No matter how great your product, if no one is attracted to your booth, you won’t have much success at a show. You’re just one of dozens (or in some cases, hundreds) of exhibits in that show hall. How can you possibly stand out?
Actually, there are numerous ways to gain attention, and many of them are not expensive or complicated. As an added bonus, be sure to promote your attraction ahead of time in all your pre-show promotions and advertising.
Probably the most obvious way to attract visitors is to do a demonstration of your own product. Have a computer set up with a running demo of your software. Show how your new mechanical gadget works. Design a piece of artwork on the spot.
Taking the product demonstration idea one step farther, make it interactive. If the booth visitor actually has a chance to play around with your software or do a “make & take” using your product, they are much more likely to remember your company.
Another option is to host celebrities in your booth, but move forward with caution. First, make sure that the celebrity you choose matches your company’s image and philosophies. Otherwise, you could create a mixed message in the customers’ minds. (More on this technique in a minute …)
Whatever strategy you use to attract attention make sure that once you do, there’s plenty of substance in your booth to back it up. Use your chosen attraction method to pre-qualify those who are most interested. And never forget that the real reason you’re at the show is to gain leads, not win a popularity contest.
At one particular show, I remember booth attractions running completely amuck. Everyone was focused on celebrity guests in the booths, to the point where that became the focus. But let me back up and explain just how many things were wrong with this picture.
Although there were controls in place to keep out non-industry people, I personally knew some who were able to get credentials, with the main purpose to be collecting signed items to sell in online auctions. Regardless of this scenario, there were no controls on the items given away. I’m sure a high percentage of people who swept in to meet the celebrity really weren’t decision-makers or buyers, but rather fans. Huge lines formed, with many of these celebrity events creating nearly impassable aisles. I’m sure neighboring exhibitors didn’t appreciate their booths being blocked by the lines of people waiting to get into someone else’s space.
So how can you avoid this scenario? Make sure you maintain control. If you want to have an extremely high-profile celebrity, find a way to keep it to a VIP list … for example, host a hospitality event in a suite and require people to come to your booth to pick up tickets. At the very least, work the line! Make sure you collect information from everyone who spends time waiting to see the celebrity. Then at least you can follow up later, based on your predetermined qualified lead criteria.
Remember the main focus of creating booth traffic (with an attraction) is to gain qualified leads. If you’re simply becoming a “rabid fan” magnet, you’re wasting your time.
© 2005-2013 Marlys K. Arnold (from the January 2013 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)
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i relate your post very well. Exhibition or trade show is about attracting the crowd or the traffic over and generate qualified leads creating a list of potential customers to follow up after the exhibition. So the question exhibitors frequently ask is how to attract, how to drive traffic over to your booth. Most of the time, exhibitor expect the organizer to bring in the crowd and forgets to do their own advertising. I can relate to what you were saying using celebrity as an endorsement to attract crowd over by doing it with wisdom. It will not benefit much if visitors just come and go after the celebrity has left the booth. Since the celebrity is there, perhaps we can use the celebrity to help announce additional contest that require some information from the visitor to participate and then with the help of stuff on duty, information can be collected easily.
See the flow ?
1. Drive the crowd using the celebrity.
2. Predetermine qualified leads by using celebrity as the emcee to announce a contest so that visitors will continue to linger around the booth longer to participate in the contest. Naturally when participants linger or mingle around the booth longer, stuff on duty can predetermined qualified leads.
Thanks for sharing that, Michael! Interesting idea to have the celebrity acting as an emcee in the booth to announce a contest. I think it might depend on the celebrity … I can see some being very good at this, while others might not be as effective (or willing to do anything other than be adored in the spotlight). It all goes back to starting with a solid strategy and then selecting a celebrity whose personality aligns with that strategy, not the other way around.