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trade show popcorn... bad idea!

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I went to a local home show the other week, and one of the exhibitors had an "old fashioned" popcorn machine in their booth space, and was handing out free bags of delicious, hot buttered popcorn. The aroma was simply and absolutely amazing, and could be smelled almost everywhere, or at least it seemed that way to me (I love fresh hot-buttered popcorn). I was actually surprised that the exhibitor was permitted to make and serve it, since a lot of trade show venues (including home shows) don't let exhibitors hand out food or drinks at their trade show booth. Maybe the rules at this tradeshow allowed it, or maybe he just ignored the rules and nobody noticed or said anything. There were other signs that this show was more than a bit disorganized. In any event, the "popcorn booth" had a huge crowd... lots of people wanting free popcorn. Unfortunately, I didn't see anyone interested in what the booth was exhibiting, and the truth is, I don't remember what it was exhibiting. I think it was some kind of financial product or service company.

The lesson here is that you need to promote your trade show booth and draw a crowd, but you want to draw a crowd of qualified prospects, not hungry or greedy people just looking for a free handout. It's great to think outside of box when it comes to trade show booth promotion, but you've got to remember that you want to draw prospects, not clog up your booth space with trade show flotsam. You want to come up with clever booth ideas, such as handing out cool giveaways, but you must make sure that your clever booth ideas and cool giveaways are drawing the right visitors to your show booth... visitors that you can turn into customers, and not just people that want to get in the way of you meeting potential customers while they loot your booth of your cool freebies... get the idea? Its all about getting those qualified prospects, and not just supplying the public with free hot buttered popcorn!

avoid the trade show popcorn!I used to think that trade show booth babes were the biggest trade show booth promotion mistake out there... but now I think it may be trade show popcorn (as much as I love to eat popcorn). Avoid the tradeshow booth babes and the free tradeshow popcorn, and focus on coming up with uniquely outstanding and creatively distinguished promotions that bring you the right type of trade show crowd. It's good to think "outside the box" and to come up with unique ideas, but your unique, outside-of-the-box ideas still need to pass muster! Let your trade show competitors employ the trade show booth babes to hand out the trade show popcorn. Remember - it's not the size of the crowd, it's the number of qualified prospects in it!

And while you're thinking about a better trade show booth promotion technique, pass me the popcorn. :-)


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