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Are your trade show experiences up to snuff?

How to effectively incorporate booth experiences into the overarching customer experience

The challenge brands are faced with is how to effectively incorporate trade booth experiences into the overarching customer experience. Delivering each individual phase of the journey to your prospects is the easy part, relatively speaking. It is the movement, or handoff, of your prospects from one step of the journey to the next without abandonment, which proves to be difficult.

Trade booths have always proven a bit of a mystery to me in terms of their purpose and effectiveness in driving actual sales. Admittedly I did not have a lot of direct experience in strategizing and developing booth experiences before my time began here at Power.

The history I did have with trade show exhibits was essentially a box needing to be checked off by a sales leader or marketing manager. Annual trade show booth? Check – done. The value proposition was always less obvious to me. Sure, it’s easy to see their surface value: brand equity, interactive engagement, captive audiences, PR. All good things, no doubt. But if I am a business leader, I going to ask the important question:

How much actual business did we earn?

Trade booth experiences represent a unique opportunity for brands to showcase the best of what they offer for every phase of the customer experience. Examples of driving awareness, consideration, exploration, purchase and even advocacy can be witnessed at any trade shows. My visit to the 2017 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Orlando saw nearly every one of these phases on display.

If you weren’t aware of Kohler, then you must have been blindfolded before you entered the West hall of the Orange County Convention Center. The sheer breadth and depth of experience offered by the Wisconsin-based manufacturer was nothing short of amazing.

On the other end of the size spectrum, the compelling solution from the team at SweepoVac had me seriously considering their product for all my family’s kitchen sweeping needs. Heck, I even found myself providing Trex some well-deserved advocacy as I evangelized their composite decking product used on my very own home to a few coworkers.

As I said though, I saw nearly every phase. More important than the experiences I did witness, were the ones I did not see. The advances in lead generation tools allow for far less invasive methods of collecting lead information from prospects. Business card scanning, contact forms loaded on tablets, even basic smartphone-email drops all provide ways to easily collect and manage contacts earned during trade shows.

Despite these and other technologies, I saw little to none of these solutions being leveraged. Even booths with interactive games were not deploying any form of call to action to take full advantage of the exploration their visitors were engaged in with their brand.

Insuring your team and your agency partners understand your true objectives for the exhibiting is priority one.

Setting your KPIs based on these objectives is a close second.

Finally, optimizing the experience to consider pre- and post booth experiences for your consumers should be a mandatory when designing your exhibit.

When we can start to ask and answer what happens before, during and most importantly after the show, only then are we truly designing a booth destined for success.


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