Greg Ippolito, founder and creative director of demand generation and customer experience agency IMA, once coined the term “momentum marketing.” The concept is predicated on the notion that, as Ippolito opined, customers are “…constantly in motion — traversing different spaces, utilizing different media, and as always, experiencing a range of different thoughts and feelings throughout any given day. If you want to move people, you have to become a part of their journey.”
Naturally, in the context of a trade show, you want that journey to include a stop at your trade show exhibit. That said, since when we don’t know where each participants’ journey began or where it will end, how do we make our trade show exhibit fit within the overall context of their experience?
As an exercise, let’s frame the customer journey as a marathon with two points along the way: the “water station” and the “finish line.”
At any marathon, there are spectators on the sidelines cheering on the runners and passing out much-appreciated bottles of water. Sometimes there are formalized pit stops, other times they’re just random running enthusiasts with a flat of water bottles from Costco. Either way, the name of the game is fluidity (ba dum tss).
As Ippolito suggested, “We should consider ways that we can leverage the existing momentum of target consumers. By doing so, we can organically guide them where we want them to go — with minimum waste and maximum efficiency.”
So, we guide them into our trade show exhibit and like a water station, its purpose is to replenish. A booth in this context should emphasize comfort and nourish minds (if not bodies) that have endured the mental marathon of processing innumerable trade-related data points and experiences. Be relevant but not overwhelming — the gratitude and goodwill fostered here will seed an enduring relationship.
Conversely, the finish line corrals participants into its experience and demands attention, which it theoretically rewards with wonder and awe. It’s a showstopper that truly “wows” participants and functions as the crescendo to their total trade show experience since all else will pale in comparison. It doesn’t win the race so much as change the route, if not the game, entirely.
Both experiences have their merit (and budgets). As a marketer, you have to decide where your brand should be on the spectrum — are your nurturing an existing brand position or are you starting a whole new race? There is momentum to be had in both.
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