Building Buzz With Videos: Yamaha's Trade Show Demo

By Brendan Spiegel April 8, 2008, 10:30 AM EDT

Yamaha's keyboard unveiling (featuring Stevie Wonder), as recorded by a trade show attendee.

Photo: Courtesy of GLORIOUSL

This story is part of our series on building event buzz with online videos.

While industry-specific events often have a very focused target audience, there is always potential to expand that audience online, because any event that draws an in-person crowd likely has more interested parties who aren’t able to attend. For this reason, many trade shows are starting to embrace online video highlights—both professionally produced and user-generated. In this way, product buzz that would previously have been limited to word-of-mouth excitement among a relatively small group of event attendees can now spread far beyond the showroom floor.

At the 2007 National Association of Music Merchants show, Yamaha’s new Motif XS electronic keyboard was a hit with attendees. Several fans posted videos of Yamaha’s demonstration on YouTube, and the videos quickly attracted more than 150,000 views. (Yamaha also posted trade-show highlights on its Web site, but YouTube offers the potential for a video to spread much faster and further.)

Don Morris, manager of Web services at Yamaha, says it’s hard to determine which videos will take off online. “You never know what level they are going to happen at,” he says, “because it happens outside of our sphere of influence.”

Of course, when the marketing is out of your hands, that can also be a problem. Morris warns that this lack of control can be a double-edged sword: While you might get an unexpected boost for a product, Internet buzz can also disturb the pace of your own marketing.

“NAMM is an industry trade show, and it’s not open to the public,” Morris says. “Some of these products won’t be sold for three to six months, so that can be a problem for us as well as for our dealers, because people may see these videos about upcoming products and decide to not buy products already out there.

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