Beware of the Trade Show Zombies!


It sounds horrifying but I guarantee that if you have ever exhibited, you’ve encountered trade show zombies. Armed with oversized bags, these attendees wander up and down the aisles, grabbing all the free stuff they can find from each and every booth. They don’t plan to do business with any of the exhibiting vendors and surprisingly, a horde of trade show zombies can wipe a booth out of free candy or post-it-pads in mere minutes.

So how do you ward off these trade show zombies? It’s actually quite simple: proper planning. Focus on bringing qualified prospects into your booth. If you target the general masses, you’re likely to attract a high number of zombies. Identify potential clients as they enter the booth by evaluating their interest in your business. If they only make small talk, politely wrap up the conversation and shift focus towards other attendees. Also ensure visitors fill out a “qualification form” and talk to one of your salespeople before entering any of your contests and giveaways. The purpose behind these is to initiate relationships between possible clients and your brand, so make sure these are well planned.

Trade show zombies don’t necessarily have to be attendees either. Exhibitors can also fall into this category. I’m speaking of the exhibitors who design their exhibit to mimic the other booths around them and bring nothing new to the table. Carbon copy booth designs may attract trade show zombies but they’re unlikely to draw in prospects. Fortunately, the exhibitor zombie is a dying breed (no pun attended), as companies are constantly pushing the envelope to make their exhibits unique and their messages stand out.

The moral of the story here: don’t let trade show zombies distract your focus from qualified prospects. Giveaways can play an important role in your trade show strategy, as long as they’re aimed at the right people.

Source:, “Trade Show Zombies”

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