Branded merchandise and sales brochures have become a bit of a crutch for companies exhibiting at trade conferences. Wander around any convention or exhibition and you’ll see the usual suspects straight from the 90s - promo pens, USBs (does anyone even use them anymore?), brochures, bags, notepads you know - all the stuff you come home with and subsequently offload to the kids.
Stand merchandise can perform well if it brings people in for long enough to hear what you have to say. It is infinitely less useful when attendees do a smash and grab, or when you have the same old stuff that 129 other booths offer and your passers by simply cannot carry another thing.
So how do you attract potential clients to your stand at CeBIT Australia, and keep their attention long enough for you to have a worthwhile conversation, exchange information and ensure they walk away with a strong and fond memory of you and your business?
We’re glad you asked, because, we’re actually in this business, and we’ve seen what works! So... here are our top 5 tricks that are sure to bring your target market directly to you.
1. Get interactive
Instead of drowning people in collateral and merch, think about serving up an interactive experience that educates and excites people as they float by.
Whether you are showing off your ability to develop purpose-built apps or using virtual reality products for staff training, people respond better to demonstrations, because it involves interactive engagement with you and with your product.
A two-minute, visually impressive demo, a fun game that exhibits your offering, or a virtual reality tour through your warehouse could provide just the kind of memorable experience attendees will value. Don’t just give prospects the same information they can get online. They’re there to interact, so give them something to remember.
2. Be mobile friendly
Losing charge is pretty common at all-day or multi-day conferences, and it can make it difficult for people to relax and focus on why they’re there.
Set yourself up with a charging lounge, where weary souls can plug in their phone and rest their bones. This is a great chance to talk to them about your product and services - and even better, prospects have a tendency to remember those who help them out.
3. Coffee anyone?
Whether you are at a conference, in the office all day, or on the road talking with clients, a common denominator for many of us is the need to refuel on caffeine. It is the office hours’ equivalent of setting up a bar, and is often more acceptable in a business setting.
Bring your own barista and add some class and longevity of message, with branded, environmentally friendly keep-cups. You’ll be guaranteed to draw a crowd, so consider setting up seating areas to encourage people to stay a while.
4. Say cheese!
A photo booth creates a great opportunity to engage with those taking their time to visit your stand. The best stands offer a print of the photos for a very personalised keepsake that doubles as a positive experience with your brand.
For optimum reach, ask your prospect if you can add the photo to your Facebook page and tag them. This allows you to capture their information, and promote it to your audience as well as theirs, maximising reach and implying brand endorsement. Clever!
5. Dress it up
Everyone loves a dress-up! The playful part of our brains responds to the promise of make-believe and immediately engages the attention of those around us.
SAS, an exhibitor at CeBIT Australia 2016, had Star Wars characters wandering around the exhibit which drew a lot of attention from attendees, conference photographers and press - and resulted in plenty of booth traffic. The clever team planned their costumes around the event date - May the 4th!
Let’s not forget Central Desk’s Collaboration Angel.
This cloud-based company had a very delicate, bearded angel set-up to greet people at their booth! Good fun, a great talking-point and highly memorable.
If you are going to try and draw crowds at CeBIT, you are best to choose something engaging and memorable. The usual merch suspects may seem like an easy option, but they’ll be offloaded as quickly as you can say USB.
So think a little left of centre. Create something that will give people a smile, start a conversation, provide a nice experience, or simply attract their eye. Then, as long as your stand is staffed by the right knowledgable and charismatic people, you’ll be counting your prospects all the way to the bank.
Like to know how to convert prospects after the event? Download our ultimate guide to converting event leads to sales now.