How To: Rock a Trade Show. Lessons Learned since Tectoria 2011

Tectoria 2011 was a blast. We estimated there were over 2,000 teenagers from high schools all over Vancouver Island who stopped by our conference booth to enter our giveaway of two prize pack of iPhone accessories. There were at least three of our team from northStudio and Q College at the booth from 9:00AM to 6:00PM. We gave out over $400 worth of candy, and got over 1000 entries into our giveaway.


While this may seem to be a successful strategy, there’s a decent chance less than ten percent of those who entered our draw even knew what we were selling or who we were representing.


“A handful of candy for writing my name down on a piece of paper and taking a pamphlet. Sure!”Two of the cardinal rules for trade show success are: a) avoid gimmicks and b) have a clear objective. We broke both. Gadgets wrapped in shiny plastic with ribbons, candy, and no other objective than to hand out pamphlets and drive traffic to our Facebook and Twitter pages. Why is that so wrong? Because you can’t buy a website or pay for your tuition on Facebook or Twitter. Although there was someone from administration there who was making arrangements for appointments there was nowhere for the prospects to actually sign up or buy. Funny, seeing how we paid for the booth and were there to increase enrollment for the next intake at Q College and sell websites.



I’ve been to trade show and conference training courses before (yeah, they exist), and tried some of the “con-hacks” like extra padding for the floor space; setting the table at the back of the booth, to draw people in, and limiting the amount of handouts in order to keep conversations going to seal a sale or a schedule a follow up appointment. All valid ideas. Useless… unless the design is in place for a sale to be made or a deposit be taken.

Out of all of the training and tips out there, THE most important thing to know about trade show displays, strategy and tactics, is to be prepared to make a sale, and have that sale be seen by others. Just like the one kid walking by and seeing the candy or the prizes, and then running to get their friends – If we had the facilities in place to register, and we may have been able to fill the computer and web design school for years to come.

There’s a lot more tips and lessons, from Chad Leiffert and Bob Albright, such as, “how to: make people feel at home in your trade show booth” and “why you should avoid the color blue in your booth at all costs.” Read what I wish had the day before yesterday here:


Posted via email from My Brain is Open.