Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Booth at Outdoor Retailer’s New Exhibitor Pavilion

June 20, 2012

While Outdoor Retailer (OR) is one of the most successful trade shows in the nation, the key to a good show — especially for new exhibitors — is advance work and discipline. To help you get the most out of your booth under the big top, Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) put together these tips after talking to companies that exhibited at the New Exhibitor Pavilion last year.

Pre-show prep:

  1. Conduct some pre-show marketing. Use the OR Show Planner tool to contact dealers and arrange appointments in advance (see related story). Also consider emailing target accounts with a show announcement outlining your booth location and any special promotions you are offering, such as a coupon that can be exchanged for schwag or discounted product. Share your plans on all of your social media channels, which many dealers use to track their vendors.
  2. Partner with complementary brands. If you make tent stakes, cooking utensils or webbing, consider contacting tent and other camping companies that will be exhibiting on the main floor to see if they would be willing to display some of your product in a camping tableau in exchange for you using their product at your booth. Often, you can work out a deal to refer retailers to each other’s booths.
  3. Check in with brand ambassadors. Even if you can’t afford to fly in any of your brand ambassadors or athletes, find out if their other sponsors are bringing them to the show. If so, ask them to come by your booth.
  4. Design your booth. This year’s New Exhibitor Pavilion will include two large and very white tents. Take that into consideration when choosing colors and designs for your booth. Because the New Exhibitor Pavilion tends to be filled with smaller companies, the chances of standing out with a unique booth design, good coffee or an engaging event may be better than on the main floor where exhibitors often must compete with global brands and bigger marketing budgets. Consider doing something dramatic and entertaining with your booth. When Outdoor Retailer confirms your booth space, you will receive a floor layout showing your neighbors. You might want to call them to exchange information on booth design and plans.
  5. Print plenty of business cards. Exhibitors advise bringing at least 1,000 business cards.

During the show:

  1. Seize the moment. Retailers and journalists cram their schedules at the show and may only be able to visit the New Exhibitor Pavilion once. Make sure you get all the information you need from them during that first encounter for your post-show follow-up.
  2. Bring a pad and pen. Attendees run through their business cards quickly, so make sure you have a convenient way to collect their information. Consider offering to enter any retailer who provides their name, company name and email on a sign-up sheet into a drawing for some schwag.
  3. Tweet. Remember to post show updates, photos and promotions on your social media channels. Visits by athletes and show ambassadors make for great posts. Remember to add the #ORshow hash tag to your Twitter post so it will go out in the feed attendees monitor to keep up on show events, news, parties and booth promotions.
  4. Walk the show. Some of the best opportunities at OR come from networking on the show floor. Set aside an hour each day to have someone from your team walk the floor to scout booth designs and potential marketing and distribution partners. The 4:00 to 5:00 pm hour, when many exhibitors host parties at their booths, is the ideal time for this.
  5. Obey the rules. Distributing samples, printed materials and any promotional material is restricted to within the exhibitor’s booth only. All models must remain within the booth space at all times. Advertising materials may be handed out within the booth space only. Strolling entertainment or moving advertisements outside of the exhibit space is strictly prohibited.

For a deeper discussion on this topic, don’t miss the July 12 Outdoor University webinar, Making the Most Out of Exhibiting at OR.