Problems at promo events and how to handle them!

Promo events such as expos and trade shows are typically all systems go! They’re a blur of busyness noise and bustle, with far too long spent on your feet talking endlessly to swathes of passing prospects. As you know, a good promotional event presence takes months of careful planning, especially to help your business shine brighter than your competitors.

There is one crucial thing you should have on your enormous promo event to-do list that is often overlooked. DAMAGE CONTROL! It doesn’t sound much fun; but every promo event attendee should apply critical thinking to determine everything that could possibly go wrong. Expect the unexpected, dot all your i’s and cross every t. Make sure you have plans in place if things go pear-shaped, because they often do.

Today, we’re exploring common promo event disasters and how you can best avoid, or handle them like a pro.

The booth setup didn’t go as planned

Oops! Something went wrong with the set-up. There was a miscommunication with the stand builders, designers, or even your own measurements. Or maybe you’ve discovered you’re stuffed in a corner down the back next to the toilets and hardly in prime position. Bump-in has become a bump in the road and your booth is not going to look and feel as it should.

How to avoid an expo booth build disaster

You’ve likely organised your booth design months ahead of time – but that doesn’t eliminate things changing with the venue or the construction organisers. To avoid this costly mistake literally map out the space and ensure the items you’re taking to the event are definitely going to fit and leave enough room for your staff and event-goers to be comfortable. Never wing it and figure it out when you get there. Confirm, check and re-check your orders in the weeks and days leading up to the event. If you still run into a problem – make the most of it! The personality of your brand is communicated by YOU and your event staff, no amount of fancy decorating will change that.

On that same note, if your spot on the floor is less than desirable, organising roaming staff to spruik your wares, hand out promotional items and direct prospects your way. A class act of brand ambassadors will maximise positive engagement with potential customers despite your stall positioning.

You’re grossly understaffed at a trade show

Either some faces didn’t turn up, or you grossly underestimated how busy your booth was going to be. You and your skeleton staff are run off their feet, haven’t had a break and are feeling stressed amid the adrenalin. Your chaotic booth is looking out of control, everyone’s helping themselves to your showbags; but you have no time to engage with potential customers and generate some leads.

What do you do about more staff?!

This is perhaps the most common scenario. We can’t stress enough how important it is to have your staffing levels sufficient and clearly define everyone’s roles before the event. Ideally, you and your staff should be engaging with customers and developing all-important relationships – this in itself is tiring. At all costs you should avoid getting bogged down handing out goodie bags and flyers.

Professional trade show hosts can help manage the flow of your booth, deliver customers to your doorstep and give out your memorable promotional items. If you find yourself high and dry lacking staff during an event, get straight on the phone to a Promotional Staffing Agency for emergency back-up; these events go for HOURS, even DAYS. Avoid putting yourself under unnecessary strain so you can be ever-present for your customers.

Queues of impatient event-goers

Uh oh, your booth is more popular than you thought…EVERYONE wants to have a go at that great competition you put on or try your product for themselves. Once a queue forms it doesn’t take long for customers to get impatient – they’ve already queued at the door, the bathrooms, probably the eateries.

How to avoid booth queues

This is a wonderful problem to have really…plan for it! Think about the customer flow and ensure there’s ample space in your booth for them to mingle and learn about your business as they wait. You could arrange some sort of game or entertainment to keep them busy. Mascot performers might engage people and take the opportunity to shoot videos or photos for a social media blast. Offer up product samples and give people a little gift to take away. Whatever you do, don’t leave customers hanging in a boring old line.

Run out of promotional items

All the handouts are gone, and some customers are missing out. Running out of your promotional items to soon could have you missing out on sales. All you’re left with is a stack of business cards and underwhelmed potential customers…!

What to do when you’re under-promo-stocked!?

Always over-cater with your promotional items. Where you can, avoid putting specific dates and times on your flyers and other goods so you can continue to use them throughout the year – or again at the same event next year. It’s always best to have too much than not enough.

If you have a stack of something promo back at the office – send for supplies!

If you’re clean out of promo items, think outside the square…what small things can you get your hands on quickly, that you can hand out along with your business card? It’s the next best thing to something branded. Think sweets, trinkets and useful items like USB sticks. Something is better than nothing.

Your competitor right next door looks better than you

Geez, for some reason competitor Fred over there has an event budget as big as a whale and his booth looks amazing. Customers are going to gravitate over there for sure. Now you’re feeling like you look a bit cheap and underwhelming, despite how much effort you put in.

How to avoid looking drab compared to your competitors

Be charismatic, flamboyant and engaging…through your people! Make your booth stand out through professional event staff, attractive models, big personalities, demonstrations and FUN. Fred over there won’t know what all the fuss is about.

People buy from people after all, yes the appearance of your booth has to be nicely branded and welcoming, ideally people will form an idea of what you’re all about in seconds; but the budget is much better spent on dynamic people, brand storytellers, promotional professionals all expertly creating buzz and hype around YOU…not Fred.

Technology or equipment lets you down

Oh, the dreaded tech failure. Or worse…your equipment breaks! If you rely solely on technology to get your message across, you could easily find yourself in a promo pickle.

True Story: One of our staff recently went to a major conference with multiple presenters speaking at the same times in various rooms. One room in particular had no wifi!! WHAAAT?! There goes the presentation slides. But something interesting happened; gratefully, attendees put away their useless phones and were even more enthralled by the talented presenter ‘winging it’ like an utter professional on stage. Perhaps there’s a lesson in that.

The tech breakdown solution

Order / organise at least two of everything, and TEST everything ten times over beforehand. But an airtight backup plan is the key. Try not to rely on technology; but rather staff training, knowledge, expertise and personality. Let the talented people representing your brand do the talking.

Key Takeaways on Handling Promo Event Problems

  • Expect them! Plan for all potential problems well in advance
  • Looking the best at a promo event doesn’t make you the best
  • Always overstock on the goodies that your customers will LOVE…they expect it!
  • Sufficient, thoughtful professional staffing and detailed briefs are a must
  • Staff training, expertise, knowledge and personality is the true recipe for promo event success any day of the week.

When you have an airtight strategy, first-class team and back-up plans a-plenty, disastrous problems at promotional events become not such a big deal after all.

AMS Promotions is a team of Account Managers, Marketers and Promotions specialists. Operating nationally with a pool of over 6,000 beautiful and talented promotional staff and models, we’re driven by exceeding your promotional goals and celebrating your success. Get in touch.

1300 368 969

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