If you want game-changing ideas on how to improve your trade show performance, look no further.
We recently attended Exhibitor Live in Las Vegas, one of the biggest trade shows for businesses in the world. In its 31st year, the expo was bursting with amazing booths, industry pioneers and unrivalled innovation.
During the expo, we interviewed exhibiting trailblazers to lift the lid on their best tips for achieving a solid ROI. Here’s what we discovered to help you smash your trade show goals.
Use Tech to Fuel Innovation
Create Richer Experiences
“We recently used mixed reality to help tech giant Philips engage with booth visitors and deliver company information in a non-intrusive way.
“Attendees could walk around an oval-shaped moving structure while wearing a hololens. As they moved around the area, virtual icons would pop up with content which attendees could engage with. This created a memorable brand experience for attendees, enabling Philips to deliver their story and product information in a mesmerising way.”
Keep Your Eyes Open
“Keep your eyes open for new ideas in terms of interactive technology. When I see something I like, I think about whether it will be relevant for my customers and how I can reinterpret it to create new and exciting booth experiences.”
Always Keep Your Objective in Mind
“You shouldn’t just have cool tech for the sake of having it. It has to fit your purpose. Understand what your objectives are and THEN think the technology you can use to help you reach those objectives. Everything you do should ladder to your goals. Otherwise, you’ll create a disjointed user-experience that will inevitably fall flat.”
Leverage Face-to-Face Engagement
Humanising Your Brand
Thomas Frisby believes face-to-face engagement is everything when it comes to giving your brand a personality:
“That single human experience can aggregate well beyond in benefiting your business. When you touch someone personally, you give your brand a personality.”
Impact XM achieved this at Exhibitor Live through their technology-fuelled booth experience, which was shaped around the business’ new concept: ‘Rethinking Things.’
Attendees were encouraged to take a selfie, run it through an artificial intelligence filter and observe how the technology transformed their selfie to help them experience this concept in a fun and visceral way.
As Frisby put it, this allowed Impact XM to show “its heart and soul on the trade show floor, enabling us to communicate what our brand is truly about.”
Face-to-Face Trumps Online
Robert Laarhoven of beMatrix also shared the view that proactive face-to-face engagement is of paramount importance. As he pointed out: “That’s WHY you do trade shows. It’s the best opportunity you’re going to get to connect with customers in person and make a real impact.”
Laarhoven additionally highlighted how the rise of technology emphasises the necessity of face-to-face management:
“There was a time when people said the internet would make trade shows obsolete. But, in reality, they have become more important.
“The more money you spend, the more trust you need to build. An online shopping experience just isn’t enough in this case. Customers need to be able to make that human connection to build their trust in you.”
Capitalise on Your Space
Impact XM’s Thomas Frisby told us that from his decades of experience exhibiting, he has seen the same mistake made over and over again by businesses: failing to utilise their trade show floor space appropriately.
“You see a lot of ‘shut-in’ booths these days and this can intimidate attendees putting them off visiting your booth. They don’t want to be shut off from the rest of the world. Opening up your space gives them easy access to casually drop in when they feel like it, encouraging them to engage with you.”
Hire Skilled Booth Staff
Don’t Rely on Salespeople
Over at the J Williams Agency booth, senior account manager Nikky Williams explained to us how salespeople are great at what they do but the trade show floor is a different beast. Because they aren’t fluent in the art of exhibiting, salespeople often fail to engage with attendees effectively:
“You need booth staff trained in engagement to attract attendees to your booth. It’s very different to making a sale, lead generators need a lot of soft skills in communication to identify, attract and warm up leads.”
First Impressions Are Everything
“You only have ten seconds to make a first impression, so trained brand ambassadors are key. They need to be able to pitch the story of your business or explain how the technology works expertly. If they’re not trained, attendees will be able to tell they’re outsourced negatively impacting your brand image.”
Thomas Frisby made a similar point, explaining how his booth staff are: “the front door to our business. They understand our message, can greet people and pull them into the heart of our brand in the most friendly and approachable way. And they’re not just effective at our booth: we use them for our post-show VIP events where they can really wow our potential customers.”
Look Beyond the Headshot
Gary Taylor echoed Williams’ sentiment. He also explained how a lot of businesses make the mistake of hiring hosts based on their looks:
“You need to look beyond the headshot and choose crowd gatherers that represent the audience you’re targeting: people who are approachable and friendly, who don’t bark at attendees as they walk by your booth. Being aggressive is a fast way to lose quality customers.”
One of our own seasoned professional Engagers at Expo Stars, Christa, also emphasised the importance of having professional booth staff rather than untrained models:
“When you see a commercial, you just see a beautiful person telling you about a company. But when you’re talking to a trained host, it’s more like, ‘Wow, this person knows a lot about the brand’ and it’s much more personable.”
Understanding the Customer Journey
Gary Taylor also made a brilliant point about how booth staff should understand the customer journey to help you qualify quality leads:
“They need to ensure attendees walk down the path you want them to take. To do this successfully, your staff need the intelligence to identify the right customers and understand what’s happening in your booth.”
He also added how crowd gatherers and hosts need oodles of energy to perform consistently. Because some trade shows can last for days and hosts need high-levels of stamina to maintain the same enthusiasm throughout:
“Focus on the people who can stay on the front lines all day with a smile on their face and who aren’t afraid to open themselves up to rejection.”
Time to Conquer the Trade Show Floor!
Apply these tips to your exhibiting strategy and you’ll be surpassing your trade show goals in no time.
But if you do need extra support to get your strategy in tip-top shape, we can help. Take a look at our unique exhibiting tools built specifically to help businesses improve their trade show performance.
We can also staff your booth with highly-trained professionals or get your existing teams educated on the art of face-to-face engagement. For more information, contact us today on 0161 834 9478 (UK) or +1 702 425 9098 (USA). Alternatively, send us your enquiry here.