According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), there were approximately 9,400 B2B trade shows and exhibitions held in the U.S. in 2019, contributing $101 billion to the nation’s GDP. For many B2B companies, these events represent a critical component of their annual marketing plan and a good percentage of their budget.

While in-person trade shows are expensive to participate in, businesses recognize that these events provide an unmatched opportunity for identifying new customers, reaching sales leads, and building product and company awareness. But like so many other aspects of our business and personal lives, the global Coronavirus pandemic brought in-person events to a screeching halt.

By June of this year, 81% of exhibition organizers had shifted to digital event offerings. And B2B companies—and their marketing partners—have had to get creative to make the most of virtual trade show opportunities.

Creative trade show solutions

Manzella Marketing has worked with a number of clients to help develop branded virtual trade show booths, Zoom backgrounds for video conferencing with exhibition attendees, and even an infographic that can be used to presents a client’s capabilities in a format that stands out visually and is easy to read. Read on for some examples…

AM Bickford Virtual Trade Show Booth

AM Bickford designs and manufactures veterinary equipment and supplies for customers throughout the country. When one of the world’s leading veterinary conferences went fully virtual, the event host decided to keep the show live through the end of the year, deploying regular emails that will continue to drive traffic to the event site.

When AM Bickford had the option of investing in a trade show that gives exhibitors months rather than days to reach important business contacts, they seized the opportunity and reached out to Manzella for help applying branded graphics to the trade show booth template they selected.

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Branded Zoom backgrounds customized for specific trade shows

Conax Technologies is a global leader in the design and manufacture of temperature sensors, seal fittings, and cable and harness assemblies for multiple industries. A core element of their marketing plan involves attending global trade shows and users group conferences to exhibit their products and communicate with decision makers.

When many of the events were moved online, Conax asked Manzella to design a branded background that the sales team could use when meeting with show attendees via Zoom for a more corporate and professional look.

Manzella saw the opportunity to reinforce the Conax brand and designed backgrounds with imagery for targeted industries and customized them for specific shows where possible. We also provided multiple backgrounds for each show to enable the sales team to choose their own backgrounds and provide visual variety.

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Communicating capabilities in a visual format

MEDENT provides a wide range of services to health care providers, including electronic medical records, practice management, patient portal and telehealth services. They needed a way to communicate their services in a visual, concise, benefit-oriented format at an upcoming digital conference, so they asked Manzella Marketing to develop an infographic.

MEDENT offers such a broad range of services, we decided the best way to highlight their full capabilities was to categorize the services by the audience that benefits most from each: providers, practices and patients. We added simple graphics matching the style of the MEDENT brand and called out just a few key stats that would show the company’s national reach, longevity and credibility in the industry.

Because the infographic would be viewed exclusively in a digital format, we also added links to existing explainer videos and relevant pages on MEDENT’s website.

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MEDENT also asked Manzella to develop a branded :15 bumper video for virtual breakout sessions. The challenge was to show the functionality of one service area while striking an emotional chord that is in keeping with the company’s brand.

What are your unique 2020 marketing challenges?

Virtual trade shows and conferences aren’t the only challenge businesses are facing in 2020. The global pandemic has changed purchasing behaviors and forced businesses to adjust their goals and marketing strategies. A company that was in the market for your solutions in the first quarter may now be struggling just to keep its doors open.

While we’ve had to adapt our strategies and tactics, we continue to approach marketing in the same way we always have—as your partner. By taking the time to listen and understand your specific challenges and target market, we can develop innovative strategies and creative solutions that help you succeed—in good times and bad.