Why Austin Powers Failed

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Benjamin Franklin

Austin Powers had crushed it and it had all been Charlie’s idea… which is why on Monday morning Charlie walked into the meeting with a triumphant look on his face.

“A 250% increase in leads from last year!” he announced somewhat smugly to his boss Brian and the other department heads. They clapped with a minimum amount of enthusiasm. Charlie was developing a reputation for boasting about the slightest achievement and yet always managing to find someone else to blame when things inevitably went south.

A few weeks later, Brian called Charlie into his office.

“So how did those leads develop? How are sales?”

Charlie looked down at his shoes and wasn’t sure how to answer. It just didn’t make sense. His booth at the annual trade show had been a huge success. He had spent a small fortune hiring an Austin Powers look-a-like. The guy was perfect and sounded just like the real thing. They had the busiest booth in the exhibit hall. He had spent extra for a gorgeous model to swipe the name badges and collect the leads.

A week after the show Charlie had sent a follow-up email to all the wonderful leads and got nothing. Zero. Nada. It just didn’t make sense.

Brian sighed and passed a piece of paper across his desk. Charlie picked it up and looked at it. It contained a simple table with three columns.

Technique Used

Company Identification

Product Identification

Product Demo 22% 19%
Magician 19% 17%
Contests/Drawings 8% 5%
PowerPoint Slideshow 5% 2%
Caricature Artist 2% 1%
Model/Look-a-like 1% 1%

“Where did you get this?” asked Charlie. He realized he was perspiring heavily.

“From a research organization which specializes in trade show industry statistics,” replied his boss. “Look, Charlie, you are doing well here. You are enthusiastic, a hard worker and you are not afraid to try new ideas. But there is a reason why your Austin Powers guy failed to help us get any new sales.” Brian smiled as he saw he had Charlie’s complete attention.

“Your booth succeeded in attracting visitors, but it failed to engage them. Despite having more foot traffic, your booth was just the same the other 250 booths in that room. You swiped badges, handed out business cards. But you didn’t engage your prospects by getting them involved in something.”

Charlie nodded in agreement and Brian continued: “Look at the top two techniques on the list – product demos and magicians. If we sold potato peelers, it would be simple.”

Charlie saw where Brian was going and interjected: “we give them a potato and a peeler and show them how well the product works!”

“Exactly!” said Brian. “But for companies like ours that provide a service, we don’t have a physical product we can demonstrate.”

“So we get a magician!” said Charlie, “but I don’t see the connection between magic and our commercial property management services?”

“Well you don’t hire David Copperfield! You need a magician who is experienced at working trade shows. There is a company called BoothBuzz. They have amazing in-booth presenters who integrate the company name and services into an entertaining ten minute act. People stop by to watch the show and then realize they are part of the show! You don’t forget something like that!”

“It sounds expensive,” said Charlie.

“Nope. Their rates are pretty reasonable. Probably less than what you paid for Austin Powers and the attractive model who scanned the badges. By the way, studies have also shown that an attractive model in a booth can actually have a negative effect on getting people to stop by!”

Charlie jumped out of his seat. “I’m going to call BoothBuzz right now. Thanks, Brian!”

You just read this entire article. Why? Because it was a story. You became involved. You invested a small amount of your time. And you will retain ALL the information.

Call our office today at 1-866-599-1718 and let us show you how we can do this for you at your next trade show. We stop every single person walking past your booth. We involve your prospects in a fun, entertaining presentation. They laugh, they learn, they RETAIN the information about your company’s products and services.

…and then they become your customers.