JB’s Space: Experiential Trade Show Marketing

Have you ever test driven a car that looks awesome from the outside, but once you get inside and drive the car you find out that its ergonomics are bad, it handles poorly, and it’s noisy to boot? On the flip-side, have you ever driven a car that’s boring on the outside, but is so well equipped and fun to drive that you couldn’t care less how it looks?

Well, this example carries over to the trade show and exhibit industry.  As a company who builds displays, we are always concerned about the “architecture” of the booth. How does it look? Is it functional? Is it a good value for its intended purpose? But today more than ever, we remind our clients that it’s not just the booth – it’s also what’s happening in the booth.

The expectations for trade show exhibits today have risen dramatically from days past.  Passive displays have given way to experiential and interactive exhibits, using concepts ranging from live social media feeds, immersive theater, digital libraries and custom gaming, to giveaways and live-streaming product demonstrations.  Using any one, or several of these, will attract more visitors and help make your brand and your booth more memorable.

To achieve this goal, we recommend that you strive to stimulate all five senses when planning your display.  Layering the experiences will leave a deeper, more memorable impression.

If you are displaying a product, utilize hands on demonstrations, invite volunteers to participate and be sure that the person doing the demo is engaging, articulate, a quick thinker and possesses a witty sense of humor.  If you are presenting a service, or perhaps a piece of equipment that is too big (and costly) to bring to the trade show, then use interactive touch screens that can illustrate your process and the benefits of utilizing your product or service.

For either scenario, be sure to have something extraordinary – extraordinarily useful, extraordinarily hilarious, extraordinarily large, extraordinarily shareable! Something that visitors will absolutely have to stop and take a picture of to share on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.  Make sure that your staff is starting conversations with guests and inviting them to connect on LinkedIn before they leave the area.  The LinkedIn mobile app, Mashable, can make this quick and easy.

Although it doesn’t fall under “cutting edge technology”, serving a snack with a memorable scent such as freshly baked pizza or cookies will surely leave an impression as well.  Another way to get your visitors involved is to incorporate a game that offers information on your product or service.  Make sure that your prizes have your company logo and contact information on them.

To draw visitors to your booth, utilize proximity marketing.  Using a Wi-Fi signal, content that is similar to a mobile app will appear automatically on a potential client’s mobile device.  You may invite guests to on-site events, or to take advantage of special promotions only offered at the trade show.

To include an audience that may not be able to attend the trade show, use real-time updates.  Designate one team member to be the social media go-to person.  Post useful information, pictures and graphics on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, such as event information, innovative industry information, alerts as to when you will be giving demonstrations, and a compelling reason to come, observe and participate.

By ensuring that your guests interact with your brand in a memorable fashion, they will be much more likely to remember you and what your organization can do for them.  Strive to be an innovator using all of the tools available to you.  By appealing to all of the senses via technology, demonstrations, social media, “booth-swag” and most importantly, top notch staffing, you can dramatically increase your brand cache and your trade show return on investment.

That's JB's Space for now. Thanks for visiting.

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