Clowns, costumes, caricaturists: they're staples of nearly every trade show, attempting to bring an audience to an otherwise lackluster booth. And don't forget the beguiling ladies, handing out fliers with a side of flirtation. Does any of the showiness of the showroom floor actually work to draw in attendees that become reliable leads?
"Don't get me started on booth babes," said Susan Friedmann, an industry consultant who goes by "The Tradeshow Coach." "People really have had to get more serious about exhibiting. When you're investing often several hundred thousand dollars going to a trade show, you have to get a return on your investment."
Whether your desired outcome is to fill a spreadsheet with sales leads, generate buzz for a new product, or just increase brand awareness, relying on random booth traffic isn't usually the wisest strategy,experts tell Inc. Plan early for not just creating an inventive and effective booth, but also for getting the right people to seek you out.
"A lot of show marketers leave it to the show organizer to drive traffic on the show floor," said Ruth P. Stevens, a consultant on business-to-business marketing and president of eMarketing Strategy. "You cannot cede responsibility to the show organizer to get all the traffic you want to get – you need to take aggressive action."