Trade Show TalesBlog

Posts Tagged ‘Trade Show Marketing’

Before the Show Opens. After the Show Closes.

August 10th, 2018 2 COMMENTS

Yes… Even More Trade Show Planning

There’s no shortage of articles about pre- and post-show trade show tips. Follow those tips and you’ll not only have more qualified leads, but you’ll turn them into sales by roughly a bazillion percent. Check the research at CEIR and let me know if I’m wrong about that statistic.  

Even if you maximize your pre- and post-show planning, it’s possible to miss potential sales because your planning didn’t include right before the show opens and right after the show closes. Every day. On the morning of the show, especially on Day #1, we are nervous, tense, and uncertain about what the show will bring. So we clean, vacuum, organize literature, drink coffee and eat giveaway candy. That’s not to say those aren’t important. They are. But there are other trade show tasks that need to be accomplished before that first wave of attendees descends on your booth. As a solid Type-A exhibitor, you’ve already had multiple meetings with your team before the show. That’s what makes you wonderful and a pain in the ass. It’s now one hour before the show opens, not just on Day 1 but also on Day 2 and Day 3. It’s time to:

Trade Show Planning and TrainingBefore the Show Opens

  • Review the show goals for the team once again. 
  • Remind everyone how “we” plan to meet and exceed those goals
  • Discuss roles. Do those roles need to change from Day 1 to Day 2 to Day 3? 
  • Equipment. How does it work, who has the login information, who is the “Oh Shit” expert, and what’s the backup plan?
  • Who is expected in the booth today? Are they a customer? A prospect? What’s the plan?
  • Did anything happen during dinners, meetings, conference gatherings that the team needs to know? 
  • Does the “message” need to change based on conversations with attendees or announcements from competitors? 
  • What’s the break schedule?

Good job! You scheduled a team meeting each day with a specific agenda to review. Your team knows what to expect, has answers, and is prepared for another successful day on the show floor. 

Four to five hours later, the show closes for the day. You and your team are exhausted. They are ready to relax, have a drink, and leave the show hall. BUT… you’re not done yet. It’s time to review what happened that day. Resist the urge to do it in a bar, restaurant, or in the hotel lobby. Do it now. In the booth:

North American Trade ShowsAfter the Show Closes

  • Review the leads and determine next steps and priorities
  • Add notes to the leads (while they are still fresh)
  • Discuss any missteps and changes for the next day
  • Share critical news from attendees, clients, competitors, and suppliers
  • Cover plans for dinners, meetings with clients, and conference events
  • Lock-up and store any valuables
  • Is anyone leaving to return home? How does that effect staffing and roles for the next day?
  • (On the next to last day) What’s the plan for disassembling and shipping the exhibit after the show? Does any rented equipment need to be returned to the show contractor? 

Now, that wasn’t so hard. It just took a little planning, patience, caffeine, and the promise of food and alcohol.

What did we miss? Please let us know in the comments. Thanks.

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

How to Convert Trade Show Visitors to Customers

August 6th, 2018 COMMENTS

Guest Post by Johanna Cider

Trade shows are a great way to get your company’s name out there and to network with potential customers or clients. If you are planning to start trade show marketing for the first time, you’re probably wondering:  What are the best ways to turn visitors into paying customers? Try the following tips to show off your business in the best light and attract great, loyal customers like bees to honey.

Trade Show Marketing

Image Source: Pixabay

Identify your target customers (and send invitations in advance)

Depending on your industry, you may already have a contact list of potential individual or business clients. Send a quick, professional e-mail to this group, letting them know that you’ll have a booth at an upcoming trade show and would love for them to visit and test your product.

You may try offering an incentive for the first twenty or fifty visitors (depending on the size of the show). Something like a discount voucher on your product or a promotional item can work wonders if you’re trying to attract visitors. If presented in a warm, friendly manner, these gifts may even leave your customers subconsciously wanting to buy something in return for your generosity.

Create an attractive booth space

Your booth is a big piece of tangible advertisement, so entice your visitors by creating an attractive, eye-catching booth. Consider sizing – you’ll need room for all of your equipment and ensure that visitors can easily enter and leave. Choose the right colors to match your business theme and the mood you intend to portray. Keep your booth’s decorations tidy, smart, and simple so they don’t overwhelm visitors on sight alone.

