posted Feb 15 2018

Prevention is better than cure, no doubt, but no matter what you do and how hard you try, you can’t foolproof your trade shows. Something may go wrong, and chances are, it will. The best you can do is to put up a brave front, and not concede, not just yet. What you need here is a backup plan, one that helps you snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, and possibly avert the crisis.

Trade Show Crisis and Ways to Deal with Them

Technical Goof-ups

With experiential marketing becoming the need of the hour, more and more technologies are being used at trade shows these days. However, there are times when technology may not do what it is supposed to – it could falter, causing you embarrassment and possibly breaking the flow of a product demonstration, or interrupting an ongoing VR session.

Possible Solutions:

  • Do the necessary checks more than once, especially on the day of the show. If the microphone was working four days prior to the show, doesn’t necessarily mean it is still functional. Double check.
  • Have your backups ready. Additional VR gears, microphones, and display systems could come in handy.
  • Make sure you know who to contact, should the need be. Share the POC’s number with those manning the trade show booth, so that they don’t have to wait for you to jump in.

Staff-related Problems

You could train your staff for the trade show, tell them the do’s and don’ts and ask them to dress appropriately, but what you can’t do is to force them to turn up. What if someone falls ill or have a crisis of their own? Whether they are not able to get to the show for whatsoever reason or don’t reach on time, there’ll be frenzy and panic among those already at the booth.

Possible Solutions:

  • Make sure you have other staff members who can step in. Train more than just one person.
  • Ensure that the staff members know their way to the venue. Provide them with a map, if the need be.

Not-So-Funny Bloopers

If the keynote speaker gets cold feet at the eleventh hour and doesn’t show up, or worse, says something inappropriate, the event could be a sinking ship in no time. Not to mention, it could very well become the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons, especially if someone decides to take a dig, and share the experience on social media.

Possible Solutions:

  • Keep the attendees in the loop. If you know that the speaker won’t be turning up, share the news with the attendees, well in time, rather than making them wait.
  • Getting a pre-recorded speech is also a good idea, as it could save you the last-minute embarrassment, should the speaker keep you in the dark.
  • If and when they go off topic or say something inappropriate, take control. Depending on the situation, either interrupt them right away or issue an apology as soon as they are done.

Other possible crisis-like situations include but are not limited to not having the key equipment, overrunning the stipulated timings, having to deal with weather-related delays and not making it to the venue on time because of transport issues. Having said that, no matter what goes wrong, if you are prepared and have a flexible approach and more importantly, a positive mindset, managing a crisis is easier than you think. Trade shows are no exception.


Trade Show Experts

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