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Ignore the Masses & Attract Key Attendees Bob Milam Aka Trade Show Bob. The One Percent Solution. About your Instructor. Bob Milam , aka Trade Show Bob A past winner of Exhibitor Magazine’s All Star Award

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The One Percent Solution

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Ignore the Masses &

Attract Key Attendees

Bob Milam

Aka Trade Show Bob

The One Percent Solution

About your Instructor

  • Bob Milam, aka Trade Show Bob

  • A past winner of Exhibitor Magazine’s All Star Award

  • Has produced exhibit campaigns for the retail grocery, food ingredients, medical, super-computing, non-profit fund raising, and computer graphics industries

  • Contributing columnist & blogger for EXHIBITOR magazine

What is the “One Percent Solution”?

  • A method (not the only one)

    • to help you wade through the masses and find key buyers

  • A way

    • to bring your marketing and sales staff together on the same page

  • An approach

    • to help you squeeze real results out of seemingly difficult shows

  • A plan that really works – I’ll show you

Where is this class going?

  • Explain the foundation principles

  • Discuss goals & objectives

  • Filtering show attendees

  • Building urgency and focus into the staff

W. I. I. F. M. ??

  • New method to address these hard-to-solve opportunities

  • A new tool to help focus your staff at any show

  • Inspiration to think in new ways

This solution won’t help if …

  • Your target audience is a large percentage of the overall audience

  • You do not plan ahead

  • You’re not willing to invest in some painfully difficult experiences with your stake holders

It’s hard, but it will work.

The Foundation of the Solution

  • Based on these assumptions:

    • Only a small % of attendees really matter

    • You can identify them in some way

    • There are groups/people in your org. who want to push agendas with the targets

    • Success/progress = big $$$

    • Each target OK to have vastly different needs

    • You don’t have a big pile of money to spend

What’s your situation ?

Step 1: Define your target

  • Who do you need to see?

  • How accurately can you describe them?

  • Do you already know their names?

Step 1: Define your target

  • An exact definition of your target is your starting point

  • Since you’re only after 1% - they should be fairly easy to identify

  • Actually – the fewer the better

Consult with your stakeholders

  • Find out who they need to see

    • Name names

    • Be specific

    • Make a list

Step 2: Define objectives

  • You have a list of names (or close to it) – preferably a short one with big potential impact

  • Now is the time to meet with your primary stake holders (ouch!)

Define objectives individually

  • Spend as much time as necessary to get specific objectives for each and every target

  • Be specific

Individual objectives will vary

  • Buy product x next time

  • Switch from competitor to me

  • Consider upgrading

  • Have your heard our news?

  • Let me introduce our new Exec’s

  • Please forgive me, don’t leave!

It’ll be worth it – I promise

  • Slug your way through this

  • Most people will resist this level of planning

  • They’ve never been asked to commit at this level

Buy X


Fix problem

Beg for


Go to lunch



What you’ll end up with …

Goal 1

Goal 2

Goal 3

Name #1

Name #2

Name #3

Step 3: Assign roles

  • You have your list of names

  • You have specific actions for each

  • Now … decide who should deliver the message

  • And … who else needs to be present

Assign roles = pick your staff

  • How do you currently decide who should go to your shows?

  • Why not bring the right people – put the aces in their places

  • Everyone who attends will have specific reasons to be there

What you’ll really end up with …




Fix problem

Fix problem

Name #1

Buy X


Beg for


Name #2

Go to lunch

Name #3



Individual Assignments




Fix problem

Fix problem

Name #1

Buy X


Beg for


Name #2

Go to lunch

Name #3



Individual Assignment Cards


Customer #1

Fix delivery issue

Determine budget and time frame to implement project X

Customer #2

Do lunch – Tuesday

discuss Project Z

Customer #3

Secure maintenance agreement – extend thru 12/31

Result: Everyone knows their role

  • Set it up well in advance

  • Get sales managers to buy in

  • Pass out assignments 4-6 weeks ahead of show

  • Enlist the “hammer” or stake holder to deliver the assignments

Result: Accountability is created

  • “Moe, your job is to … “

  • “Here’s your assignment for the BIG Expo”

