Your Attendees’ Experience: Defying Their Expectations

Posted by Mark Shadwick, CEM on Mar 1, 2017 4:31:11 PM
Mark Shadwick, CEM

As an event organizer you are constantly challenged to develop unconventional experiences that engage and inspire your attendees.  But the never-ending question remains: how can you stand out among the sensory overload of branded experiences (both digital and in-person) that your attendees face every day—with, or without your show.

As a solutions provider Hargrove has worked thousands of clients to address this very challenge.  Here are just a few examples of what we’ve helped them bring to life on the trade show floor.

Highlighting Philanthropic Causes: 

Many organizations support various causes and/or philanthropic endeavors.  Most provide some sort of branding of them at their events.  It could be their own foundation, a national charity or a specific cause that is unique to the show’s host city.  Involving attendees and exhibitors in these causes can be a meaningful and long lasting memorable experience for them. 

As an example, perhaps an organization supports an international effort to bring better hygiene solutions to communities desperately in need of them?  From soaps to shampoos, band aids to toothpaste etc.  You as the Show Organizer contact a defined number of exhibitors who are contracted to sponsor this effort.  Upon entering the show, each attendee is furnished with an empty plastic bag containing the names of each sponsor and a blank note card branded with the show organizers logo.  The attendees are then are asked to visit each sponsor’s exhibit.  Each sponsor supplies one item to “fill the bag”.  The attendee drops off their filled bag and their brief note of encouragement at a centralized location (branded with sponsor logos).  The results can be phenomenal: Sponsorship revenue, great publicity and most importantly, a unique experiential engagement for both attendees and exhibitors alike.  All parties win.

Leveraging Current Events:

With the Presidential Election being top-of-mind for most people a few months ago, we placed a replica Presidential White House podium at a key entrance point of our client’s event.  The election had nothing to do with this medically focused event, however this “photo op” was the talk of the show.  Virtually everyone that passed by stopped to take their turn behind the podium for pictures.  With the podium strategically placed at the entrance of the exhibit hall, this was an opportunity that couldn't be missed. Attendees had a fun and unique experience right as they hit the show floor.  It’s a guarantee that our client created a lasting and unexpected memory for their attendees.

What other current events can you leverage? Challenge your solution providers like Hargrove to brainstorm with you on ideas!

On the Floor Event Ambassadors:

Many organizations have “help” or “Information” counters at their trade show events.  How many take this concept right to the show floor? The concept of a roving event ambassador available to answer questions, make suggestions and provide other key information is a welcome and appreciated service that attendees love.  It’s yet another way that the experience of attending your show is enhanced.  Information such as exhibit locations to conference sessions and more.  The accessibility of this key information addresses and resolves the challenge of attendees having to work for their success at a show and makes their experience so much easier.

These are just 3 ideas, but there are countless more.  Transform your ordinary ideas in order to not only meet your attendees' exceptions, but defy them!  Even if they don’t thank you for it, they’ll absolutely remember you for it.

If you are interested in hearing more ideas, we’d love to talk with you about them!  

ambassador2.jpgPhoto Credit: Consumer Technology Association

Topics: Exhibits, Trade Shows, Trade Show Management