Man’s Best Friend: A New Trend in B2B Conferences and Tradeshows

b2b conferenceWhen it comes to B2B conferences, vendors are constantly looking for new and creative ways to garner the attention of attendees. It’s no longer enough to hand out a few freebies and expect prospects to want more information about your products or services. In order to stand out, a vendor must provide the customer with a memorable experience.

Recently, ZoomInfo has noticed a new trend in tradeshow tactics—play time with shelter dogs.

That’s right, dogs.  

It’s brilliant. At several recent tradeshows, we’ve noticed companies partner with local shelters to bring in dogs to play with attendees and sponsors in the exhibit hall. It’s mutually beneficial. While the puppies get playtime, attention, and an opportunity to be adopted, your company gets the chance to form an emotional connection with a prospect and make a lasting impression.

As strange as it may seem, pets have positive psychological effects on humans. Recent studies suggest that interacting with animals can increase a person’s level of the oxytocin hormone – which makes you feel happy and trusting (source).

Typically at conferences, attendees don’t want to spend too much time in the exhibit hall or get forced into having a conversation they want no part of. After all, sales pressure can be stressful! However, add pups and the exhibit hall becomes a playground of happier and more trusting people. This leads to better conversations and stronger relationships.

Think this may be a viable tactic for your B2B event strategy? Read on for some tips, tricks, and considerations to keep in mind before implementing puppy play-time at your next tradeshow booth!

Check in with event or tradeshow staff.

Before scheduling your four legged friends to join your booth, consult the event or tradeshow host for permission. The venue may have laws and regulations about hosting animals that you aren’t aware of.

Contact local shelters.

The majority of companies we have seen implement this tactic have established their k-9 connections by contacting their local rescue shelters, a strategy that proves to be mutually beneficial for both the brand and the pups. The shelters are often happy to gain exposure for their cause.

Contact therapy dog organizations.

If you’re unable to partner with local shelters, try searching for local therapy dog organizations. For a small fee or donation, these organizations will provide a few service dogs to hang out at your booth for the day. This increases awareness for their organization and attendees have a furry friend to hangout with while discussing your products or services.

Tell attendees ahead of time.

Did you know that roughly 70% of show attendees plan out which vendors they want to connect with before they even step foot through the doors (source)?  This is an unconventional strategy, but has incredible power to really boost traffic to your booth. Leverage that power by getting prospects hyped for the cuteness overload!

So, what do you think? Would you be excited to spend time with shelter dogs at a tradeshow or conference? Is this something you think you’ll be testing out? If you’re in B2B sales or marketing we’d love to hear your take! Perhaps, the 2017 Growth Acceleration Summit will have some four-legged attendees.