  • “Make sure you get these things done”

  • “We’ll meet again after the show, to see how much progress was made”

This is a BIG IDEA

  • Implement this – in some form - for your next show

  • Your people will be focused

  • They’ll thank you

  • “At last, I finally knew what I was supposed to do at the trade show”

  • Verbatim staff comment

  • Poultry Show 2004, Zoomerang survey

Important: Exempt no one

  • If they go – they must have a reason

  • Even the CEO

  • Even yourself

Step 4: Get on their dance card

  • Don’t leave the pre-show marketing to your now-committed sales group

  • Find a theme

  • Tie it all in

  • Communicate with them so they MUST come see you

  • Spend some money here

Pre-show marketing

  • Determine how many visitors you MUST invite

  • Ask sales managers what these meetings are worth to them

  • Quality vs. quantity – spend more per name

  • Find a clever angle – and drive them to action

Step 5: Conduct pre-show training

  • Review assignments

  • Adjust as necessary – confirming visits

  • Set overall goals & daily goals

  • Teach them how to record the commitments

  • Set up time to report their results

Step 6: Work the show

  • Take notes – keep a running total

  • Record the commitments and promises made

  • Be the “Objectives Sheriff”

  • Keep it top of mind for your staff

  • Adjust during the show as needed

Step 7: Conduct post-show de-briefings

  • Don’t stop now

  • De-brief every staff attendee

  • Record the progress made

  • Follow-up on promises made

  • Report results to management

FormFollows Function: Architecture

  • Exhibit architecture

  • Exhibit layout

  • Access / Egress

  • Furniture & Carpet choices

  • The “script” for non-target visitors

An Actual Example

  • Poultry Expo

  • Further processing a small fraction of the poultry industry

    • Egg laying

    • Egg processing

    • Egg hatching

    • Chicken raising

    • Chicken slaughter

    • Chicken processing

    • Turkey yadayadayada

    • Etc etcetc

An Actual Example

  • At past year’s shows …..

    • We sampled products – like chicken nuggets

    • We had an “open” booth – we talked to everybody

    • We fed thousands of people

    • We exhausted our staff

    • We spent a small fortune preparing and shipping samples

    • We had very little to show for it

Step 1: Identify the target

Poultry processors – R&D, marketing and purchasing

Around 50 companies – 150 people

Total show attendance – 20,000

Step 1: Identify the target

  • Demographics – what do we know about them?

    • Poultry - mainly Southeast US

    • Mostly males

    • Likely do not belong to PETA

    • Probably not vegans

    • Might belong to the NRA

    • Education ? Career ?

  • Hobbies? Likes? Dislikes?

Form Follows Function

The pre-show plan

  • Needed a unifying and resonating theme that told our story

  • “Beyond Crumbs” – looking past the obvious about bread crumbs – the real story is what you don’t see

  • To help them “see” we selected binoculars as our premium

The pre-show plan

  • Prepared 53 mailers – 3D – each with a pair of 79¢ toy binoculars

  • Tagged w/ message “Bring these to the Kerry booth, trade them for a pair of Bushnells”

  • Total cost of the mailing $328.45 including postage

OK – The Results

  • 17 meetings – first four hours

  • 34 meetings overall

  • 40 binoculars redeemed

  • 59 leads for new projects started

  • $750,000 in sales closed

  • $60,000 total show budget (w/o T&E)

Some pictures

From the actualInternational Poultry & Egg Expo

Some pictures

Some pictures

Some pictures

Some pictures

Some pictures

Some pictures

Some pictures

Define your target

Set individual objectives

Tailor your exhibit to your objectives

Get on their dance card

Train and re-train your staff

Present relevant info to each key visitor

The One Percent Solution

The One Percent Solution

Thanks for coming!



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