There are plenty of things that can go wrong at a Trade Show. It’s kind of like trying to put on a concert with 100 other bands playing simultaneously and some only a few feet away, which actually sounds kind of fun, right? Embracing the chaos is the nature of such large events, but there are always ways to set yourself up for success no matter the circumstances.
We’ve compiled six of our favorite tips for running a successful Trade Show and we believe if you follow all of them you’ll have a headstart on the rest of the field.
1. Get off your butt and be ready
If you are working a Trade Show booth and are sitting down behind a table, you might as well be holding up a sign that says “we’re not that excited about our product”. People generally go to Trade Shows with the expectation of interacting with businesses to learn more about their products and you have lots of competition that’s ready to steal your prospective consumers. Push your table as far back into the booth as you can and get out in front of it.
Put on a big smile and be ready to draw people in!
2. Differentiate from the competition
Sometimes it simply comes down to location, location, location. If you are able to pick your spot, don’t skimp. If location happens to be out of your control, don’t worry, there are plenty of other ways you can grab the attention of a passerby. Here are a few places to start:
- Tell compelling stories/give awesome presentations
- Use vibrant and unique color schemes over bland alternatives
- Give away cool stuff, but wait to give anything away until you’ve determined that someone is qualified to buy what you are selling
3. Target your ideal customer
Before you even start designing your Trade Show booth and planning your presentations/sales pitches/compelling stories, define exactly who it is you are trying to connect with at the event. You can do this by creating customer personas based on data from your past Trade Shows or researching who your competition is targeting. Knowing your audience ahead of time will allow you to craft every aspect of your event around why they would want to buy your product and you’ll be able to speak specifically to their individual needs. Think like the customer!
4. Vocalize your unique selling proposition
What can you say about your product that nobody else can? What story can you tell about the product or company you are promoting consumers likely haven’t heard before. People love great stories and consumers are smarter and more educated about what they are buying now more than ever, so they don’t want to hear the same ole’ rundown. If someone walks by 50 Trade Show booths in a day, they are only likely to remember snippets of sales pitches and conversations they had throughout the event–make your words count!
5. Don’t be too aggressive
Be ready, be assertive and be willing to introduce yourself to people who are walking by your booth, but don’t be too pushy or overly aggressive. Consumers are sick of “being sold to” so don’t waste valuable opportunities by scaring off people who aren’t looking to be part of a one-way conversation. This can be a fine line yes, but being genuine and down to earth will go a lot further in keeping people around long enough to educate them about your product.
6. Be diligent in your planning
Depending on the size of the Trade Show, you may need to begin planning months ahead of time in order to cover all of your bases. Having plans for running out of product at your booth, filling roles if a Brand Ambassador or Promotional Model doesn’t show, setup and tear-down requirements, technological failures etc… will only help minimize the stress you’ll already be under on the day of the event. They say that winning is in preparation!
Finding great Brand Ambassadors is more challenging now than ever, especially with the lack of in-house promotional teams these days. Trying to match people from contracted agencies to your brand and event needs is much more difficult than building and growing your own team of ambassadors with only your brand’s vision in mind. So how do you find the best talent?
When it comes to determining which people you want representing your brand, there are some simple qualities to look for that can help narrow down the field, but there are also some more event/location specific qualities you best not skip over. It is equally important to find people that are the right fit for your specific needs as it is to find quality Brand Ambassadors in more general terms.
Let’s start with the basic qualities of a great Brand Ambassador:
- Ambassadors won’t be employed by your company, but they will be representing your brand. They will be informing consumers about your company, engaging them with your products and services, and creating a perception of your business among others. You wouldn’t hire people who do not show punctuality, solid communications skills, or show up unkempt, right? Hold your Brand Ambassadors to similar standards.
- When promoting a brand you need people who exude confidence and positivity not only within themselves, but in the brand or product they are promoting. Your Brand Ambassadors need to draw people in, whether it be a booth at a Trade Show or an in-store sampling. If people aren’t interested in listening to your ambassadors they won’t be interested in your brand.
- Passion for establishing and growing relationships
- You are not hiring Brand Ambassadors for the purpose of making a bunch of one-time sales. An ambassador’s role is to foster long-term and loyal relationships between the brand and consumer. Not only should they be passionate and familiar with your brand and your products, they should be able to connect and excite consumers about the benefits of patronizing your company.
Finding these three traits in Brand Ambassador candidates for your event is fairly straightforward, albeit, not as easy as one would hope. It’s critical that they at least have this foundation before you worry about the more event-specific skills and personalities for each candidate though, because let’s be real, you can’t win them all. Finding the perfect fit is no exact science, so the best you can do is find a process that works a high percentage of the time and build on it.
- Knowledge and appreciation for local market
- Your Brand Ambassadors do not need to be active professionals in the marketing industry, but it shouldn’t be unrealistic for them to understand a local market’s core values and culture. One of the easiest ways to form a relationship with a consumer is to be able to relate with them, not only about their interest in your brand, but also with the places in which they spend most of their time. Creating a comfortable atmosphere gives you a better chance of sparking the initial conversation and then your Brand Ambassadors can use their skills to get consumers emotionally involved in the conversation from there. Authenticity is of the highest importance in modern marketing, so don’t skimp on prioritizing it in your event.
- Ability to Collect Feedback and Provide Insight
- Chances are that your promotional event will not be perfect or well-received by every single consumer. Brand Ambassadors that can gather consumer feedback based on their engagement with your product or event and report on those findings are critical. Gauging an event’s success can somewhat be determined by financial or lead generation ROI, but to get the whole picture and find out where you can improve you need consumer feedback. The information gathered can help you improve multiple aspects of your marketing strategy beyond just the isolated event.
If the candidate(s) check off in all of these five areas you’ve given yourself a great chance at success. Hopefully you’ve worked with these Brand Ambassadors before and have developed a rapport with them, but we know that’s not always the case. We constantly stress hiring local talent to represent your brand because they instantly have a leg up on the competition in terms of authenticity on a local level.
Every market has it’s own needs from a communication and core values standpoint and it’s why we have prioritized building teams that live in each of the 13 states that Modern Talent operates in. Technology has allowed us to not only staff teams in multiple locations, but also to build a strong network of Brand Ambassadors that you can trust with your event needs.