How To Be A Stand-Out Exhibitor At Your Next Show
Every exhibitor wants their display to be remembered long after the show is over. But most are lucky to be remembered for as long as it takes to get to the snack bar or the exit.
How do you carve out a niche for yourself and turn your exhibit into a marketing experience? Don’t be just another booth with just another assortment of graphics and just another parade of products! Instead, try out a couple of these ideas.
1) The first and most critical factor in being successful as an exhibitor is show selection.
Study each show’s marketing materials. You need to determine whether the attendees will be appropriate for your product or service. You also want to know whether enough of those attendees will be at the particular show you’re considering.
Once you’ve found the right show(s), you need to have a set of exhibiting goals your team can agree on.
You also need to design the metrics to measure your success at reaching those goals.
You know the old saying, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know how to get there? Translated, that means you need written goals. Your management and staff need to agree to these goals.
If you don’t have a written goal, you are virtually guaranteed you not to reach it.
2) Your plan for success at the show should start well before the show itself. Pre-event promotions is one area where you can do a great deal—without spending a great deal—to stand out from the pack.
Most exhibitors either skip or skimp on pre-show marketing. This translates into a huge opportunity for you. A concerted effort to invite attendees will bring more people to your exhibit once the show begins.
A study done by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) confirms how well this works.
A CEIR report says “invitations from exhibitors are a highly regarded information source that helps influence attendees when deciding whether to attend an exhibition.”
Isn’t that what you’re after?
3) Some exhibitors try to find success by appealing to different learning styles, to reach a larger number of attendees.
- There are visual learners (who gravitate to a booth’s graphics to see what the exhibitor is trying to communicate).
- There are also auditory learners who learn by hearing. They absorb the greatest amount of information by listening to a demonstration or talking with a staffer.
- Kinesthetic learners are people who learn through “hands on” experience. They’ll want to touch your product to discover everything they can about it.
All three types will be at your next show.
The problem is that most exhibitors never get past planning for those first two types of learners. They allow their booth graphics to appeal to visual learners and their booth staff to handle auditory learners.
Rarely do exhibitors go the extra mile to involve kinesthetic learners. So to stand out, brainstorm ways in which you can help all three types of learners get the most out of your exhibit.
How can you reach out and touch all three of them?
4) The most obvious element required to stand out as an exhibitor is to follow up on your show leads.
Maybe you’ve heard this statistic before: 80% of exhibitors don’t do any type of lead follow-up at all. I’ve never found a source for this figure. I asked the folks at CEIR, and it didn’t come from them.
What CEIR did report is that the vast majority of exhibitors don’t have a plan in place for follow-up after the show. While that’s not quite the same as not following up at all, it sure makes effective follow-up harder to do.
Don’t let your company fall into this trap.
Stand out by structuring a lead processing plan and starting on it immediately after the close of the show (or sooner).
5) Increase your chances of standing out at a show by incorporating on-site marketing activities.
Do this to maximize your impact and boost your odds of succeeding. Here are a few ideas to improve your onsite marketing:
- Take an ad in the exhibition program. Another CEIR study found that 94% of attendees do some type of pre-event planning. Attendees do this to determine which exhibits they’ll visit in the short amount of time they have to visit a show. Over half that number (54%) turned to the show program for that information – so be in the program!
- Attendees often claim that one of their top reasons for attending a show is to keep abreast of industry trends. So, if your product or service is new and novel, make it easy for attendees to find you, since that’s exactly why they’re at the show. Make this the crux of your marketing message.
- Another important reason people visit shows is to speak with experts. What better way to establish your “industry expert” credentials than to speak on a panel or present a workshop? This is a challenge to do, but the pay-off is incredible. So make the effort to place someone from your company on the educational program.
6) The other important element necessary to becoming a stand-out exhibitor is the trade show exhibit itself.
When you’re ready to step up to the plate and hit a home run on your next show, talk with us. We can help with a brand new exhibit, if needed. We can also help if you just need a few things to spruce up what you’re currently using.
Let us be your stand-out supplier – we’ll make sure your display does stand out too! We’re only a call or email away at (800) 676-3976 or [email protected]