Tradeshows have a life of their own. When every exhibitor is vying for attention with over 60,000 registrants it’s hard to make real connections and, often to have real conversations. After 13 years attending the National Restaurant Association (NRA) Show, I have a few recommendations for helping your brand make an impact.
It’s critical to have employees, sales reps and other booth staffers to actively seek out attendees to promote new products and services. What’s even more critical is to have booth personnel stay at the booth only one to two days max. In addition, rotate them in and out throughout the day to stay fresh. Avoiding burnout keeps booth personnel passionate to engage with prospects.
The next best thing to padded carpet is hiring brand ambassadors whose only job is to maintain the energy and stay consistent to the sales pitch. While they may not be as knowledgeable as the product manager, they’re trained to present your brand and draw in attendees to learn more, take a taste test or watch a demo.
The most successful booths draw in attendees who want to learn and be inspired. Booths with a steady stream of chef-led product demonstrations will be viewed as the go-to place for new innovations. Attending chefs thrive on gathering new ideas, new flavors and fresher choices, and having a chef in the booth will help amplify your credibility.
Judging by the number of plush potato characters being carried around, attendees can’t resist “The Great Idaho Potato Race” at the NRA Show. Admittedly, stuffed potatoes are a little hokey, but they accomplish the goal of brand awareness. Event planners should carefully consider these competitions, but a potato toy prize or grand prize giveaway will significantly increase badge scans.
Prior to the show, take full advantage of the pre-registered list of attendees by sending an email or direct mailer. One additional touchpoint can increase a decision to stop at the booth or a purchase decision later on.
What seems painfully obvious during the tradeshow can become a distant memory months after. Because of that shift, it’s critical for event planners and marketing managers to hold post-show meetings to discuss lessons learned and make notes of what can be done at the next show to optimize the booth experience.
Looking for more tradeshow insight? Here’s how you can elevate your presence.