One for the Road

May 23, 2007 Blog 2 comments

Science Centre’s Roadshow on Chinese Inventions at Chinatown Point

One of the most common forms of events marketing are roadshows. These can be standalone affairs in shopping malls or be part of a greater themed exhibition and convention.

For years, roadshows have been used by credit card companies, insurance agents and real estate marketers to attract new customers. Often, the aim is to provide a “mini” experience-rich zone to interest potential customers who can then be quickly converted to sign up for whatever packages you have to offer.
I have done my fair share of roadshows and also observed how others do it. Here are some learning points for those who want to dabble in this without getting burnt.

1) Dress your booth to the nines! Your presence in any roadshow is symbolic of your brand. If your booth looks cheap and shoddy, guess what people’s impression of you will be?

2) Provide an attractive bait to lure them in. The most successful roadshows often incorporate lucky draws, free goodie bags, ear-catching music and sometimes free food! After all these years, the word “FREE” is still the strongest word in marketing.

3) Make sure you sell but please don’t hard sell. This is dilemma for promoters. Sitting there and looking pretty may attract oglers but it won’t do nothing in generating sales. You need to speak and approach potential customers. At the same time, harassing them is a big “No no” and will probably piss them off more than anything else.

4) Location, location, location! The site of your booth is important but do not be too allured by the illusion that crowds = sales. I find that people in crowded situations feel more harassed and stressed, and this result in them wanting to leave quickly before concluding the deal. Find a space that has enough human traffic to make it worth your while, yet offers some room for movement. Of course, you should always avoid the spot next to the toilet!

5) Choose thy neighbour carefully. Being situated next to a “superstar” will just make you look dull and boring in contrast. At the same time, please do not go into a shouting match with a competitor and try to “out discount” each other.

6) Entertainment helps but do so with moderation. Like in any experiential marketing strategy, roadshows should be fun and enjoyable for your customers. Have clown giving out balloons, models hawking the latest IT gadgets, or maybe even a street violinist. However, remember not to overdo it such that people come to be entertained solely.

7) Have a good follow through strategy. Do not just aim to do the sales there and then, but see if you can get a customer’s contact so that you can call him or her thereafter. Often, people are not in the right frame of mind to make a purchase decision on the spot. Allow for a “cooling off” period for those who may not be ready or are looking uncomfortable. Your customers will appreciate you for it.

By Walter
Founder of Cooler Insights, I am a geek marketer with almost 24 years of senior management experience in marketing, public relations and strategic planning. Since becoming an entrepreneur 5 years ago, my team and I have helped 58 companies and over 2,200 trainees in digital marketing, focusing on content, social media and brand storytelling.


  1. Interesting.

    I think it not only applies to a roadshow. Any business wanting to set up a shop can reuse these tips that you have written. 🙂

  2. DK,

    Thanks for your encouragement. I agree that they are also useful for location-based businesses like retail. Heck, maybe most consumer-facing businesses too!

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