When you exhibit at trade shows, you participate in the marvel of the free market economy: Competition gives way to cooperation. (Not really, but we like to indulge in this game of deception.)
7 competitors you must SUBDUE to IMMERSE AND engage your clients and prospects at trade shows
1. SUBDUE THE NEED TO OUT-MANEUVER YOUR BRAND COMPETITION
While you expect to compete with other companies in your industry, your competitors can actually be helping you, too. Their marketing efforts lure more prospects into the show hall, expanding the potential universe of buyers for your product category. Some confident exhibitors even seek a booth space close to their bigger competitors to draft off their booth traffic.
To win these head-to-head match ups, make sure your trade show booth graphics, promotions, experiences, and booth staffers clearly articulate what makes you better. Not sure why? Ask your newer customers and best sales people why you’re winning sales now.
Still not sure,
Here is an idea that will define your stand out position.
Get the stake holders of your brand to frame a compelling story about their journey. The more vulnerable their journey is, the more nuggets you have to play with, and the better is your chance to distinguish your brand.
For example, Jack Ma, worth more than whopping 39BN and counting is candid about his vulnerability. He states: "I failed a key primary school test two times, I failed the middle school test three times, I failed the college entrance exam two times.”
HOW JACK MA DEFINED HIS BRAND AND RAISED HIS STAKE — A MAN DARED TO OUT DO MICHAEL JACKSON
Here is how his story spans out. (This will get you inspired to drive your brand trajectory at a higher level. Notice the layers that often go unnoticed.)
Ma began learning English when he was 12
Ma applied for 30 different jobs, and he got rejected from each one. Unsure of what he wanted to do with his life, he submitted his resume for a variety of unique positions, one even being a police officer.
Ma was rejected from Harvard 10 times. However, Ma was the only student of 500 to be chosen to teach at a university.
The command of the English language, situated Ma in a position to collect debt from an American businessman on behalf of a friend, resulting in Ma being kidnapped and locked up in Malibu, California
Ma was introduced to the internet and first search was on Yahoo for “beer.” At this time, Ma discovered there was no data about China, so he decided to launch a website called China Pages. Ma’s venture didn’t quite go as planned.
In a videotaped meeting from his small apartment, in 1999 Jack Ma announced Alibaba. Ma was inspired by the story of the poor carpenter Ali Baba, who came across an abundant treasure.
Ma attributes 3 counter-intuitive factors to the success of Alibaba: having no money, no technology and no plan. In an interview with Charlie Rose, Ma admitted that he actually doesn’t know much about technology, despite owning one of the most successful tech companies in the world.
In 2014, with a $25BN IPO, Alibaba went public and broke records for the largest IPO in history, thus far. In 2015, Ma admitted, "If I had another life, I would keep my company private.”
Jack Ma said in a speech to the Economic Club of New York, in 2015. He was playing on a bigger stage. He expresses his vulnerability yet again: "It's not only our people that watch us,” he said, “the globe watches us.”
As the globe watches Alibaba, Jack Ma tackles the problems that China faces in health and safety, thus launching another company in 2014; Alibaba Health Information Technology Ltd.
A GREAT STORY ALWAYS TOWERS ABOVE THE OFFERINGS OF YOUR COMPETITION
LESSON LEARNED — COMBAT VENGEANCE WITH VULNERABILITY
2. SUBDUE THE TRAPPINGS OF TIME POVERTY
Time-pressed attendees are less likely to visit every aisle in the show hall.
Compliment your presence with this these tactics below:
3. Teaching booth staffers to quickly qualify and release unqualified booth visitors.
4. Offer prizes daily in your booth that qualified prospects will want and care for. Tie it with the gift of NFTs.
To combat time, here are some ideas that you might want to steal from this brand.
"TO A LIFE FILLED WITH OPPORTUNITIES TO GIVE THANKS" — this is the highlight of a brand that manufactures whiskey as their 'widget'.
HOW MACALLAN RETAINS THE REALMS OF ROYALTY IN SCOTTISH WHISKEY— SIMPLE ANSWER — USING THE CANVAS OF GRATITUDE
MACALLAN RETAINS THE REALM OF GRATITUDE BY EXTENDING THE HAND OF ACTION. Gratitude "turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity...it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."
Whether it is a widget or a wonder that you are selling, know that time comes to a halt when you paint gratitude as the contextual backdrop of your product offering.
