Exposure floor at trade shows is often a mix of sounds, cultures, and textures. Attendees navigate the aisles of exhibitors to find knowledge, confirmation, and motivation.
Even though trade show attendance has decreased over the last few years, it is clear that those selected by their cost-conscious organizations to attend an event represent a higher-level decision-maker and a more targeted search for important information.
Attendees at trade shows can save time and money by identifying and solving real problems.
The professionals selected by an organization will often arrive at the event with specific assignments and goals. They will be able to inquire about, research, and understand critical new products and services.
After products and services have been identified and accepted, super-trade show attendees will want to meet the management team of an exhibitor to establish solid relationships and gain personal commitments to provide high-quality customer service should they choose to buy.
Exhibitors need to be able to focus their efforts and attention in order to attract, communicate, and engage the new super attendee at today’s trade shows. This will help them to succeed in today’s economic trade show environment.
Identify your Targeted Prospect
Your trade show exhibit results will improve if you identify and understand your target audience. What number will be attending the show? What will they be looking for? What information should they have about your products? Who is the best person in your company to answer their questions?
Simplicity is key to your success. Avoid confusing prospects with too many messages. Multi-divisional corporate exhibitors can make it difficult for their company to be effective at trade shows by trying to convey too many notes simultaneously. This causes them to lose out on their competition who only present powerful, more comprehensive messages to targeted attendees. Multi-divisional corporate exhibitors might find it beneficial to rent separate booths for each division. This allows them to be more focused on their essential products and simplifies their presentation to prospects.
Communications before the show
Super attendees often take the time to review and choose which activities they are most interested in attending. This allows them to maximize their time and to make sure that their experience is as valuable as possible. Expositors have a variety of communication options to communicate the benefits of their booth, workshops, product presentations, or seminars. Super attendees should research and implement them early enough to add them to their agenda as a must-attend event.
Continuity of communications is essential for maintaining visual and content synergy from invitations through after-show follow-up, including all other forms of marketing/advertising and sales support materials that present unified supporting impressions to ensure the success of the campaign.
Exhibit on Show Floor
Your exhibit presentation on the trade show floor is crucial. It demonstrates who and what you stand for and what corporate culture you represent. Your entire exhibit presentation stimulates nearly all the senses of super attendees and creates an actual image that will influence their decision-making process.
It is easy to see how first impressions and images play a significant role in the prospect’s development of value and commitment to buying.
The trade show exhibit must be designed with bold graphics at a height that is not blocked by anyone standing or visiting it.
Pre-show communications campaigns should be used to define the essence of the message from the aisle. It should also invite super attendees interested in the letter to visit the exhibit, where they should immediately be welcomed by booth staff.
Prospects should be able to understand and communicate the product presentation. This will allow them to draw predetermined conclusions, similar to highly-trained sales personnel used in successful sales organizations. The following steps should be documented and support systems put in place to ensure that everything is delivered or as promised within a short timeframe. This will maintain positive pressure on the sales process.
Here’s where the money stops
The desk sign of President Truman clearly indicated that he was responsible for the decisions made by his White House. Today, the same applies to trade show exhibitors’ top executives who are on booth duty and demonstrate a solid commitment to excellence and leadership. A handshake with a president to confirm the details of a successful presentation of a product by one of the professionals on standby might be enough to secure a sale or keep it from being taken over by a competitor.
Ted Turner’s “Leading, Following, or Getting Out of the Way” is an excellent example of how top management can, in just three days, demonstrate a commitment for the business, prospects, customers, and everyone who works with him/her. Although management can speak their minds whenever and wherever they like, the truth is that actions speak louder than words. Respect and admiration are earned by a president who puts on his/her sleeves to learn how to support the business at the ground.
Marketing or sales
The location of the trade show exhibit function and the person it reports to within a company often determine how accurate, and efficient the process can be evaluated, supported, and improved to attain maximum results.
Because of its short duration and tactical nature, the trade show exhibit team can be a valuable sales tool. A trade show typically lasts three days and delivers immediate, fact-based results. Trade show exhibits are live and flexible and can be modified during the show to improve performance and results.
The highly tactical sales function of a company is evaluated daily on its sales performance. However, the trade show function that can identify and stimulate new customers and convert them in the shortest timeframe will always have a place in the sales support department.
Trade show exhibits are not used as a tactical sales function. Instead, they are used as strategic communication tools by many marketing departments. They are used to develop new markets, products, and competitive analysis, as well as establish long-term strategic plans.
Trade show exhibit functions can do almost everything, strategically or tactically, and it is often a global industry that has all its components under one roof for three days.
Since the Industrial Revolution began in England in 1750, the trade show exhibit function has been an integral part of the global industry and business community. Its extraordinary history dates back to the early days of the trade show, when local merchants set up tents and tables at the heart of ancient markets to sell their handcrafted wares, produce, and other commodities. Today’s tradeshow exhibit programs are possible and will succeed if they have the right attitude, courage, and creativity. Trade show exhibits can be able to achieve tangible and quantifiable results by using the Internet’s social media, website marketing, public relations strategies, and provocative advertising programs.
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