The trade show: an opportunity for your company to show off what it’s doing and impress an audience of enthusiastic onlookers. But are you getting it right?
It might not surprise you to find out that, like just about every other area of business, there are tricks of the trade when it comes to trade shows. The following is a rundown of what the best in the business do to pull in the punters.
A lot of companies turn up to trade shows believing that the aim of the game is to defend their turf against their competitors. But according to Susan Friedman, a trade show coach, this is like playing “Russian Roulette.” She says that companies shouldn’t just set up shop and wait for business to come to them. Instead, they should be going out into the show and going to meet their customers. Her advice is to make sure that you set certain objectives before you start. Otherwise, your next trade show could be a very costly mistake.
People have this idea in their heads, claims Malcolm Gilvar, an executive of the Trade Group, that they need to invite as many people to their stands as possible. They think that if they get 10,000 people interested in what they’re doing, then it’s a job well done. But according to Gilvar, that can actually be an obstacle to success. Much better is to start the preparation well before the show, he says, to define the sort of customer you want coming to your booth. Email blasts and marketing campaigns, he says, should be all about finding the right people: if businesses could learn just that, then they would have amazingly successful events.
According to the trade booth site, www.steelheadproductions.com/custom-rental-exhibits.htm, it’s important for businesses to have a booth that really stands out and oozes creativity. Booths need to convey both the company vision and show off something new, even if the business behind it is an established player.
One thing that businesses can do is try to promote an established product that has never been featured before. Often customers won’t be aware that a company creates certain products and it can act as a magnet for people at trade shows. Another idea is to feature a prototype and get feedback. Prototypes can be physical, or they can be represented digitally on digital displays.
What’s the point of going to a tradeshow if it’s essentially no different from interacting with a company over the internet? That’s right: there is none. This is why Phil Cavanaugh of www.monster.com says that he makes sure that his tradeshow visitors get a fundamentally playful experience when they attend his booth. He puts touch screens all over the place, allowing people to use iPad to interact with the company’s job-finding web apps. iPads can have the same effect, he says, for businesses that don’t have as much money to spend on marketing.