Every year at SPI, I like to walk the halls and see the latest trends in solar event marketing, but nothing jumped out at me this year until I started noticing the extremely varied messaging strategies on the booth walls.
As marketers, every word we display should count—especially when those words are set in large type on a booth wall. Naturally, the event marketer’s main goal is to motivate distracted conference-goers to stop by their booth. But as we’ll see, a booth’s messaging can say much more about a solar company than identifying the name of the solar company.
As I walked around the show floor, I noted three basic wall-messaging strategies:
1. Name + Tagline: “Stop by because we’re different.”
With the name + tagline strategy, the event marketer is trying to attract conference attendees through reflecting their customers’ concerns. The subtext of having a tagline says, “This is what we care about, and we think you should care too.”
With mounting company IronRidge, “Make Solar Stronger” may be three words, but if racking durability is your top priority, those three words may be just the message to make you stop and check out IronRidge’s spec sheets.
Similarly, Array believes that conference-goers value a tracking technology with experience, a big part of its brand’s messaging, and it wants to make sure this message is front and center for all to see.
2. Name + Parent Company: “Stop by because we’re bankable.”
With the Name + Parent Company strategy, the messaging informs conference attendees that this solar brand is a part of a much larger conglomerate.
While being part of a conglomerate doesn’t tell people anything about the solar product, it does tell conference attendees that the product is bankable, and that’s a very important message for installers, developers and investors concerned about the latest round of industry consolidation and the long-term value of warranties.
3. Name + Product Description: “Stop by because you’re looking for this.”
With this strategy, event marketers are attracting people by simply telling them what they do, not who they are or what they stand for. With the example from RBI, the messaging is essentially: “If you’re at the show to look at solar mounting systems, that’s what we do. Come on over.”
The same is true for SolarBOS, which is even more explicit about its products being for the solar industry. And then there are the hybrid versions that include a tagline and a description, like this one from JA Solar:
Now, I realize that what’s on your event marketing wall is not going to make or break your SPI traffic numbers, but it does matter. For the 15,000 or so people passing through the exhibit hall, your wall’s messaging reinforces your solar brand and how people at SPI perceive you at the show and remember you later.
Consequently, which strategy you choose for your booth wall is going to depend on your long-term solar brand goals. What do you want people to remember after the show? Who you are, what you do or what you stand for?
I’d love to hear your thoughts for your company, so please add your perspective in the comments section below.
Tor Valenza a.k.a. “Solar Fred” is the Chief Marketing Officer of UnThink Solar and the author of Solar Fred’s Guide to Solar Guerrilla Marketing. For more solar marketing info, sign up for the UnThink Solar newsletter or follow @SolarFred on Twitter.