Trade Show Marketing

Image Source: Pixabay

Make it interactive

Telling visitors about products isn’t always enough to sway them. What better way to show visitors your product’s value than to let them test it themselves? It’s normal for customers to have some hesitation when buying a new product, especially if it’s expensive.

Ease their fears and allow them to try your product under your supervision and answer any questions. Don’t be tempted to crowd your visitors: there’s nothing wrong with pointing out your product’s features – but allow your visitors to discover your product’s worth in their own time, so they don’t feel rushed.

Staff your booth with well-trained employees

Your visitors are much more likely to become customers if they’re convinced that your product is worth purchasing – and the people in charge of this critical task are your most well-trained staff. For many customers, your booth will be the first point of contact with your company, so don’t let inexperienced employees ruin their perception. Ensure your staff are confident and compassionate, ready to address any queries that your customers may have.

Tradeshow Marketing

Image Source: Unsplash

Follow up with your visitors

Remind your visitors about your product by sending them an e-mail or two after the trade show has finished. This might be in the form of a survey about their experience or an invitation to take part in a competition. You could also request the e-mail addresses of potential customers during the trade show, asking them if they would like to be added to your mailing list if you wish. Just ensure they know what they’re signing up for beforehand, as there’s no quicker way to alienate potential customers than by sending them e-mails that look like spam!

Choose a strategic place for your booth

Find out as much as you can about the trade show venue, and see whether there are different zones in the grounds that cater to different types of businesses – e.g. outdoor vs indoor, near windows or natural light, close to plug-in power connections, etc. If you are allowed to choose the location of your booth at the trade show, be strategic. Studies show that when people try to remember a group of items or names, they can usually recall the first and the last ones they heard or saw – so if your booth is near the entrance or exit, visitors may be more likely to remember your company’s name or booth when they reflect on their experience.

Converting visitors to customers at a trade show doesn’t require a miracle. If your company is prepared and willing to adapt, you’ll be sure to succeed.

Johanna Cider is a New Zealand-based writer who has published work for hospitality sites such as Strata. An artist as much as a wordsmith, she loves honing her skills at creative workshops and scouting the latest design trends at trade shows in her city. Discover more about Johanna and her work on Tumblr.

40 Things You Do @ Trade Shows (You Would Never Do Anywhere Else)

July 24th, 2018 17 COMMENTS

40 Things at a Trade Show

We are all members of specialized sub-groups, each with its own rules and etiquette. Think quilters, railroad model builders, woodworkers, or even college sports fans. Trade shows are no different whether you are an exhibitor, attendee, or an industry insider. While many behaviors might seem normal to you as a member of the trade show community, others are downright bizarre to those who rarely set foot in a trade show hall.

With the assistance of my colleagues, I’ve compiled a list of 40 Things You Do @ Trade Shows You Would Never Do Anywhere Else. It was actually much longer, but this is a PG-rated blog.

Drinking doesn’t count. We know you drink. You just don’t always start at lunch. And for the sake of discretion (and possible litigation), we’ve ignored trade shows in CO, WA, OR, and now CA. Don’t pretend you don’t know why. 

Feel free to contribute via the comments section. And enjoy!

40 Things You Would Never Do Anywhere Else

  1. With zero guilt, throw trash in the aisle and expect others to clean it up
  2. Spend $8.50 for a 12 oz. bottle of Aquafina
  3. Bribe someone to look the other direction. Brag about it later
  4. Have Accounting panic because you just max-out your credit card on one transaction (drayage perhaps?)
  5. Wear matching polyester clothing 
  6. Steal anything that appears to have a value of less than $10 (candy, hats, pens, mugs…)
  7. Share “steamy” industry gossip with competitors
  8. Chat with 500 strangers in 72 hours
  9. Gush about the double-padded carpet in booth #1108
  10. Buy a gaudy new belt in the casino shop for $165 (after forgetting to pack one) 

