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Trade Show Kinsella

August 10th, 2009 · 8 Comments · Trade Show Marketing

A while back I wrote a post asking, “Are You a Trade Show Kinsella?” Of course, to answer this question, you have to know what a trade show kinsella is. Thus, the real question of the post was, “What is a trade show kinsella (and are you one).” Well, here’s the answer you’ve been waiting for…

Will at the Health Living blog (who eats his vegetables) came fairly close with his guess. Will may have recognized the picture was of Kevin Costner and remembered that Costner played the character Ray Kinsella in the movie Field of Dreams. In any event, Will wrote this comment…

“Kinsella, William, of Shoeless Joe fame? What does he have to do with trade shoes, I mean shows?”

Great pun (trade shoes) and definately Will is on the right track. William Kinsella wrote the novel Shoeless Joe. This novel was later adapted into the movie Field of Dreams, which is the source of the term “trade show kinsella”. In Field of Dreams, a “vision” tells Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) to build a baseball field in the middle of nowhere (his corn farm in Iowa). Ray is told to just build the baseball field and then have faith… That is, to believe:

If you build it, they will come.

A trade show kinsella is a trade show exhibitor who believes the same thing about his trade show booth, that is, just sign up and show up and They Will Come (that is, prospects and customers will magically show up at your booth).

Ray Kinsella did have some famous baseball player ghosts show up at his baseball field in the middle of nowhere (the advantage of being in a Hollywood movie). If you practice the same advice (Just Build It and the Crowds Will Appear), your trade show booth “crowd” will probably only consist of a few trade show ghosts (along with the trade show zombies). Unlike the movies, your trade show marketing efforts won’t have a happy Hollywood ending.

The moral and lesson of this story is:

Don’t be a trade show kinsella. Don’t just sign up for a trade show booth and expect trade show success.

Don’t be a trade show kinsella. You need to promote your trade show booth BEFORE the show. Do a mailing to all the people who are signed up to attend the show. Let them know in advance!

Don’t be a trade show kinsella. Let your customers know that you’ll be exhibiting at the trade show and invite them to attend.

Don’t be a trade show kinsella. Promote your trade show booth AT the trade show. Have a contest at your trade show booth. Hand out trade show giveaways. Give people a reason to stop by. If you want the trade show crowds, you need to do trade show promotion! You don’t need to be a trade show PT Barnum, but you do need to promote your trade show exhibit booth!

The key is, if you want to be a trade show success, you can’t be a trade show kinsella. Study and learn, and commit to working hard. Trade show marketing isn’t easy. It takes hard work and commitment. But if you do it right, it can be a hugely successful.

To learn more about how to promote your trade show booth, read some of my other trade show marketing posts, including trade show planning and trade show secrets.

And whatever you do, don’t be a trade show kinsella!


8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 JD at I Do Things // Aug 11, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Interesting! I love Field of Dreams, but I never would’ve put “Kinsella” and “trade shows” together. Good advice, I’m sure. That kind of thing only works in the movies.

  • 2 The Trade Show Guru // Aug 11, 2009 at 9:48 am

    hi JD,
    Yes, if only real life could be like the movies, especially Disney movies. I think I would have gone to the high school in High School Musical, where all you do is sing and dance and everyone is happy… ~ Steve

  • 3 Will // Aug 11, 2009 at 9:13 pm

    I may have been on the right track, but I did not know, (or I forgot, but that’s impossible given my vegetable intake), that the novel Shoeless Joe was the source of Field of Dreams. And I certainly did not know about the trade show angle. Very informative post. Sort of like a website. “If you build it they will come”…not.

  • 4 The Trade Show Guru // Aug 12, 2009 at 9:37 am

    Hi Will,
    Darn! I meant to mention in my post the “trade show exhibits are like blogs and websites” connection… i.e. “If you build it they will come” (not). But I forgot! Looks like I’ll have to eat more vegetables too… and perhaps I’ve got the start of another post… ~ Steve, the forgetful trade show guru

  • 5 Preston // Aug 12, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    As a trade show coordinator, I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s even more applicable in today’s economy when trade show budgets are being slashed faster than a street walker’s neck at a party hosted by Jack The Ripper.

  • 6 The Trade Show Guru // Aug 12, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    hey Preston,
    I like your sense of humor…
    And you’re right, in this economy, being smart and working hard is even more important. ~ Steve

  • 7 trade show kinsella // Aug 13, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I agree with both you and Preston. Especially in this economy, exhibitors can’t afford to be trade show kinsellas!

  • 8 trade show kinsella // Aug 13, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    great term. one way to promote your exhibit (so that you aren’t a trade show kinsella) is to consider using trade show models.

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