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Ideas from the Trade Show Floor
When you go to a trade show exhibit hall and your attention is drawn to a compelling trade show display, more than likely you have just been introduced to stellar marketing ideas that work. You say to yourself, what a good idea. I think I’ll do that next time.
If you find personable trade show booth staff personnel that engage you with enthusiasm and provide solid information on their new business product or service, you think to yourself that you’d like your trade show staff to be just as enthusiastic. Oftentimes, the best way to succeed in the trade show display arena is to observe what works best on the trade show floor, and then incorporate these marketing ideas and techniques in your own next trade show appearance.
When you first enter a trade show exhibit arena you most likely look up to see who has captured the air space at the trade show. At VoiceCon Fall 2006 show at the San Francisco Moscone Center in August, AT& T was the winner with a large hanging banner that captured imagination and acted as a beacon for those looking for AT&T’s trade show exhibit site. Toshiba and NEC had large overhead banners that made it easy to locate their trade show booths as well. Hanging banners are always a good way to grab attention.
Another good way to easily identify a company is to have your trade show staff color code their attire. Wearing the same color tailored shirts, slacks and even sneakers are ways of branding your trade show booth staff. Most of the trade show staff at VoiceCon looked like they were getting ready to shoot a round of golf at an exclusive country club with their company logos imprinted on their shirts. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) tells us that trade show exhibitors should try to match the general level of formality of dress code to the average attendee. The casual country club attire was worn by both the trade show booth staff and those attending the trade show.
It is also helpful to find ways to match up your company’s logo colors with your trade show staff’s clothing and accessories. Being consistent with color repetition is a significant way to brand your trade show display and your trade show staff and gain memorability. ShoreTel had their trade show exhibit staff wear orange shirts and black slacks. The company gave away orange and black carry bags and had orange and black balloons staged throughout their trade show exhibit. It was very easy to spot the ShoreTel trade show display and their trade show booth staff anywhere in the trade show exhibit hall.
Food always attracts visitors to your trade show booth. Chocolate candies, Milky Ways, Hershey Kisses on front counters in fish bowls act as magnets drawing visitors to your trade show booth. But Sprint did one better. They offered large chocolate chip and oatmeal cookies and had three very busy servers prepare freshly brewed Peets coffee for the trade show guests. Sprint’s trade show display constantly had a line of trade show visitors waiting for the highly popular coffee and cookie treat.
Live presenters at the trade show booths also draw visitors to the trade show exhibit and help your trade show staff conduct one-on-one conversations with guests after the presentation.
Another good marketing tip is to offer privacy and comfort on the trade show floor. At the VoiceCon show, Foundry Networks of Santa Clara had a large trade show exhibit with a door to a circular conference room that seated six around a conference table for meetings, briefings and privacy. They also had double padded carpet to help comfort the foot-weary trade show exhibitors and staff.
Frosted windows are also an excellent material for building conference rooms. Since floor space is extremely valuable, conference rooms tend to be small. Windows bring in needed light and reduce claustrophobia. With frosted windows, visitors don’t feel like they’re in a fishbowl and competitors can’t tell who you are talking to; yet trade show booth staffers can tell the room is in use.
One trade show display exhibitor used a hardwood floor that matched the wood of their conference room door. The wood panel theme helped to convey a pleasing design consistency throughout their trade show display space.
If you carefully observe what captures the attention of trade show visitors on the trade show floor, you can then apply these techniques to your trade show exhibit experience. This applies no whether it is the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, the Jacob K Javits Convention Center in New York, or the Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Anaheim, Long Beach, or San Diego Convention Centers.
By adding your personal touch to the proven marketing trade show methods, you will be in a perfect position to be popular with your trade show visitors.
About the Author: Bruce Backer, founder/CEO of Exponents, based in San Diego, California, a premiere component-based custom exhibits firm that designs and manufactures Exponents®, Luminents™ and CrossOver™ display systems. http://www.exponents.com