Rut Busters: Changing Your Trade Show Routine

It’s safe to say that routines are comfortable. Who would deny that knowing exactly what you’re doing and where you’re doing it isn’t nice? That familiarity prevents surprises and upsets. However, doing the “same old thing” can also prevent growth and restrain any sense of excitement. Routines can easily become ruts, especially at trade shows. It’s very easy to do, especially if you always go to the same shows, display in the same location, use the same graphics and literature, and go through the same sales pitch.

Exhibiting is, by its nature, a constantly evolving art. To be successful, you need to embrace what’s new and exciting. There’s nothing wrong with pushing boundaries. If you’re comfortable, then you’re not trying hard enough and will in return, run the risk of boring trade show attendees with your booth. If you’re not presenting something new, exciting, and engaging, to draw them in, then most attendees are going to assume they already know what you have to offer and pass you by.

Here’s 5 easy ways to break out of a trade show rut:

1. Realize the Difference Between Branding and Routine

Doing the same exact thing the same exact way time after time after time is NOT branding. Careful and intelligent placement of logos, consistent use of color, and overall design are all elements of branding. Look at McDonalds – they have one of the strongest brands on the planet, yet have changed looks, catch phrases, uniforms and menus over the years.

2. Step Outside of Your Industry

Great ideas come from unexpected sources. Examine what motivates people to buy products that are very different from your own and see if you can integrate those creative marketing elements into your own exhibit. Integrating doesn’t mean just “cutting and pasting” ideas either! To avoid breaking copyright laws, try putting a new spin on existing ideas and see how you can make them work for your display.

3. Get a Fresh Set of Eyes

Have someone who is in no way related to the trade show industry or to your company look at your exhibit. What do they notice first? Record their impressions and compare how they measure up to your marketing objectives. Sometimes we look at our own exhibits so much that we don’t ‘see’ them anymore. This fresh set of eyes will be viewing your booth the same way the attendees do – with no foreknowledge or preconceived notions of how the exhibit is ‘supposed’ to look.

4. Change Up Your Team

Take a careful look at your staff. Who is personable and professional, with excellent product knowledge, strong sales skills, and enthusiasm? Send that person to the trade show. Sending one new person to a show can create a new dynamic, sending a whole new team guarantees you’ll get anything but a routine performance. No matter whom you send, make sure that all staff members are trained. Old hands need to refresh their skills and rookies need to acquire them!

5. Call In Wardrobe

Something as simple as changing clothes can totally alter a booth staff’s performance. If they’ve been wearing business attire, consider switching to a more casual yet coordinated look. Have the booth staff break out the suits and ties. You’ll be amazed how differently they carry themselves and interact with attendees. If uniforms or logo clothing are a staple of your company, make sure your team is sporting them. If possible, try to reinforce imagery of the uniforms in your graphics and literature as well.

SOURCE: Susan Friedmann  About.com Marketing

2 thoughts on “Rut Busters: Changing Your Trade Show Routine

  1. Thanks for the solid advice! You’re right, it’s so easy to get into the same old pattern with trade shows. Trade show attendees can definitely tell when something is stale.

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