Don’t risk your trade show investment or reputation staffing the wrong crew at your booth
Ten tips that will impress your clients and company; pre, during, and post-show
If you or your team is in charge of selecting staff to man your booth at the next industry trade show, you are faced with a challenging task. Let’s face it, your quality people are valuable in the office and it’s hard to imagine doing without them for multiple, consecutive days.
It might seem logical to determine whose calendar is least busy during the dates of the show and whose absence will least likely affect the office.
Well, you might want to think twice about that approach, because not only can it put your company at risk of wasting your exhibit investment, this approach can be detrimental to your brand and how the show attendees perceive your company.
Whatever your past selection criteria has been…
Be sure to consider the following 10 tips to establish a logical and balanced mix of expertise and help to make your next trade show a holistic success.
1) Create show-specific objectives
Work with leadership to establish a list of clear objectives that your company wants to achieve at the specific trade show you will be attending. Seems like a no brainer, but is surprisingly overlooked and often, assumed.
2) Get your hands on show statistics
Knowing your audience will help your on-site team prepare for who they will be talking to. Talk to show management to collect more statistics and historical data than what is commonly posted online.
3) Estimate your target audience
Use the data you collected to further filter the show’s attendees and determine your target audience. Review the demographics and subtract the exhibitors, speakers, educators unlikely to express interest then look at what you have. For example, you might estimate that 15% of the total attendee and exhibitor list is your logical & realistic target audience. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THIS INFORMATION?
4) Estimate # of staff & materials you will need
Use show data to determine the quantity of staff and materials to supply. For example, if the total show is expecting 25,000 attendees, multiply it by your estimated target percentage. 25,000 x 15% = 3,750. Now you have your target audience. But not all of them will actually come into your exhibit space to engage. (Source link at bottom)
You can expect approximately 45% of your target to engage. Knowing this, you can estimate 1,688 actual visitors (3,750×45%) to converse with your team and you can now estimate the quantity of marketing materials.
In addition to your expected exhibit visitors, the size of your booth also matters. A good rule of thumb is to have approximately two people for every 10 feet of space.
5) Select your team based on all this great info
Now you are ready to make well-informed decisions about your team. Assign quality people from a mix of show-aligned and objective-aligned departments such as Sales, Marketing and Development.
Select roles and personalities that match:
1. Your company’s objectives for the specific trade show
2. Can appeal to the audience demographics
3. Have a thorough understanding of the industry and language
4. Have an expertise that will add value to conversations with attendees Important: Try to not overlap on this one; this is where a mix of roles with unique contributions will come in…and prevent gaps in knowledge during show.
6) Give your select team expectations and education
Create a formal training program that is educational, motivational, introduces objectives and explains how you plan to measure success. Tell each individual what you expect of them, specifically, and what is expected of their peers so everyone is clear.
7) Be inclusive
Include the select team as much as you can in pre-planning meetings, exhibit design, production meetings and the like. The more included they are, the more invested and supportive they will be and the more successful you will be.
8) Provide easy to use, helpful tools for your on-site team
Create summarized support materials and use technology support tools that are easy to use during show dates. For example, if you expect your team to collect prospect information or feedback, make it easy for them by having a simple process and tools to do it.
9) Be attentive of your team’s on-site well being
Trade shows are exhausting! You can help prevent fatigue, boredom and crankiness by having enough people to rotate, keeping shifts shorter and with frequent breaks. Show formal recognition or positive behavior, consistency and quality.
10) Share Post-Show Results
Hold a post-show review and share the outcome with others in the company. Focus giving credit to those who were on-site. Have the on-site team give additional reports to the greater organization to include them and keep their investment level high. Formalize the feedback to track over time.
In summary: Trade show exhibiting is expensive; these steps for selecting the right on-site team will support your company’s investment and boost your reputation. Make these 10 tips a part of your process and not only will attendees have a more positive, consistent and informative experience; your peers and associates will be more invested, excited and rewarded for their contributions.
Did you know? Did you know that seven minutes is the average time an attendee will spend engaging with one of your team members? And this is only “IF” they stop to talk, as only 45% of your target audience will stop to potentially engage. Prepare your team to maximize those precious minutes and let your competition wonder what you are doing right when they observe attendees spending a lot of time at your booth.
Jennifer Campbell is an Account Executive for The Production Network in Seattle. TPN serves as a trusted partner to clients who host a significant annual event and trade show schedule.
Cell: 206-430-3875 Desk: 206-957-5461
*Source: Trade Show Institute http://www.red-cedar.com/