Confuse or Lose: 3 Keys to Avoid Trade Show Confusion

When you’ve read this, check out my new and exciting blog site.

In a recent coaching session, my client started telling me all about the different products he was going to be showing at the trade show he was preparing for. I listened patiently and then asked “which is the most important one?” “They all are” was my client’s response.

Over the years I’ve seen this mistake played over and over again at various shows.  Booths stuffed full of stuff, different stations and activities that makes it look like a three-ring circus. Presented with this jumble, the visitor may or may not try to figure out whether the exhibitor has something of interest to offer.

According to psychological research, when the brain is presented with too much information to absorb, it easily becomes confused. And at a trade show, a befuddled mind often takes the easy way out, and together with the body, moves on to the next booth.

The message I get from these types of exhibitors is three-fold – ill-prepared, lazy, and selfish. They are ill-prepared and lazy because they haven’t taken the time to focus on one specific product or message for their target audience, and selfish because it’s all about them and not about their prospects and customers.

To avoid buyer confusion at your next show, here are three important keys:

1.    Take time to plan and crystallize your exhibiting goals and objectives.  The purpose of your booth is to attract the right buyers so that you can have a meaningful conversation about their needs and wants.

2.    Have one clear message and focus for your booth.  Remember that according to trade show research, over 76% of visitors go to shows to see “what’s new.”  With this in mind, present something new, exciting and different.

3.    Keep your booth open and welcoming.
a.    Get rid of chairs to avoid the sitting temptation.
b.    Keep tables at the sides or at the back of the booth (tables at the front act as a barrier).
c.    Make sure your booth isn’t overflowing with your own staff who stand around chitchatting with each other when the show is slow.

Finally, as you prepare for your next show, remember to keep focused on what’s most important to your target audience – not you!

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies”and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.

Check out my new and exciting blog site.

Share

Is the New iPad a Good Trade Show Giveaway?

Is the new iPad a good trade show giveaway?

A resounding “yes” if you are Apple or are an Apple supplier. If you’re anyone else, “definitely not.”

Why am I so against this new and exciting addition to the hi-tech market? It’s definitely not because I have anything against the iPad, in fact, quite the opposite.  I’m not sure who wants one more, my husband, or myself!

I’m against this type of high-end giveaway for the simple reason that it attracts all the wrong people to your booth.  It’s magnetic effect lures attendees who, for the most part, are only interested in being a winner, and are often not at all interested in what product or service you have to offer – if they even know what it is.

I’ve just returned from a small, yet highly prestigious show in a niche market, where three out of forty exhibitors were giving away an iPad.  Two of the biggest names in that industry where side-by-side on the show floor, (guess what) giving away the same exact thing. I watched as most of the attendees diligently filled out a card with their key information, and dropped it into a fish bowl saying a little prayer that theirs will be the lucky one.  What did the booth staff do? They just watched, and once in a while, had a brief interaction with the visitor. Not the best scenario!

If you want to do something else, how can you make the best use of giveaways, and what’s the best one for you?

Here are five guidelines for you to follow:

If you want to do something else, how can you make the best use of giveaways, and what’s the best one for you?
Here are five guidelines for you to follow:

1.    Understand the purpose of a giveaway item
The purpose of a giveaway item is to increase your prospect’s memorability of your product or service long after the show is over.  It’s a token of appreciation, a way to thank your prospect for visiting your booth.  It’s like a souvenir you have from a fun vacation. Every time you look at it or use it, you conjure up memories – hopefully good ones!

2.    Fit your giveaway into your exhibiting objective
There are so many quality logo products to consider. However, which one will best suit your purpose?  To select the right item, you need to decide on your objective.  Do you want it to enhance a theme; convey a specific message, create brand awareness, or educate your target audience?   A clear purpose helps make your selection process easier.  Consult a promotional specialist to help you choose an effective solution. Having a clear objective for your premium item makes deciding who receives it, easier. Consider different gifts for different types of visitors – quality gifts for your key customers, and prospects, and something else, if necessary, for general passers by.

3.    Give visitors something to do to qualify for a gift
There are several ways to use your premium effectively.  For example, as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest; as a token of your appreciation when visitors give you qualifying information about their specific needs; as a thank you for stopping at the booth.  However, avoid leaving items out for the masses because this lowers the perceived value, and lacks the “all important” memorability factor.

4.    Use the giveaway as a traffic builder
A sufficiently novel or useful giveaway can actively help to draw prospects to your booth.  Make sure your prospects know about it beforehand.  Send a “tickler” invitation, add it to your Facebook page, tweet about it, or use any other social media so that the right people know about it, and will make a point of coming to see you at the show.  Remember to include your booth number.

5.    Measure the effectiveness of your premium
Develop a tracking system to measure the success of your giveaway.  If it’s a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show.  Post-show follow-up with your booth visitors could include a question about the premium – did they remember receiving it, and how useful was the item.  Critique your giveaway with your exhibit team: Did it draw the right (quality) prospects to the booth? Did your customers find it useful?  Did it project the right corporate image? Remember that your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away, so make sure that it’s quality!
What’s the right giveaway that’ll attract qualify prospects?  Anything that’s related to your products or services that will educate, or help your target audience in a positive way!

So, forget the iPad unless you’re Apple!

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies” and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.

Share

Virtually Attired: 7 Tips to Dress for Cyberspace Success

First impressions matter, virtually or in-person. “Your appearance, makeup, hair and clothes are as important as your smile. When you project an image of confidence, you are more likely to succeed in business and social relationships,” according New York image consultants.

Whether you’re seen or not, participating in a virtually event doesn’t mean that you have to forget about how you look.

Nowadays, with office-casual attire accepted in most corporate environments, and given that you can work from home in your PJs (if you feel like it), you might under-estimate the value of business attire in a virtual meeting or event environment. Lazing around in PJs or shorts and a tee-shirt with tousled hair makes you look and feel unprofessional. Even if you’re not on video during your virtual event, the way you look definitely affects the way you perform, speak and think!

Check out The CBS Interactive business network’s savvy video about dressing for business.

When you attend a virtual event where you’re seen by your colleagues, consider the following seven tips to make sure that you come across professionally and feel good doing it:

  1. Focus on the upper half of your body since head and shoulders are usually the most visible on a webcam.
  2. Make sure that the background around you is neat and tidy.
  3. Dress professionally. Your attire and grooming are important for you to feel and act more business-like.
  4. Make sure that your hair is clean and styled, teeth brushed and face washed and/or shaved. Women, if you normally wear make-up, apply it as usual, and use some powder to get rid of any of those shiny spots.
  5. Sit up straight. It shows that you’re interested and paying attention, plus, good posture helps keep your energy level up.
  6. Wear a plain shirt or top, or one that has a small insignificant design. Heavily patterned, brightly colored, or too detailed-oriented garments will distract your audience away from your message.
  7. Avoid gaudy jewelry like large earrings and chunky necklaces – another major distraction.

The Golden Rule is that “understated works best.” However, even though you’re concentrating more on the upper part of your body, don’t ignore the lower half.  If you dress the part, you’ll be the part, geared up for your virtual event success.

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies” and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.

Share