Picture this: you stroll through a business conference, and there they are—those poor souls behind the booth, wearing expressions of utter defeat.
They gaze at you with eyes begging for mercy, hoping you'll take their damn flyers (which will inevitably meet their demise in the nearest trash can).
It's time to flip the script.
In this article, we'll explore the pitfalls of those expensive event booths and unveil badass strategies to create an engaging booth experience that'll make attendees say, "Damn, these guys are cool!”
The pitfalls of expensive event booths
Let's face it—event booths often suck.
In addition, they drain your marketing budget faster than a Kardashian can post a selfie.
Sure, they may look impressive, but they often come with a hefty price tag and a truckload of headaches.
It's time to expose the dark side of these glamorous setups and shed light on their pitfalls.
First off, we have the passive approach conundrum.
Traditional event booths expect people to flock to them like mindless zombies.
But newsflash: attendees are bombarded with booth after booth, each vying for their attention.
So, unless you have a superhero magnetism that draws people in with an unseen force, relying solely on visitors to approach your booth is a recipe for disappointment.
Then there's the issue of metrics—or rather, the lack thereof.
How the hell are you supposed to measure the success of your booth if you're not tracking anything?
It's like playing darts in the dark, hoping to hit a bullseye without knowing where the damn dartboard is.
Without clear metrics, you're essentially throwing your money into a black hole and crossing your fingers for the best.
And let's not forget the logistical nightmare that comes with these extravagant booths.
Designing the damn thing is already a headache, but then you have to deal with printing, shipping, and, if you aren’t lucky, assembling this monstrosity.
Trust me, it's a circus act you don't want to be a part of.
But fear not, my brave marketing warriors, for there is hope amidst the chaos.
Make it engaging
It's time to kick ass and take names.
Here are six ways to transform your booth into a captivating experience:
1/ The coffee revolution
This is 101 of booth trickery.
Say goodbye to the piss-water coffee typically served at events.
Bring in a badass, high-end coffee machine and some damn comfy chairs.
The aroma of freshly brewed goodness will waft through the air, drawing in the masses like moths to a flame.
As they sip that liquid gold, conversations will flow, connections will be made, and your booth will become the hottest spot in town.
2/ Free consulting sessions
Want to flex your expertise and make attendees weak in the knees?
Offer free, bite-sized consulting sessions.
Set up a private corner where folks can spill their guts and seek personalized advice.
Offer them the real deal, not some boring sales pitch.
Your spot will scream professionalism, build trust, and show everyone you're not just another schmuck in a booth.
Prepare to watch those leads roll in.
3/ Useful resources with a twist
Forget those tired old white papers that nobody gives a damn about.
Get creative, dammit!
Let’s say you are a gene therapy expert.
Print out a map of nearby gene therapy companies, slap your logo on it, and give it away for free.
People will snatch that treasure up and proudly display it on their office walls.
Your brand will be etched into their minds like a tattoo.
Another trick: offer to mail it to them so they don't have to carry it around.
You’ll get their personal details while you’re at it.
4/Temptation, Thy Name is iPhone
Look, nobody gives two craps about a lousy $50 Amazon coupon.
People value the privacy of their email addresses more than this.
So, let's up the ante, shall we?
Give away an iPhone, or even better, an Apple Watch.
Yeah, I said it.
That sleek, shiny piece of tech will have folks flocking to your booth like seagulls to a discarded hot dog.
Sure, it's an investment, but hell, you've already sunk a boatload of cash into this booth.
And let's be real, an iPhone is way sexier than any damn white paper.
5/ Bring the A-Team
Here's a little secret: people want to talk to someone who actually knows their sh*t.
So, bring your A-team to the booth.
Those rockstars who have studied your product inside and out.
The ones who can charm the pants off a snake.
Don't let some clueless schmuck be the face of your company.
I've seen it happen, and it's painful to watch.
6/ Pump up the design
First, stop using the same slogan as everyone else.
“We revolutionize medicine.”
Well.... like everyone else here, I guess?
But, you know what's worse than a cliché slogan plastered on every booth?
A booth that looks like a damn flea market exploded.
Be specific with your design, or don’t be at all.
A minimalistic booth is more attractive than an overcrowded one.
Keep it sleek, keep it sexy.
Embrace minimalism that screams, "We're the real deal!"
Focus on one call-to-action for your booth, not a dozen.
And remember, while design matters, an iPhone giveaway will make folks drool over your booth regardless of what's written on it.
Abandon the booth altogether
Look, I get it.
Event booths may make your boss proud, but let's be honest here: there are alternatives that kick their sorry asses.
Investing in a booth isn't the only way to make a splash in the conference scene.
As an attendee, I always prioritize events that use a partnering platform.
Who wants to wander aimlessly around the exhibit hall hoping to stumble upon a meaningful conversation when you can simply check the attendee list and send targeted meeting requests?
And all this before the event, from the comfort of your desk.
With event partnering platforms, you can proactively seek out the right people to meet, schedule one-on-one sessions, and make the most of your conference experience.
It's like speed dating for professionals, minus the awkward small talk and questionable pick-up lines.
I can easily run 10 to 15 meetings a day, which is more exhausting than running a marathon, but ensures you get a good return on your event budget.
Let's run the numbers, shall we?
A booth easily costs 4 to 5 times the price of an attendee ticket.
This means that for the same cost, you could have your 4 to 5 best salespeople fill their day with meetings from the partnering platform.
Let’s say that they each book 10 meetings of 30 minutes per day.
That’s 40 to 50 meetings a day for your team.
And these are highly targeted, in-depth meetings, not the shallow conversations you typically have in a booth.
Can you beat that with a booth?
I highly doubt it.
So, my savvy networkers, consider this in the future.
If you're still on an adventurous quest to make booth marketing a viable expense, I won't stop you.
I believe that a booth can be effective.
I can think of only two good booths I've seen in the last 10 years (which tells you a lot about the success rate).
Common theme: they offered activities that were actually fun.
So I had a good time there, and I still remember the brands to this day.
If you insist on having a booth, that should be your goal.