Think of it like a commercial: Half the battle is giving the customer what he or she wants, and the other half is looking good while doing it. Consequently, the trade show can present a tricky balance for many exhibitors. With only so much money to spend, is it more important to put a logo in a customer’s pocket or on a representative’s lapel?
More than any other venue, the trade show is the opportunity to present oneself to a large number of potential customers in rapid succession. Unfortunately, every other booth is attempting to do the same, so what can be done to distinguish oneself from the crowd? It takes a spectator fewer than five seconds to walk past a stall and into a competitor’s arena, and the trick is making those five seconds impressive enough to cause the attendee to linger and look, buying another five seconds to make a sale.
A key factor is knowing the market for the specific show. Headed to an automotive event? Keychains and bumper stickers are the way to go. In the food service industry? A slick outfit and impressive leather menu cover will distinguish a company from the glossy paper menus littering the ground. The intelligent vendor knows the audience; the successful vendor knows the competition also knows the audience and plans against this, providing the trade show with an impressive display that simultaneously satisfies the customers and mystifies the competition.
Everything a company does at a trade show impacts the company image. For the trade show patron, the representatives for a company are the company, and everything they do and give out is a business card. Just like on television, the people behind the kiosk have mere seconds to grasp the attention of the audience. The right promotion will keep those patrons from changing the channel.