How to Stand out at a Pet Trade Show!

By Nancy E. Hassel, American Pet Professionals

You may not know, but working in trade shows is something I have been doing for over 15 years, both as a vendor and as part of the production team. In January of 2002, the video and trade show production company I was working for at the time was at CES, (Consumer Electronic Trade Show), in Vegas with the leading companies like Samsung, Panasonic, Sharp to name a few.   And the booths, if you can even call them that were full production shows – no expense was spared to have the most incredible booth at the CES.

For the debut of the Sharp Aquos television, our company hired high diving performers from Australia who dove from the top of the Clark County convention center ceiling into a 16-foot tank that was only 8-feet wide. Talk about show stopping, it was heart stopping – I couldn’t even watch them rehearse the first 2 days of set up, it was way too nerve wracking. But once they got their groove, which didn’t take long at all – it was amazing to watch.

The tank was shipped, on a ship, from Australia and took nearly 6-months to get there. If I remember correctly it took a couple of weeks to be assembled so that there were no leaks when filled with water and treated, as a pool would be.

The reason for the tank and the divers, was going off of the water theme of the Aquos TV, and the client wanted something that would draw attention, crowds and make them stand out in the sea of other incredible ‘booths.’ And believe me it did.

Their booth won the best booth at the show, and made headlines throughout the trade show press and surrounding Vegas newspapers. Now, Vegas is known for heart stopping performances, but you usually don’t think that when comes to a trade show booth.

Another element at the Sharp booth was we had a ‘rain’ water fall going into the back of the tank (or in the tank), and we projected the logo of the Sharp Aquos onto the rain screen. That alone was impressive until crowds watched as the divers would also run and dive through the rain screen into the tank. It was insane. And people did not expect them to do any of it. That was what drew them in, made them stay, sales people got to talk with them – which of course is the whole point of such a production.

While some of our other booths had gymnasts flying through their booths, or incredible video productions, and even some celebrities to draw people over, the divers and the tank were by far the most impressive.

Who ships a tank ½ way around the world for a trade show? Our company did. I have the privilege of being part of the production team, brainstorming, coming up with ideas as a team, helping with casting and creative aspects of the show. It was an amazing experience, a lot of work and fun.

To give you a comparable in size, if you were at Global in the last year or two all of the ‘booths’ that we did the production for were at least the size of the Purina booth, possibly bigger.

Other trade shows I was involved with was the Vision Eye Wear show where we had celebrities at some of the booths, and smaller scaled down versions of a show-stopping booth. But it wasn’t just a bowl of candy and free pens trying to draw people in and stay at their booths.

That’s one area of the pet industry that I see lacking big time. Now I am not expecting you to go out and get divers from Australia to be part of your booth, but I always wonder why pet manufacturers don’t do more to get and keep people at their booths.

I have seen some successful booth attractions, pet fashion shows, celebrities at company booths, trick dog acts, adoptable puppies, rapper at a pet shampoo booth, and so forth. But honestly the best attraction I have seen, that was easy to do was at the Honest Kitchen booth this year’s Global in Orlando. It just happened to be St. Patrick’s Day, and they basically had a NY style St. Patrick’s Day parade at their booth. Bag pipers, drums, all kinds of green gear that people could take, free beer (regular and green) and everyone that was there had a lot of fun.

That attraction drew a lot of people who stayed for quite a while, and while people were at their booth for the fun, many ended up going into neighbor booths, so it was actually a win-win for everyone near their booth.

It’s not always easy to come up with and execute an idea to draw people to your booth, have them stay, learn about and write orders for your product, especially when your day-to-day is running your manufacturing company. No matter how big your company is or if you are a brand new pet product company.

So how can you have your own ‘tank’ or attraction at an upcoming trade-show to draw people in and stay within budget?

What creative can you come up with to draw people in, and stay on budget for marketing expenses while at the show?

Do you know how to promote what your attraction will be at your booth to the press on hand, how to invite attendees?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or just not sure where to start, or don’t have the budget to hire a team to do this, we have created a webinar chock-full of ideas, how to execute, promote your ideas and have the best show you can!

If you’re heading to SuperZoo where there are 1,100 booths or to P3 where there are hundreds of booths, or just debuting at a consumer show for the first time – this webinar is for you.

You can sign up for the Live webinar taking place on July 7, 2016 at 7pm EST by clicking here. And don’t worry if you miss it, it will be recorded for your convenience. This 90-minute webinar will be loaded with information, ideas, how to execute your ideas, promote properly to the press attending the trade show and have a Q&A session as well. Click here to register!

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