I just recently got back from Oracle Open World and I was working for a company by the name of Zerto. They are a relatively new company that is growing by leaps and bounds in the virtualization space of the tech sector. They did a couple of things differently as an exhibiting team that I haven't seen in the past and it really made me think about how a company's corporate culture spills over into their marketing events.

Here are some instances where your marketing team (and executive team) can show leadership and generate positive trade show booth culture to support your booth staff and create an environment of hard work and big results.

1. Pre-show Need to Know Document

Sending all your booth staff all-in-one document that goes over all the details of the show is a real must. It gets all of your team literally on the same page.This type of communication a week or two before the event sets the tone and gets all of your team focused on what needs to get done. Keeping everyone "in the loop" creates a culture of inclusion and gets things off to a positive productive start.

This document typically covers the following:

  • Venues for show and industry events
  • Scan Goals/Leads Generated
  • Company hotels
  • Transportation (from airport and from hotel to event venue
  • Messaging for the show
  • Speaking times of any company representatives
  • Booth Activities (giveaways, draws, in-booth entertainment etc..)
  • Booth duty schedule
  • Booth Rules (re: eating, drinking, sitting, etc…)

An emailed PDF does wonders to calm the inquiring minds of any first time exhibitors and answers questions that even old veterans might have.

2. Pre-Show Meeting

This is pretty standard occurrence in the shows I attend. Usually an hour or so before the opening of the show there is an "all hands on deck" type of meeting where all the booth details are discussed. These meeting can sometimes be a cross between and informative pep rally and the Walmart chant. No matter how high energy this meeting is, it's mission critical to rally your team around the goal at hand. This pre-show meeting can bring the team together and get them focused on what needs to get done in the next 3 days of the show. Everything from a review of the show messaging and giveaways to the in-booth schedule and how to operate the scanners are typically covered.

3. Team Dinner

As you probably already know, getting together with co-workers outside of work is one of the best ways to get to know them. The more you get to know them, the more tightly bonded your group can be. When possible, it's a really good idea to have your booth staff all dine together and have the company pick up the check. Although it's not meant to be about the business of the day, the trade show may become a topic of conversation and who knows what kinds of great ideas and suggestions might come out of it. The team that plays together stays together.

Bottom-line, it's great for morale and keeping the attitude and energy level of your booth staff is integral to successful trade show exhibiting.

4. End of Day Email Updates

Something that I have found very useful and effective is end of day emails. During the show, every night before you go to bed you get an email from the events manager telling you how many leads were scanned that day and when the "bus" will be leaving the next day. I find this email incredibly helpful as it reminded the entire booth staff team, not only to be on time, but how they did that day. This is great feedback to know how effective the team is operating in the booth and how close we were to doubling our official lead goal. These emails kept you on track and kept your eyes on t
he prize.

5. End of Day Wrap-up Meeting

This type of meeting is rare and I just experienced one for the first time just a couple of weeks ago in the Zerto booth. Having a meeting at the end of a long busy show day is probably the last thing that
most booth staffers want to do and yet it is so powerful. At Open World, like they do at other shows, the Zerto booth staff all sat cross legged on the floor of the booth in a circle. They then went around the circle and discussed what worked well and what needed improvement. There were shout-outs to team members who were really "killing it" and gentle reminders to those who needed reminding.

I was surprised at how candid and from the heart some of the "shares" were and it impressed me with

You're never supposed to sit in a trade show booth, so it's kind of nice to pull up a piece of floor and decompress. This idea of sitting cross-legged on the floor may not seem attractive to you, but I have to tell you that it does unite your group and generates team bonding. Apparently this happens at all their shows and even the executives even take part in this tradition.

If your company has been doing shows for a while and you'd like to implement this type of end of day ritual, try it at a smaller show first. You may find that getting smaller groups on board at a time will help this type of thing go over at the bigger shows.

How does your company create great booth culture at your trade shows? Leave a comment and share with us what fosters teamwork helps to keep morale high.