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The Science of Getting More Traffic to Your Trade Show Booth

Posted in Marketing Articles: Using Advertising Inflatables

What Do Heat Maps and Shopping Have to Do with Trade Shows?

Most marketers know that heat maps are developed by following the eye path of customers as they look over advertising material such as websites, brochures, etc. What you may not know, however, is that the same eye-catching elements that perform well online or in print can also pull top performances with trade show displays.

In addition, consumer behaviorists that follow the shopping habits of customers have enormous insights into the way people maneuver in crowded spaces. Put the two sciences together and you have a powerful combination of information.

The two primary goals of every trade show booth are to attract attention and to draw people into the booth. Easier said than done when you're exhibiting in the midst of hundreds of companies surrounded by thousands of people filling each aisle to capacity. Let's take a look at how to implement some of the science of consumer behavior in order to boost traffic to your booth.

Shopping vs. Meandering

World-famous consumer behaviorist Paco Underhill wrote one of the best books on how people shop. Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping delivers exceptional information that was actually observed in real retail environments. One surprising fact Underhill points out is that shoppers almost always turn right after entering a store's door. If you pay attention to other situations that require a person to "shop" for something (or meander through a hall filled with trade show booths), you'll find that the occurrence is common in these settings as well.

Stand back and watch. Count the number of people at any given trade show who turn right after entering the door vs. those who turn left. What does this tell you? Get a booth on the right side of the hall if possible. You'll encounter visitors immediately after they enter when they are fresh and interested instead of tired and trying to escape the ever-growing crowd.

Applying Heat Map Strategies to Trade Show Displays

Heat maps show, in a variety of colors, where people's eyes land first when viewing an online or printed marketing piece. The hotter the colors get (yellows, oranges and reds), the more attraction certain elements have and the longer people stay locked on those elements.

What wins out every time? Colors, images and things that look out of the ordinary. These same factors can be applied to trade show booths to encourage attendees to hone in on your booth as opposed to all the others. Inflatables give you an exceptional advantage because they can encompass all three of these elements. Just imagine how quickly trade show visitors would lock in on your booth if it held a 15-foot-tall inflatable company mascot. Towering above the rest, this would certainly capture every eye in the place. Or how about massive inflatable product replicas? A 20-foot-tall, colorful reproduction of your best-selling product would be considered out of the ordinary for sure. And what about in-booth giveaways? You can find inflatable key chains, balls, miniature product replicas and more that fill that bill.

Exhibiting outdoors? Inflatable air tents give those on the midway something to tune into because they are large, colorful and can be fitted with custom banners. Motion is another natural attraction. That's why helium-filled inflatables make such a perfect addition to any trade show display. Whether swaying in the breeze or rigged with remote capabilities so they can fly anywhere on command, you're sure to turn many heads.

I can see it now: You book a corner booth on the right side of the hall near the front, add a giant inflatable mascot and some inflatable giveaway items to the mix and crowds just flock to you! This just might be the most successful trade show display you've ever had!

Need more creative ideas for your next trade show event?

View our gallery of trade show inflatables.