Meaningful engagement is the key to business success, according to Lee Ali, founder and managing director of Expo Stars Interactive, which works with brands such as Merz Pharma, BMW and Dassault Aviation to drive engagement at exhibitions and live events.
Speaking at the UFI Asia Pacific Conference, which took place earlier this month (March 01-02) in Kuala Lumpur, Ali said: “I strongly believe that engagement is the start point of all business communication. Before you can make anything happen in the world of business, you need to engage your target audience and create a compelling reason for them to talk to you.
“Someone engaged me in conversation at a tradeshow 10 years ago, and that changed my whole life, so this is why I am very passionate that, if done correctly, engagement can change and drive people to achieve great things.”
Ali also recommended a number of engagement tactics to help sellers stand out on the tradeshow floor:
- Map out a strategic customer journey and design the engagement experience. For example, start engaging potential customers on the show floor before they reach to your booth.
- Deploy friendly and engaging staff who can pre-qualify potential customers on the show floor before escorting them to the booth. Invest in professional talent who can tell a compelling brand story without the classic ‘product dump’ sales pitch. For example, ‘What brings you to the show?’ is possibly one of the easiest questions to help break the ice during the qualifying process.
- Review your existing booth design. Do the key messages on the booth walls centre on the company or the customer’s best interest? For example, instead of having your company slogan ‘we make the best mattress in the world’, try attention grabbing questions like ‘Do you want a better night sleep?’ to better serve potential customer needs.
- Base a skilled technical expert at the booth – someone who can answer queries for pre-qualified visitors at the stand. This demonstration of technical capability will elevate the business conversion.
Ali added: “Engagement is really relevant now because the internet has made the world such a small place, you have increased competition and prospects are now savvy buyers who do a lot of research before a purchase.
“It is believed that you now need to have eight to 12 marketing touchpoints before a prospect can be turned into a buying client, so it is imperative that all companies have an engagement strategy that involves both digital and live marketing brand experiences that can educate the prospect into making an informed buying decision.”