Why would you want to make your trade show product demo go viral? To draw attention and boost your booth traffic?
In the trade show exhibiting business, everyone’s trying to attract attention. Doing this isn’t as hard as it sounds. After all, a car wreck attracts attention, and the participants aren’t even trying! The key is attracting the kind of attention you want.
We’ve all seen the typical techniques used by many trade show exhibitors. They include the putting green, the “spin and win” wheel, the basketball toss and even the cash booth (a clear plastic box where money flies around the participant like locusts during a plague). These do attract attention, as evidenced by the lines of attendees frequently waiting their turn for a chance to win.
But they don’t highlight your products. The people who are waiting are just like the ones who slow down to get a look at the auto accident. They’re
in any way, so the exhibitor doesn’t get much good out of each attendee’s play time. And the game itself doesn’t do anything to get the trade show exhibitor’s brand message out there. not qualified
This is underscored by a typical discussion about an attraction like this:
One attendee says to another, “Hey, did you see the booth with the ‘spin and win’ wheel? I won a Starbucks gift card!” The other says, “No, where is it?” The conversation that follows doesn’t include the exhibitor’s name or product, or any other information about the exhibitor. The first attendee simply tells the other how to get to the trade show booth. Why? Because the exhibitor’s branding wasn’t integrated into the game!
So while these “attractions” may have a place, I don’t think that place is the trade show exhibit hall.
Seriously, you can do better than that. Here’s how:
A successful trade show booth activity needs at least three components to make it worth your while. Weigh these considerations when planning something to attract attendees to your exhibit.
1) It should promote your brand message The games I mentioned earlier don’t do this. In unusual instances, they can. But I wouldn’t count on being one of those rare exceptions to the rule.
Instead, try to create an activity or product demo that springs directly from the product that’s being demonstrated. It should reinforce the brand messaging or your primary message being delivered at that particular show.
2) It should prove something to your target market in a memorable way
Try to create a way to make your product demo go viral. For example, if your product is a cell phone that’s waterproof, maybe you put that phone in an aquarium—or even a toilet bowl! Or better yet, let attendees do it, and then show them that the phone still functions.
You’re demonstrating exactly what your product can do. That’s the key: show, don’t tell.
Need a good place to do product demo’s? This one uses 2 cases that convert into the podium!
If you market a product known for its strength, what can you do to show how strong that product is? Can a trade show booth staffer (or attendee) make it hold up a bar bell? Can the product resist being crushed by a piano or a safe, dropped on it by a booth staffer?
These approaches prove your point. And they have the added value of putting something unusual in your exhibit that’s going to get attention simply by being out of place. After all, what’s an upright piano doing at a trade show, anyway?
The benefit of this approach is that
it puts your product front and center. Attendees are seeing—and maybe even interacting with—your product in action. The attraction isn’t some random game. It’s integrating your product and helping you show exactly what your product can do.
As we mentioned in a
previous post, Lexan did this memorably years ago with a sheet of their incredibly strong clear plastic material. The sheet was mounted in a frame, across from a very large slingshot, loaded with a bowling ball. During product demos, a booth staffer would release the slingshot, firing the bowling ball at the acrylic panel. Amazingly, there was no damage to the plastic.
Another example is the “Will it blend” series of commercials and YouTube videos that
Blendtec did for several years. These were funny, or at least surprising, and memorable – and it was key features about their product that they communicated in a memorable fashion, and made their product demo go viral! 3) It should include elements of fun and interactivity
We’ve offered a few examples that accomplish this goal. But I also want to offer a word of warning. There are so many “cool” things happening with technology these days that distract trade show exhibitors.
Let’s take virtual reality as an example. Don’t just do something virtual to get attention because the technology itself is interesting or exciting. Too many trade show exhibitors sacrifice their brand messaging for the latest and greatest “cool” thing that comes along. They don’t take the time to determine whether it helps them achieve the other two objectives I’ve outlined here.
Invest the time and energy to make sure your exhibit activity or product demo passes these three tests. When you do, you’ll have achieved the goal of attracting attention,
engaging your target market and getting your product message across in a fun and interesting way.