Ninja: – noun, a member of a feudal Japanese society of mercenary agents, highly trained in martial arts and stealth (ninjutsu), who were hired for covert purposes ranging from espionage to sabotage and assassination.
While the term ‘ninja’ seems to hold reverence for a lot of people due to the clever and stealthy way in which he practiced his arts, in most tradeshow marketing cases you DON’T want to be hidden. You want to be right out there in plain sight for all to see and engage with.
And never mind the sabotage and assassination aspects of the ninja. Those blatant acts would probably get you headlines of the unfriendly type (and should it be capitalized – Ninja? – I’m a little stumped here…)
As for espionage, in a tradeshow marketing situation I’m all for it. As long as you’re not breaking and entering or hacking a competitor’s website, you should try to find out as much information about your competition as you’re legally able to.
When it comes to promotion and marketing, perhaps you want to be ‘anti-Ninja’ as much as possible:
Get out in front of people. Wave the flag. Do a dance. Shine a light. Bang the drum.
Ninjas would do none of that in the course of their jobs. But you should.
“A Ninja causes confusion among the enemy.”
Is your tradeshow exhibit is able to confuse your competitor? Are you a large company with a small presence? Or maybe a small company able to create a large presence at a show through partnerships, sponsorships or guerrilla tactics?
“A Ninja is able to camouflage themselves from their enemy.”
Can you find a way to present your tradeshow presence in such a way that your competition is unable to find out what you’re really about? Or by doing that do you obfuscate your intent to your potential customers?
“Superhuman or supernatural powers were often associated with the Ninja.” Invisibility, flight, shape-shifting, appearing as animals…
Do your products do things that are able to surprise and astonish your potential customers? Or are they everyday, run-of-the-mill widgets? Perhaps a little creativity can bring out the ‘supernatural’ or ‘superhuman’ elements and show them off in your booth. A good presenter can astonish the audience at a tradeshow, and as long as the astonishment is directed back to the product it’s effective marketing.
You can borrow Ninja tactics in many tradeshow marketing circumstances….leaving out the arson, killing and sabotage, of course.
But in many cases, being a Ninja could be a good thing.
Are you a Ninja tradeshow marketer?