In my last NAB Show article, I talked about the importance of clearly defining your exhibiting outcomes, then creating and executing around well-designed written action plans.

Now let’s discuss an area I believe is one of the most misunderstood areas of successful exhibiting, the principle and practice of Selective Attraction.

Here are some key thoughts and ideas on this topic:

  • Tradeshows are about face-to-face interaction with your market.
  • You have a limited or finite amount of face-to-face interaction capacity.
  • Not everyone attending a show is your ideal visitor.
  • Using non-selective attraction devices like food, beverages, gimmicks and contests usually attracts the wrong type of visitors.
  • Trying to appeal to everyone often means appealing to no one.
  • It easy to think the show was a success because there were a lot of people at your booth.

The MAJOR questions to ask are “Who are the right people?”, “How much is enough?”, and “What are you going to do to get in their mind and on their agenda?”

Here are seven steps to activate Selective Attraction:

  1. Carefully analyze the Show Audience: Look at the exhibitor prospectus, show website and talk to your account exec to determine who attends the show, why they attend, and what they do at the show.
  2. Carefully define your Ideal Visitor: Start with existing relationships like: Customers, Prospects in the sales funnel, distribution channel partners. Then create your ideal visitor profile by defining what types of companies, what job functions and titles, and what geographical areas are important to your company.
  3. Calculate your Exhibit Interaction Capacity: Multiply the number of exhibiting hours in the show, times the number of booth staff, times a target number of interactions per hour, per staffer. Example: 24 hours x 12 staffers x 4 interactions/hour/staffer: 1,152 interactions
  4. Develop a compelling Visitor Experience: Once you’ve defined your ideal visitor now you can think about what solutions to feature and how to create a compelling experience. I’ll talk in detail about this in the next article.
  5. Deliver an irresistible Value Proposition: Attendees have over choice of what exhibits to visit and are very selective. You’ve got to give them a clear and compelling reason to put your exhibit on their must-see list over the hundreds of other exhibiting companies.
  6. Communicate your Value Proposition through Multiple Marketing Media: Be sure to use as many marketing media as your budget, bandwidth, and skill set allows.
  7. Get as much of your Interaction Capacity spoken for as possible BEFORE the show: Be sure include a clear call to action in all of your marketing communications. Ask for either a confirmed appointment or a commitment to meet during the show.

Integrating the principle and practice of Selective Attraction into your exhibit program will increase the efficiency, and effectiveness of your program. In my next article, I will discuss how to better manage your visitor’s experience.