Should We Stay or Should We Go?

Jen Borucki | October 6, 2016

Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion

-- Jack Kerouac

A serious malady is spreading across show floors around the globe. That malady is Experiential Ambivalence (EA). Rooted in the philosophy that one must be at a show because of what “the neighbors” will think, countless companies are investing big bucks simply to be seen. After all, not being present would send a message to the industry, clients, competitors or the media that “there is something wrong at headquarters!”

Have you ever succumbed to EA? If you have, then you know that it is exceedingly contagious and those most susceptible to its detrimental side effects are the customers you cherish. Let’s face it – an ambivalent customer is never a good thing.

The Symptoms of EA

According to the EDR (the exhibitor’s equivalent of the Physician’s Desk Reference), the primary symptom of EA is Engagement Atrophy. Simply put, shows that linger on your show calendar just because you’ve always exhibited there can often mean wasted opportunity and wasted budget that could be put to better use elsewhere. Without specific goals and marketing purpose, your marketing ambivalence is often reflected in your exhibit experience, which sends a bad message to those that you serve. Any successful relationship begins with purpose and heart.

If your heart isn’t in it or you’re lacking the passion your clients, prospects and even staff expect, what message do they hear? “I don’t think they really care. Maybe I need to find someone who does.” Which leads to the second prime symptom of EA – Relational Detachment. Without prompt intervention, the prognosis is bleak and often fatal.

The Cure

First and foremost, you need to eradicate EA from your Show Calendar spreadsheet. If you truly do not have good reason to be at a show – DON’T GO! There are ways you can communicate with your audience without jeopardizing your standing in the court of public opinion. Work with your experiential marketing partner to send out an email blast announcing exciting changes to your show calendar. Tout new offerings or special announcements that will be unveiled at another show which better suits your company’s objectives. Create a sense of intrigue, but leave no doubt that your company is in control and that your brands are strong and healthy.

For shows that are viable yet have become passé, be daring. Shake things up. Ask your exhibit partner to help you create the wow experience you’ve lost. If they can’t show you the show floor world in a new way, find a new partner. Your products or services provide critical solutions to your clients or they wouldn’t be buying them. The answer may lie in the design and architecture of your exhibit environment, but there are many topical “beyond the booth” interventions you can implement to reignite the passion your customers and prospects long for. A true experiential marketing partner can tune you in to amazing things you can do with integrated marketing campaigns, attendee engagements, technology solutions, program intelligence and training that will carry your relationship far beyond the confines of the show floor and into a lasting and profitable relationship with your guests. But never forget the greatest caveat of a truly great show floor experience: It produces measurable results!

Our staff of design and marketing professionals is ready, willing and able to help you cure EA and make a difference to your brand and your bottom line. Give us a call – we’d love to show you what we can do!

Jen Borucki is a Marketing Communication Specialist for MG Design, a global full service experiential marketing partner with complete turnkey design, fabrication, marketing, service and labor offerings to successfully create experiences that enrich our clients, our team, our community and our world. In addition to answering your RFI/RFP questions, Jen also provides copywriting services through MG’s internal marketing services agency, magnify™.