Drilling Deeper Into OTC Part II

Ben Olson | June 30, 2016

I'm a huge believer in building engagement well before an event. A large show makes it even more important to get on your target audience’s must see list, because it is less likely that they just happen to pass and pause at your exhibit. Instead, build a strong target list and begin the experience well in advance through digital, online, sales rep communications and print pieces.

  • Drive to a show related microsite that gives your targeted audience an idea ofwhatto expect andwhythey need to visit your space.
  • Provide a downloadable map to your space so they know exactly where to easily find you.
  • Add an appointment setting tool to assist the sales staff in confirming pre-registered appointments, providing a pre-arranged commitment for your guest to visit.
  • Create an incentive for your guest to make the trek to your space. Your new product or service may be a powerful draw, but create a brand experience beyond just a product demo. Add a hospitality element, create a compelling prize drawing, bring in a key opinion leader, add a fun gaming element - add something that gives your best guests an even more persuasive reason to visit your space.
  • Utilize available show sponsorships or advertising opportunities to create incremental awareness.
  • Make full use of your social media programs by taking advantage of the opportunities to share your show experience before, during and after the show.
  • Finally, be sure to use engaging and compelling copy and visual creative to tell your story and spread the word.

What struck me at OTC was the need for the inline and smaller island exhibitors to create this strong pre and at-show engagement. Even a 10x10 booth can provide a great guest experience, it just needs to be strategically planned, persuasively promoted and flawlessly executed. So, smaller and remote spaces require more strategic solutions. Sure, the space may be a bit limited, but it just makes it more important to use the space well and utilize out of booth opportunities to support and enhance the show presence.

  • Customer entertainment or events are great ways to supplement your show space and offer expanded opportunities for targeted guest engagement.
  • Carefully consider your staffing plan too so the smaller space is not overflowing with your own people, leaving no room for your guests.

On a staffing note, one of the more humorous things at OTC was an island booth near the entrance to one of the halls. Of the three staff members in the space, two of them were literally asleep in the space. One head down in a chair and the other leaned over their draped table. Now I understand that the show is tiring and travel can add to that, but this was unlike anything I have seen before on a show floor. It’s critical to insist your team is onsite in advance of the show (well in advance for international staffers) and while it’s great to have that mixer the night before show open, make it an early night so your staff is fresh and ready!

Finally, never, ever underestimate those pre-show efforts in spreading the word and driving awareness, attendance and action. Your show organizer provides the space and the audience, but doesn’t guarantee that the audience will be in your space. There are strategic ways though, to bring the audience to you and make the most out of every location and every opportunity within the show regardless of the size of your booth and your location within your event.