If you are a company looking to make a splash at a trade show, listen to the words of Woody Allen, who said 80% of success is just showing up. The same applies to trade shows. If you want a major presence at a trade show, your company needs to show up on the trade show floor with a custom-designed trade show exhibit. Otherwise, you will be conspicuously absent from the trade show arena.
For example, at the CES show in Las Vegas in January, Research in Motion (RIM) had very little presence, according to Forbes.com, despite the fact that it seemed as if every 1 of the 140,000 people at the trade show had one of its products. By not exhibiting with a trade show booth, RIM made it difficult to believe its recent insistence that it was going after the consumer market with its BlackBerry Pearl. Instead, it appeared that RIM had given up on the race to get smart phones into the hands of ordinary consumers.
The message that RIM had the premiere business phone could have been reinforced for their core customers with a trade show display. But since there was no RIM trade show exhibit, the message went unheard.
The next lesson is to just do something! At the same CES trade show, Kodak exhibited a soon-to-be released solution to digital photos that are collecting dust on most PC hard drives. The EasyShare Digital Picture Frame plays a slideshow of favorite photos and video clips. Music can be incorporated into the slideshow. Models were shown in 8-inch and 10-inch digital frames, and Kodak offered integrated Wi-fi for streaming videos, photos, and music from a PC to another room.
Another lesson is to aggressively market your company’s splashy news. The legendary Steve Jobs kicked off his company’s Macworld Conference and Expo 2007 with not only a rousing keynote address from San Francisco’s Moscone West, but he also posted his self-promoting keynote speech on Apple’s website for anyone to hear at any time. Jobs magically and romantically talked about the latest developments and hottest products in the Mac industry.
There is no shame in self-promoting your company and your new products. With little modesty, one week before Macworld, Apple changed the front of its company website to an eye-catching Apple logo with the promise: “The first 30 years was just the beginning. Welcome to 2007.”
In order to have a successful trade show experience, follow the lessons of trade show marksmanship. They are:
- Be seen.
- Be active.
- Be heard.