By Robyn Davis, Trade Show Strategy Specialist

Whether it's technology, catering, SWAG, models, or something else altogether, attractions at trade shows can make all the difference between your company seeing a good return on its investment in an exhibition... or a great one.

Unfortunately many event professionals fail to make well-conceived and impactful decisions when it comes to attracting a crowd, thus hurting their brand -- and trade show performance -- more than helping it.

Register now for the CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE Exhibitor Meeting

To steer clear of avoidable issues at your future trade shows, let’s take a look at four major problems often triggered by typical trade show attractions: 

1. They’re offensive. – Scantily clad co-eds are a common trend at trade shows, but for all of the wrong reasons. If your company is using hired hands that don’t know anything about your offerings, or they are dressed inappropriately to attract attention, it's safe to assume they are turning off serious buyers. Even worse, all they'll end up attracting in the long run is bad press. 

2. They’re irrelevant. Gamification can be a great way to engage attendees (and a very effective teaching method) -- when done correctly. But if you’re inviting your audience to play a game that doesn’t have anything to do with your business (think virtual reality snowboarding or putt putt golf), you aren’t positioning your team to enjoy productive encounters on site. And in the end, while your booth visitors may have fun playing whatever game appears in front of them, it's all they’ll remember about your booth. Your carefully crafted messaging or key educational takeaways? Not so much. 

3. Their quality is lacking. – Giveaways such as leaky pens and light-up toys that stop flashing after only a few bounces don’t represent your organization appropriately. Instead of granting “brownie points” for the kind gesture you were attempting by offering these branded gifts, your audience will associate you with the stain on their shirt or the disappointment on their child’s face for the foreseeable future. In short: Think bigger, and do better. 

4. They appeal to “everyone.” – A refreshing treat like ice cold ice cream is practically universally appreciated on a crazy trade show day (especially if you’re the exhibitor offering dairy-free and/or sugar-free ice cream, as they are delicious options, too), but that’s just the problem with this attraction… If everyone wants it, your booth will be cluttered with “everyone,” and your budget will go to treating “everyone” (not connecting one-on-one with the specific professionals who can help you accomplish your exhibiting goals about the business-oriented topics you need to discuss).

Attending AEM’s upcoming CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE Exhibitor Meeting? Your eligible to join Robyn for a special breakout session on “Effective Use of SWAG and Literature.” For more information, visit https://www.conexpoconagg.com/exhibit/exhibitor-resources/exhibitor-meeting/.

As detailed above, there are a number of problems that result from employing the wrong attractions (or the right attractions, in the wrong ways) at trade shows. Fortunately, you can choose your fate and you can do better than what’s typical today – join us for our next Trade Show Summer School webinar, “How to Increase Traffic and Engagement with Better Trade Show Attractions” on July 31 at 2 p.m. ET, and we’ll show you how. Register (for free) at HowToTradeShow.com.

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