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Building Better Booth Traffic

By: Andy Marken

In his nearly 25 years in the advertising/public relations field, Andy has been involved with a broad range of corporate and marketing activities. Prior to forming Marken Communications in mid-1977, Andy was vice president of Bozell & Jacobs and its predecessor agencies. During his 12 years with these agencies, he developed and coordinated a wide variety of highly visible and successful promotional campaigns and activities for clients. A graduate of Iowa State University, Andy received his Bachelor's Degree with majors in Radio & Television and Journalism. Widely published in the industry and trade press, he is an accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA).

A hook is anything that massages the prospect's ego. Use their first name (everyone has a badge), ask a meaningful question, or simply smile, reach out, and shake hands like you expected to meet them.

You'd be surprised how often these selling courtesies are overlooked at shows. Common sense sales techniques work here just as they do in the customer's office.

A show magnet is an obvious draw. Rather than an attractive girl, display your product or service in an innovative and original manner. Use color, light, sound, visuals and make them tie in well with your product.

Most booths are static. Movement is one of the best magnets there is; yet very few firms design it into their exhibit.

Another attraction is the use of magicians, games, contests or some type of entertainment. Keep in mind, that they should be pertinent to your product and display. Tailor them to the message(s) you want people to remember. Don't allow them to distract from or overshadow show message.

Sales promotion items and giveaways are popular magnets. They should have little real value but considerable intrinsic value so they will be retained as a reminder of
the company and its products.


You may want to deal with attendees on a one-on-one basis, but group-building techniques will help you can handle those instances when you have to deal with more than one person at a time.

First, stop your target customer. Next, build a crowd around him or her. This permits you to cover the audience and all of your bases effectively. If you want to see this
carried out as a fine art, go to a fair and watch the pitch person(s) with their choppers and knife sharpeners. In the first ten seconds, they know exactly who is going to buy and the rest of the people are window dressing.

Eye contact is vital. If you are talking to one or two people, and someone walking down the aisle glances in your direction, catch his or her eye. Briefly focus your discussion on that person and invites them to join the group. But don't spend so much time attracting new people that you lose those you already have.

Another approach is to assign tasks. Ask one person in the group to assist you or represent a point you are trying to highlight. Not everyone will accept the assignment, but many will.

Including and assigning approaches work for groups of eight to ten people. When the group becomes larger, it is better to use a platform. This soapbox approach enables the presenter to maintain eye contact while demonstrating product benefits and the audience will see more of what is being demonstrated.

© Copyright 2001, G.A.Marken, Marken Communications

Other Articles by Andy Marken

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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