There are some questions that trade show attendees are never going to ask. Why not? Because it is easier to walk right by an exhibit than trying to figure out what is happening within it.
With thousands of attendees at a trade show, there are probably thousands of reasons any particular exhibit gets passed by. No one could capture every reason…. but no exhibit will capture every attendee either.
There are people who are just not interested in the product, service or brand being offered. And that’s okay.
However, there are other reasons folks might walk right by a booth. There are certain things that your exhibit MUST convey at first glance. Show attendees are not going to spend a lot of time trying to figure things out… and they definitely won’t ask questions!
Some of the questions that trade show attendees absolutely won’t ask:
What is your product/service?
If the attendee can’t tell with one single quick glance what is being offered, they are going right by. Every time.
It’s amazing how often this happens. A company will spend thousands of dollars on floor space at a trade show, only to bring a sign with their name and logo on it parked alongside a bunch of gizmos to display. Those gizmos could be expertly engineered life-altering technology which will completely revolutionize the industry. However, no one is going to pay attention unless the exhibitor makes effort to draw attention. Gizmos sitting on a white tablecloth won’t do it. A professional display with eye-catching signage succinctly explaining the value proposition will help a great deal.
Limiting text on signage is the key here. If the graphics read like a resume, the audience isn’t going to stop and read. Very wordy graphics (like a listing of every product or service the company has offered in the last three decades) are not going to draw attention. Abundant wording is overwhelming; the attendee will not take the time to read through it. Graphics should include striking, unique visuals and never more than one sentence to convey the message.
Why are you at this show?
If an exhibitor is mis-aligned with the trade show audience, no one is going let them know.
Adequate research must be done to understand the targeted attendee and exhibitor profile. Trade show organizers usually offer detail on these demographics. Organizers may be slightly lax with the requirements, though, because every booth booked generates their revenue. Be sure to conduct detailed investigation before registering to exhibit. Pose probing questions to the event organizer, and seek out some non-competitive former exhibitors to ensure alignment with the attendee demographics.
Can you talk to me?
If a trade show attendee is interested enough for a conversation, someone absolutely must be available to engage immediately. First, the exhibit must be adequately staffed so that someone is always available to talk with attendees. Generally, a fair representation is two brand ambassadors per every hundred square feet of exhibit space.
Brand ambassadors should not be distracted! Cell phones should be forbidden for any booth staffers while on the show floor. Plan a schedule in advance, building in reasonable times for breaks, meals and voicemail checks. Full service exhibit houses like Acer Exhibits offer on-site show supervision, where a liaison is dedicated to keeping staff focused and ensuring everything runs smoothly by keeping swag stocked, ordering lunch, handling show services, etc.
If adequate staffing is unavailable, professional engagers can be hired. After undergoing product and brand training, these professionals act as brand ambassadors in and around the exhibit. They are skilled at drawing in attendees. Use of professional engagers is statistically shown to improve conversion numbers and can offer large cost savings in comparison to travel expenses and lost work time for corporate employees.
Who are you?
Sometimes, corporate polices necessitate division of booth space among various entities and brands. Too many logos, value propositions and unrelated products can be confusing and overwhelming. Care should be taken that each brand is adequately and clearly represented. Again, if the attendee can’t look once and tell what is being offered, they are going right by.
An exhibit can be designed in many ways to accommodate the differing brands and product offerings that may need to be represented. Establishment of defined zones, limitations on number of products displayed, consistent master branding and targeted communication through graphics are some methods to help alleviate confusion. Interchangeable graphics are a great way to re-use the same properties to represent various brands or business units.
Another error is inadequate branding or signage. A tablecloth emblazoned with a logo is not sufficient. The logo is at knee height – it is easily blocked and often not visible in narrow show aisles. If possible, display branding above, at and below eye-level. A simple, clean logo can be repeated often within an exhibit without detracting from the overall message.
Each show attendee has hundreds of other exhibits to visit. Ensuring that your exhibit quickly and easily captivates their attention is of paramount importance to drawing traffic into your exhibit, and making the connections that lead to conversions.