Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.
Best tradeshow marketing tips and case studies. Call 800-654-6946.

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Getting to the Truth

What’s the truth about your tradeshow appearance? Did you get as many visitors as you think you did? Was your product launch as successful as you felt it was? Was your staff as helpful and experienced as you anticipated?

truth

Getting to the truth of what’s going on is important. A recent Seth Godin blog post made me think of the same topic in relation to your tradeshow appearances. As Godin put it, your results are based on the honesty and accuracy of the information you have at hand.

If you think you got 1500 visitors to your booth a day, but it was really only 1000, your final analysis of ROI and lead generation will be skewed. If you graded 300 leads as “hot” when in fact only half of them were really “hot,” your sales crew will be disappointed when they begin their follow up.

Truth and the subsequent results are based on trust, as Godin observes. If truth gets lost somewhere, trust is lost. An opinion is just that. A fact, however, is a fact. If it’s measurable and verifiable, you can call it a fact. If it’s an observation based on gut feeling or instinct or experience, it’s just an opinion. Learn to separate the two.

After all, if you felt the tradeshow appearance was the best ever, yet the sales that result from the appearance felt far short of being the ‘best,’ perhaps your appearance wasn’t the best ever.

Count everything you can, and make sure the counting is accurate. That way you’ll know if your tradeshow marketing is working, or if it needs a lot more work.

Natural Products Expo West TradeshowGuy Exhibit Awards

Walking the floor of the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim, one is overwhelmed by the sheer number of tradeshow exhibitors and visitors. According to New Hope, the organization that puts on the show, there were over 80,000 visitors this year, and over 3,100 exhibitors.

That’s a lot of bone broth, honey, yogurt, Paleo diets and chocolate. Oh, the chocolate!

But there are literally tons of tradeshow exhibits, many of which stand out in unique ways. Let’s capture a few of these and call them out for service and recognition above and beyond.

Best Use of Bodily Function Statistics: GoodBelly

I watched as visitor after visitor stopped at the side of the GoodBelly exhibit and snapped a photo of The Poop Report, an infographic compiled from a survey of over 3000 people who visited the GoodBelly website.

The Poop Report: Good Belly
The Poop Report: Good Belly

Best Long Form Screenplay, er, uh, Exhibit: BabyGanics

BabyGanics have traditionally occupied an odd-shaped island space for years in the convention center, so I was a bit surprised to see that space occupied by another exhibit. It took a moment of spinning on my heels, but I did eventually find the 60′ (70′? 80′?) long exhibit. Just an inline exhibit, but they jammed a lot of longevity and functionality into the space.

BabyGanics Goes Looong!
BabyGanics Goes Looong!

Best Makeover: Nancy’s Yogurt

This booth is near and dear to my heart: it’s the second exhibit project I ever sold when I got into the business 15 years ago. So this is nearly 15 years old. For years, the booth has had the same look and feel. But a laminate makeover gave it an entirely new look and feel. In fact, I admit at first glance I thought it was an entirely new exhibit! But not the case – just a quick re-skin for a whole new look:

Nancy's Yogurt Before and After
Nancy’s Yogurt Before and After

Best Lettuce on a Wall: Indoor Farms of America

Inside Farms of America had a simple concept: show people what they do, and as a result it’s an eye-catching and ‘stop-in-your-tracks’ effect:

Best Lettuce Wall
Best Lettuce Wall

Best Minimalist Exhibit: Kashi

Kashi’s <1% display got people talking and snapping photos. It’s nothing but a large space with a hanging sign, the <1% display and, when you read the fine print, you discover their message about organic farmlands. Effectively done:

Best Minimalist Exhibit: Kashi
Best Minimalist Exhibit: Kashi

Best Use of Cactus Wisdom for Interactivity: Steaz Tea

There’s nothing like handing out cards with pre-printed fortunes to get people to line up. I know I did. Clever, interactive, and engaging in a fun way – a perfect fit for Expo West:

Steaz Teas Interactive Fortune-Telling Cactus
Steaz Teas Interactive Fortune-Telling Cactus

