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How Trade Show Exhibiting Is Like “The Hunger Games”

Hunger Games Tradeshow MarketingThe tween literary sensation “The Hunger Games”  has been invading homes across America, and with the big screen opening, that spread is about to go even further.  The stories may have started out for youngsters, but the broad-sweeping message applies to more than you may think.  Just compare it to your trade show exhibiting plans, and you’ll begin to see the similarities…

The Reaping: Just as the names are chosen from a giant glass ball in “The Hunger Games” your company, too, will have to decide who the lucky people are that get to staff their trade show booth.  For some, this is the part of the job they love: talking to people, displaying a product or service they believe in, making connections, and feeding off the energy of the show.  For others, they may be dreading the thought of having to go.  Either way, once chosen you need to come up with a strategy to win. This means using your strengths to your advantage.  Are you outspoken and gregarious?  Use it to gather in attendees and start a conversation.  Are you more introverted, but are great at deciphering body language?  Use that to make a connection with your prospect. Everyone has something unique and important to bring to the table.

The Stylists:  In “The Hunger Games” the tributes are all given makeovers to persuade onlookers to root for and sponsor them.  The same goes for you when you’re in your trade show booth.  If you want to draw attention to your booth and products you both have to look good.  You can come up with a unified look, or let each individual choose for themselves, as long as it’s professional and flattering.  You’re on display as much as your product or service, so go out of your way to look ready for the game to begin and draw in your fans.

The Cornucopia:  In the arena, the cornucopia provides an arsenal of tools, weapons, supplies, and food and it’s up for grabs to whoever can get there first.  At trade shows, you have a huge pool of help to choose from as well, you just have to take advantage of it.  Does your trade show display builder also provide asset management or I&D to give you an advantage and make your life easier?  Use it.  Focus your efforts on the show and gaining the right prospects, and leave the other stuff to the experts.

The Games:  Now that you’re on the show floor, it’s every trade show display for themselves.  If you want to end up in the winner’s circle, you have to think fast and stay one step ahead of everyone else.  Do you have an eye-catching design or demo to attract attendees?  While that prospect has their interest piqued, don’t hesitate.  Engage them and uncover their needs.  The more times you do this, the greater the odds you’ll come up with hot leads that will go further into the sales cycle.  You only have a few hours to get all this done, and if you don’t take care of them, your competition will.

The Victor’s Tour:  Think once the big show is over you get to sit back and rest?  Guess again.  Now is the time to revisit all those people you connected with during the show.  Check in, see how they’re doing, and if their needs have changed or evolved.  Continue the representation of the brand you displayed at the trade show.  Show them your gratitude for choosing your company, and continue to prove that you are the best one for the job.

There is probably much more that can be learned from Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of the series, so check it out for yourself and see what you can find.  And remember, the book is always better than the movie.

What's Working In Exhibiting“The Hunger Games” was won with a bow and arrow, but you can hit your trade show target by reading the What’s Working In Exhibiting white paper.  Click here to request your free copy of the guide that reveals what exhibitors say works for them in 7 key areas of trade show marketing. 

About the Author

Bryna Kelly was a Marketing Assistant at Skyline Exhibits, located in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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