The holidays are officially upon us. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care, and sugar-plums (aka iPads and Wii games) are dancing in children’s heads. And beyond thinking about family coming into town, or all the gifts you still haven’t crossed off your list, I’m sure you’re still working up to those early 2016 trade shows. So, in the spirit of the season, we’d like to present eight lessons for preparing for a trade show from the jolly North Pole-dwelling man himself.
Dress the part. Santa is representing himself as a brand, and thus must dress the part. Can you imagine if one year Santa decided to dress in his Tooth Fairy Halloween costume and was caught by little Timmy? Similarly, you are representing your brand. Don’t confuse attendees about your brand or purpose. Stand out and look professional and welcoming.
Give gifts (and know your audience). At some shows, those stress balls shaped like Rudolph will go like hot cakes; at others, you’ll be shipping the lot back to yourself. Discuss with your team what would benefit you more: providing a product or a service discount? Or perhaps something a little more techy, like cell phone gadgets, or even coffee and donuts.
Keep your message simple. Attendees can only consume so much. Santa can’t eat that whole plate of cookies at every house any more than your attendees can grasp (and remember) every booth they come across.
Work as a team. Before and after, and on and off the show floor, you need cohesive partnerships and communication. You don’t think Santa could prep for his round-the-world Christmas Eve tour without his elves, do you?
Prepare months in advance. Your team – like Santa’s elves – needs time to prep all your goodies (collateral, advertising, giveaways, setup and design, etc.). It’s common to begin preparation at least six months in advance.
Prep the sleigh for the journey. Santa couldn’t complete his Christmas miracle without his sleigh. Let’s give our carriers the same attention. Shipping can be tricky. Make sure you know the dates for advance shipping versus direct shipping (check your exhibitor manual), as well as pricing per shipment received. The more you can send at once, the more money you’ll save.
Remember to have a good time. Santa’s “ho ho ho” is as iconic as his red suit and reindeer because it’s contagious. Let people see that you’re having a good time and they’ll be attracted to you.
Check your list twice. Both before and after the show, check your list and segment it. Before agreeing to an exhibit, make sure that you have more nice (i.e., potential leads) than naughty candidates. After the show, you’ll again want to siphon out the strong leads from the weak.
The best Christmas gift you can give yourself is confidence in preparation – both at and out of the workplace. Start checking those lists and working as a valuable elf on your team.
Happy holidays to all.