This tip could also go into the “Conquering Conferences” section of this month’s vendor newsletter, but ultimately it’s a marketer’s job to determine what strategies should be utilized at meetings to attract foot traffic to the booth.

Earlier this year, I read an article in EXHIBITOR MAGAZINE titled, “Swag is Out, Experiences are In: The New Era of Corporate Event Engagement.”

In short, items like pens, stress balls, fidget spinners, etc. are not creating a memorable impact with conference attendees. Instead, booth experiences are becoming more engaging. For example, we are good friends with a team of individuals who often have a putting green at their booth – and it works. Their booth is usually extremely busy with DPMs taking a shot at the hole, while the sales team lets them know about their latest and greatest products.

Ann and I have had positive experiences with this ourselves. Last summer in Nashville for the APMA National Meeting, you may remember our Dolly Parton cardboard cut-out. This is nothing extravagant, but it created a “scene” at the booth where people got to come up and take a picture with a life size replica of Dolly. It was a hit!!!

Check out the article for yourself and take some time to get creative. Think outside the box. We’ve seen booths with the spinning wheel of prizes, but isn’t this just another trinket giveaway? I’m not making fun; Ann and I have tried it ourselves. While there is a little bit of a thrill, it doesn’t create genuine excitement like other ideas we’ve seen and/or tried.

The additional benefit here is that you can use these booth experience “gimmicks” from show to show without having to constantly purchase new trinkets. Plus, we all know that we semi-dread the attendee that just comes up to the booth looking for “stuff.” These attendees are very rarely high-quality leads, yet we continue to buy cheap stuff for low-value results.

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Sarah Breymeier:

-Sarah Breymeier