As I was rereading an older blog, and realized that updating it makes sense as this is still a major challenge for companies. They have only moved the needle a bit in engaging and increasing the numbers at tradeshows for their companies. Today’s span of age generations are looking for further engagement at these shows. Trade shows still bring together buyers, sellers,manufacturers and their products/services availability.
Today’s consumers use the internet for product information and competitive information(think yelp for foodservice services).They participate in virtual trade shows, social media and more. In person shows have been less attended than ever before. The sellers stand in their booth and wave the end users in or better yet just say hi , what’s new with your business? Maybe they should be asking, is your biggest challenge X? Know your customers buzz words, and sweet spots to engage them.
The number of exhibitors at a show today is disproportionate to the number of attendees. Booth size may change; faces within the booth do change but the and how is always the same. If it is an equipment show walk up and down the aisles and what you will see is a field of stainless steel, and if it is a food show walk up and down the aisles and you will smell food and sample food, probably not knowing the difference from one food or another at the end of the day. What will they remember after the show about you and your products/services?
How do we inspire people to change the way they have done shows? With fewer days at show, attendees only visiting about 50% booth and even the quality of the booth visitation have changed. What is the ROI to the end users? What is the ROI to the exhibitor? The association, the trade show management company and so on. The impact of trade shows affects the economics and time of many people and businesses.
- Look at buying trends for that market
- Look at communication trends-social media, interactive, visually engaging
- Look at the impact on a real world
- Give relevancy to the consumer and you will build loyalty.
How do you make your exhibit more effective? How do you focus or engage people to come into your booth, draw traffic?
- Relevant food product demonstrations, samplings-eg. Comfortable, ambiance, passionate chefs and it makes a difference
- Know your audience. Narrow down your focus. Gain a better perspective on who you are selling to at this show. Equipment and products choices that will give your customer the competitive edge for this year.
- Offer solutions that are easy to implement
- Collaborate with fellow non competitive suppliers to come up with booth that are end users/client focused. Make it easier for them to envision what and how to use the products
- Rethink the way you show your products/services-think out of the box. Another step could be to show it within a smaller version of a kitchen or…again using your imagination to get the buyer into your booth to engage them to tell their story
- Educational presentations at your booth-relevancy and powerful speakers
- Use vimeo or interactive storyboarding for testimonials or rolling out a video story
- Use apps that allow a customer to access information during the show
- Use social media as an engagement device to build excitement, tell them ideas, appear as an expert for your services and product.At show social media is a must to continue engagement for attendees and for the market segment who isn’t there so you build a following that goes to you for answers.
- Promotions via social media platforms
People still want face time, engagement, great educational sessions and sampling of products to touch and feel. They are selected in what shows they go to and who they visit. Don’t you want to be on their VIP list?
Trade shows don’t need be become outdated? They can reenergize with new ideas, interactive educational sessions, better networking events between industry leaders and build excitement via social media, ambience, venue and location.
If you are doing same old trade show tricks, how do you expect different results? Think about you trade show strategy for this year and make it work for you. Think about your marketing strategy too? Focused webinars, foodservice focus groups and all year round promotional social campaigns that engage your potential customers much more than ever before. I can help you get started.
Trade Show Strategist, Foodservice Business Consultant, Foodservice Engager-Collaborator-Influencer-Connector