Vacuuming at a Trade Show

  1. Party until 3 am with Steve in Accounting, Larry in HR, Melissa in Engineering, and Rebecca in Quality Control
  2. Bum breath mints from strangers
  3. Arrive at work at 11 am. Leave at 3:30 pm
  4. Get agitated when someone walks across the corner of your booth space
  5. Take a Lyft to Lowe’s or Best Buy at 9 am/pm
  6. Pretend you don’t smell that awful face-melting smell
  7. Debate the existential meaning of portable, modular, and custom
  8. Act interested in (insert topic)
  9. Complain about how much it costs to vacuum 400 sq. ft. of carpet. Vow to do something about it
  10. Allow strangers to take your stuff without a receipt for three days and not know where it is, how it’s getting stored, and that you have zero ability to get it back early. Or if it will be returned undamaged

Badge Scanning at a Trade Show

  1. Let someone point a scanning device or smartphone camera in the general vicinity of your chest and crotch. Repeatedly.
  2. Be convinced a 15-minute conversation will lead to $500,000 in new business
  3. Assemble a 3D structure that costs somewhere between a used car and a McMansion… only to disassemble it three days later
  4. Spend 20% of your entire annual marketing budget over five days. Never calculate the ROI
  5. Compare the work ethic in Philadelphia, Boston, NYC, Chicago, Orlando, Anaheim, San Francisco, and Las Vegas to the work ethic in your hometown. Vow to do something about it.
  6. Hang your dress shirt in the bathroom with the shower running for 30 minutes to steam out the wrinkles  
  7. Explain, once again, to your family and friends that it’s a “business trip” and not a vacation
  8. Get visibly excited about the phrase “traffic congestion”
  9. Guard your giveaways like a momma bear (Day #1). Beg show labor to take them in bulk (Day #3)
  10. Sneak off to the bathroom just to find a quiet place to work

Finding a Quiet Spot to Work at a Trade Show

  1. Hide in a storage closet to scarf down a Starbuck’s scone, while dusting your co-workers coats, purses, and briefcases with gooey crumbs
  2. Judge people based solely on their name badge 
  3. Convince your boss that the 300 fishbowl leads are new clients clamoring for your product (and not the iPad giveaway)
  4. Pretend the President’s son is not still drunk. Allow him to talk to potential clients and competitors (I know I said I wouldn’t include drinking but this one was too good to exclude) 
  5. Spend 3 days with 100 of your best friends and not speak or see them again for 362 days
  6. Fly from the Midwest in January to Las Vegas, Orlando, or New Orleans and NEVER leave the hotel/convention center complex
  7. Reintroduce yourself to the same person three times. Act embarrassed 
  8. Toss the sales literature you carefully collected over three days so there’s more room for tschotskes. Pretend it’s for your children 
  9. Be REALLY, REALLY EXCITED to leave Las Vegas or Orlando!
  10. Finally… Wonder (after scanning the room and mumbling quietly to yourself) why the Federal Government hasn’t filed RICO charges against certain segments of the trade show industry. Vow to do something about it. 

That’s it. Please share your “Trade Show Things” below. And thanks for playing along.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions, including SuperNova LED Lightboxes. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Erica Dougherty from Exhibits Northwest Shares Client Feedback

April 13th, 2018 1 COMMENT

EricaBlogHeader

Erica Dougherty, an Account Executive at Exhibits Northwest Seattle, connects with her clients because she takes the time to get to know them and their business. That extends to feedback after a show, which is invaluable.

According to Erica, “My client, Darryl at DF/Net Research, is wonderful about sending feedback and kudos to me/us. He has allow me to share his success stories which may be beneficial to other Classic Distributors. Below are two emails from two shows, along with photos.”

DF/Net Email #1

Hi Erica,

Looking forward to it. As you know this was our first trade show – the Society of Clinical Data Managers in Orlando. We didn’t really know what to expect, and wondered if it would be worth it. Was it? Absolutely.

The new VP of Global Clinical Operations from a long time software client (10 years) came to that conference by himself unknown to his staff. He was shopping for new data management software to replace our system. In fact, he had gone 6 months down a path with a large global competitor – a competitor with > $1B in revenue.

He stopped by our booth for a demo and a chat. I gave him a 30 minute demo, and we took him to dinner. He was really excited about our current software – his company was using a version that was about 7 years behind. We talked about modernization, moving their company forward, and having DF/Net take a larger role with his company to provide services and software. And talked about how much sense it made to stay with the modern version of our software rather than switch to an unknown.

