Exhibitors – make it personal!
Having been in the exhibitions industry for over 16 years I have certainly been to my fair share of exhibitions.
The one area that always aggravates me is that companies often pay huge sums of money to exhibit at an event yet don’t take advantage of all the marketing channels that are open to them to promote their presence.
So, I write this blog while on route to an exhibition, but this is an exhibition that pulls all the stops out when it comes to exhibitor engagement. To be fair it is a consumer show and so by its very nature tends to attract more angles to promote individual businesses, but the main concept I am about to highlight is still the same.
All event marketers will know that behind the front page, the exhibitor listing is normally the second most visited section of an event website. There are about 300 exhibitors at the event I am about to attend. As usual, many of the businesses offer specialist products and services for this industry. They all have experts or ambassadors that know the business/products inside out. Promoting who will be on the stand/booth is one the main promotional mechanics here. Exhibitors highlight the stand personnel on their directory listing which allows visitors to not only plan which companies to see but specifically who they want to talk to on any given stand.
This creates two fundamental benefits. It puts a face to the brand, be this a well-known personality or the most senior product developer within the business. It allows visitors to breakdown the barrier of an impersonal brand and for them to be proactive in engaging with someone on the stand. It also engages people in advance of the show and helps promote advocacy from the visitor. Visitors are more likely to tell friends of colleagues that they are due to meet xxx from said company at an event. This often highlights the quality of the exhibitors and demonstrates that it is not just brolly girls/boys or the receptionist handing out flyers that will be on the stand.
For today, I already have a list of individual people that I want to talk to at the show, whether this is the section editor of a magazine, the marketing director of a product that I am keen tie up with, or getting a selfie with an idol who has really been pushing a brand/industry forward.
We all know that people do more business when they can meet people face to face, so why not put a human name to that face even before the event opens. Encourage your exhibitors to do the same and reap the rewards.