketing video at a trade show is all there is to it.
The main purpose of a marketing video is to sell a product or service. It talks about your point of differentiation, how your product works, how it can be used and it all comes together with believable testimonials. It tells your company story in around 5-8 minutes.
This is perfectly suitable for showing your video in a peaceful and comfortable area – such as an office or boardroom. Where there are usually comfy seats and even surround sound for the ultimate viewing experience.
By comparison, the trade show video has a difficult life. It only has seconds to grab the attention of weary passers-by. It has to make itself heard against the din of the booming PA system. And it has to be interesting enough to hold people’s attention for longer than a couple of seconds, so that messages get understood.
You cannot expect the traditional marketing video to be able to shine under these tough conditions. So what can you do to make your trade show video survive life in the tough streets of the trade show?
Say it with titles
Expos are noisy places. Do not expect that people will be able to hear or concentrate on what your narrator has to say. Replace the voiceover with clear titles that explain what is going on. People will be tuning in at different times within the video, so ensure you have titles up at all times. Only communicate six clear messages or less.
Make it upbeat
You only have three seconds or less to grab attention. Use exciting visuals, upbeat music and appealing titles. Don’t have the same shot running for longer than 5 seconds. Choose music wisely. One video we saw featured loud heavy metal music. Not only did it sound truly awful, but the video content was mainly made up of happy snaps of staff standing by their equipment. If that wasn’t bad enough, staff at the stand were too busy singing along to greet customers. This company would have done better by not showing their video.
Which brings me to my next point, blurry home cameras and shoddy still pictures make you look cheap. Avoid making it yourself, unless you can make it look like you didn’t. 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 turn people away.
Keep it short
You’d be kidding yourself if you believe that someone will spend seven minutes watching your video – all while standing up.
Keep the video to a length of four minutes or less. Make the area around your television screen inviting.
At Austech, a couple of exhibitors had arranged little alcoves to watch their video. Comfy chairs were set out, as well as a coffee table with mints.
Do what you can to give attendees the opportunity to watch your video. For example, hiding your television screen behind your desk and continually standing in front of it reduces the ability of your video to attract passers-by.
Trade show videos are specialised promotional tools that must be adapted to their unique environment.
This involves re-editing your marketing video. And before you cry, ‘that sounds expensive’. Just remember that all it involves is a re-cut of your footage. As a trade show video is shorter and requires no voiceover, the cost could be as little as 30-40% of the cost of your original marketing presentation.
Trade show success is all about getting noticed and letting people know how you can solve their problem.
Make sure your video builds brand recognition, communicates what you do, gives you credibility and gets people wanting to talk to you. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your marketing dollars.
(c) Marie-Claire Ross 2005. All rights reserved.
Marie-Claire Ross is the Director of Digicast Productions a full-service, concept-to-completion video production facility specialising in videos that connect with your audience. She can be contacted on 0500 800 234 (Australia wide) or at firstname.lastname@example.org . The website is at http://www.digicast.com.au