My firm exhibited at a large conference of in-house attorneys this week. The experience reinforced the notion that if you put a lot of thought and effort into trade show marketing, it can pay big dividends. If you don't, well, it won't. A few thoughts:
1) Engage passersby: If you engage them, they will come. If you simply nod, or read internal email from your firm about someone finding a set of keys in bathroom on your Blackberry/iPhone/Android, or eat, or stare into space, you’ve lost them. However, if you engage attendees with a “good morning”, or a “how are you” or some other acknowledgement, you’ll have more success.
2) Shiny Objects: Like bees to flowers, have shiny, colorful, unusual trinkets. Pen? Multicolor highlighter? Candy? Why bother! We are a Louisiana firm, so we had our own hot sauce, Mardi Gras beads, cookbooks, and Gumbo mix.
3) Elevator Speech: Be prepared to tell a compelling story about your firm in 15 seconds or less. Rehearse it well and be prepared to make it interesting. Follow your story by asking about theirs.
4) Information Capture: Ask for a business card, send a follow up communication (we are sending New Orleans pralines), and add contacts to your CRM.
5) Never Leave: Man your booth as if your life depended on it. Some of the best conversations we had were during times the in-house counsel were coming from, running to, or avoiding the CLE sessions altogether.
I love the tip about giving Mardi Gras beads. Giving something that's uniquely New Orleans is a great idea. Now if Steve asked attendees to pull up their shirts and show show off to get the beads -- that would be priceless.