Most exhibitors are shocked when I point out that 70% of your brochures are thrown away before the visitors have left the Hall. Considering the cost of design and full-colour printing, not to mention the agonizing over copy and content, it is not surprising that exhibitors attach a higher value to them, then your visitor.
Mainly, the fact that a high percentage of brochures are discarded is largely due to poorly trained stand staff, who see their role as ‘information givers’, not ‘information gatherers’. You know those stand staff, hovering in the aisle, thrusting brochures at every passer-by. It is human nature to accept the brochure, even though you have absolutely no interest in the product, because we wouldn’t want anybody to think that we were rude!
Some years ago, many exhibitors thought that it would be a great idea to dispense with brochures and rather e-mail them to prospects, so that they would not have to carry them around the show. Unfortunately, everyone thought of the idea at the same time, so that the poor visitors found zillions of gigabytes on their computers, when they returned to their office – inevitably, they just pressed ‘delete’.
Exhibition organisers, dispose of tons of discarded brochures, after the show, mainly from exhibitors who had brought too many and don’t want to carry them back to their office.
There are three reasons why the prospects of a completely paperless exhibition stand, make absolute practical and economic sense:
First, the greening of trade exhibitions, is a reality. Environmental studies have proven that people are more prone to do business with companies who have green policies in place. Driven by the market, exhibition organisers are looking for venues and suppliers who are applying green policies in their business and service. In turn, exhibitors must be looking to green the operation of their businesses, including a reduction in the amount of paper consumed.
Secondly, it is expensive to print, store and transport, tons of stand literature, especially to International events.
Lastly, your clients and prospects are using different promotional medias and are comfortable receiving information online, via laptops, net books, smart phones and iPads. All exhibitors should be incorporating social media into their marketing plans and upgrading their web sites to incorporate them and the new tools available, like webinars and podcasts.
There is still a place for limited literature on the stand but only where it adds value to the interaction with prospects and clients. Paperless exhibition stands should become a reality within the next 3 – 5 years. Let’s hope so; there are so many advantages to all of us if they do.