On trade shows

Michael Cader wonders:

— Why do you want your booth so crowded that I can’t walk through it?
Why do you want people to walk through, grab something, and get the heck

— If I am standing in line waiting for an author/event, is anyone
talking to me or occupying my time with a useful message?

— Does your booth say anything about where to find the person I’m
looking for? Your publicity people, store events people, sales people,
rights people, and executives all the look the same. They dress the
same, and they’re mixed throughout the booth. How hard do I have to work
to meet someone I don’t know?

— Just as important, how hard do I have to work in your booth (and with
your takeaways) to discover something other than the obvious about your
list? Does your booth say anything besides, "We are a book publisher and
these are some of our big fall titles" or "proud publisher of these 37

— Once again, just as important, does your booth say anything about why
you’re at the show, and who you want to meet, and what you want to do
with them?

— Do you have a Wal-mart "greeter" to welcome me to your booth and
transmit a message to me before I leave? Do have welcome or exit signs
in your aisles that tell me anything?

— What’s the message behind all the stuff you’re giving away? And why
have giveaways become the dominant theme of everyone’s booth? Are those
giveaways really helping your business, and do they mean anything next
to all the other giveaways that everyone else has? Are they attracting
the people you want to meet at the show? And are there any twists or
alternatives that might work better?

—      Can you introduce scarcity to the giveaway process to
make your items more valuable, or surprising, or memorable? What if did
business in the morning and gave things away in the afternoon. What if
you had espresso and donuts at the beginning of the day instead of wine
and cheese at the end. What if your booth looked different every day?