Two Simple Goals for Effective AHR Tradeshow Exhibits

By Trish Holder

I love a good product demo. 

I got treated to one recently while attending the NC Craft Brewers Conference in Winston Salem, NC.  (Yes, I was there for professional reasons and not just for the free samples; there’s a lot of product overlap in HVAC and breweries.) Anyway, one of the highlights of this excursion was a demonstration of laser print technology from Domino Printing Sciences.

Ever notice the digital coding on food packages, bottles, or just about any other type of packaged product?  Domino makes the equipment, software and full range of ink and supplies that make those printed characters possible. The company supplies a wide range of industries from food and beverage to medical supply packaging. Next time you crack open a cold one, chances are the coding on the can or bottle was done using Domino laser technology.

I got to experience that technology firsthand at the Brewers Conference. The local distributor, who had a booth in the show, was demonstrating one of Domino's ink jet systems.  Even though I made it clear I was not there to source equipment, the rep was more than happy to explain the technology and let me have a test drive. 

He instructed me to type my name using the Domino touchscreen and then asked me to watch while he positioned a ping-pong ball beneath a small print head. A second later he handed me my own personalized souvenir from the show.

It’s a stealthy process, without any direct contact between the print head and the object, and no visible spray of ink.  In fact, I didn’t even think it worked until I took a closer look at the ping pong ball. There it was, my name and a friendly little message. 

I felt like someone just pulled a silver dollar from behind my ear.

I know--the nerdiest things rock my world. But I love the little revelations that come from a cleverly executed product demo. I suspect I’m not the only one, which brings me to the point of this blog.

At AHR -- Remember to Engage and Educate!

In a couple of months many manufacturers will be unpacking their displays at the world’s largest HVACR tradeshow, the AHR Expo. Exhibits will range from single booths with modest backdrops to elaborate, multi-level displays of 2000 sq. ft. or more.

Regardless of size, the most successful of these exhibits will have been conceived with two simple goals in mind:  Engage and Educate.

As my own experience with Domino shows, an effective exhibit doesn’t have to be elaborate or fancy. A little cleverness and a sense of humor go a long way when it comes to introducing a product or technology at a trade show. This introduction or demonstration should directly engage prospects with the product and inform them (in a memorable way) of one or more of the most prominent benefits. 

Exhibitors should be generous with these product introductions/demonstrations. Unless an exhibitor is talking with another prospect, there is no good reason not to engage with someone who enters your booth, regardless of whether they look like a viable customer or not. At the very least, it’s good practice!  Nothing frustrates me more than being ignored when I walk into booth. 

Besides, you never know. I wasn’t looking to purchase a printer, but my experience did prompt me to give Domino some free publicity. 

And I’ve still got that ping pong ball.