Trade show ninja: Guerrilla marketing tactics to shock and delight

Trade show ninja: Use guerilla marketing tactics to shock, surprise and delight At a very crowded trade show you are aiming to be like a unicorn carrying cocktails:

All eyes are on you and everyone wants to be your friend. Like the unicorn, you can aim to look good and provide something very welcome, but it’s more than that. In essence, being a unicorn is about being something different, novel and attention-grabbing in a room full of horses.

So how do you become a unicorn?

A sure-fire way to get attention at a trade show is to do a bit of guerrilla marketing. guerrilla marketing works because it’s a cheap and fun way to draw attention to your brand. However, while guerrilla marketing seems simple, it’s success depends on ensuring that you choose the right activity in the right context. So what are some tips to make sure your company is the shiniest unicorn at the trade show? Below we have 3 great ideas to make sure your guerrilla marketing activity makes a splash.

1. Be organised

Logistics are the lynchpin on which a successful guerrilla marketing campaign hangs. Inc. recommends doing a bit of reconnaissance before the show. Find out the layout of the show , but also where is it in proximity to:

  • Transport
  • Parks
  • Recreation
  • Bars
  • Hotels

What opportunities will you have to connect with people? Where will the attendees be going for their dinner? To mingle? You’re not just confined to the small world of the exhibition. If you start thinking laterally, the whole world can be your billboard.

2. Be funny 

Everyone loves a laugh, it creates instant rapport, gets people talking and can give rise to a truly memorable experience. Remember, humour relies on context. What may be hilarious to your buddies, may be inappropriate in a professional context. If in doubt, err on the side of caution.

A great example of humour was Central Desk’s Collaboration Angel. This cloud-based company had a cigar-smoking bearded angel set-up to greet people at their booth.

Collaboration Angel

Instantly amusing, simple and all it cost was a bit of dignity on the part of their winged hero.

3. Be intriguing

This is a fantastic tactic to employ especially if the trade show goes for over several days. Plus it’s a great way to prolong exposure to your brand if you can keep the idea going. A campaign that caused so much intrigue that it went viral, was the CES crop circles. Ahead of the Las Vegas tradeshow, a mysterious crop circle emerged in California causing alien conspiracy theories to run riot.

Nvidia crop circle

After weeks of speculation, Nvidia came out and and acknowledged that they were behind the stunt to showcase their new mobile processor, Tegra K1. Jen Hsun Huang, CEO of Nvidia stated that the daring tactic was the result of a challenge he had put to his team:

‘I told the [engineers] that Tegra K1 is impossibly advanced, it’s practically built by aliens. I want you guys to go out and launch this product, to put a marketing campaign behind it that rivals the technical contributions. I want you guys to go and do something that when we sit back will have global reach ... and you have zero budget.’

The ‘crop circle’ didn’t just garner the attention of the attendees of the trade show, it drew the attention  of thousands of people and media outlets attempting to decode the message (it was the number 192, designed 2 ways in braille, symbolising the tegra 192-core chip.)

The idea was bold, simple and brilliant. It also perfectly encapsulated the essence of the campaign’s slogan which was  ‘impossibly advanced.’

How to be a unicorn

You don’t need a lot of money to pull off an excellent piece of guerrilla marketing. What you do need is to be innovative, bold and original. You need to consider how the stunt will fit in with your brand and if the relationship to the product makes sense. Most of all you need to make sure that it will have attendees talking about your product long after the show has ended.

If you’d love to know more about making the most of your trade show exhibition, you should download our guide to exhibition sponsorship today!

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