The old adage “You only get one chance to make a first impression” was never truer than in the world of face-to face marketing. These principles can be applied to promotional events and all aspects of our face-to-face visual marketing.

Take a stroll through any trade show, and you may find yourself making split second conclusions about what booths you like or dislike. Within seconds we develop our impressions of a particular company without stepping onto their carpet. This phenomenon of “thinking without thinking” is detailed in the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell , where he describes “a system in which our brain reaches conclusions without immediately telling us that it’s reaching conclusions.”

This is why it is so important to take stock of our current exhibit properties and view them through the eyes of our clients and prospects. We tend to fight fiercely for what WE want to see in our booth, but do we know what our attendees want to see? Too often we are focused inward on our wants without looking outward to seek what our attendees want to experience.

We all have certain clients we feel appropriate turning to for this type of feedback. A great time to do the research is within a week after a client has visited your booth at a show, while it’s fresh in his or her mind. This is an excellent opportunity to get the input you are looking for and strengthen your customer relationship by building rapport.

When doing this, it’s important that you “give permission” to the client to make any comments, even if they are constructive in nature.

Here are some questions you can ask when obtaining your feedback from your client:

  1. I am seeking honest feedback from you so we can update our exhibit to better serve you, so please don’t hold back any comments, even if they are constructive in nature. We really want to get your pulse on how we performed
  2. What was your overall impression of the look and feel of our exhibit?
  3. Did you recognize us immediately, did our branding stand out?
  4. Did the booth staffers greet you promptly? Were they courteous and helpful?Did our booth help you better understand our product and services?
  5. In terms of our graphics, did you find them helpful? Were they easy to comprehend?
  6. Did you participate in the demonstration we presented on the LCD monitor? Was it boring, too complicated, or just right?
  7. Did you leave the both satisfied that your visit was worthwhile, or was something lacking?
  8. If there were one suggestion you would have, what would it be?”

By asking these or other custom-tailored questions, important insight can be gained as to what your clients think of your show presence and how you can improve your results.

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Image & Design: Evaluate Your Needs to Make Appropriate Updates to Your Display