Mobility and apps in trade fair communication

Mobility and apps in trade fair communication: status and outlook

Apps have become an established part of event and trade fair communication. This is primarily because mobile technologies are particularly effective when the target group is online while on the go (at trade fairs). Here’s an overview of the development of mobile usage and the opportunities for event organizers when it comes to communicating with their target groups for events and trade fairs.

The mobility boom continues unabated. In October 2016, mobile internet usage surpassed use of the web on desktop PCs for the first time. A growing number of companies is taking this development into consideration. According to a study  conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, more than half of all companies have now developed a mobile strategy. 20 percent of the survey respondents even view their strategy as mature. On the other hand, this also means that almost every second company is not yet tapping into the immense potential of mobile technologies. This especially includes the possibilities they offer to get to know customers better and address them on the channels and devices they are increasingly using. And an even more worrying fact is that many websites have not yet been optimized for use on mobile devices and are thus irrelevant for users.

The mobile customer, a well-known being

More than three-quarters of the companies that have defined a mobile strategy already know, for example, how much internet traffic is being generated by mobile devices and which devices their customers use. Over half of them use this to provide their customers with customized content and make offers that are particularly interesting and relevant to them.

However, the fundamental question for many companies is, “Does it have to be an app?”. Or is a responsive website sufficient? The answer is not either/or, but both. After all, apps and websites often have different objectives. While a website is suitable for making potential customers aware and be found in search engines, apps offer companies the opportunity to learn more about their users, build a relationship with them, gain their sustained attention and make them into loyal customers or visitors.

Standing out in the app crowd

There is hardly an opportunity as ideal as trade fairs and events for reaching target groups with apps. The majority of visitors are online exclusively using their mobile devices. Although many visitors still place value on the look and feel of printed exhibitor catalogues and event programs, these are increasingly being replaced by apps. This is quite simply because it is easier and more practical to plan a trade fair visit using a mobile device than having to lug around various thick paper booklets and flyers. Therefore, mobile digital offerings are an essential component of today’s trade fair and event communications, which is resulting in a veritable flood of apps being launched before major industry gatherings such as the IAA trade fair. In addition to the official app provided by the event organizer, automotive associations, industry media and notable exhibitors create their own apps using the entire bandwidth of mobile technology from beacons to augmented reality to present their new products.

Providing added value throughout the year

However, a trade fair is a temporary event, which usually takes place on an annual or biennial basis. There is therefore a risk that users will install the app just before the trade fair and remove it from their smartphone again directly afterwards.

Organizers can counteract this effect by including follow-up features or providing added value to users throughout the entire year. This could include a download feature for information material that remains available after the trade fair or is continuously updated. App based access to exhibitor and/or industry databases, special B2B portals like www.productpilot.com or exhibition communities that provide year-round access to topic-specific content or contacts to suppliers, customers, etc. can all contribute to increasing customer loyalty via app.

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