Sometimes it’s a Zoo.

“This place is a zoo,” was spoken by the alligator in his typical New York accent. As a youngster this was the start of a TV spot for the local zoo. Thinking about that today I can see its relevance in today’s physical and virtual events world.


When a zoo gets a new, high-profile animal, it draws a bigger crowd. It’s the same for events – seeing new products is the #1 reason attendees go to these experiences. Make sure to feed your new product “animal” well, give it good placement, lighting, traffic flow, interactive content, meeting areas, and most importantly make sure that lion display looks great.


Kids flock to get their hands on the animals in the petting zoo. Similarly, never underestimate the power of a good demo. That interactive time with site visitors and/or attendees is not only one of the best ways to help drive traffic, but it also allows you to gain valuable input from those closest to your industry.


Make sure you are not overfeeding your experience with too many of the wrong things. Remember, you can tier your giveaways. Games, surveys, and interactive content provide a reason to engage and learn more. A premium giveaway can either thank a prospect or help push them over the fence to set the meeting or begin real business dialog.


Get rid of the cages and remove the barriers between you and your possible customer. The best zoos invite you in to experience the environment. Similarly, whether the event is a physical event or digital one you have the ability to manage how seamless that visit is and invite people in to engage in real conversation and experiences.


With upwards of 100,000 people at some events you may only speak to 10% of them, follow up with 2% of them, and only need to close a few to classify your program as an incredible success. Proper pre-show promotions and post-show follow-up is a mandatory in order to gain ROI and keep the business moving forward. Digital provides you additional reportable insights that can give you the upper hand when follow up is important.


No one ever screams to see the worm exhibit but every company and every product can still be an attention-getter with a few quick tips: Create something that speaks directly to your target audience, differentiates you from others, and is ownable by your company and only your company. That is the trifecta of a message that will resonate.


Even when you have the best experience, the best animals, and the best placement in the zoo, it is the zoo keeper that keeps the animals from getting sick, shovels the “!@#$%”, and gets the job done. Set a seasoned staffer as the lead, hold morning huddles, set goals and keep to them. Make sure to train your booth staffers and keep everyone headed towards the same goals.

So, remember when you went to the zoo and all the animals were sleeping? That wasn’t much fun. Instead, take the right steps at your next event to keep the animals lively, and the attendees will reward you and your company. Let me know your best zoo story in the comments.