Lessons of Trade Show Exhibiting
If you are a company looking to make a splash at a trade show, listen to the words of Woody Allen who said that 80% of success is just showing up. Same applies to trade shows. If you want a major presence at a trade show, your company needs to show up on the trade show floor with a trade show exhibit. Otherwise, you will be conspicuously absent from the trade show arena.
A case in point --at the CES show in Las Vegas in January, according to Forbes.com, Research in Motion had very little presence in Vegas, despite the fact that it seemed as if every one of the 140,000 people at the trade show had one of its products. By not exhibiting with a trade show booth, RIM made it difficult to believe its recent insistence that it was going after the consumer market with its BlackBerry Pearl.
Instead, it appeared that RIM had given up on the race to get smart phones into the hands of ordinary consumers. The message that RIM had the premiere business phone, however, could have been reinforced to their core customers at their trade show display. But, since there was no RIM trade show exhibit, the message went unheard.
The next lesson is to just do something! Or as Nike is famous for its slogan -- Just do it.
What Kodak did at the CES trade show was to exhibit a soon- to- be released solution to digital photos that are most likely just collecting dust on your PC’s hard drive. Their answer is to have the EasyShare Digital Picture Frames play a slideshow of favorite photos and video clips. Music can be incorporated into the slideshow. Models were shown in 8” and 10” digital frames and they offer integrated Wi-Fi for streaming videos, photos, music from your PC to another room. The product is due out by March 2007.
Another lesson is to aggressively market your company’s splashy news.
Think big. Heavily market your news. The legendary Steve Jobs kicked off his company’s Macworld Conference and Expo 2007 with not only a rousing keynote address from San Francisco’s Moscone West, but he also has his self-promoting keynote speech on Apple’s website for anyone to hear at any time. It is video on demand, and everyone can hear the Pied Piper talk about his company’s extremely successful products and Apple’s creativity 24/7. Jobs magically and romantically talks about the latest developments and hottest products in the Mac industry.
It helps if you are a master of marketing. There is no shame in self-promoting your company and your new products. With little modesty, one week before Macworld, Apple changed the front of its company website to an eye-catching Apple logo with the promise: "The first 30 years was just the beginning. Welcome to 2007."
Remember, in order to have a successful trade show experience, follow the lessons of trade show marksmanship. They are: be seen, be active, and be heard. These lessons apply wherever you have a trade show exhibit—whether it is at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, the Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the Santa Clara Convention Center or the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.
About the Author: Dick Wheeler is President of Professional Exhibits & Graphics, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with showroom in Sacramento. Firm is full-service premiere trade show exhibit, graphics and management services company. http://www.proexhibits.com