Turn Your Trade Show Booth into an Experiential Environment
Written by Barry Siskind
Trade shows are experiential marketing venues. Your customers will remember the experience of being in your booth, viewing your products and learning about your services long after they have forgotten the details. Make sure your booth hardware and your booth staff create an experience...
Here are some facts I am sure you have all heard:
So, why do we consistently see exhibitors fill their booths with product information and encourage booth representatives to pitch product information to visitors who are unreceptive?
The answer is that we simply don’t know how to interpolate the product messages into an experience.The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines Experience as “a general concept comprising knowledge of or skill in or observation of some thing or some event gained through involvement… The concept of experience generally refers to know-how or procedural knowledge, rather than propositional knowledge.”
This is a natural jumping off point for our discussion. Procedural knowledge is the knowledge one uses to solve problems. This is different from propositional knowledge which focuses on knowledge that is expressed in declarative sentences or indicative propositions such as a product pitch.
Procedural knowledge differs from propositional knowledge in that the former creates a belief in an internal thought or memory which exists in one's mind. The latter is simply information which may or may not be useful. Most people accept that a belief must be true.
This distinction is crucial as it goes beyond the focus on features and benefits of a product or service. It delves into the heart of a customer’s motivation to buy or at least give it a try.
The experience begins as visitors approach your booth. They see your display and your booth staff and immediately undergo some internal reaction.
This is where your display and your booth staff can help create the experience you are hoping for.
Step back and ask your self, “What is the experience I want my customers to feel?” Perhaps it will include such descriptors as: comfort, security, fun, confidence, taken care of, helpful, green and so on. Some of your descriptors will come directly from your brand statement.
The next step is to put your descriptors in order of priority. That is if you have a list of three or four, which is the strongest feeling you are attempting to invoke in your customers. Let’s say you have chosen helpful as your prime descriptor. Now you need to do what is necessary to bring helpful to life in your display. You may include such things as: room within your display for people to talk without feeling crowded, areas where specific questions can be address or easy to read (not too many words) signs and graphics that tell your product’s story from your customer’s point of view.
Your booth staff
Using the same descriptor of helpful you now need to train your staff so that each one of them presents the same overall message of helpfulness. Don’t assume that they automatically understand being helpful. Working at an exhibit is different than working in their territory. At a show or event your staff does not have the luxury of time and often feel rushed or overwhelmed. So, being specific about what helpful means and providing them with the tools to bring helpfulness to life is crucial to your success.
Some of the areas of training include: identifying a specific definition for the type of helpfulness that is appropriate for your organization; developing the basic standards that each booth person will perform at; giving them probing skills to understand what the customer is looking for and what their unique perspective is and rewarding those who can take helpfulness beyond the definition which is often looking for little things that seem inconsequential but really impress your customer.
Creating a memorable experience is not rocket science nor overly expensive. What it often means is stepping back from the detail and asking the right questions.