As a vendor it’s your job to attract the customer’s attention any way you can. It’s not uncommon to see everything from scantily clad models to circus clowns making their way through an event in support of a company. And let’s face it most trade shows do have that circus atmosphere what with all the loud music, flashing lights, and costumed characters running around. While this type of guerilla marketing does attract attention, it tends to take the customer’s eye away from what the main focus should be and that’s what the vendor’s message is. The result of being the life of the party is that once the show is over, very few in attendance will remember less about who put on the event and more about the guys juggling the flaming chainsaws. Not that prop games such football toss or Plinko don’t have their place at a trade show. After all, the most important thing is getting that foot in the door. With that said though vendors need to remember that through all the glitz and glitter if the customer doesn’t walk away with the sponsor’s name on their tongue, all that shock and awe missed its target.
Believe it or not there are other qualities that customers appreciate in the company’s they do business with rather than providing them with a good time. Among those traits honesty is considered one of the highest. For some adverting and honesty may be on completely separate ends of the spectrum, but if you’re a consumer looking to spend a large sum of money in a time when our nation’s economy is leaving everyone counting pennies; being honest is a breath of fresh air. An example of this can be seen this week in a recent full page ad featuring the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves who continuously seem to be disappointing fans with one losing season after another. In the letter the team president tells fans “We now have more shooting, athleticism and depth at every position, which will make us a better team this season. So will we challenge for the NBA championship this year? Not likely. Ouch. This honesty thing is a bit painful. But the reality is, we still need that one dominant player…..We are confident, however, that this team will be exciting to watch. For the first time in years Wolves fans are going to feel like they’re missing out if they aren’t in the arena. So in addition to player development we’re working hard on fan development, starting with variable pricing and Flex Pack ticket packages that let you pick the games and seats that you want. The bottom line for fans is: We’re making it easier than ever for you to be part of our turnaround.”
Instead of fireworks and magicians, consider an approach similar to the Timberwolves: Custom built fabric walls, soft lighting behind a backdrop of hand selected images, a hanging banner overhead, a conference table to the side, a few chairs for visitors, and a video monitor providing constant information on how your product will change the lives of all who try it. All of this covered in eye catching colors and featuring your company’s name and logo emblazoned in multiple places. No tricks. Nothing to disguise who you are. Just an honest approach at presenting yourself to the customer.