What in the World is a Digital Exhibit?

Simply put, a digital exhibit is an online version of a physical trade show exhibit. Sometimes they’re called virtual exhibits and sometimes they’re called interactive digital images. But there’s a big difference.

The year is 1980. Only a select few understand the revolutionary character of the shift from mechanical and analog machines to digital devices. By 1989, 15% of households in the U.S. own a computer.  

Not surprisingly, the rise of video games coincides with the digital revolution. Once physical objects could be represented on a digital screen, people began transferring everything into the digital realm, including themselves in the form of “avatars.”  

Fast forward to 2020. Trade shows are cancelled worldwide. Exhibitors, marketers and sales directors scramble to increase their online presence to curb the economic effects of putting face-to-face events on hold. Sitting in lifeless warehouses across the nation are brand new exhibits. 

And then… 

Enter the Digital Exhibit 

Simply put, a digital exhibit is an online version of a physical trade show exhibit. Sometimes they’re called virtual exhibits (we’ll deal with that misunderstanding below) and sometimes they’re called an interactive digital image.  

digital exhibits

Whatever you call them, this is what they do:

They are an interactive tool that engages prospects and current clients online. Which means you can say goodbye to traditional click funnels, buyer journeys that span multiple pages, and stale landing pages.  

An interactive digital exhibit functions as a lead generating tool, an informational sell sheet or a fun way to raise brand awareness on multiple social channels.

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What’s the difference between digital and virtual exhibits?  

In one sense, this is a semantics issue. Virtual refers to the environment or simulation. Digital is more about how information is stored. An interactive digital image is another way to describe a digital exhibit.  

Given the definition of virtual, the technology does currently exist to create a true virtual exhibit—headset and all. Virtual reality headsets have been around since the 1990s! But whether the cost of production is worth the ROI is to be seen.  

On the other hand, digital exhibits are known to be an effective tool for supplementing your cancelled or delayed trade show. Heck, some companies even bring their digital exhibits to their physical trade shows!  

What’s the difference between a digital event and a digital exhibit?  

A digital or virtual event is hosted by an association and includes several exhibitors together, much like a traditional trade show. A digital exhibit is a onetime event or tool a single company owns. 

When an event is cancelled, it makes sense to explore this route so you can reach your prospects. Plus, attendance is down, an interactive digital display can be used to reach those prospects who are not travelling.  

virtual exhibit

How does the technology work?  

The technology allows for several uses. You can…  

  • Choose between literal or stylized representations of your physical booth 
  • Add up to 10 hotspots for visitors to interact with 
  • Add up to four options to each hotspot, embedding anything from photos, documents, links, and videos to keep visitors engaged for a longer period of time 
  • Easily update and make changes to the online exhibit, adding as many hanging signs or banners as you like that will make for an enjoyable experience for your prospect 
  • Create a fun, experiential, and sophisticated way to market to your audience, selling the value of your products and services 

For example, you can use a literal 3D rendering of your exhibit as a preview for your real trade show exhibit. You can also send it to all the prospects who may not be attending the show or who failed to stop by at the show.  

Digital exhibits benefits  

A digital exhibit can mean the following for your business…  

  • 24/7 lead generation. You can gate the content, requiring a visitor to give their email and info to access the tool. 
  • Larger audience. Get your exhibit in front of more eyes by sending to it to people who won’t make it to the show.  
  • Save money. A digital exhibits costs much, much less than a physical one. Especially now with inflation hitting building materials like aluminum, lumber, and fabrics.  
  • A chance to connect. For some people, meeting in-person is a lot scarier than meeting virtually. You can include a chat box, chat bot or a link to schedule a meeting inside your digital exhibit.  

How does a digital exhibit get promoted?  

You can promote anywhere you’d like! If it’s show specific, send to the show list, email, social media posts, ads, blogs, etc. 

Conclusion  

Determining whether a digital exhibit fits your digital marketing and trade show strategy takes time. With great copy and design, your digital exhibit can be a sales funnel by itself, or it can support your funnel. 

Use it as your landing page to generate leads. Use it to educate prospects on your products. Gain an advantage over your competition by offering something unique that isn’t another whitepaper or pdf guide.  

Want to learn more about digital exhibits? Start your journey here.  

The Trade Group  is a full-service trade show and event marketing company. We will work with you to create an exhibit that brings in leads and helps you achieve your business goals. Contact us here or give us a call at 972-734-8585. 

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