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EXHIBITING- March 2011 exhibiting guruBut this sometimes means theybelieve they've heard the whole story,which isn't necessarily true. So, whilethe temptation might be to let visitorswander by, I would still adviseexhibitors to try and engage theirown minds and experience to deliversome element of control.Lead them on your journeyExhibiting is about listening,measuring and then applying whatyou've learnt to your marketingapproach. Most visitors should behappy to 'take your journey'.For a visitor to make best use oftheir time at a show, a degree ofqualification and empathising by theexhibitor needs to take place. They'llthen want to be shown your productsor services in a way thatcommunicates the key benefits in a logical or exciting way. It is thisA professional compere gathered thecrowds and held their attentionOne exhibitor's events agencywas concerned that its client was committing a huge slice ofbudget for attending BETT, and wanted to exert more control and management overthe project.The stand was in a primelocation and had a lot going forit; the product was an excitinginteractive whiteboard, 3Dspectacles were in use, it hostedclassroom-style seminars, andadriving simulator modelled onthe famous Bloodhound vehicleto engage visitors. But, how wasthe space going to be managedin such a way that it woulddeliver measurable outcomes?Cashing inI performed a strategy review withclassroom technology providerPromethean and ascertained all itsgoals, aspirations and messages.Following that review, an exhibitorplanning report was delivered toPromethean and its agency, OwlEvents. This resulted in astrategy andplanning workshop being held atPromethean's premises in Blackburn toengage all the stakeholders into thesuccess of the BETT project.Teams were organised to perform thedifferent stand roles, including visitorspotters, well-rehearsed productinformers, seminar presenters and,most importantly, data trackers whowould collect visitor data and marketintelligence.A professional compere was hired tointroduce the seminar presenters andlink the almost continual productsdemonstrations. A professional visitorspotter was brought in to leadPromethean's existing team of willing,but as yet untried, stand staff.Worth the gamble?Promethean enjoyed a constantly busy stand throughout BETT'sfour-day duration. It generated visitorenquiries well beyond its target number and obtained measurablefeedback on market research andrequests for future sales appointments.A formal debrief also took place toabsorb the approaches and results this way of exhibiting achieved.So will Promethean exhibit again?I would say definitely, and it willcontinue to improve its live marketingstrategies.This method of live marketingprobably proved Promethean's bestBETT yet!John Blaskey is the MD of TheExhibiting Agency and can becontacted via the deputy editorBETT exhibitor case study - PrometheanExhibitor: PrometheanEvent agency: Owl EventsStand size: 99sqmjourney that really counts towardsmaking a visitor a 'prospect'. My recommendation would be tocreate an identifiable visitorexperience. This could start withinteraction from your staff, who canascertain which end of the educationalprofession a visitor represents. Thatvisitor can then be triaged to theappropriate part of your experience.A visitor might want to gatherinformation for later dissection, reviewan existing product, or they may wantto see new technology and hear whatbenefits it offers. By encouragingvisitors to leave feedback, they maybe happy to share their professionalknowledge too.That is an example of creating yourown market intelligence. You'd dowell to implement the idea of the'journey' through your company, andavoid the temptation to simply tohand out leaflets or freebies.BETT proved a real tonic for me. Theorganisers should be congratulated,as should most of the stand holderswho tried to be engaging and differentin their approach.My challenge to you is: can you alteryour exhibiting approach and do itdifferently? You might be surprised bythe results.