What is the big deal with experience? How often have you heard the term experiential events or immersive tradeshows?
To start, we need to understand what it means to be experiential or immersive. By definition, experiential means “providing experience of something personally encountered, undergone, or lived through.” Whereas, immersive means, “providing, involving, characterized by deep absorption or immersion in something such as an activity or a real or artificial environment.” The question is, how do you translate that into your tradeshow exhibit?
I don’t know how many times I’ve walked on the tradeshow floor and have seen booth after expensive booth with no engagement, no excitement, and, most importantly, no customers! There should be little expectation that you can simply build an exhibit and expect customers to stop by just because you are on the show map. Competition for your buyer’s attention is fierce! Here are five ways to create an unforgettable experience for your customers at your events and tradeshows:
Staff – People remember how they make you feel more than what they see or hear you say. Your staff should be your “A” Players, your All Stars, and your best representation of your company. They should be trained on how to engage, qualify, deliver and sell on the show floor. Choose very carefully who you bring to the shows. These key people should be experts and your brand influencers, not just “salespeople”. One negative comment is shared almost five times more than every positive comment that is said or heard, so make the effort to make sure you have the Best!
VIP Treatment – New business is important to the growth of every company, however, your existing key clients should not be forgotten. Invite them to the show to put them at ease that you are still the best partner for them. This will provide you with an easy opportunity to reconfirm with them that they made the right choice. Remember that your competitors are calling your clients weekly and heavily courting them. Create things like exclusive access, special VIP pricing, invitation only private events or private lounge area in your booth. Absence causes the mind to stray to something or someone new.
Activations – Create engaging activities in your booth such as educational sessions, rather than boring presentations. Make it fun and entertaining, where they can answer questions during the session and win prizes. Add interactive technology into your audio visuals. There are so many easy and short competitive games that you can easily add to your visuals that will improve attendee participation. Just remember to tie it into your brand and product offering. The longer they stay, the more you get to build rapport with them.
Capture Leads – Track everything. Next year’s marketing budget largely depends on the success of your current year’s programs and campaigns. Always have a lead retrieval system to capture visitor data, as well as how long they were in the booth, what interested them and when to follow up. Your giveaways should at least be an exchange for scanning their badge or information. It should never be for free. You paid good money for those giveaways, and at a minimum, you should at least build your database. It is impossible to track the success or failure of your booth or campaign if you are unable to capture leads.
Pre/At/Post Show Planning – Your post show marketing plan is as important as your preshow, and at show marketing plan. Personalize how you welcome visitors into your booth. There are numerous real time alerts that are now available, affordable and effective. Ideas that you may want to consider exploring are RFID wristbands and AI technology. These have programmable capabilities to greet your customers when they enter your booth, alert you via text message when they do so, and then send your prospects an immediate follow up email after the show. Let us know if you would like to learn more about this technology.
Entrepreneurially minded, service oriented, creative and agile, PLUS Studios is a place where the best of the old exhibit house system is combined with a new mentality and modern approach. PLUS Studios was founded in 2013 when a collective group of industry veterans decided to break the mold and do business differently. With our agility, insight, new thinking, and modern sensibilities, we have created the experience of a larger exhibit house; the PLUS Studios model was born! To learn more about Plus Studios, please go to www.Plus-Studios.com or contact us at 702-651-9611.
About the Author: Li Jackson is an 18 year veteran of the events & exhibits industry and is currently the VP of Marketing at Plus Studios, an experiential Events Exhibits and Environments company based in Las Vegas Nevada. She is also Founder of Tradeshowlife®️, an Online Educational & Media company and Executive Director at Rethink Worldwide a Non-Profit Organization focused on Conserving the Environment.