Want DSE Booth Traffic? Earn It

January 22, 2014 by Dave Haynes

In three weeks today the big scissors come out and sponsors will cut the giant ribbon to open the 2014 Digital Signage Expo trade show floor, and I’ll walk into the Sands Expo and snoop around trying to figure out what’s truly new, interesting and unique.

If you are a vendor, you will have a matter of a few seconds to get the attention of me and most people walking the floor who are actually looking for stuff, and not just networking and hanging out. In those few seconds, you need to somehow communicate that what you’ve got – in software, hardware or services – is special and worth making people slow down and look closer.

Based on experience, and what I see online just about everyday, very little will be communicated that will get people interested. Despite years of people like me saying it, many or most vendors don’t do an effective job of quickly telling trade show-goers what they do and why people should give a crap.

I had a near-giddy email this morning from a vendor who wanted me to come by and see their newly launched cloud-based digital signage platform that can be used and managed … from ANYWHERE! From their perspective, it was unique and would revolutionize the space. I wrote them back and said cloud-based was in no way unique or revolutionary.

Your product or service isn’t going to be unique, ground-breaking, game-changing or whatever, just because you say it is. The marketplace is pretty well educated these days about the basics of software platforms, what they do and how they work. Seasoned buyers are jaded. Yes there are people who will show up not knowing a thing about the space, but they’re not likely the customers who’ll take your business to the promised land. ALL the big guys have been pitched on this stuff … for years.

The better approach – the thing that will slow people down and get them engaged – is quick, concise messaging that explains what you do and how you are different.

I went to NAB last spring – a huge show loaded with vendors who had broadcast stuff that was foreign to me. But I immediately got what one vendor did, because the company concisely spelled it out.

TV station in a Mac. Got it. Done.


Pardon the fuzzy pic. Took just one. But you get the idea.

If the big message on your booth is something like this, you’re in for a lot of shrugs:

You need to tell people what it is you do that the other guys don’t, or what you specialize in, or something … anything … that sets you apart and isn’t a word jumble of techno-blabber.

If I saw …

Those sorts of things would make me slow down and have a “Hmmm …” moment. I suspect it would for others.

If you are going to invest many $1,000s of dollars to get people and gear to Las Vegas, you need to invest as much time or more on the message than you do on the logistics. The trade show dynamic is really similar to the digital signage audience dynamic. You get mere seconds to make an impression, and the content of the message is critical.

Safe travels to Vegas. Maybe I’ll stop by, if I see a reason to …



Leave a comment