As an Apple fanboy, I’m immersed in the culture of the brand and pay special attention to not only HOW they effectively market, but its effect on their customers and the feelings that are evoked. Much of their success comes from being able to market an element of mystery. Was the iPhone 4 leak truly a “leak”? Either way, it undoubtedly increased the buzz and viral effect around a product that was nothing more than speculation at the time. Every since the launch, Apple hasn’t been able to keep the new iPhone 4 on the shelf.
However, there’s a balance in which your message needs to be clear and established. The above image was something I captured while driving by a local fast food chain. Is this message clouded in mystery? Yes. It is clear and established? Absolutely not. It could be anything from a hoagie to that nasty peanut butter and Miracle Whip sandwich that my dad ate. The product has been lost in a vague message, and frankly, I’m just not that curious to find out.
Take a look at your exhibit marketing strategy. Are you selling sandwiches? Has your brand been lost in the marketing purgatory of “check out our exhibit” and “our service is superior” messaging? It’s important to spend time effectively transferring your marketing message to an exhibit environment and ensure that a few things are clearly strategized:
Why are you there?
An elementary question, it may seem, but truly ask yourself and your staff WHY you have elected to exhibit at a specific event. Is it to connect with existing customers or to make new ones? Is it to simply maintain a presence in your industry? Is it to develop partnerships and relationships with other exhibitors and attendees? Identifying the WHY is necessary to addressing the WHAT and HOW for your messaging.
Identify your TRUE audience
Had that sandwich been revealed to me more clearly, there’s still a good chance that I wouldn’t have stopped to explore it. It very well may have been that nasty peanut butter and Miracle Whip sandwich. But there’s also a chance, had it been conveyed to me properly, that it sounded so good that I risked a barrel role out of my car to try it.
We often mistaken EVERYONE as our audience. It’s important to understand that 30,000 attendees are not all potential customers. When you attempt to mass market, you begin to generalize your message to appeal to a larger amount, when in fact you’ve simply watered it down to those who may be your true audience. Understand that your product or service has a narrow, more specific target, and don’t compromise.
Focus on the Attraction
Creativity is a key component to developing an attractive message for your product or service. But don’t get too cute and sacrifice clarity for an attempt at creating an interest. Focus on what makes it great. Maybe “Try our New Spicy Chicken Sandwich” is a bit more specific, but something like “Free Glass of Milk with our New Spicy Chicken Sandwich” raises the attraction without sacrificing the message.
What examples have you seen, in or outside the exhibit world, that have stood out to you as strong, creative and clear messaging?