Product Demonstration: A powerful trade show marketing solution
by Steve Multer
Jan. 31, 2016
One of the most engaging but misunderstood jobs at a trade show is the expert Product Demonstrator, a potent marketing tool and influential member of your sales and support team who adeptly handles everything from initial customer engagement to in-depth personal connection.
At first mention, Product Demonstrator brings to mind images of Costco food department hawkers in logo aprons, handing out slices of cardboard-flavored pizza from toaster ovens or spooning bite-sized portions of hummus into disposable specimen cups. Worse still are the state fair carnival barkers, loudly touting the benefits of space-aged juicers and amazing car buff rags, or late night television hosts showing the latest must-have food preparation or exercise gadgets while being applauded by fake audiences wearing ghoulish smiles for no discernible reason. “But wait, there’s more! Call now while supplies last! Ooooh, aaaaah!”
Professional trade show Product Demonstrators are a far cry from their low-level gadget-pushing cousins, and as far from Ron Popeil as you can get. Savvy trade show and event marketers use these ninja experts to engage customers in their booths and surrounding aisles, to create instant rapport with as many attendees as possible, divert them onto their stands for a brief introduction to and demonstration of key offerings, begin meaningful conversations, pre-qualify potential leads, and hand-deliver prospect to their sales teams for deep product dives.
Product Demonstrators deliver an extraordinary bang for your trade show budget buck, at an attractive price point for event marketers who need maximum effectiveness on tighter budgets.
So what does it take to be a valuable and effective Product Demonstrator? It’s a highly skilled job that requires a rare blend of dedication, intellect, curiosity, technical knowledge, unflagging energy, and patience. Few offer this unique mix of talents, but the best can quickly convert tire kickers into strong leads for follow up conversion.
There are a number of best practice circumstances for deploying a Product Demonstrator in your trade show booth. For example, when you’re showing too many solutions to showcase effectively in a short theatre presentation, or when your general brand message is scattered across multiple capabilities. While it’s difficult to effectively explain all products on offer in a tight time frame, a Demonstrator can focus on a single solution or group of solutions to assure each attendee gets the story quickly, concisely, and enjoyably, growing the potential for sales and expanding brand appreciation.
Multiple Demonstrators can cover multiple products, delivering key messaging simultaneously to as many attendees as possible.
It’s an effective strategy in small booths such as 10×10 pole & drape setups where the surrounding aisles become a more effective marketing position than the tiny stand itself. Your Demonstrator will maximize those aisles, diverting people onto your stand, quickly overviewing your products and services in engaging ways, then repeating throughout the show day.
In the loudest environments, professional Product Demonstrators cut through the noise by offering personal one-on-one or even one-on-five personal interactions, representing your brand with energy, enthusiasm, and detailed understanding to create connections amid overwhelming chaos.
Finding the best Product Demonstrator can be challenging; most agencies don’t have these specialized people on their rosters, instead filling the position with models, crowd gatherers (which is an aspect of the job), or actors willing to shill any product for a few extra dollars. These aren’t the Demonstrators you want or need. While they may possess one or even several of the required skills, they lack the full package expertise and ability to fully develop their messaging to your brand. Choose your agency based on how carefully they choose the experts they offer you.
Your expert Product Demonstrator will understand the complexities of customer interaction during product conversation. They’ll take the time and effort to learn your brand, your solutions, and your team culture in order to create peak effectiveness on the trade show floor. Once you find the right Product Demonstrator for your company, you’ll want to use that valuable individual on every live event you manage.
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