Hats off to our friends at Grapes Design, along with Studio William and Rough Stuff, for the design innovation they showed this year.
I found it interesting that most of the exhibitors approached their stand design as though they were targeting consumers. Sure the attendees of the show have consumers as their customers and, yes, it is important to see how a product or service will improve the customer experience. But, as a business buyer, there is much more to the decision making process.
So often a supplier will take a space at a show, organise a stand, leaflets and some giveaways and think success will come. And, if you’re at the Ideal Home Show, that might just be enough – a sample in a consumer’s hand and a voucher might just tip them over to buy your product.
But B2B shows need a different approach. Your stand needs to be designed to convey business benefits quickly and clearly. Your staff need to qualify prospects, their influence in the decision to purchase, what drives them and what alternatives they are looking at.
But what I mainly experienced was people thrusting freebies in my hand and telling me I should try their products without any of that vital qualification. As soon as I explained I too was a supplier to the sector, they all walked away, without exploring what I know and just who I might be connected to.
For me, B2B is about networking, collaborating, sharing ideas and innovating. Regardless of whether I’m a budget holding decision maker, or simply a marketer with years of experience, everyone has a role to play. A well thought through stand design, and tools to help your staff have a meaningful conversation with a prospect (from a simple form to slick electronic data capture), will go a long way to helping you leave a show with valuable leads, rather than just with empty giveaway boxes.