Hidden Trade Show Competition & Fighting It
You may think of your business competitors as the only rivalry to face at your next trade show. However, there are a few hidden challenges for your Grand Rapids business at every trade show. A great trade show display is only part of the solution. Here are a few competitors, including the hidden ones, and how you can outsmart any challenge.
1. Your business competitors
It’s true, you do have to compete with other exhibitors for attendees. But, your competitors are helping you too.
How? Their promotional efforts help bring more people to the exhibit hall. Take advantage of the attendees brought in by your competition. Offer them your products and services and bring them off the aisles and into your exhibits too.
To stand out against your competition, you need to be on top of your game. Your trade show booth itself needs to be top notch. Along with your display, promotional materials, products and services and your booth staff all help set you apart. Taking advantage of the traffic brought in by your competition is the best way to overcome this most obvious challenge.
2. The clock
These days, we’re all starved for time. Careers take far more than 40 hours a week. Your commute to and from work takes time. And, of course, there are family responsibilities and everything else we pack into our days.
That same reality is also working against you on the show floor. Attendees don’t have the time for a leisurely stroll down every aisle. They don’t have time to check out every exhibitor. Instead, they’re trying to pack in as much as they can into tight schedules.
You need to win the fight against the clock. You need to stand out. But how?
Try to set up your trade show display close to hall entrance. The ideal spot is just to the right of the doors. Most people naturally walk towards the right first, so you’ll be the first exhibit they see.
Make sure you stand out before the show even opens. Contact your customers and prospects a week or two in advance. Set appointments before the show for them to meet with your best trained staffers.
3. The trade show location
Have you noticed that lots of trade shows take place in warm and sunny environments—places people would go on vacation if they weren’t there for work? This creates a distraction from what’s going on inside the show site.
The solution? Use the area’s attractions as part of your promotions. Consider a golf outing for your top customers. Stage a reception atop a famous skyscraper or landmark. Provide tickets to a spectacular show, with a hosted post-show cocktail party. By integrating the area’s attractions into your promotions, you won’t lose trade show attendees’ attention to the excitement going on around them.
4. Trade show events
It’s tough to compete for attendees’ attention when they’re rushing out of the exhibit hall on their way to a conference session.
Many shows stagger the exhibit hall hours with the conferences and lessons. But attendees still need time to get from the show floor to the conference rooms, or stop by their hotel room before moving on to an event. That means less time is available for them to check out what you have to offer
The solution is to make sure your trade show plans aren’t limited to the display alone. People attend trade shows to learn, so try to get your team onto the conference schedule. Have your staff provide lessons and valuable information that matters to attendees. You can even promote your product or service during these sessions.
Additionally, you can offer information on relevant topics when attendees visit your booth– not just product flyers.
5. Distractions from the office
It would be ideal if trade show visitors could unplug from everything going on at the office or at home. It would be nice if they could focus all their attention on getting the most they can from the show they’re attending.
But these days, that’s just not possible. We’re all connected 24/7. Especially when we’re traveling, we make sure to keep our phones handy so people can call us whenever a problem arises.
The best solution is to create important experiences in your exhibit that visitors can’t have anywhere else. Go beyond the typical product presentation and appeal to as many senses as possible, with all the technological support you can bring. The more engaging your exhibit is, the less attendees will be distracted by what’s going on elsewhere.
This problem of splintered attention doesn’t just affect your visitors. Your booth staffers are experiencing the same situation. So make it clear to staffers that the show is a tremendous expenditure of time and money. It’s also a superior selling environment. Tell your people to take on a greater sense of responsibility for the show’s success.
6. Attendees’ devices
When attendees are walking the aisles, their smartphones, tablets or laptops are being constantly bombarded. They’re being hit with Twitter, Facebook, emails, phone messages and a variety of other interactive apps. This distraction could be anything, from a pending deal in the office to a child’s report card at home.
How can you compete for their attention in this wired world? The best way to deal with this problem is to use mobile devices to your advantage, rather than fight them. Create a marketing campaign that’s integrated across multiple platforms. Use emails, social media updates, and advertising on the show’s website. Essentially, present your message to attendees wherever they are looking.
The Bottom Line:
Think about all the things that you’re competing against at a trade show. It suddenly seems far more complex than simply setting up a booth and showing what your company provides.
You need to take steps to deal with these issues. If you don’t, you’ll be far less successful than you could be. So, make your trade show exhibit a showstopper at your next show!