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Coronavirus: 3 ways a roadshow can help to launch a product during COVID-19

Global exhibitions and tradeshows are often home to some of the year’s biggest product launches.

Many businesses, big and small, use exhibitions as a springboard for their latest products and to showcase live demonstrations to customers. However, COVID-19 has quickly put the brakes on this popular marketing strategy in the immediate term, with most major events cancelled for the remainder of 2020.

The past few months has seen businesses critically reviewing their supply chains to ensure that they mitigate any future risk associated with their global sourcing of products and materials. The same needs to happen with Marketeers – 6 months ago it would’ve been unthinkable that any one of these major exhibitions would have been cancelled but it’s happened and until we get a vaccine in place, there’s no guarantee that it won’t happen again. For those that invested heavily into a single event, it’s been a pertinent reminder of the importance of having a contingency plan.

We’ve had many conversations with businesses looking for a COVID-secure alternative to exhibitions. All of our B2B clients are getting back on the road in the coming weeks and we’re working with a major FTSE 100 company that is looking to launch a new product in Europe via a roadshow from September.

Dräger roadshow event

With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to outline 3 ways a roadshow can help to launch a product during COVID-19 and beyond.

1. Targeted Private Events

Roadshow truck tours are the perfect way to create immersive experiences that are tailored to specific audiences. You get to design a bespoke experience around your target audience and take it directly to them. This has many benefits for you and your clients.

Your product will be the star of the show – it will have the undivided attention of a highly targeted audience. Live demonstrations can be held face to face, showing exactly how the product works and its key USPs.

Smaller gatherings also allow brands to provide customers with a much more personalised experience, as compared to digital strategies which have been rolled out in response to the pandemic. A customised tour can leave a greater lasting impact, leading to stronger customer relationships and sales conversions.

With social distancing guidelines in England being aligned with many other European countries at 1m from July 4th, many of the customer experiences will be the same on board the truck as pre-COVID levels.

2. Take the Experience to your Local Team

Travelling to exhibitions is going to be tricky for some time so why not support your sales teams across Europe by giving them the ultimate sales tool – a mobile customer experience centre or product showroom to take direct to their customers.  

An advantage of a roadshow truck is that it can adapt according to varying country restrictions. If a lockdown occurs in a country or city, the truck can re-route and we can plan varying social distances into the customer journey so we’re always adhering to local guidance.

RS Components roadshow touring across Germany

The unique thing about a roadshow truck is that it’s classified as a freight vehicle which means crossing borders in Europe is still possible, with the tour handed over to a new team in each territory.

Having this tool available to your local sales teams means that all clients get the same consistent experience and you have control over the message.

3. Digital Content Generator

Experiential events and exhibitions aren’t just about the people attending, they’re also mass content generators.

With influencers, members of the public and brands all posting about the products on offer, the brand exposure can be far reaching. But many can be only one or two days, meaning that the social media exposure creates a short sharp peak. As an exhibition alternative, roadshow events can create a buzz, but instead of a hit – that could turn in to a wave of content as the truck travels to different cities.

The reach for your product and brand increases, both digitally and physically and the number of event days mean you reach more people and their online networks.

So whilst COVID-19 continues to disrupt the exhibition and events sector, roadshows could become a key element in long-term marketing and product launch strategies. A secure, clean and controllable environment that can be flexibly adapted location by location, to enable businesses to launch new products directly to core customers, even in the face of disruption.

Cassie Kendrew

Cassie Kendrew View Full Profile

Cassie Kendrew first joined EMS in 2011 and has over 15 years’ industry experience in marketing and project management, both at home in Europe and within the vibrant Middle East region. As Commercial Director for EMS, Cassie’s unparalleled blend of operational understanding, logistics management and marketing insight has enabled multiple global brands to deliver key marketing campaigns and leading employee engagement tours.

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