Learn From Going To The Wrong Trade Show!
If you’ve been in this business long enough, I can almost guarantee that sooner or later, your trade show booth, the literature, your swag, or some other component of your exhibiting package will end up at the wrong show. That’s bad. But I’m suggesting you go to the wrong show. That can be good.
Why should you do this? Well, think about it. You already know your industry inside and out. You probably know your competition pretty well, too. Chances are, you can guess what other exhibitors will do at the shows you attend frequently. But what’s happening at the shows you never attend—shows in a different industry?
If you’re in the technology field, why not try attending a medical products show? If you’re in medical products, check out a trade show connected to a service industry. You get the idea.
In nature, it’s called allogamy, or cross pollination: the transfer of pollen from one flower to the flower of another plant. Metaphorically, it can mean influence or inspiration between or among diverse elements. And let’s face it, can’t we all use a little inspiration?
But why, when so much of your time is devoted to attending trade shows you have to go to, should you attend a show where you didn’t need to be. There are plenty of good reasons.
1. You’ll see trade show booth ideas and trade show graphics that look completely different from those in your industry.
You’re constantly striving to make your exhibit design as exciting and inviting as possible. But if you’re only attending shows in your own field, your “reference material” is limited to what other competing exhibitors are doing—or have already done. At a trade show outside your industry, you’re going to see exhibits that have been designed to serve unique, and different, purposes. A little espionage may give you a totally new way to approach your exhibit’s design, the way your graphics are displayed, or how your product or service is presented within your exhibit.
2. You’ll see different approaches to meeting and greeting prospects.
Maybe you’re used to smaller shows where booth staffers greet prospects at the aisles, with little or no space within the trade show booth for meetings to take place. If that’s your experience, you’ve probably never seen a show with mammoth, two story exhibits where prospects are escorted to a private area upstairs to be wined and dined. But if you go to a show outside your industry, you’ll see unique approaches to communicating with your display stand’s guests, and there may be some valuable take-aways in that for you.
You probably can’t add a second story to your exhibit, but could you include a cappuccino bar where your prospects can join you for a beverage while casually talking business? There’s always a different way to do things, and the difference may not have dawned on you simply because it’s not the norm in your industry.
3. You’ll find unique sales processes that might be adapted to your shows.
Maybe your trade show booth isn’t large enough to include a product demonstration, or maybe product demos are not the norm at shows in your industry. Either way, seeing how other exhibitors approach the process of gaining the attention of passersby could give you one of those lightbulb-over-the-head moments that will make attendees at your next show take a renewed interest in your company.
Look for how other exhibitors approach lead generation, expressing customer appreciation, and the means they use to communicate their marketing messages. I’d be willing to bet there’s something different about how these things are done in other industries that you could adapt to your own shows in new and innovative ways.
4. You’ll see new ways to attract attention to your trade show exhibit and/or your product(s).
Several years ago, at a major car show, one automaker hoisted a vehicle on a huge rotisserie that skewered the car from bumper to bumper. The mechanism could be raised over a dozen feet in the air, where it would slowly spin the car, or stop it in any position. This made it very easy for attendees to see the underside of the vehicle, where a lab coat-wearing presenter pointed out industry leading safety features in the braking system, sound deadening materials in the passenger compartment, and anti-pollution technology built into the exhaust system. But more than anything, it was the sight of a car in the middle of this trade show display, being shown-off in a way no one had ever seen a car before, that made it such an effective attention-getter I still remember so vividly.
Can you discover a new way to display your product—or showcase your service—by borrowing an idea you’ve seen exhibitors use in a different industry? Quite likely, the answer is yes. But you won’t know until you do some detective work outside the confines of your own industry’s shows.
So I’ve thrown the gauntlet down. Are you willing to take up the challenge and get outside your own show schedule’s comfort zone? You’ll be surprised what you can discover if you’re willing to look.
If you’re a client of American Image Displays, we can probably help recommend a different industry’s show where we have other clients exhibiting. If you’re not one of our clients yet, call anyway. We’d be happy to help.
We have clients in a broad range of industries, and we can utilize our depth of knowledge to help our clients consider ideas that may be new to their particular fields. But nothing’s as fun—or as instructive—as seeing it for yourself.