Mobile experiences redefining B2B sales and marketing
There probably isn’t a single sales executive who would turn down the opportunity to get out in the ‘field’ and talk to the prospects in person. Up until 2020, it was live events that allowed sales to move beyond the phone calls and email and actually create real, face-to-face connections with potential customers. COVID-19 has turned that world upside down: cancelling, suspending or rescheduling trade shows and networking conferences. Business events have always played a key role in the marketing strategies of the majority of B2B organisations. With them out of the picture what are the alternatives? Truck-road shows may be the solution.
Virtual event isn’t always the answer
Since the moment the first major trade shows were cancelled in February, event marketers were looking for formats that could replace them. Virtual events seemed to be the most obvious solution. But after months of remote working and countless video calls, a lot of sales and marketing professionals, especially the extraverts (which is a very common personality in these cohorts), have grown tired of online engagements. They want more. But they can’t have it their way yet. It’s a challenge for both companies with physical products and enterprise solutions to demo or provide training.
The reason is not that we can’t make large gatherings safe. The event’s industry has moved mountains to find multiple solutions on how to make live events COVID-safe. But with a constantly changing coronavirus situation, legal limitations in place, worldwide travel bans in large corporations, organising a conference or a tradeshow is practically impossible. And it’s likely to stay this way for some time; possibly, well into next year in some markets. Except for road shows.
Even now, road shows can bring your company closer to its clients by facilitating a much needed face-face interaction, with locals sales and training teams. Some experts can also be brought in, virtually. This provides the perfect platform to showcase products and solutions.
Networking, whether at a conference or roadshow, has one goal, to keep the conversations flowing. Road shows are a perfect alternative for driving new business opportunities, replicating the event experience on a measurable scale, with all the necessary safety measures in place. And the safety measure can be far less invasive and go further than any government guidelines. It’s the great reboot to live engagements that would probably take place in 2021. It should be planned now. So, what are COVID-safe road shows?
It’s all about having more certainty
First of all, road shows save your clients the hassle. You can take a consistent experience to each one of them, regardless of them being situated in multiple countries or cities. The special road show trucks are your own, fully controllable brand environments, that you can take anywhere in the world. And exactly their mobility makes them a safe investment.
Even during the peak of the pandemic this spring, while most of the countries went into some form of a lockdown, heavy goods vehicles, such as road show trucks, were still able to cross borders, unlike people. If there is a lockdown on the way, the truck will always be able to get to the next scheduled stop.
Recent weeks have reminded us that we live in very uncertain times. It’s hard to plan ahead. But if COVID-19 cases spike at your next destination, it’s not only the legal compliance that will save your project. Because you’re constantly on the move, you can re-route at any time and focus on another client, in another city or country. That makes the investment in a road show more secure than booking a space at a tradeshow that might be cancelled within a blink of an eye.
Keeping it safe by staying in control
Securing your investment is one thing, safety of your employees and clients is even more important. With road shows you have full control over the environment. It starts from the very beginning, with pre-event communications. Using a purpose-built app and custom registration system, your guests can book onto the tour from anywhere ensuring the visits are always managed and monitored.
With control of the environment and design of the customer journey, you can provide the ultimate in safety from COVID. Always matching and often exceeding government guidelines. Hand sanitisers, providing masks and temperature checks with either a hand-held thermometer or more discrete infrared system are installed. Interestingly, often the handheld is preferred because it visibly reinforces the COVID precautions being adopted.
Registration is managed with the use of touchless screens or QR codes, eliminating the need to have any physical contact with any surface inside the truck’s demo and hospitality suite.
Once they enter, they breathe the air that is constantly cleaned by using air purifiers, HEPA filters with sanitising safe UV-light technology. Before receiving each group of the participants, your road show manager will use a special fogging machine, dispersing a non-toxic, odourless mist into the atmosphere, cleaning areas which aren’t even visible to the eye.
The way road shows are organised has always naturally resulted in smaller groups onboard, allowing social distancing and safety.
With the latest technology developed for hybrid (localised, connected) events, distance means nothing. The vehicles can be equipped with a variety of cutting-edge, virtual event solutions, including holographic portals allowing you to beam in your life-size experts from any location. A more familiar solution involves building a presentation suite into the demo area for live, interactive broadcasts with guest speakers or company experts. High-level speakers interact with your audience, without the need to organize and pay for their travel. Content presented by thought leaders is why people show up. It increases the value of the event and attracts more valuable attendees.
Holographic broadcasts are not the only tech-novelty you can find in road show trucks. Depending on the type of the event and audience, you can organise online ideation sessions between remote attendees/experts and the guests in your event truck. With tools like CoCreate, participants in diverse locations can share their ideas using virtual post-it-notes, sent from their smartphones or tablets to a digital screen installed in the vehicle. And likewise, the guests in the truck can put their ideas into the brainstorm from their own smartphones. It’s a safe, socially distanced, interactive solution to engage your audience, enabling you to harness the business relationship in a meaningful way.
Reboot made simple
COVID, it would seem will be disruptive for some time to come. Road shows tick all the boxes regarding safety and face to face audience engagement. They can even improve your company’s sustainability agenda. With the latest smart routing and vehicle design, you’re bringing the experience or products to your clients, minimising their need to travel. Once COVID is under control – however elusive that day may seem – road shows may well be the long-term solution for climate saving reasons. Be safe.
To learn more about NextGen Road Shows, please visit https://sheltonfleming.com/roadshows