Maximising trade show potential with Mixed Reality

Matthew Bumford

Matthew Bumford

April 11, 2017

Increase ROI and reduce costs with HoloLens and Mixed Reality for Trade Shows.

Trade shows are an effective solution for businesses to showcase their product or service in a specific niche.

They are consistently at the top of businesses marketing wishlists with over 90% of businesses commenting on the importance of trade shows for both sales and marketing.

At Kazendi, we have created trade show experiences for clients as well as attending trade shows ourselves and have experienced the cost reduction and ROI potential of Mixed Reality for trade shows firsthand.

We are firm believers in the importance of trade shows for B2B companies and believe that Mixed Reality experiences enhance shows. Seeing the HoloLens at Trade Fairs makes them more engaging and memorable for everyone involved.

The Continuing Draw of Trade Shows

The old adage of ‘people buying from people’ contains a lot of truth. While the digital age has allowed for SaaS companies to emerge with the entire sales channel being made online and with the growth of chatbots allowing communication to be efficiently streamlined on websites, nevertheless many businesses still rely on person to person engagements for sales.

It is estimated that around 81% of attendees of trade shows have buying authority. While competitors are likely to be present at events, trade shows offer companies opportunities and access to dealmakers that they might not otherwise have had. Furthermore, the mood for sales is generally more relaxed at trade shows and associated events.

As Smart Insight’s Peter Symonds comments:

Exhibiting at a trade show gives your company’s sales team an unprecedented level of access to important prospects, all without the resentment and apprehension that characterises traditional direct sales. Typical objections disappear as customers are in a buying (or research-focused) mood.”

It is imperative then for companies to make the most of these events, and increase the potential for lead generation, brand awareness and, ultimately, sales.

Increased Brand Reach at Trade shows

A study by the The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) found that 88% of trade show attendees will not have previously come into contact with your company while the same study showed that 58% of trade show attendees only attend a single show. Insights like these not only clarify the importance and potential of trade shows but also prove how necessary it is to make the most of the events by making your exhibit a memorable and persuasive one.

The exciting aspect regarding Mixed Reality and trade shows is that the platform presents something of a blank canvas to businesses looking to take advantage of the immersive nature of the technology. There are a variety of options available for businesses to showcase their products and services in interactive and engaging ways.

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Businesses can utilise the power of the HoloLens to showcase new prototypes, give consumers a first-hand experience of products, create interactive brand and product experiences and more. Staff present on the booth are able to converse with potential clients while they are engaged with the Mixed Reality experience bringing a new, consumer-focused aspect to sales.

With the average trade show attendee spending 7 to 8 hours on the exhibition floor, their attention is there to be grabbed. However, each and every show is different and showcasing your services in a way that is out of the ordinary is key.. Whether your ultimate goal is lead generation, brand awareness, sales or PR, Mixed Reality and the HoloLens can help businesses to achieve their goals.

HoloLens Wow Face - Mixed Reality - Big Bang Fair - Highways England 2 .jpg

- Spotlight on The Big Bang Fair

It is important to remember that trade show goers are different from everyday business clients. Your exhibition must be tailored to the specific trade show audience and overlap with your event goals.

At this year’s Big Bang Fair at the NEC, we partnered with Highways England to showcase our joint HoloTraffic project. The attendees at the event were predominantly children under 18 in education and we used the event as a brand exposure exercise as well as to educate a new generation about engineering for immersive technologies.

The goal was successful with a closer partnership fostered with Highways England, appropriate leads sourced (among other exhibitors) and an increased Social and brand awareness with tweet shares from Microsoft and the creator of the HoloLens, Alex Kipman. Over the course of the event, we saw a 300% increase in Socail Media activity and exposure. 


Trade Show Engagement Spike.pngThe graphic shows the increase in Social interaction which took place during the Big Bang Fair thanks to Mixed Reality 


Additionally, the same HoloLens application can be repurposed for other sale, technology or commercial events at minimal cost.

