Trade show technology - much like virtually every other kind of technology - has made great strides over the past years, and this pace is expected to continue into the foreseeable future. A Northwest Creative Imaging infographic took a look at how things have changed over time.
Lead capture at trade shows of the past was done manually with a pen and paper, and transactions were cash- or check-based. As for lead generation, secretaries would mail follow-up materials to clients in the mail. Booth signage was painstakingly hand-painted by people who must have had a very steady hand!
Nowadays, you're more likely to see attendee information captured with a badge scanner, business card scanner or some other electronic device. There might even be an option for booth visitors to enter their details themselves via strategically placed tablets. Signage is electronic, and instructional videos or pre-taped testimonials are often included in displays.
Some recent trade shows have already given us glimpses of what's to come, such as holographic technology and Google Glass integration, but when it comes down to it, much of the future is a question mark. Consider this: The original iPhone was launched in 2007. Who could have predicted that just a few short years later, more than 50 percent of adults in the United States would own smartphones?
Some things never change
Whether trade show exhibitors get attendees' contact details via pen and paper, mobile device or telepathy, they won't be able to benefit from the information unless they properly nurture the leads they capture. Following up with prospects is key, or else a promising partnership could quickly fizzle into nothing more than a missed opportunity.