There is so much competing for attendee’s attention on each aisle of the trade show hall that it is easy to be overlooked. It goes without saying that the goal is to stand out in the crowd. The busy and competitive environment often elicits a guarded and cautious feeling among show goers and they are wary of “being sold” on something at every trade show booth in the show hall. This leads your potential customers, who are walking the trade show aisles, to be dismissive and leery of slowing down as they speed walk past your booth. As discussed in our “Basic Principles for Effective Trade Show Exhibiting” article, one of the most important things that you can do to avoid becoming a victim of fly-by traffic in the show is to display clean, concise, and eye-catching graphics on your trade show display.
Your primary objective is to get the attention of your potential customers walking the aisles, rather than to have them understand the full scope of your company in a glance. It is very important to understand the difference between marketing materials like brochures, flyers, websites, and trade show displays. Often companies will try to use the same content across all of these marketing mediums. This is a big mistake as each of these are designed to be viewed or consumed in drastically different environments. Cluttered and busy graphics will lead to lost opportunities while concise and clean graphic design is one of the best methods of garnering attention in a trade show. Obviously, graphics need to convey something about your product or service, however that association can be loose. It is more important that they are eye catching and arresting.
Once the show goer stops because your graphics have caught their attention, then you can tell them your story, and about your product or service. This is the appropriate time for your elevator pitch. Do not try to deliver your elevator pitch in text on your trade show display graphics. Graphics need to be warm and inviting and create intrigue. They should invite the potential customer to stop and ask, “Tell me more about what you offer.” At that point you can consider your trade show marketing program a success. You have achieved what you set out to achieve in attracting attention in a crowded and competitive environment, and you have been given the opportunity to present your product or service. That is the true measure of success in trade show marketing.
Whether or not that prospect becomes a customer is a different measure pertaining to your product, your sales pitch, and a host of other variables. The primary focus in trade show exhibiting should be on stopping traffic in your booth, and effective graphics are one of the most important elements of achieving this objective.
In our next article, we will elaborate on some additional tips for stopping traffic at trade shows beyond well designed graphics.