How not to set up a trade show booth
I spent the day today at a trade show. Took a couple of classes in the morning and spent about an hour in the exhibit hall this afternoon.
I was amazed again (same thought every year) at how badly a job all of these companies do designing their exhibit booths. Most have shiny, professional backgrounds, nice lighting, great furniture, interactive displays, products painted great colors.
But I'm walking down the aisle looking left, right, left, right, left, right looking for something interesting enough to stop and talk about. You've got about a second to tell me why I should stop and no booth does that.
7 out of 10 booths don't even say anywhere what the company does. They have an nice logo and lots of things on display but I don' t know if the sell those things, fix those things, or provide a service using those things.
Of the remaining 3 out of 10, the company logo is most prominent, business name is second, and 3 or 4 lines down, or maybe on a flyer or business card is a hidden line that tells what the company does. In my one second scan, I won't see it and we won't talk, even if you sell something I desperately need.
And nobody tells me what they do that is unique or new or why they provide something I can't get everywhere else.
A display of DX coils is interesting but I can order them anywhere, why should I stop and see you?
I know it's weird that I care but I went to the show hoping to pick up some new ideas, find some interesting products, solve some problems, and I was frustrated walking up and down the aisles with no clue what anyone could do for me. I didn't want to have to stop and have a conversation with each and every vendor and beg them to please tell me what you do.
I even heard several attendees who were stopped by carnival barkers at some of the boots ask "What does your company do?" If someone has to ask that while staring at your booth, you failed in your mission.
naysayer, skeptic, conspiracy theorist
What ! ! ? ? ?, No cute 1st or 2nd year Engineering college girls, to draw you into the booth, that have no idea who they are even working for. What is this world coming to?
A famous marketing guru once said: "Your Headling is the Ad for the Ad"
Essentially, if someone is flicking through a magazine, or walking through a tradeshow, you have seconds to get across a message that tells them why they should stop and find out the rest of the message.
Like ads, most booths completely miss this critical part of the equation. The number one thing someone should see when they look at your booth/ad/truck, etc is that quick one sentence message that tells them exactly what you do, and why you do it different/better.
"Control Your Home's Temperature from Your iPhone with Our NEW T100 Thermostat"
The problem that most companies face is they don't have anything remarkably different. Which leads to the second quote:
"Marketing is a tax paid by the unremarkable"
are you talking about the trade show happening in Toronto March 22-24/2012?
http://www.cmxciphexshow.com/ i never been to one before kinda excited to see whats it about. any new equipment/tools and other stuff
I'm going but it doesn't impress me as much as it used to. Maybe you have to go every 5 years to be impressed.
not quite a trade show
I am a little off the subject here but I will ask anyway.
I own an HVAC company and I am setting up a booth at a local community "spring fling". They will set up areas for Service, retail, food ....
I will be the only HVAC company out there. I am looking for some create ideas to get your attention in that 1 second I have to grab it.
Do you have any ideas you can share? or areas I should look for ideas? I am new to the this site. I am not a "cute 1st or 2nd year Engineering college girls", But if that's all it takes maybe I can pull it off LOL
Why are you setting up a booth?
If it's to make sales at the show, your headline, big ad, first thing I see should be what you're selling and why I would buy from you:
"Save On Cooling Bills with an energy efficient AC system from XYC Company"
"Lightening Fast Heating and Cooling Service - We'll be there when you need us"
"Voted "Most Honest" A/C Contractor in Springfield"
If you're there to build name recognition:
Make your company name and logo huge and give away magnets, pens, stickers to the kids, tote bags, thermometers, etc. by the thousands. Make sure every family in town has something with your name on it. Hand them with a business card that has a call to action: promote your PM service (and make it sound like something I need), promote your lightening fast service, your great prices, whatever makes you better.
I'm no expert in marketing but this is what would turn my head...assuming I was looking for what you're selling. So you need to be in touch with what your customers really want and sell them exactly that. Hint: nobody wants AC repairs or installations. They want honesty, great pricing, fast service, good advice, or something else. Sell them that thing.
And keep your headline short. 5 words would be great. I might pause to read 7 words if they're big enough to see from a distance.
naysayer, skeptic, conspiracy theorist
You mean like one year when they had two hotties in the shower promoting plumbing fixtures for a company who's name I don't remember. ...........................I think it was plumbing fixtures.
Originally Posted by madhat
ENJOY THE RIDE
Originally Posted by maintenanceguy
I went to a big all day geo class. They had like 6 booths, that you could look at while you drank beer at the end of the day.
I know one was from malco tools. I remember it, because they actually had tools there, along with some new ergonomic grips for their snips.
The other, was lochinvar, and they were showing off their new wall hung boiler. They didn't have one, but they had one made of plastic, and you could look inside the boiler to see the design. It was actually pretty cool.
The other was honeywell, showing off their new fan powered humidifers. The funniest part, was I jokingly said to him "oh, so you guys are selling something else now, to recover from all those truesteam warranties?" in which is said 'those are a thing of the past! heres our new system!'
"for a fresh batch of warranty returns."
The 4th, I got a little keychain light, that I lost after about 3 beers.
The 5th, I took the keyring apart, and used the ring to seperate my work keys from my personal keys.
The 6th, didn't even have someone working the booth.
Point being, if you don't even HAVE YOUR PRODUCT YOUR PITCHING, you wasting your time.
Don't show me a picture. Show me your product, or atleast some type of clear cut physical example of what you do.
"Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."
"Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."
"Just get it done son."
maintenanceguy Thanks for your input! I do have most of those things ordered and ready I almost forgot my "Voted best A/C & Heating in Wylie" banner but that is now ordered as well!
Not trying to sell repairs or installs - you are right no one whats to think about that!
I am always looking for good "headlines" or "catch phrases" to get people to take that 2nd look.
Originally Posted by Peztoy
This may provide some inspiration. Click ont he first banner. http://www.holmesheating.com/.
Originally Posted by bayoubaby456
(Note: this banner/offer may be down if you read this in a month)
Originally Posted by MBDave
Any relation to Mike?
[Avatar photo from a Florida training accident. Everyone walked away.]
2 Tim 3:16-17
RSES CMS, HVAC Electrical Specialist
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