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Rock Your Trade Show: Inspiring interviews with Industry Insiders, Executive Leaders, Marketers and Influencers who share their insights, challenges and lessons learned so you can rock Your next trade show.

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Mar 27, 2017

5 Steps to Boosting Attendee Engagement and Interaction at Your Next Show

If you are a marketer and have been on the trade show floor, you know first-hand how it can be challenging to attract, engage and share your message with the right attendee.  In fact, the number one question asked about exhibiting is just that-“How do I get attendees to come into my booth and remember our message?”

5 Steps to Boost Engagement and Interaction at Your Next Show

  1. Identify your Ideal Customer Avatars (ICA) (there will be more than one).
  2. Determine what is most important to each ICA –you need a multi-tiered messaging strategy.
  3. Create a Story –people remember information when it is told in a story format.
  4. Include an unexpected experience-attendees retain information when they learned in an unusual way.
  5. Have a Call to Action (CTA) that will allow you to continue your conversation after the show

At the ExhibitorLive show in Las Vegas, there was a lot of competition to reach the attendee.  The trade show floor was a noisy place with very engaging messaging and in that environment it can be hard to stand out.  So how do you stand out?  This is a case study that hopefully will give you ideas on what you can do to get better interactions with key customers at your next show.

Attendee Journey:

 This started with approaching the architecture of the exhibit.  When they came towards the booth, the structure looked like a museum gallery to fit our theme “The Art of Interaction”.  Attendees were curious about the suspended orange balls they saw and were asked “What do you think that looks like?” Having an opening question makes attendees feel comfortable and it’s the first step on your dance together.


Step One: Determine who is your ideal customer avatar?

Establish your ideal customer avatar and create a profile for each personality that might be coming to the exhibit.  There will be more than one and you may not be able to speak with all of them.


Step Two: Find out what is most important to them.

Determine what is most important to your “avatar” types.  Resist the temptation to have one overarching message and tailor your messaging to be specific for each personality you want to engage with at the booth.  Someone in purchasing has different concerns than a VP of Marketing for example.


Step Three: Create a memorable story.

Now that you have your multi-level messaging, it’s time to create a story around it.  You can create several stories within an overarching theme so that each ideal customer avatar is receiving the information most important to them.


Step Four: Make the information delivery unexpected.

People forget fast-the best way for them to remember your message is to have an engagement where they are physically doing something to learn the information.  Ideally you will have a combination of materials and not only one thing-like a touch screen.  Finding a surprising material or method to experience the message will be remembered longer.


Step Five: You need a call to action.

What do you want to be the outcome after the show?  How would you like to stay connected with your ideal customer?  If you ask them to do something like sign up to receive a white paper for example, this continues your interaction beyond the last day of the show.


CAST STUDY: The Art of Interaction.

Exhibitus created a customer journey that started in the aisle with visually seeing architecture that looked like an art gallery. 


After attendees were asked about the mobile structure, they were invited to experience the art of targeting and engagement inside the booth.


There were four stations for engagement each allowing dialogue to understand what was the top challenges the attendee was faced with in their exhibit program.


Engagement Station 1: The Art of Targeting

A touch screen interactive that looks like a Seurat painting and the attendee was asked to find the three attendee targets. The experience highlights how not all visitors are people you want your staff to engage with at your show and why it is so important to find the right attendee.


Engagement Station 2: The Art of Communication

A gallery with three Picasso style paintings on the wall had conductive ink.  Projectors combined with computer programming created an unexpected interactive experience.


Engagement Station 3: The Art of Engagement

This was a fun area where attendees could take a “selfie” photo with a Magritte style painting.  If the attendee tweeted their own photo out with #Exhibitusartofinteraction their name was added an additional time into a drawing for an Alexa.


Engagement Station 4: The Art of Sharing

We believe the arts are very important to a child’s development and partnered with the Dreaming Zebra foundation.  A donation of art kits is being made for homeless children in Atlanta and attendees signed their name.  Attendees also received a colored sticker to show they made a donation to this charity.


Call to Action: Take the Free Trade Show Program Assessment Survey

Attendees at the end of their journey received an adult coloring kit and a link to take a free assessment on their trade show program.  For every person who took the survey they received an additional name in the Alexa drawing.


Visit to see photos of this experience.

If you would like to learn more about how to create an experience like this one, or have an idea for a future show send me a note, I would love to hear from you.