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Trade Show Traffic Jam, Anyone?

Trade Show Traffic Jam, Anyone? published on No Comments on Trade Show Traffic Jam, Anyone?


You’ve paid for space at a trade show, you’ve paid to create your booth, you’ve booked travel and lodging for your representatives, but now what? You need to draw traffic to your exhibit so you can one-on-one promote your business, your products, your services, ad nauseam, right?

Alas, if you build it, they may not come.

So maybe you buy ad space in the appropriate industry publications…or maybe you send out some “come see us!” flat mailer…or maybe you host an “invitation-only” hospitality suite…or maybe you have your sales reps place personal calls to your current and prospective customers.

Fine. But in all of those examples, you’re competing against the noise of your competitors. What’s more, where’s the tangible offer? Where’s the free gift? Where’s the enticement that promises more than just the opportunity to hear your sales pitch and, you hope, buy your stuff?

If you’re B2B, then you most probably have attended and even exhibited at shows. You also know how show attendees are. They’re looking for give-aways they can collect in their show bags, and the more unusual or higher-perceived-value of the gimmes, the better. In fact, great promo items often become the talk of show.

“Where’d you get that?!?” they are asked. “How cool!”

Sadly, though, too many exhibitors just hand out those freebies like candy. Even worse, they don’t exploit them with any substantive or memorable pre-show promotion.

And then there are exhibitors who go cheap cheap cheap and ho-hum.

A pen is a pen is a pen, for example. It’s a so-what. No big deal. No memorability. No sense of unique value. No real keepability. Ergo, no talk of the show.

But more to the point, too many trade show exhibitors don’t take advantage of the power of pre-show dimensional marketing to generate traffic at the show.

One dimensional marketing idea that’s worked time and time again is what we might call the 1-2 punch. You send your prime targets just part of a gift, and tell them to bring that part (and letter) to your booth to get the remaining part.

Let’s say your offer is a “perceived high-end” LED flashlight. You mail out the bulb enclosure top of the flashlight, telling the prospect that he/she can get the rest of the gift by coming to your exhibit.

That’s just one example of a trade show traffic builder. But it can be highly effective in pulling targets to your booth. Plus, it eliminates the cost of accommodating trade show give-aways collectors. No part and letter? Sorry, no gift. (Well, O.K., maybe. That’ll be up to your exhibit’s personnel, if you know what I mean).

Lots more to it, of course, and lots more options and alternatives and approaches.

But ask yourself: Which would most likely pull you to a trade show exhibitor’s booth – the chance to learn more about some new whizz-bang…or the offer of a valuable free gift?

And as an exhibitor, which would you prefer: a traffic jam or a nap?

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