How to… run a successful conference booth #workinpublishing

So, this week I’ve been the marketing lead for Springer Nature at EGU in Vienna. I’ve been in charge of the booth here, with much help from my fellow colleagues and the journal and book editors and I have learned a lot!

What are my key tips for booth organisation?

  • Prioritise key titles
  • If you have more titles than space, rotate them on a regular basis
  • Subject and then colour coordinate your shelves
  • Separate your booth by brand if relevant
  • Make sure that each brand has equal space even if it’s not your brand

As the marketing lead, I had to make some tough calls when it came to the organisation of the booth. One colleague wanted a specific section for their titles, however another colleague needed the deeper shelves so they could stack books with the spines facing out. I decided that that deserved priority, as the journal titles would receive equal coverage on the other shelves, we would just need to replace them more frequently.

How do you get people’s attention?

  • Freebies are a great start; on day one, everybody will visit most booths to gain awareness of what’s there and return for specific things on later days, so having some freebies available on day one can get people to approach the booth and find out more
  • There needs to be clear organisation in the ways listed above; visitors should be able to easily identify brand from brand; book from journal, etc.
  • Smile, don’t be on your phone or laptop and look ready to answer people’s questions

And when they approach, what should you know?

  • A bit of everything and a lot of nothing; people will expect you to know the brands that are there and some basic information, including price, key selling points and who to direct enquiries to. However, they will not expect you to know everything, so don’t try to
  • If you have any authors, editors or other colleagues who will be at the stand on a given day
  • What can be sold, taken for free, and what will be given away on the last day of the conference
  • The questions they could ask; if it’s your first conference, ask other people and make a list of commonly asked questions and memorise some answers beforehand

How to talk to and engage with visitors?

  • Smile, smile and smile
  • Ask them if they have any questions
  • If they are looking at/picking up material on a specific title, offer the key facts you know about it
  • Always offer them more information; if you have email sign-ups, offer these (potentially in exchange for freebies), or let them know the brand Twitter/Facebook/Instagram name
  • Engage with your colleagues when not engaging with visitors, as it shows that you aren’t just there to stand and hand out flyers
  • Sympathise with their situations; have they been rejected by your brand? Oh no, now offer them some basic support and more information so they have the confidence to try again

And finally, remember that some people just aren’t interested. You will not get hoards of people at your conference booth all day long. Don’t force anybody to talk to you and make sure that you approach them pleasantly, not pushily.


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