The Top Trade Show Trend for 2017
Education across the board will be the number one trend of trade shows of all levels in 2017. We are not talking about college level lectures here, we are talking about fun informative and usually interactive booths that will draw a crowd and turn them into knowledgeable clients.
In the Booth
Just another Pretty Face
Attractions like “booth babes” and celebrity appearances will continue to decline and be replaced by specialized professional presenters. Sensitivities to the objectification of women will make the “booth babe” all but nonexistent in shows other than electronic and gaming shows geared toward young men. Companies will continue to investigate their ROI on a celebrity appearance and will find that that most of them do not meet their goals. Both of these attractions can be high on the “get people into the booth” measurement but that is where their effectiveness ends. Unable to educate prospects or qualify leads, these attention grabbers will fade away.
Brains behind the Face
Whether it’s an actor working from a scripted presentation or a fully customized “info-tainment” production (more on that later), companies will be moving to exhibits that not just draw people in but tell their story. In a world cluttered with graphics and animation, real people engaging with other people will stand out.
Info-tainment is a term that has been around since the 1980’s. You may be thinking of Ron Popeil and Billy Mays types yelling from your booth but techniques have changed in the last 30+ years. Professional “infotainers” use magic, juggling, tricks, stunts, and even game shows to bring people into your booth, educate them on your product or service, and then turn only the qualified leads over to your sales staff. This increases your amount of leads without increasing the number of junk leads and allows your staff to do it’s job; setting up appointments, and not working on attracting and sifting leads.
Out of the booth
Off of their feet
Trade show attendees are often looking for a quick respite; a place to get off their feet. Show planners are replacing standing phone charging stations with lounge areas with outlets. Coffee stands are becoming coffee bars. Some shows are even offering hosted “chill out lounges.” These places are great to continue to educate your prospects. A sponsorship of one of these off the trade show floor areas with a great call to action can reinforce your educational message.
After the Show
The hospitality suite has been a long time favorite of companies looking to continue their interaction with clients and prospects. The old model of “booze and schmooze” is on it’s way out. Yes, hospitality suites will continue to have food and drink but in order to increase the ROI companies need to use info-tainment. A jazzy piano player is nice but does nothing to help educate your clients on your latest offering. A band can be fun but how does a sales person continue to build a relationship with a client or prospect over the din of rock and roll? At major shows there can be dozens of hospitality suites happening each night. What will make yours stand out? This is where a magician, comedian, juggler, or other specialized info-tainer can not only entertainer your guests but remind them of your USP.
Education is Key
Right next to finding a good lead; educating a prospect on your product or service is the most important part of the sales process. In 2017 companies will be looking for ways to increase their ROI on their trade show booths and education is the key to that. You can give out all the pens and business cards you want but if the crowd doesn’t know what you do, you are sunk.