Colossal, enormous, gigantic, humongous, mammoth. BIG!!
Let’s say you are one of the fortunate exhibitors with the luxury of building a behemoth booth to help you stand out on the trade show floor. If you’re willing to spend the time, money and creative juice, a big booth can help you develop a remarkable attendee experience and make a splash in the exhibit hall. After all, your goal is to draw as much traffic into your booth as possible so that your team can begin valuable conversations. But, how do you make your marketing efforts as prodigious as your fantastic footprint? Much is written about big ideas for small booths. However, we thought we’d offer three unique trade show ideas for the giants among us.
1. Guided Booth Tours
Since you’ve opted for jumbo it’s likely that you have lots of product dispersed in areas of your trade show exhibit. While you will certainly have members of your A-team positioned at those product locations, scheduled booth tours allow groups to traverse products while receiving brief, valuable information from an engaging speaker – in one fell swoop.
Example: At the National Truck Equipment Show (NTEA), our client, Ford Commercial Vehicles, had 15 trucks and vans strategically placed in their 90 x 140 exhibit. In addition to the hourly presentation delivered on the big stage, we thought smaller groups of visitors would appreciate a deeper dive into the Ford lineup. So, in between the stage show we scheduled booth tours, advertised on posters placed in the front of the booth and through social media. We also had a sign-up sheet at the front desk. Visitors followed the scripted presenter and after each tour a select participant received a Ford branded gift.
Pro tip: Hire a professional trade show presenter/product specialist as the booth tour guide and provide him or her with a personal, wearable microphone. Trade shows are loud and you want your guide to be heard.
2. Product Launches
You’ve developed the mac-daddy of products and you want to debut your masterpiece at the biggest trade show of the year in your industry. Your product is game-changing and historical! What are you going to do? Just set it up in the middle of the booth and hope people see it? No! You want to make a big hoopla by creating an experience attendees will talk about and remember. In short, you want to launch your product in a manner equal to its majesty.
Example: At the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC) our healthcare client was planning a large and active booth (90 x 110) showcasing eight diagnostic solutions. But there was one “game-changing” piece of diagnostic machinery that they wanted as the focus of the exhibit. Our task as the exhibit producer was to create excitement around the launch by developing an epic event and making a statement on the trade show floor. We created a huge stage and an opaque enclosure that housed the new technology. Then, our facilitator led the audience in a raucous countdown, in front of a large countdown clock, as the CEO of the company was introduced. During his speech, the enclosure turned clear to reveal the magnificent new solution. Accompanying this was lighting that intensified, pulsated and changed color as the reveal pinnacled. The company’s exhibit was packed with standing room only crowds during the product launch! (Read all about it.)
Pro tip: Hire a professional trade show marketing company to provide producers, designers, directors, writers, presenters, crowd gatherers, and brand ambassadors to ensure that your huge endeavor comes off without a hitch.
3. Game Shows
We’re not talking about a run of the mill game show kiosk or quiz. We mean a knock-your-socks-off, kick-butt, full-scale game show production! Game shows create sizzle and buzz on the convention floor and increase the likelihood visitors will remember your key messaging. A game show may be particularly applicable if the attendee demographics suggest a non-technical savvy audience like automotive or construction related events.
We put the show in trade show for our client Ford Commercial Vehicles by creating the Tough or not Tough game show that incorporated one of the most iconic marketing slogans of all time. From the huge stage in our client’s 90 x 90 booth at the Mid-America Trucking Show, our team led contestants through a fun-filled, informative series of quiz questions about the Ford truck and van lineup that culminated in a chance for participants to win $500 in cash. Tough or not Tough continues to be the talk of the expo hall every year. (Read all about it.)
At a recent Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland, organizers built a full-sized version of Hollywood Squares. During the main event, they had 9 tic tac toe squares filled with content marketing leaders. A professional speaker and comedian was hired as host and attendees had the chance to become participants by registering on the event website. (Read all about it.)
Pro tip: As you plan your gamification strategy, consider the demographic profile of the people with whom you want to connect. Are they likely to be introverted or extroverted and how technologically savvy are they?
Let People Know!
Now that you have a grand idea for your grand booth, you need to let attendees know all about it. Spread your message on social, create a landing page, consider an email campaign touting your trade show presence, or conduct a press conference to generate anticipation about your plans.
The Big Conclusion
These are just three big ideas for big booths. With a little brainstorming you will come up with your own. In addition to the main event, if you want to take advantage of the latest trade show tech trends, you can always augment your big booth with interactive touch screens, virtual and augmented reality experiences, or live Twitter feeds. Combining the leading technology with a warm, human connection is what make face-to-face events such as trade shows a unique branding and prospecting opportunity. That’s what we call a BIG idea!