When you exhibit at a trade show, you are not only competing with your competitors, you are competing against every single exhibitor. So, how do you stand out? THE SHORT ANSWER, BE STUNNING.....
Average brands use the same average tactics to attract attention – lead retrieval units, booth models, interactive activities, etc. But, if you are here and now, reading this, you want to shun average and be something more. You want to know smarter ways to approach trade shows that will make you stand out from everyone else, and leave a lasting impression on the mind of visitors.
CONVERSE WITH ACTIONS — START WITH 'THOUGHT' QUESTIONS
Attendees often walk the trade show floor with wandering eyes and thoughts. Your goal is to engage prospective clients. (NOTE: If attendees are approached aggressively, they tend to be annoyed or feel defensive and leave.) If they’re ignored, that is even worse. You never know who is passing you by—that person could be a big decision-maker. To engage prospects, (always with a smile) ask a something similar to, “What are you hoping to get out of the show?”
QUESTIONS SPARK, MOMENTS OF THOUGHT THAT PRECIPITATES INTO CONDENSATION OF CONVERSATION
USE YOUR DIGITAL SCREEN OR YOUR BOOTH BACK WALL GRAPHIC TO ASK A QUESTION. THeN, ENCOURAGE THEM TO ANSWER IT ON A WHITE BOARD OR ON A DIGITAL PALETTE LIKE AN IPAD, WITH A PRIZE TO FLOURISH THEM FOR THEIR EFFORTS
THIS IS HOW WE DID IT — THE DISSECTION OF OUR MARKETING CAMPAIGN — “Get What You Want!” From Skyline Exhibits At EXHIBITORLIVE! —
We tell them that we know why they have come to the show. Because, we are the 'experts'.
We know you come to EXHIBITORLIVE! because:
You have big marketing goals to achieve
You have high expectations for your exhibit
You have things to find at the show
We tell them, why it matters to us. What is our INTENTION for this venue and why it make sense for you (trade show attendees) to pay attention to us.
Skyline’s goal at EXHIBITORLIVE! is to help you Get What You Want.
Visit us at our EXHIBITORLIVE! Booth #1245 and tell us about what matters most to you in these (above 3 ) three areas, and we’ll demonstrate how we can help you get what you want. Plus, we’ll give you training articles that show how to succeed, tailored to your needs.
We use the technique, commonly called 'seduction of the spirit' and the 'pleasure of the senses'. Hence, we say....
Have Fun Expressing Yourself
We’ll have places for you to draw or write what you want all over our booth. Show your creative side or just dream in ink about your trade show dreams.
Grab a Treat
Plus, we’ll treat you to your choice of a several boxes of popular candy, and your choice of a can of refreshing Izze juice – just the pick-me-up you need on the busy trade show floor.
In the age of social commerce, no matter what we say about our company or products, it is ultimately the collective perspective of our audience that drives the health of the brand... We embrace it with a high value hook, hashtag imperatives and the ease to participate. Thus, we say...
Share a picture of your sketch or writing via Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, and you could win a free 10-foot curved WindScape Air-Powered display or $5,000 in creative services. Just include the hashtags #GetWhatYouWant and #EXHIBITORLIVE with your post. We’ll even take a photo for you to share.
We use bullet points (for skimming and catering to the mindset - 'what's in it for me') to emphasize the benefits of visiting Skyline Booth Exhibit space
• Win a Free 10-Foot Display or $5K in Creative Services, just by drawing or writing on our booth about what you want.
• Draw & Write On Our Booth What You Want!
• Grab a Box of Candy and a Sparkling Izze Drink
• See Our New Products That Make Your Life Easier
Plan FOR LOGISTICS, PLAN FOR EXPENSE, PLAN FOR INTERACTIONS
If you are a veteran trade show manager, you know that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong. When it comes to trade shows, Murphy's Law works all the time every time. Have a PLAN B, C, D. Seriously!!
Plan for every OMG... Now what?... m..o..m..e..n..t..s.
"If ANYTHING goes wrong at a trade show
The problem will appear at the LAST moment In a
FAR-AWAY city With an UNYIELDING union environment,
On a weekend when your exhibit house is CLOSED
With a widget SPECIFIC ONLY to your booth When you
DON’T have a rent-a-car and Your credit card
is MAXED to the limit!"
Besides, before attending the show, go over key strategy and main points with your staff. Embrace the exhibitor service manual (ESM), that, includes everything from show dates/times, order forms, and critical deadlines to booth standards and important safety rules. Be thorough with the manual. You will save time, money and heartache.
IF YOU ARE INVESTING IN EXHIBITING, YOUR FIRST ORDER IS TO INFUSE CREATIVE ENTHUSIASM AMONG YOUR STAFFERS
Go over key strategy and main points with your booth staff. Be sure they each have a unique 30-second elevator speech prepared that highlights your product or brand in a creative energetic fashion.
