This page is dedicated to content created to enhance the performance and service to our loyal exhibitors. In striving to always better the Education & Career Fairs, it is important to offer resources to follow new trends and advance with the times.


How to be a great exhibitor at Education & Career Fairs.

October 24th, 2018 – Ben Glassen, ECF Coordinator

Imagine yourself with attendees spending time magnetized around your booth, just waiting for their turn to interact with you. Everyone wants to get their hands on what you are doing. You offer a popular program, but your exhibit booth and engaging activity are what is securing an audience and searing your brand into their memories. How can you do this with limited resources? The following guidance has been assembled from research and experience around successful exhibiting practices.

Be prepared. Have a staff meeting ahead of the fairs before going on the road so that the person exhibiting is clear on the intentions for the entire team. Know the key message to communicate, the key offering to focus on and the kind of attendee you are targeting. Without preparation, you are shooting a shotgun spray, when you want a sniper scope to imprint relevant leads. Prepare qualifying questions to introduce yourself with. Even if that person is not the right fit, prepare a positive conclusion because their referral may be equally as powerful a recruitment tool as any.

Exhibiting at a tradeshow can be taxing. Starting with the right people is key. When it comes down to it, talking to a prospect to understand their needs, then reassuring them that what you are offering will fulfill their needs, desires and wishes is what secures a future recruit. The person doing so needs to fit certain criteria, and maybe the lead recruiter does not fit the bill. Perhaps a student, program head or another administrator may be the right person who is most relatable to the prospect.

Key needs for an exhibiting staff: positive attitude, extroverted, energetic, stamina, good questioner, good listener, empathetic, concise communicator and again, long-lasting positive attitude.[1]

There are two major focuses on the physical setup of your booth that need to be addressed: open and inviting, interactive and engaging.

It is key to have a booth that is open and inviting. As an attendee it can be scary, awkward and intimidating to approach a booth! Design your booth to be as barrier-free as possible. Your table should be at the back or the side of the booth space so people can enter, engage and be on side with you. If your table is at the front of the booth, you physically block them enter your space, opposite of the inviting message you wish to portray for your organization. If you must sit, ask the attendee to sit with you to stay on their level while you talk. From the beginning plan for a welcoming aura: be part of what we have to offer and be one of us in this organization. Looking for inspiration? Deanna Sealey, senior marketing consultant at Skyline E3 for the tradeshow industry suggest taking inspiration from art and design shows. Try Pinterest using search terms like “small event booth,” “mobile exhibit design,” or “tradeshow booth ideas.” Finally, Sealey suggests visiting a museum who hire professional designers to build their displays to inspire and strike the cords of emotion.[2]

Interactive and engaging booths win every time. There are different physical levels in which to design for to catch the eye of attendees. First, you want a high-level banner that is legible across the showroom floor. Is it more important to know your name or to know what you offer? Next, you want to draw a captive audience by having a hands-on experience. It should be equally as interesting to the enthusiastic participant in your activity as it is for the tentative observer, both of whom will be imprinted with a memory from the experience. Finally, the low-level face-to-face interaction and conversation are what should be derived from engagement. This is at the back of your booth where those who have filtered through your funnel, those who you want to connect with, those who will value your printed materials and those to follow up with after the fair will become your warmest leads.[3]

Come prepared, starting with the right exhibiting person. Make your space an open and welcoming environment. Create excitement for participants and onlookers in your booth so you have a captive audience in which to funnel down into the warmest leads.

For questions about this topic or others, please reach out to your ECF account manager.
Kate Phifer 604-639-3926 kate@educationcareerfairs.com accounts A-M
Ben Glassen 604-566-8310 ben@educationcareerfairs.com accounts N-Z

 

[1] Staffing FOr Exhibing Success: Your People Make The Difference, Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge – The A.R.T. of Exhibitor Training, 2012
[2]
 Exhibit Design Inspiration, Deanna Sealey – Exhibitor Magazine, May 2018 p.10
[3] Why Attend Tradeshows? A comparison of Exhibitor and Attendee’s Preferences, Hyungjeong “Spring” Han and Rohit Verma Ph.D. – The Scholarly Commons, Cornell University School of Hotel Administration, August 2014 p.246-250

 


What is the value of the Education & Career Fairs

July 13th, 2018 – Ben Glassen, ECF Coordinator

 

It can be daunting to allocate $10,000 or more of a marketing budget for a couple days exhibiting. There are so many ways of attracting new leads, so how come the best opportunity in B.C. is visiting 5 cities over two weeks just before the winter holidays?

