Four great trade show tips

Evan Schuman (TPRWS 39)  of StorefrontBacktalk.com has spent a lot of time at trade shows lately and he sent us these four tips for getting the most out of media contacts. We like them all, but we think #3 and #4 are particularly good!

Evan writes:

  1. Most interviews today are done on the phone and some even via E-mail. The art of how to get the most out of an in-person demo and ESPECIALLY a tradeshow demo (where you have the space luxury of your booth or your demo suite). Demos and interactive capabilities should be top choices. Backups can be truly relaxed conversations about trends. This is NOT where you want to whip out the slides and do a 30-minute overview.
  2. Lose the tunnel vision when setting up meetings. Those “want to meet at Big Tradeshow next week?” calls are huge opportunities for stories and coverage and I have seen tons lost due to tunnel vision. They ask and focus on “are you going to be attending X and Y?” with a backup of “Do you have time to meet at the show?” If the answer to either question is “no,” the call ends. What a waste of a contact with a reporter!
  3.  Walk the aisles and go into rival booths. Crazy, you say? Not at all. How many times have execs tried to say why their product is so much better than the competition? At a tradeshow, you can make that case 1000 percent more effectively. Start in your booth and show how a particular task is done and how easy and effective it is. Then walk one minute down the aisle to your rival’s booth and have the reporter try to do the same thing with them? Of course, this only if your product is truly better in some way, but if it is, it’s an amazingly powerful tactic that can only be done at a tradeshow.
  4. The commissary-like lunch. Last year, there was a vendor COO who did one of the most impressive PR tactics I’ve ever seen. We went down to the ultra-crowded lunch place at the Javits and grabbed sandwiches and looked for a table with space. He was trying to make the point that IT people cared about XXXXX a lot more than they did about YYYYY, which was a huge change. His eyes then lit and he told me to select any table. When we sat down, he knew that there would be at least one IT manager (and probably a lot more than one) sitting there. He brought the topic up and asked the table about it and they agreed with him. Given that I chose the table, there’s no way this could have been pre-arranged. It was a remarkably powerful way to make his point. And, yes, it could only have been done at a tradeshow.
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One response to “Four great trade show tips

  1. Thanks, guys, for running these! It’s interesting that you liked #s 3 and 4. They’re the most powerful and there’s a reason for it. Both are based on the vendor’s complete confidence in the fact that they are correct and are simply looking for a way to prove it.
    That confidence–coming from an executive who presumably is in a position to know–is what makes these so powerful. There’s no way he’d try bringing a reporter into a rival’s booth or pose a question to a table full of strangers unless he KNEW that he was right.
    Sometimes, half the battle in making an effective argument in a courtroom–or as a PR person–is convincing your audience that you really believe what you’re saying AND that you know your stuff.
    Sadly, I see VERY few people trying techniques such as these, which only intensifies my suspicion that full of …. well …. bad stuff.

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