Note on Mixed Reality vs Virtual Reality:

We have discussed the differences between Mixed Reality and Virtual Reality extensively in our blog however it is appropriate to revisit the immersive platforms from a specific trade show angle.

Many companies who are interested in immersive technologies for trade shows are often faced with an either/or choice.

As both immersive mediums increase in popularity, this choice will become more keenly felt as more industry players attempt to utilise the technologies. While there are some niche uses for Virtual Reality, or ways to ‘gamify’ the brand experience such as seen with Samsung or McDonalds for commercial and B2B uses Mixed Reality offers the greater impact and return.


Achieving ROI for trade shows is vital and Mixed Reality can help to achieve this. 


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Cost of Space, Shipping & Repurposing

Logistics and Trade Shows.jpegWhile many organisations use trade shows as a vehicle to grow their business, the cost of space can be at times be prohibitive. Over 25% on average of a company’s budget for tradeshows will be spent on floorspace and this, coupled with the logistics of shipping products and stands themselves means that the upfront cost of trade shows is high. There are many additional costs and constraints to trade shows that must also be factored into the final amount of trade show cost.

After the space itself, one of the largest upfront costs to exhibitors is the shipping of the stand itself.

The report by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research commented that:

“A large portion of show services costs is called drayage, which is the cost to bring your exhibit and crates from outside the show hall to your exhibit space”

Seasoned trade show exhibitor, Jeannine K. Swan notes an additional and often unfactored cost for businesses: time. This is especially true if exhibiting overseas or at distant venues where the logistics of shipping your trade stand are a factor.”

“The whole process can easily take 30 days or more. And then it's 30 days back before you can use that same property again,”

Clearly, good organisation plays a vital role in ensuring the best chance of success at a trade show. Experienced trade show managers will be aware of potential pitfalls and be best placed to overcome them though there are some scenarios however that cannot be foreseen.

When the most vital component of your trade show stand or exhibit cannot clear customs in time it can, and will, have a severe impact upon the success of a show.

By incorporating Mixed Reality into your trade show exhibit many of the common pitfalls can be avoided thereby maximising the potential ROI of trade shows while simultaneously reducing costs.

  • Cost of Space - The cost of space can be greatly reduced by using holographic props instead of a physical stand. This gives more room for interactivity and engagement between attendees and staff
  • Shipping - The need for shipping large and heavy equipment and stands is greatly reduced as the the entire ‘exhibition’ can be seen via Mixed Reality HoloLens headsets.
  • Repurposing - Mixed Reality applications can be used for a variety of different occasions from other trade shows to smaller events and can therefore be used multiple times, reducing the overall cost.

Mixed Reality is an ideal way to introduce prospects to your business in an immersive and interactive way. More than one person can share the mixed reality experience too, highlighting the collaborative working aspects of the platform.

Companies can engage prospects not only with products but with experiences, enabling them to embrace your brand as well as your service offering.

A New Trade Show experience

Selligent HoloCampaign Shared Mixed Reality Experience.jpgAt DMexco 2016 Selligent received five times the average visitors to their stand 


Differentiating your product from your competitors’ and creating a meaningful, memorable platform for your brand is difficult in the busy environment of trade shows.

Mixed Reality is not an experience in and of itself but rather it acts as an extension of your brand and your product line. By utilising it as a way to engage with prospects you can impact upon them in a non demanding way.

We have found that the clients we have worked with at trade shows who integrate Mixed Reality into their trade show space are able to give clients a greater experience and, as a result, develop a more meaningful and memorable connection with them. This is in addition to the increased brand exposure and visitor count that Mixed Reality brings to your trade fair stand.

If you would like to know more about exploring Mixed Reality for your trade show experience get in touch.


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Mixed Reality and Training Engineers

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Why Mixed Reality will eat Augmented Reality for Breakfast

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