They’re at your exhibit entrance! Now what?
You’ve spent a ton of time and resources determining your trade show exhibit objectives and identifying in detail your target audience. Everything is ready to deliver a show-stopping experience for your visitors, right?
Ummm…not quite yet!
There’s one more thing needed and this can make or break your success. That one thing is how attendees move through your exhibit, also known as your attendee flow.
Trade shows can best be described as semi-organized chaos. The bright lights, loud noise, and crowds of people surrounding and filling your exhibit can make it difficult for people to focus on you and your offerings. You can’t control what’s happening around your booth—but you can take charge once someone enters your space.
Controlling a visitor’s movement through your exhibit starts with booth design. In a recent article, we talked about how consumer experiences now shape trade show expectations and how experiential design can help you stand out. Yes, your booth design needs to meet those expectations, but you’ve invested serious resources in your program and it’s time to work on getting results.
Design is a critical factor in exhibit success, but only as it serves to help achieve your show objectives. So when you’re designing your booth, be sure to analyze how visitors move through and ask whether that anticipated flow either supports your goals or might actually hinder what you’re trying to accomplish.
In Part 3 of our reporting on The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) 2023 conference, EDE’s Jay Menashe shares the responses of exhibitors who were asked about how they move visitors through their booths.
Once attendees have entered your space, what is the ideal flow?
Enlitic visitors start at a kiosk where info is shared about their product’s architecture, how it works, and typical workflow. “From there, we move to a demo pod for a software demonstration and have more of the architecture discussion,” VP of Marketing Dave Wilson says. “If the visitor warrants a longer discussion, we move to a semi-private area where we can sit down and get comfortable.”
TereRecon’s sales team welcomes visitors into their exhibit, leads them to all their stations to view their software, and matches inquirers with the solution they are looking for. “We’ve also added talks using some of our doctors that explain how they use our products,” says Event Manager Shannon Runyon. “We preschedule about 70 percent of our meetings, and on the show floor we get a lot of people who have been directed by other people to come see us.”
Service and data are big differentiators for Konica-Minolta, so Senior Strategic Marketing Manager – Digital Radiology Guillermo Sander considers it very important to take visitors to their service area. “This is capital equipment, so how you keep it operating and the information you provide about equipment usage and who’s using it well are important to users and decision-makers,” says Sander. “They can come in through many areas and we try to keep it short but make them aware of all our offerings.”
4D Medical’s demo stations are set up so they can capture visitor information as soon as they are engaged. “We walk them through a brief overview of our tech and then break that down into different products,” Sr. Director of Marketing Michelle Martinez says. “We use screens raised up high, place iPads for touch screens, and use those to broadcast. We are Australian and expanding into the US in the sense of a brand new product for non-invasive functional lung imaging.”
“We start by showing a specific product based on a specific need,” says Amrad Regional Sales Manager Kevin Lucas. “We also ask ‘what else do you need?’ and often hear ‘I didn’t know you did that!’ in response to our answer. This lets us show off all the other products we offer. We run about 50-50 existing and new dealers and are always open to new opportunities.”
Merative Head of Marketing Jim Young says they connect team members with visitors early in their visit to understand their situation and their challenge. “We show visitors a demo of our Merge imaging solution and have other opportunities for attendees to engage with us during the show, along with speaking sessions and at off-site events.”
Matching the right SME to the right visitor, based on their information, is the key for DocPanel’s Content Marketing Manager Stephanie Hernandez. “Our radiologists meet with other radiologists who are interested and can be a voice for us, which helps build trust,” she commented. “We use banners downstairs that lead people to us and have a lot of people available to talk to them.”
Going with the flow can be good advice for a lot of things, but when it comes to achieving your goals and objectives at a trade show, you can’t leave how your visitors move through your booth to chance. Bells and whistles can get them in the door, but if visitors sense you’ve not paid attention to planning your interaction with them once inside, that can lead them to question how you might deal with them after a purchase. Spending as much time planning for visitor flow as you do on every other aspect of your trade show program will make attendees feel valued and can help move the needle on your success!