Trade Shows: Battle for Your Heart

November 10, 2012

Lisa Apolinski

Lisa Apolinski is a professional speaker, blogger, and digital strategist. With her company,, she works with event managers to get their message to attendees, particularly through digital channels, on and off the show floor.

I was recently having a conversation around positioning and a book written in 1981 by Al Ries and Jack Trout. 

They referred to product positioning as the ' battle for your mind'. It got me to think about positioning and the trade show. I think that trade show positioning is the 'battle for your heart'.

The Plan to See You 

First, you are working with your pre-show communication to have the attendee plan to see you. While you will certainly take a spur of the moment walk in, you would rather have someone you have communicated your messaging with and have that attendee plan to see your booth. This is much like when you first start with a loved one, where you want to have planned encounters versus someone just showing up on your doorstep. 

In the trade show industry, any pre-communication that we can do to get messages across reinforces our positioning. To have an attendee then make the effort to come by your booth is the icing on the cake.

They Have Other Suitors 

Your attendees have quite a few companies to choose from at a trade show. Most of the time, all of your competitors are in relatively close physical proximity. You are trying to work on loyalty to your company when they have many potential suitors to choose from. 

This is why having a well presented booth with clear messaging is critical in your positioning. Your attendee will be distracted by many players - how will you stand out against your competition and draw them in? What will they remember about your trade show once they have left your booth and are wandering into another? You don't get many chances in love or trade shows, so be sure to be on your game.

You Need to Work for Your New Customers, Your Current Ones 

Each attendee that comes in to your booth is a potential client, which is great. But that doesn't mean that once they are a customer, you start to neglect them. 

They can and will move onto a competitor if you don't treat them as special, even if they have been your customer for many years. If your competition can find a way to wedge into your 'relationship' with your current customer base, they will. 

And losing a customer due to lack of service is a nearly impossible hurdle to overcome to get them back. So be sure to not neglect your current customer base while you court new attendees.

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