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Live Theater Attracts Tradeshow Visitors


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Live, interactive, experiential tradeshow presentations add a dynamic dimension attracting crowds to your company’s products and services at your tradeshow booth. There’s an added benefit of having your audience participate in and become advocates of your products during and after the tradeshow. It is, however, important to keep “on message" when you have a live theater presentation at your tradeshow exhibit. A highly- tuned message is the key to your success - ensuring that you meet your company’s marketing goals and objectives. Keep this in mind when you engage your next tradeshow presentation company.

According to Elaine Cohen, Founder/President of Live Marketing in Chicago, studies show that if live professional presentations at tradeshows focus on answering the marketing objectives of the company, the company is then better able to deliver on those objectives. The objective of the presentation may be to have tradeshow visitors become actively involved by taking a quiz or survey, learn about the product in depth from experts who can truly educate them, become committed to endorsing a charity in their industry, in addition to writing an order.

When the objective is to increase sales, a company would be wise to hire a crowd gatherer to get people to its tradeshow booth. Once there, attendees need to experience the product first hand. There also needs to be a follow up way to have your tradeshow guests experience the product once the tradeshow is over. A good idea to extend the marketing of your tradeshow exhibit is offering redeemable coupons to attendees they can use once the tradeshow is over.

A Case Study:

Cohen sites an example of a tradeshow live presentation campaign that produced highly successful results for Purina Pro Plan® at the National Dog Show in Philadelphia in 2005. The campaign was titled “The Difference is Real -Real Meat, Real Commitment, Real Experts. " In fact, the tradeshow live presentation was so successful that it was repeated at the Philadelphia’s National Dog Show in 2006, and also at the 2006 Chicago Dog Show and the Detroit Kennel Club Show.

The campaign began with identifying what key message Purina Pro Plan had for the national dog trade show goers and what the company hoped to achieve at the tradeshow exhibit. The message focus was that:

  • Nutritionally, Pro Plan is an exceptional product. Among top breeders and show dog owners, Pro Plan is the #1 pet food brand. However, many consumers are unaware of this. In the specialty market, unaided awareness of the Pro Plan brand is only 5% and Pro Plan market share is about 6%.

    Therefore, the challenge of the Pro Plan Consumer Experiential Marketing Program was to generate awareness of, create a preference for, and drive sales of Pro Plan foods.

    For starters, the tradeshow had the right audience- approximately 18,000 dog-loving consumers attending the tradeshow. Most of these consumers either have a dog, attend the tradeshow to help decide what breed to purchase, or attend to find a breeder to purchase from. They are of all ages, genders, and ethnicities—and all of them are decision-makers or influencers of dog food purchases.

    The overall goal was to re-focus the National Dog Show experience to integrate a Pro Plan experience. The way to do this was to immerse tradeshow visitors in the brand and to highlight the key messages - The Difference is Real—Real Meat, Real Experts, and Real Commitment - and to drive at least 400 attendees to participate in the show plan promotion at their tradeshow booth.

    By using a theater backed by content-specific interactive exhibit areas, they were able to communicate the key messages:

  • At the Real Meat area, a computerized Pro Plan Product Selector was used to find the right Pro Plan product for each tradeshow visitor’s own dog while communicating that the #1 ingredient of Pro Plan is Real Meat.

  • At the Real Commitment area, visitors learned about the animal rescue programs Purina supports and were given the opportunity to help support the cause.

  • In the Real Experts area, tradeshow guests spoke with breeders and/or a nutritionist to learn how to tell if their dog is the right weight and get answers to other canine nutrition questions.

    They also had attendees complete a Pro Plan Show Plan quiz and survey and, closing the loop, tradeshow booth staff gave away samples and coupons to drive visitors to purchase now and in the future.

    The solution was a totally integrated tradeshow exhibit marketing program that leveraged a live theatre and activities to attract and educate consumers.

    To have a successful tradeshow presentation, you must push all the right buttons of the tradeshow exhibit attendee—no matter whether your presentation is at the McCormick Convention Center in Chicago, the Kaiser Convention Center in Oakland, the Moscone Center in San Francisco, the Hannover Exhibition Center in Germany or the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

    Remember, the next time you exhibit at a tradeshow, by adding a live, focused tradeshow professional presentation you will make your tradeshow exhibit more memorable and get a better than ever return on your tradeshow investment.

    Dick Wheeler is President of Professional Exhibits & Graphics, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with showroom in Sacramento. Firm is full-service premiere trade show exhibit, graphics and management services company.

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