Long story short we just signed a contract for services worth $800K over 13 months. And they are continuing their $100K/year software license. They have studies through 2028, so we can think long term on both services and software.

The take-home message? Did we get new clients? Yet to be determined. Did we get new business? Yes. And the most important thing we learned was that your current clients attend trade shows routinely. There are many shiny happy people there trying to take your business away. If we had not gone, I’m sure that at some point in the next  year or two they would simply have told us they were not renewing their software license.

We also learned that you can have a booth that competes with the $1B companies. But regardless, it’s the people at the booth that make the difference. Just be yourself. I was amazed how many competitors hire “show people” that look good, but don’t know anything. The booth is your chance to make decision makers make a decision right on the spot.

Oh, and the $1B competitor? We got a call from them saying that they had a major client looking to use our software, but they had zero inhouse expertise. Would we be willing to partner with them and subcontract the work? No, we were not.

That’s our success story. Thanks for all of the great help on the booth!

–Darryl

Other

DF/Net Email #2

Hi Erica,

We just had another trade show in San Francisco last month – I wanted to share that your lunch and learn tips were helpful. In particular, don’t eat at the booth, don’t check your phone or email, and always look engaged.

I’ve attached a photo taken of the booth next to us. Problem #1 was that 2/3rds of their booth didn’t show up. But even then they spent the entire time sitting behind their desk looking down at their computer and/or phone. During lunch when the most prospects were walking the floor, they were busy munching on their food. With my new awareness I noted that no one approached during the busiest time of the day. Hope they enjoyed their $12,500 lunch….

I think we had about 5x the foot traffic and interactions than they did.

We also had continued success with our charity cards, I think I may have mentioned these before:

https://www.tisbest.org/

Jim acted as the “speedbump” with the cards to engage passers. A charity card has a better story (and one that takes more than 1 second to explain) than perhaps a water bottle or USB stick.

Thanks again for the tips. It’s an ongoing learning experience.

–Darryl

Please let Erica know if you found these helpful (erica@exhibitsnw.com). She would love to hear stories and feedback from your clients as well.

–Mel White
mel@classicexhibits.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/melmwhite

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Classic Exhibits Inc. designs and manufacturers portable, modular, hybrid, and custom exhibit solutions. Classic Exhibits products are represented by an extensive distributor network in North America and in select International markets. For more information, contact us at 866-652-2100 or www.classicexhibits.com.

Welcome Tom Beard, Eco-Systems New National Sales Manager

February 22nd, 2018 COMMENTS

TomBeardBlog

National Sales Manager

Eco-Systems Sustainable Exhibits, an innovative leader of contemporary design-driven green displays, is excited to announce the addition of Tom Beard to the Eco-Systems team. He comes on board as their National Sales Manager leading the sales and marketing  for the company.

Tom has over 20 years of experience in the trade show industry. In addition, he is also very involved with the Experiential Designers and Producers Association (EDPA), currently serving on the Board of Directors.

“I couldn’t be happier about joining Eco-Systems and very excited about working with their experienced team of industry professionals,” says Beard. “They are a highly-focused, service-driven organization that offers great display solutions to their distributor network which was very attractive to me.”

According to Colleen Crawford, VP and Controller of Eco-Systems, “We couldn’t be more excited to have Tom join our team! We have worked with Tom for many years and have always respected his professional reputation, knowledge, and desire to provide the best in customer service. Tom fits perfectly into the corporate culture of Eco-Systems and will work closely with Jen LaBruzza, the National Sales Manager for Classic Exhibits, to spread the sustainable message. Tom will be a great asset to both our distributors and our entire team.”

Look for Tom at EXHIBITORLIVE 2018 in booth #1925. For more information about Tom’s extensive industry background, see his LinkedIn profile. You can contact him at tom@ecosystemsdisplays.com.

Eco-Systems Sustainable is based in Grand Rapids, MI with production and project management in Portland, OR. Eco-Systems designs and manufactures eco-friendly exhibits using green materials such as FSC wood, aluminum extrusion, recycled EcoBoard and plex, LEDs, and low VOC adhesives. See www.ecosystemsdisplays.com for more information. The Eco product line can also be found on Exhibit Design Search in the eSmart Gallery.