How to Create a One-of-a-Kind Tradeshow Experience

When there are hundreds of organizations trying to catch the attention of each passerby, it can be easy for your messaging to get lost in the crowd. This is the challenge all marketers and sales people face at tradeshows. Working with our clients, we’ve had success breaking through the crowd.

This year, Vermeer Corporation wanted to create buzz for their tradeshow booth at the National Farm Machinery Show. After creating a successful in-booth experience for the visitors at the show last year, we needed to continue the momentum and get booth visitors talking. The Vermeer booth was one of the most highly attended during the 2015 show, and resulted in new leads and increased brand recognition for Vermeer.

Here’s how we created a one-of-a-kind experience:

  • Be different. Create booth elements that stand out from the competition. Use materials that are specific to your industry and aren’t the typical tradeshow display pieces that are rentals. Build something custom!
  • Create pre-show buzz. Invite people to the booth via direct mail, offering an incentive to visit your booth. Send out a press release a day or two before the show regarding new products launching at the show. Invite editors into the booth the week or two leading up to the show to ensure you have staff on hand to answer questions they may have, to do on-camera interviews, etc.
  • Create an experience. Create an experience in your booth that encourages customers to engage with your staff. For Vermeer’s NFMS booth this year, we created stations that were tied to a punch card. For each station the attendee would visit, they got a punch on their card! In order to receive a punch, each station had a set of requirements: Watch a video, speak with a product specialist, take a photo and be placed on the cover of their quarterly publication, etc. Once they completed four of the five stations, they could fill out the back and receive a free hat or shirt. In addition, they were entered to win the use of a Mower Conditioner for a year.
  • 10414451_393745757474007_3394509462_4104adb0c552fEngage with customers. Have booth greeters. Draw attendees in by striking up a conversation and ask them to participate in your ‘Booth Experience”. Creating this type of experience makes it easy for your staff to engage with customers whether it is in their comfort zone or not.
  • Offer an incentive/giveaway. If you offer, they will come. Give away a t-shirt or promo item. Perhaps even be entered to win the use of your product/equipment for a year! The key here is that they must do something to get something. Ask them to learn about your product, engage with staff specialists, or even complete an entire booth experience. Also, be sure you collect their contact information before they receive the giveaway item.
  • Get social. Keep show attendees and editors up to date on what’s happening in your booth. Interact with editors who have visited your booth or editors who are talking about your products at the show. Drive customers to your booth by asking them to participate in a competition. Post photos of your booth buzzing with attendees.
  • Follow up. Follow up with your leads in a timely manner. It only takes 72 hours for an attendee to forget that they talked to you at your booth. Get them materials specific to their request or send them the promo item you promised within a week of the show.

Watch a video recap of the 2015 Vermeer NFMS Booth Experience: