Have you ever been to an event, meeting, concert, or performance and you left feeling a total sense of awe and amazement? Afterwards, ideas flowed about possibilities and you felt totally motivated. Whether you are going to an internal meeting or an external event like a trade show the desire to be inspired remains the same. We all want to feel like we get something out of an experience and most importantly return on our time.
In considering how to way deliver content to a target audience, there is one element that must remain at the forefront and that is the value we place on time. In a recent key note at Web Summit in Lisbon, Gary Vaynerchuk asked an audience of marketers to stand up and show: “How many of you get mad when someone calls you?” The answer was almost unanimous-they all stood up. And the reason? People want to do things on their own time not on someone else’s time.
So how do we as marketers use this fact-that time is the most precious commodity- and make an experience that will get attendees excited and feel like they got more than what they were looking for?
People attending a meeting or event want to feel there is a reciprocal experience- they are looking for information, to be inspired and they want to be able to take action and implement what they learned in return for giving their time to learn the information. Instead of focusing on the best or newest technology, try honing in these five things and you will stand out from everyone else in your space.
5 Tips To Differentiate From Competitors At Your Next Trade Show
- Know Your Customer. This sounds so obvious but really understanding not just what is important to them but how they like to learn is key. If you always try the same experience in your exhibit like games for example and see little return afterwards, it may be that the attendee isn’t interested in that approach to learning information. Once you really get into the head of your ideal customer avatar, you are ready for the next step.
- What is The Time Constraint? People have symposia to attend or are looking to get CME or other accreditations in addition to spending time on the trade show floor. If the average attendee spends only 45 minutes on the show floor and there are hundreds of exhibits, you need to factor your time with them will be short so making it meaningful quickly is key.
- Communicate Your Message Clearly: It can be really tempting to make a looping video that lasts 5 minutes because you have a lot of incredible information that is important to communicate. In a fast pace environment like a trade show, you have maybe 12 seconds to catch someone’s attention. If the key message in a video appears after 4 minutes, the attendee has already walked past the exhibit. Long videos can be put in the same bin as literature – people may collect the information but they won’t retain it. Instead, focus on sharing what matters to your ideal customer and say it in a short, simple to understand and quick to consume way.
- Make Your Message Delivery Memorable: While telling your story in a video is one way to share information, a more effective option is to have the attendee engage to feel the information. For the past several years the trend has been a digital monitor with multi-touch points. Today, this communication method is less impactful now because almost everyone has a smart device and the experience of touch on a digital screen is no longer novel or unique. Developing a tactile lower-tech communication method can last and be retained longer.
- Create a Blue Ocean Strategy: Cirque du Soleil has become a worldwide entertainment company because they took something that existed-the Circus and delivered the experience in a high end, sophisticated way that surprises and delights audiences. The auto show and other large consumer events have hired Cirque du Soleil in their space-to offer up the unexpected. Creating something that people haven’t seen before will be remembered.
An example of a well-executed low-tech surprise happened years ago at the COMDEX show. Apple created a totally white booth with people’s image printed as holograms on the laminate (solid surface that covered the exhibit walls). At the time, this was a fabrication technique that didn’t exist and it totally stood out on the show floor. Attendees saw Apple’s customers in a powerful way. The memory of seeing the unexpected is a lesson in the importance of differentiation. Finding a unique way to surprise attendees in an appropriate way will stay with them long after the show has ended.
What have you tried in your marketing program that worked? Have you seen something that people still talk about even though a lot of time has elapsed? If you want some help figuring out how to differentiate your company at your next trade show, contact me for a free 15 minute consult and start Rocking Your Trade Shows. Let’s Do This!