Attention grabbers

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As a vendor, when you participate in a trade show, you have to take steps to really make yourself stand out from the crowd. After all, you will be sharing floor space with hundreds of other companies, many of whom may be direct competitors.

There are many ways to attract attention on a crowded floor, of course. You can offer compelling giveaways, such as t-shirts (always popular), blinking buttons, bouncy superballs, and so forth. As one example, the folks in the Code Weavers booth (#S233), makers of CrossOver Mac, were giving out wine bottle resealing caps. It took me a minute to figure out the relationship, but it became obvious when I remembered that CrossOver Mac is built around Wine, which is the technology that makes the product possible.

But even with your best efforts, it’s tough to stand out. That’s because the playing field has been effectively leveled—your booth, and all the rest, open up onto a common aisle through which everyone walks, comparing your offerings with that of your neighbors. You have to work really hard in this environment to get noticed. Unless you’re really creative. Maybe something like this (click either image for a larger version):

These two displays were found at each end of the tunnel that connects the North and South halls in Moscone Center. They’re from Maxtor, and they are very effective demonstrations on the importance of backing up—demonstrating the number of MP3s, photos, songs, movies and games you might lose if your hard drive fails, or your laptop is stolen, is quite effective. And by moving its display out of the semi-organized chaos that is the trade show floor, the displays get much more attention—I had to wait a couple minutes to get the above shots, as there was a constant stream of people stopping to look at the displays.

There is, of course, one downside—after gaining the attendees’ attention, they’re out in a hallway, not at your booth buying stuff. It’s tough to analyze the tradeoffs involved with more attention in general vs. some level of in-booth attention, but clearly Maxtor felt it a trade worth making.

So congrats to Maxtor for an attention-getting advertising effort—one that got its point across in a strong way, and yet didn’t rely on blinking lights, loud noises, or other such trickery to do so.

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