MACALLAN RETAINS THE REALM OF GRATITUDE BY SPIRITUALIZING MARTIAN LIKE LANDSCAPE WITH THE PROMISE OF A NEW SUNRISE AND SUNSET
Even when they’re at the show, attendees are still distracted by their urgent issues from work. Make your exhibit design worthy of commanding attention. If they have to be interrupted, make sure you are the cause of it — bring new products and hold engaging demonstrations in your trade show exhibit that attendees can’t experience in their office.
Impress upon your staffers, the huge marketing value of attending a trade show and the monetary investment that has been made by your company — your competitive advantage come down to the performance of your booth staffers.
Every gesture, every interaction, every context about your brand needs to be to generate something more than a "bothersome background hum." Though we often build our strategies around the concept of differentiation, we often continue to act in and talk in a fashion that highlights our sameness.
KNOW YOUR "CREATIVE DIFFERENCE" TO BREAK AWAY FROM THE SELF-DEFEATING CYCLE OF COMPETITION
In the ultra competitive world of music vidoes, OKGo comes up with ideas that is made up of disparate chunks of information. Watch the video and yo will not think about your environment in the same way. Start arming your brand with innovative gestures so that you do not slip into the blurr of blurry sameness.
4.SUBDUE THE NOISE OF THE TRADE SHOW FLOOR BY HIGHLIGHTING THE CULTURE AND CUISINE OF THE VENUE
It’s no coincidence that Las Vegas and Orlando are the top two U.S. trade show cities. Their year-round warm weather and fun atmosphere offer compelling reasons for attendees to visit. Other top cities such as Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego are destinations worthy of a vacation in their own right.
Consider making the venue city your ally, by hosting a hospitality event for top buyers that embodies the local sights. Whether it’s deep sea fishing in Miami, a show in Las Vegas or New York, or golf in Orlando, enlist, rather than compete with the show’s host city’s allure.
5. SUBDUE THE NEED OF YOUR AUDIENCE TO GO TO COMPARABLE CONFERENCE SESSIONS
"I can’t count how many times a trade show attendee told me they couldn’t stop, or else couldn’t stay long in our booth, because they were rushing to an educational session." And that’s even at shows where exhibit hours run unopposed to sessions, because attendees still need time to walk from the show hall to meeting rooms. It’s even harder when a show keeps the exhibit hall open during sessions. So fight fire with fire. Attendees come to the show to learn; offer them valuable new research reports, or host your own educational presentations in your trade show displays.
Design your booth with presentation and individual interaction areas. Big conferences are primary show instigators, but they do little to cater to individual curiosity. As you see above, this layout is designed to cater to individual needs and is lavish presentation on catering hyper-personalized experiences that you visitors are expecting of brands. Successful brands are agile with their smile and with every tap, touch, and click.
6. SUBDUE THE NEED TO MAKE YOUR EXHIBIT DESIGN RELEVANT TO THE SHOW FLOOR ONLY
Even while attending trade shows, your prospects are enticed to consume other forms of media, be it from their smartphone or, any other hand held device. So, launch an integrated marketing campaign during the show, reminding them via email, social media, and show-specific advertising, why they should visit you in your booth. That way, when they peruse other media, you redirect them back to your presence at the show.
Tie an imperative link between utility, uniqueness and apprehension. At Skyline we are the leaders in education in our industry. We establish that fact by leading our prospects for a chance to win a scholarship and in the booth, we have an honest conversation about the mult-faceted demands faced by the event managers and empathize their situation by handing out trade show survival kits.
7. SUBDUE THE NEED TO DESIGN YOUR GIVEAWAYS FOR THE SOLE PURPOSE OF BUSINESS RELEVANCE
Trade show attendees are people first, buyers second. While away from home they miss their families. That’s why some exhibitors provide giveaways that are specifically meant for their attendee’s kids rather than attendees themselves (Can you say Teddy Bear?). Or perhaps, nurture the creative minds with thematic giveaways. These exhibitors get valuable at-show attention that lets them start a meaningful conversation, even if after the show their logo ends up in a toy box.
Now that you know who your true trade show competitors are, you can formulate strategies that garner more attention from your clients and prospects, and triumph on the trade show floor.
Above all remember, you are dealing with humans with feelings, fears and agitation. Step outside your own bubble into the bubbles of other people. For a change, try to see things from the perspective of the other human being that you are interacting with.
Source: Skyline.com, inc.com, forbes.com, hbr.com