Let’s first look at the mission of the Education & Career Fairs.

The Education & Career Fair’s (ECF) mission is to support the career pursuits of B.C. residents “starting from square one”.

This mission represents the need for employers and educators to connect with their next generation. A large percentage of attendees at ECF are high school classes. Exhibitors create a warm connection by planting the seed of career growth in a generation ripe with talent and potential.

What do these things mean: ‘accounting’, ‘graphic design’, ‘boilermaker’ or ‘logistics and supply chain management?’ Those are careers, but what do those people actually do? By painting a picture for the attendee, the exhibitor can open their mind towards an entire trajectory. To work at a sporting goods company choosing what products should continue production or be dropped, that requires an accounting degree. Working for Amazon and deciding that drones are the most efficient next step, that requires training in logistics and supply chain management. The exhibitor plants a seed with an attendee, suggests specific training while following the brand, the payoff being when the attendee submits an application sculpted for the position that was introduced to them at ECF. Spark a fire, set a path, direct training and focus the very best next recruit.

The ‘sales funnel’ is a commonly used term for how customers are guided through a strategically designed process towards ultimately a purchase, (though the sales funnel often includes steps in post-purchase.[1]) Predominantly the Education & Career Fairs would be positioned near the front of the sales funnel. This is where attendees may be looking to learn about something new altogether or to strengthen a connection to an organization they may recognize. However, at ECF it is entirely possible to move prospects from the fringe of the funnel, deep toward commitment.

Up to four thousand attendees may attend a single fair. This allows any organization to filter through to find the few good candidates. Attract the masses, talk to many, qualify a few and measure the return. Exhibit design and strategy plays a key role in how this can happen. It is important to have qualifying questions to understand if the prospect is the right fit, or if they know someone to recommend as the right fit. Spend time, create an impression, and express your ability to meet the needs of the individual.

The timing of the Education & Career Fairs just before the holidays is absolutely ideal for exhibitors’ success. The exhibiting goal is to leave an impression that the attendee will go away talking about, thinking about and contemplating in their holiday time. The more someone talks about a goal, the better the chance of their follow through and completion of this task.[2] Can applying become their New Year’s Resolution?

British Columbia is a diverse environment where the ocean meets forest, with high plains, desert and the prairies. Natural resources are abundant, and the tech industry is booming. By travelling through the Province over the two weeks of five ECFairs, exhibitors reach candidates in all corners of the province. Though an organization may focus on one region for their speciality, it is extremely important to reach those who dream of moving for this specialization. For example, Nanaimo and Kelowna fairs are where people dream of moving to the big city. Vice versa, some city dwellers dream of studying in a smaller, quieter place and look to their local Education & Career Fair to find a place that will be the right fit.

The Education & Career Fairs are a unique opportunity for organizations who continuously need upcoming talent. This opportunity is unlike any other because this is the only venue to reach up to 12,000 people at the same time. By offering an engaging, entertaining and educative experience to the attendee, an organization can move candidates through their sales funnel. Leave attendees with a positive impression that they will go away excited and dream about over their winter holidays.

 

[1] What Is a Sales Funnel? The Guide to Building an Automated Selling Machine., RL Adam, https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296526, July 28, 2017

[2] Weight loss social support in 140 characters or less: use of an online social network in a remotely delivered weight loss intervention, Gabrielle M Turner-McGrievy & Deborah F Tate, Translational Behavioral Medicine, September 2013, Volume 3, Issue 3, pp 287–294