Exhibiting at trade shows can be a great way to give added exposure to new products. However, there are a few tricks of the trade that can help guarantee exhibitors get the most bang for their trade show buck.
First and foremost, your booth should attract plenty of attention. Display large flashy logos and colorful visuals up high so that it can be noticed from afar. Remember that trade shows are often huge events and that people tend to wander toward those booths that look interesting and different. Consider using oversized images of toys or themes to the toys you are displaying. Make your booth irresistible so that people can’t help but walk by and see what you’ve got.
“It’s about creating an image in the consumer’s mind,” says Leah Ripps, public relations representative for the Toy Industry Association. She explained that another sure-fire way to attract a crowd is to provide lively toy demonstrations. “People like to see things in motion,” she says, noting that even small booths can attract a huge audience if they have an energetic representative who can make a product appealing.
Ripps also advises to keep the “clutter” to the back of the booth and highlight a few products that will inspire conversation. The idea is not to overwhelm the audience with too many options but, instead, to introduce a few great products that will leave a lasting impression. It is important to have brochures and various materials on your products, even a sample of the packaging, so that people can experience the full effect of how the toys or games will be marketed.
Another attention grabber involves offering a small giveaway, even if it’s entirely unrelated to what you are representing. For example, let’s say that you’re a video game booth offering complimentary candy bars. People will appreciate a snack, and this will likely lead to people discussing with others where they got the sweets, which equates to more visitors to your booth.
Ripps advises toy manufacturers to develop a dialogue with their audience and to speak to them about products in a knowledgeable yet concise manner. She also explained that while talking to people, representatives should strive to have just the right level of assertiveness. “They should try to be engaging without being pushy,” she says. This also applies to dealing with the media. She added that while it is good for toy manufacturers to be assertive, “being a hog can be a turn-off.”
Okay, so now the toy fair is done. Time to relax until the next show, right? Wrong. Following up with your leads is crucial. More often than not, toy manufacturers let too much time lapse before actually making contact with their leads. By contrast, those who follow up with their leads shortly after the trade show tend to flourish in sales. It is also a good idea to have thank you letters already prepared before the show. This will later save you time and allow you to get down to business.
Remember, the key to having a successful trade show experience is being a step ahead of the rest. Assess the competition; take notes from the popular booths around you. Think months in advance of what attention grabbing ideas you can implement, so that as each year passes, your booth becomes more and more the talk of the trade show.