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Tips for Standing Out in the Trade Show Crowd

November 27, 2019

You've gone on a journey with your business from expanding your product lines, to offering new additional services, to reaching new customers that you never thought you could. Now you want to grow your business even more, and we want to help. There are endless benefits of exhibiting at trade shows, if you do it right. It all starts with having a message strong enough to differentiate you in the crowd and a partnership with an exhibit company that matches your growth objectives.

Your attendees should be your focus.

Attendees at a trade show either come prepared with a strategic plan for booth visits or they can be lost in a sea of competing companies all vying for their attention as soon as they walk in the door. Having a strong message that positions you as the leader in your industry is the difference between being just another booth in the room or seeing huge returns. The strongest exhibitors have a clear trade show unique selling proposition (USP) early on and they leverage it as part of a successful trade show strategy.

What is a unique selling proposition?

As defined by Rosser Reeves, a USP is a highlighted feature, attribute or advantage an organization has over its competitors that defines your brand. Your customers are likely internet savvy, but they can still struggle with deciding which option in your industry is the one that deserves their time, money and trust. It's your job to assist them in making your USP obvious, different and memorable so they know exactly what your business has to offer that your competitor does not.

How you can determine your trade show unique selling proposition?

If you cannot readily find your organization’s USP, maybe you will have to create it. When trying to find out your USP ask yourself a few questions first:

  • Who are you?
  • What is your company's mission?
  • Who is your ideal customer?
  • What is it that you do better than your competition?
  • How does your solution benefit the market?
You can get answers to these questions from internal departmental groups, current customers and your executive team. Note common themes and also make a special note of where your internal answers and responses from current customers may differ. This will tell you not only how you think of yourself, but also how you are seen by the customer who is ultimately the one you want to impress.

Ask your customers:

  • What do you value most about your experience with our product?
  • What do you value most about your experience with our company?
  • If you had to describe us to someone at another company asking you about us, what would you say about our engagement with you or what you like about our product?

If you find that your internal perceptions are not matching the external ones, it may be time to take a look at what you're doing and launch a campaign to rebrand yourself which can be a great strategy at a trade show too.

Using your unique selling proposition at a trade show

Rosser Reeves, the creator of the USP concept, had three main rules when implementing a USP:

  • Rule 1: Each advertisement must make a proposition to the consumer—not just words, product puffery, or show-window advertising. Each advertisement must say to each reader: “Buy this product, for this specific benefit.”
    • Tip: Highlighting features such as color and sleek design are great, but at the end of the day they are less substantive than pointing out the clear advantage your product/service has over competitors. Instead of pushing superficial features, try to highlight things like speed, ease-of-use, utility, portability etc.
  • Rule 2: The proposition must be one the competition cannot or does not offer. It must be unique in how the customer will feel using it.​​​​​​
    • Tip: Simply put, if your USP is not unique to your product then by definition it is not really a USP. Research and study your competitors products/services and find out the points of differences between your goods and theirs. Exploit competitors’ weaknesses by highlighting how your product/service can remedy them. Sometimes the competitive edge is the service that accompanies the product.
  • Rule 3: The proposition must be strong enough to attract new customers as well as potential customers.
    • Tip: Just because your product/service has some unique characteristics does not mean that these features will be big attention getters on the trade show floor. Think about which unique features your product/service possess that will actually garner interest from trade show attendees. Conduct surveys before the show and find out what your customers want in a product and use this information to your advantage. Incorporate your messaging into the overall design of your space and work with a designer that can help you envision a robust booth experience.

Remember, your mission should always be to connect with your customers. Put yourself in their shoes and you'll find the USP that will not only help you in this mission, but it may also help garner more interest in your product offerings resulting in increased sales and a strong ROI for your brand.

Want more information? Connect with us to learn more about how Skyline Philadelphia can help you stand out in the crowd! Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for a chance to win an Away Bag by December 2019.

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