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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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Ignore the masses attract key attendees bob milam aka trade show bob

Ignore the Masses &

Attract Key Attendees

Bob Milam

Aka Trade Show Bob

The One Percent Solution

About your instructor
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
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
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
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
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
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

Step 1 define your target
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 target1
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
Consult with your stakeholders

  • Find out who they need to see

    • Name names

    • Be specific

    • Make a list

Step 2 define objectives
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
Define objectives individually

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

  • Be specific

Individual objectives will vary
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
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

What you ll end up with

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
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
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
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
Individual Assignments




Fix problem

Fix problem

Name #1

Buy X


Beg for


Name #2

Go to lunch

Name #3



Individual assignment cards
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
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
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
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
Important: Exempt no one

  • If they go – they must have a reason

  • Even the CEO

  • Even yourself

Step 4 get on their dance card
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
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
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
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
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
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 example1
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?

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

The one percent solution

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 solution1

The One Percent Solution

Thanks for coming!


[email protected]