Saturday, December 22, 2012

The 12 Days of Conference - Day Twelve

As we prepare for 2013 I am hosting a series of blog posts called "The 12 Days of Conference". Each day a different expert from the meeting, convention planning, speaking and hotel industries will add their single best idea on how to create better events or other tips for how to improve the "Conference Attendee Experience" in the new year.

Planning is the New Black
By Lina Roque

Pre-show, during, and post-show: plan your exhibit experiences around your target audience. 
·         Pre-show strategy
Is your goal to generate leads for your sales team, sell product on the floor or increase brand recognition?

Consider your target demographic– you should know your target market so intimately that you understand what drives them both personally and professionally. This is a great chance for some face time with clients in a more relaxed environment. Sending pre-show invitations such as and invitations with a small gift prior to an event can really boost attendance rates.

A well trained, successful sales person knows which questions to ask prospects early in the lead capture process in order to identify whether or not the prospect will be a good candidate for your products or services. Make sure your trade show team knows which questions to ask and keep them motivated by setting some realistic goals, such as collecting a certain number of email addresses, approaching a certain number of attendees, or handing out a certain number of brochures.

·         Attract attendees to your booth
Part of your planning should be thinking about how you can engage visitors using all five senses. People tend to remember experiences much longer than they remember casual conversations or static product displays. Visualize the feeling you want to deliver to attendees when they step into your booth space. Do you need to order creative promotional items? Giveaways? Music?

Make your trade show exhibit booth an experience to remember. Your trade show booth gives attendees something to do when they visit your booth. This encourages them to stay longer in your space and hopefully have more meaningful conversations with your staffers; it provides an experience they can't get at a retail store. Appeal to the other senses (smell and taste) by providing a complementary coffee or fresh snacks that will attract extra attendees.

Most tradeshows host large evening events. Think about how you can maximize the opportunity, one idea we’ve heard of is hire a college drama group to stage a mock protest or a Flash Mob to highlight your product. There are creative ways to attract attendees to your booth.

Be sure your design communicates who you are, what you do and how you can meet your target markets needs. Create eye-catching trade show exhibits with outstanding signage with simple text and/or illustrations. Strategic lighting within your trade show booth that highlights logos and graphics can be an eye catching way to engage attendees. The use of interactive technology such as iPads can be a knowledge center for attendees for you to highlight your product or service.

·         Post show strategy
Throughout the day, your team will probably have picked up a good number of business leads – make sure you get this information from your team at the end of the day.
Social media is playing an increasingly bigger role in exhibitions and trade shows, consider following up with your leads on Twitter as an icebreaker, and then set meetings via email and phone call.

For more information on creating and designing trade show exhibits, contact The Exhibit Source.

Lina Roque
is the Social Media Coordinator for The Exhibit Source, a design-based exhibit house that provides a complete selection of event marketing and trade show exhibit solutions. Although new to the trade show industry, Lina is looking forward to using social media to connect and help clients and perspectives meet their exhibit needs. Follow her on Twitter at Follow The Exhibit Source on Twitter at


Unknown said...

A bunch of information in one post.. Appreciated!

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Bill C. said...

Nailed it- when deciding whether or not to attend a trade show, planning is the most important step.