The story goes, when President John F. Kennedy was touring NASA headquarters in 1961 for the first time, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.
The janitor replied, “I’m helping put a man on the moon!”
Get the point.
"If you will be on the show floor this is critical. The show floor is not the place to check your emails (if you must, its best to step away from the booth). As much as you’re able, try to be on your feet interacting with guests in your booth. Resist the urge to let guests pass through your booth to collect their swag without connecting with them. Of course, there will be opportunities missed but limiting them as best as possible is the single easiest way to get a higher return on your trade show."
KEEP TRACK OF THE MONEY FLOW
When your boss says “Get me a trade show booth for that show and don’t spend more than X”, what does she mean? It is no secret that trade shows are expensive endeavors. Designing and building the booth is often only a small portion of the total cost of doing a show.
1. Securing a spot at the show is at the top of the list for expenses.
2. Shipping costs and drayage (getting your exhibit from your carrier to your booth and back) are costs that are very dependent on the weight of your booth.
3. Install and Dismantle costs should be considered if your booth is not a Do-It-Yourself solution.
4. Some markets demand that, your hanging sign is required to be assembled by the local union.
5. Other trade show expenses include electrical, internet access, lead capture and carpet rental not to mention hotel accommodations, flights and meals.
By considering all these costs when planning a show, you (and your boss) won’t be surprised when the bill comes.
MAKE THE FIRST IMPRESSION THE LAST ONE
Average is a safe disease that we are all infected with.
Average might be safe but it does not get the needed attention. Know this, we humans might like the security of average but we are not inspired by it.
Whether that means constructing unique signage and going beyond industry or branded color schemes, or hosting unique interactive activities or demos in your booth, don’t be afraid to be bold. DARE TO STAND FOR SOMETHING.
Give your attendees something something to gasp at — you, standing for something gives your connected audience the opportunity to tweet about it, ponder on it and create meaningful conversation and sustainable stories about your brand.. Above all, something to aspire for.
FORGET THE USE OF YOUR PRODUCTS AS THE ONLY WAY TO KICK START CONVERSATIONS —
Build constructs that allows your show attendees interact with your brand in a human sort of way.
We all have aspirational goals. Find the bigger needs of your audience, and build a connection to your product or service and how it can help them satisfy those needs? Anchor your booth around those needs. Constructive engagement is bound to happen when you are not interrupting your booth visitors with an intrusive sales pitch or product demo.
Image from ExhibitorLIVE
Disruption is not a trend. It is the new logic in trade and commerce.
"Disruptive technologies is taking over the world of commerce and it is even going far beyond business by touching every aspects of our daily lives. It would be shameful to assume nothing is happening around us." If you are touting a disruptive product, does it not make sense to weave that in the architecture of your booth. (Note the above exhibition build and the sense of 'dis-ease' that it creates.) For your next booth construction, keep in mind the importance of focusing on the individuality of your brand.
CONSIDER HIRING MAGICIANS AND JUGGLERS, — if you are using your own sales staff to do the pitching for you.
While you or your staff may be the most knowledgeable about your products or services, you may or may not be the most charismatic presenters. Brand ambassadors or professional speakers have a knack for drawing and interacting with a crowd. However, we humans are designed to be intrigued by magic. Our curiosity is roused. We want to interact. Even, the most introverted ones.
Our evolutionary brain delights when "something challenges the laws of nature." This why we love Harry Potter. Because, it expands our mental limitations and makes us believe anything is possible.
TAP INTO THE STRENGTH OF SUB-CONSCIOUS STORIES— As you do it, make sure audience gets a chance to participate in a video or picture-worthy moment with the characters of the story.
"The unconscious processing abilities of the human brain are estimated at roughly 11 million pieces of information per second. Compare that to the estimate for conscious processing: about 40 pieces per second." No wonder, we always remember the starring stories of our childhood journey.
GLASSDOOR — THE WIZARD OF JOBS — THIS THEMATIC DESIGN WAS A SUCCESSFUL TRADE SHOW MARKETING STRATEGY — 'NO PLACE LIKE HOME' — IN THIS CASE, the exhibitor 'glassdoor' brings home the point why the brand is a stable base for their targeted trade show attendees.
By visually representing the impact of participating in your story-experience, you create a moment that can be captured in a single photograph, and that is what you want — for, this will get shared in the social accounts and inspire individual and collective intelligence that stems from direct awareness and exposure of your brand.
CHECK OUT YOUR INDUSTRY JOURNALS TO PUBLISH YOUR TRADE SHOW BOOTH IMAGERY AND INTERACTIONS
While your trade show presence itself may not be particularly newsworthy, innovative booth events might be interesting enough to attract the attention of trade or local media.
