Let’s be honest, we all like something when it’s free. Most companies at exhibitions will have something free to lure you in. But, one thing that I did notice during my visit to this show was, despite it being ‘free’, people do not like having to ask for it. It’s great having mounds of merchandise to give away, but that’s precisely the point; give it away. If you are waiting for visitors to approach you and ask about it and your business, your chances are slim.
The exhibitors who were actively giving out their freebies and talking to people were the ones reeling in the interest. Admittedly, the ones with the edible freebies did tend to do better at keeping their customers engaged than those with the free pens, (for reasons which I expect you can guess), but, approaching visitors definitely works better than waiting to be approached.
Many exhibitors had their freebies scattered across tables on their stands. While our Prestige stands gave exhibitors the ability to proudly present items in showcases, which definitely added a touch of sophistication.
The quality of your freebies is important, while it may cost that little extra to invest in a better quality item, it will certainly pay off in the long run. Yes, pens are great, you can never have enough pens loitering around the office, but, do they really make a lasting impression? Do they impress?
One company at the Internet Retailing Expo was giving away inflatable dinosaurs. Why?
It turned out that the dinosaur is the logo for that company, and, a logo that is likely to be remembered; it drew me to their stand, it made an impression, and it got me talking about them. Long forgotten are those with the endless supply of stationery…
Don’t just ‘stand’ there…
If, as an exhibitor, you are stood watching the exhibiting world pass you by, in return the exhibiting world will pass you by.
The companies that got my attention were the ones whose representatives approached me. A friendly hello proved to work wonders; a friendly hello combined with a freebie will work even better. I found that there were a large amount of exhibitors who seemed to expect their exhibition stand and branding to do all of the talking for them. With a Prestige stand, this is something that you can somewhat partly rely on, as it certainly does catch the attention of exhibition visitors. However, it is also important to talk to passers-by and capture their attention; after all, nothing sells itself.
My colleague Katie and I approached a company, we stood there for two minutes waiting to be acknowledged. Both the company representatives on the stand ignored us and continued to speak to a visitor about their products. Admittedly, we were only there for the free merchandise, but, the exhibitors did not know this. We could have been potentially interested in investing money in their company, yet neither of them came over to speak to us and introduce us to their brand. We left, not only empty handed, but also clueless about their product.
Of course, it isn’t just about having merchandise to give away. Conversation is key. One exhibitor approached me whilst I waited for my colleagues, he started talking to me about his exhibiting experience. Just a casual, friendly conversation led me to speak to him for a while and leaving, (empty handed), but with a lot of knowledge about his Middle Eastern export company and how they worked.
While most exhibitors already know this, your exhibition stand is what represents your company in the first instance at exhibitions. It is easy to sit back and expect your display to do the talking for you, but, if your design is interrupted by metal poles and broken graphics, your message and branding will also be interrupted, consequently diminishing the flow of visitors you were expecting to draw in.
Of course, not every business has unlimited money at their disposal. The question remains as to why more businesses don’t opt for and invest in a modular exhibition stand solution like Prestige, which are cost-efficient yet incredibly attention-grabbing with a custom-look. These stands may not be as extravagant as the custom-built ones, however they still stood out, especially next to those which seemed to display more metal-work than imagery.
I noticed a mixture of different stand solutions and choices at this exhibition, some exhibitors just using banners, some had custom-built stands and some had modular. Whilst walking around the exhibiting hall I did, however, notice that it was our Prestige stands that stood out dramatically with their professional and custom look.
Each of our clients; Pure360, Vocus and Computop, stood out fiercely amongst the competition at the show. With crisp designs, seamless graphics and a custom presence, the stands we had designed for this show combined modular benefits with a custom design; it was our stands that noticeably had the best of both worlds. They were the ones with the crowds around them, and they were the ones that gave a professional appearance at half the cost.