“Don’t forget about the people ... the future of our industry rides on it.” — Rhiannon Andersen, Steelhead CMO

A recent article in EXHIBITOR magazine caught our attention. It was about a company called Huber, who manufactures innovative building materials. Though their products were great, they were having trouble making a big impact with their audience at trade shows. So, they went back to the drawing board.

They focused on the basics:

  • New booth
  • Highly interactive demos
  • Better training

What we were thrilled to see in their new plan was special consideration for the power of human interaction.

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In the lead-up to the trade show, their marketing manager honed in on better training for staff, even including a dress rehearsal-style training session with role-playing in the booth the night before the event. When the show opened, booth staff knew exactly how to engage and connect with attendees face to face.

The plan worked. After the show, Huber looked at the numbers and saw that their qualified leads had jumped from 14% in 2017 to 43% in 2018.

Don't Let Digital Dominate Demos

Virtual reality, augmented reality, QR coding, and beckoning technology are just a few examples of the ways in which digital technology are altering the fundamentals of trade shows. Why? Because they tend to separate booth staff and attendees from making face-to-face connections, and that's critical.

Balance Technology with Human Interaction

Don't get us wrong. We love new technology, but we also know that humans are designed to be social. Trade show marketers should understand how to balance the power of new technology with the importance of real human connections. Here are a few of our favorite ways to help truly connect with your audience.

Consider What Creates Connection

If we break down what creates a human connection, it's about three things: feeling seen, feeling heard, and feeling valued. Take each of these traits into consideration when you're training your staff before the show.

Train Your Staff to Ask Questions

Work with your staff on a list of conversation starters and practice having engaging conversations prior to the event. Sample questions might include:

  • What brings you to the event?
  • Have you attended before?
  • Are you here to learn or find something specific?
  • How long have you been in the industry?
  • Have you seen anything really intriguing at the event?

Engage the Five Senses

Sight, smell, touch, hearing, and taste. When you engage people's senses, you're shaping their experience and connecting with them on many levels. To create a more multisensory booth, ask yourself these questions:

  • What are attendees seeing? (consider all perspectives)
  • What, if anything, are they smelling? (flowers, popcorn, cookies, etc.)
  • Do they have the ability to touch anything or do anything with their hands?
  • What are they hearing? Music, laughter, games, a presentation?
  • What are they tasting? Remember, people love to eat!

A clear focus on better human interaction paves the way for trade show success. Find out how a custom rental can help you get what you want out of your next show. Check out our white paper: The Perfect Booth, For The Best Price.


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