In an election year, politicians are hard to avoid. TV, radio, direct mail, and even our telephones are all being used to tell a story. Since we cannot avoid politicians, what can we learn from them that we can apply to our trade show efforts? After all, these are some of the best marketers in the world.
- Backgrounds are important: Politicians go to great effort and expense to create as good an environment as possible for you to hear their story. Your trade show display is no different. It should carry the look and feel consistent with your brand image and message. It should create an environment that allows your story to be told.
- We make a living by the words we choose: As a marketing sales person, I live by that mantra. And so should you. The words we choose to tell our story must be impactful and strike a cord with our audience; otherwise they will be short lived. We have a limited time to get our message across and make it resonate enough to be remembered and hopefully acted upon.
- Image is a big part of the story: Politicians know that their image impacts their message. Your image – how your dress and conduct yourself – must be consistent with your brand and message. If it varies, it hurts your ability to build trust.
- The venue must tie into our goals: A politician gives great thought and planning into venue selection for telling their stories. Too often we exhibit at certain trade shows simply because _____…fill in the blank. Qualify each trade show venue based on your trade show goals. Ask your prospects and clients what shows they attend and why. And ask them what shows they do not attend and why. What better person to tell you where to be than your prospect and client?
- Sound bites work: Don’t write a paragraph or even a sentence when a bullet point will do the job. You have seconds to grab your prospect’s attention in your trade show exhibit and create a desire in them to know more. Hit the high point and speak their language.
- The last hand you shake is just important as the first hand you shake: Politicians are tirelessly meeting as many people as possible and imparting their image and message. The last person you meet at the end of the trade show deserves the same level of energy, interest, and desire as the first person you met on day one. If they are still seeking solutions at the end of a show, the opportunity is real and could be urgent. Don’t blow what could be the opportunity of the show just to get a jump on tear down or beat traffic.
- Keep telling your story: Politicians know that they must ever be ready to tell their story again. And again. And again. Repetition is important. Consistency builds trust. Don’t give up after one show. Major prospects need to see staying power and consistency in your brand and message.
I hope the next time you are interrupted by one of the many political messages sure to make their way into your day, that you will take pause and find what you can learn to increase the effectiveness of your message — without throwing the mud of course…
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