POSH UP your product displays
If you are highlighting a product in your booth, make it noticeable. Use lighting and place it in a location at a different height from your marketing materials. Attendees are at the show to see what you’re offering, so get their attention. If you are featuring a particular product or item, make sure you bring more than one to the show. Anything can happen in transit or even on the show floor.
Yet, if you are exhibiting at trade shows, do yourself a favor and do justice to your product demonstration capabilities.
Design an experience and an trade show booth that is not defined by the limited capabilities of your products, but, by the imaginative approach of your product. Because, 90% of the products are a sorry imitation of their competing bretheren only... maybe, some feature works better.
Well, if only... READ MORE
Make an action plan for SELLING
"Ninety percent of selling is conviction and 10 percent is persuasion."
Trade shows are great avenues to start your journey of 'CONVICTION'.
Conviction is certainty, certitude, assurance, confidence, sureness, no shadow of a doubt.
Do you know what you are selling? Sure, you know the name of the products and what they do. But, do you really know what role your products play in your buyer's world. Chances are, as you are reading this, you are right now seeking some clarity. So, before you seek to design your next modular exhibit, ponder this:
(Chris Brogan, New York Times Best Selling Author and Speaker, sums up quite nicely, on the following bullet points. Use this template as a crutch. Fill up the blanks.)
• I sell ___
• I solve THIS problem for my buyer ____
• My buyer knows they need this when ___
• I help a buyer’s concerns by explaining ___
• First steps to purchase are easy. First, a buyer ___
• The process continues after payment by ____
• I keep the buyer informed and served by ___
• After a sale, I follow up with the buyer and ___
"If any part of this feels tricky, if it takes a lot of words to solve, that’s probably an issue. If you haven’t made the first steps to purchase easy, that’s an issue. If you don’t resolve their reasons NOT to buy, there’s a potential moment.
Clarity. Clarity is the issue. Language that explains clearly how the product or service you sell makes the buyer’s world better."
Know the obstacles that your client faces when buying your product or services. Then, with conviction market your experiential exhibit design as the selling tool for your product.
BE VIGILANT ABOUT CAPTURING EXTRA DATA WITH DIGITAL SCANNERS
Digital scanners are often used as well as tracking or customized apps for lead generation. To qualify your lead, capture additional data. Write any pertinent information and what you promised the client in your lead notes. Things like, “follow up immediately with phone call” or “requested product brochure and wants pricing” so that your sales reps know exactly what the customer was promised. Be sure to record any information that will assist you or your sales team in prompt and detailed follow up after the show.
COLLECT QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE DATA
The only thing worse than a poor performance at a show is not knowing how you did at all. It’s impossible to adjust to improve your show if you can’t identify the problems. “Was the show worth it?” questions become much easier to answer if you’ve captured leads and can answer confidently how much money you made from the connections the show facilitated.
Qualitative data is also important. Be prepared to observe traffic flow in your booth – which direction are people coming from? What parts of the booth do they pause at? For larger booths, do you notice any dead zones where a visitor cannot see any relevant information? These observations will aid you on how to design and adjust your booth layout for future shows.
LEVERAGE social media
Start with creating hashtag for your presence and give followers and attendees compelling reasons why they’d want to come visit your booth. Maybe you are offering a special giveaway, a new product announcement, or even the opportunity to be the first to have access to new data.
Make your posts personal, sprinkle with questions, true/false statements, fill in the blank, or agree or disagree options — just to name a few — above all engage with your followers one-on-one. Promo or teaser videos or even pictures of planning and set up are enticing to followers. Be sure to promote your hashtag during the show, or use the event’s hashtag if one is available.
Sign in and listen in for more ideas.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Depending where you are in your business cycle, it makes sense to kick-off the 4th Quarter, with a grounded strategy that looks forward, across the entire next year.
Build out a spreadsheet itemizing your annual show schedule, trade show exhibit budgets, and goals (both overall goals and show-by-show).
In addition to establishing the essential sales and lead collection goals, challenge your team to develop a new set of social metrics to watch: Facebook Fans, Foursquare Check-Ins, Twitter Followers, Pinterest Repins. Once identified, you’ll be best served to track them obsessively.
Pull out your trade show booth and evaluate its condition. Take the time to know exactly what you’re working with so that when the time comes to develop more detailed strategies, you can clearly envision design opportunities and limitations.
Knowing your exhibit properties intimately lets you work from a position of know-how when developing the outreach plan – which will result in exciting, unique and compelling experiences to engage, educate and motivate your audiences.
Here is to the stunning 'YOU', all geared up for a purposefully stunning exhibiting experience!
Knowldegebase and images by @skylineexhibits, @skylinebayarea, @sarmisthataraf, worldwideweb