Are You a ‘Sheepish’ Exhibitor?

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Sheep are legendary for traveling in a large group, or flock, and having an instinct to follow the leader … even if it’s a bad idea.

Exhibitors are not so different. When asked why they’re planning to exhibit at a certain show, many will cite reasons like “because it would be obvious if we weren’t there” or “all of our competitors exhibit there, so we have to as well.”

The problem with that blind-follower logic is that if you’re not careful, you could end up just like 400 Turkish sheep who followed their leader right over a nearly 50-foot cliff!

You see, contrary to popular belief, sheep are not stupid … and neither are exhibitors. They just sometimes make bad decisions based on incomplete information.

So instead of relying on others to make decisions that can have significant effects on your exhibit marketing budget and results (or lack of them), it’s time to take charge and make up your own mind. It’s time to establish realistic, quantifiable goals and create a strategy to achieve them with your exhibits.

Don’t go blindly by numbers — the “who” matters much more than “how many” when it comes to attendees. Know what you want to achieve at the show and identify who you want to meet. Involve the entire team if you want to get greater traction for your objectives. Then use that goal to develop your overall exhibit marketing strategy and create the necessary steps to take before, during and after the show. Set up necessary metrics from the beginning, whether related to leads, sales, or something else. Make that goal the basis for your call to action for attendees: sign up for something, attend a product demonstration, or take advantage of a limited-time offer.

But coming back around to sheep, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take on some of their more positive characteristics — they have incredible, almost panoramic vision and are naturally curious. So stay alert and keep trying new things when it comes to your exhibiting, but do it with your eyes wide open and not just because you’re following the flock.

Need to get your goals in line? Join us in the Exhibit Marketers Café for our Strategy of the Month calls during May when we’ll focus on measuring success, and keeping an eye on your competitors.

© 2014 Marlys K. Arnold (from the April 2014 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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Marlys Arnold

With experiences as both an exhibitor and a show organizer, Marlys Arnold has a unique perspective on trade show exhibiting. As an exhibit marketing strategist, she travels the country consulting and training on how to create experiential exhibits that produce significantly higher numbers of qualified leads. She’s led workshops for events ranging from local consumer expos to some of the largest trade shows in the U.S. She hosts the Trade Show Insights blog/podcast, and is the author of Build a Better Trade Show Image, the Exhibitor Education Manifesto, and the ExhibitorEd Success System. Exhibit Design That Works (the first book in the YES: Your Exhibit Success series) debuted in July 2017. She’s also the founder of the Exhibit Marketers Café, an online education community.

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