Seriously, I could go on forever with fun and silly awards for exhibits at Expo West: it’s a place with a lot of creativity. Yes, you’ll find uncreative low-budget exhibits that should (and probably did) embarrass the exhibitors, but what’s the fun in pointing those out? They know who they are, and they know when it’s time to upgrade. So let’s go with just one more that caught my eye:

Best Photo-Op Exhibit: StonyField Yogurt

A large painting on a wall and floor made it look like you’re standing in a bowl of yogurt, if photographed at the right angle. So I joined in. Lots of people waiting for their turn here throughout the show:

Best Interactive Photo-Op: Stonyfield Yogurt
Best Interactive Photo-Op: Stonyfield Yogurt

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, March 13, 2017: Natural Products Expo West 2017

Long days on your feet. Snacking on tasty samples from one side of Anaheim Convention Center to the other. Setting up tradeshow exhibits. Tens of thousands of industry people checking out products, thousands of exhibitors vying for attention in crowded halls.

“There’s nothing quite like it!” I’m sure you’d say the same thing about CES, Burning Man and SXSW. Big shows, chaos and overloaded senses.

The morning after I returned from Anaheim (delayed flight got me home just after midnight, thankyouverymuch!), so I’m a little weary, but figured that I’d give the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee Vlog a shot anyway. Enjoy:

ONE GOOD THING: Natural Products Expo West.

TradshowGuy Exhibits Shows Off Three New Client Booths at Expo West

it was a good Natural Products Expo West 2017 for all of us here at TradeshowGuy Exhibits! We welcomed three new clients at the show: Dave’s Killer Bread/Alpine Valley Bread, Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant and Wedderspoon Manuka and Organic Gourmet Honey.

Expo West Tradeshow Exhibits

Dave’s Killer Bread/Alpine Valley Bread got it started with a 10×30 booth; 10′ is dedicated to the Alpine Valley brand, 20′ to the Dave’s Killer Bread brand. The booth featured three fabric graphics, two of which were backlit by LED lights, creating a bright and attractive light box. Both brands showed off their logos with stand-off direct print sintra with LED highlights. A small storage closet gave them plenty of room for product, along with two custom curved counters equipped with USB chargers and LED trim. One had a tablet kiosk affixed to the top.

 

Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant is a relatively young company that has seen its products make a big impression in the marketplace. This year they introduced a new soap product to go with the deodorant, and showed it all of with a custom 20′ inline booth featuring two large fabric light boxes.

Both of these booths had custom flooring, which we’re seeing a lot more of these days.

Last, but not least, we worked with Wedderspoon from Philadelphia to create a wood-shelf oriented booth to show off their line of New Zealand honeys. This was a simple, elegant wooden booth that gave them a large hanging graphic in the middle, several display shelves and ample storage space.

All of the companies reported glowing comments from visitors on their new exhibits. But more importantly, the great folks from Dave’s Killer Bread, Schmidt’s Naturals and Wedderspoon loved the exhibits and were a joy to work with. It’s another good reminder of why we’re in this industry: to make you look good!

Repeal and Replace: The Tradeshow World’s Version

All this talk and angst about ‘repeal and replace!’ Yet it happens all the time in the tradeshow world. Yesterday I walked the floor of the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim as exhibitors assembled exhibits for business later in the week. Many of the exhibitors there have performed a version of ‘repeal and replace’ on their exhibits. Others have done a partial makeover, hoping to satisfy the budget-minded constituents in the company. And yet others have stuck to their guns, not making any changes from last year.

repeal and replace

That’s the way of the tradeshow world. Every year there are new competitors in the marketplace. Every year there are new potential customers that are going to view your exhibit with new eyes. Every year there will be the same visitors who have seen your exhibit before.

So what prompts a company to throw out the old – repeal – and bring in a new exhibit – replace? It could be any number of things, but a recent client described it perfectly: their old exhibit was a ‘train wreck’ and the new one fixed all those issues with something that was well-planned and well-executed.

Certainly budget comes into it. So does function. So does the competition, company growth (or contraction), change of direction or any number of things.

When you’ve come to the decision to repeal and replace your exhibit, take the time to get it right. You’re going to want to live with it for several years.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, March 6, 2017 [video replay]

On this week’s coffee, I spend some time going over the question of asking better questions. If we learn to ask better questions, we’ll get better information. So what does it take to ask better questions? Take a look:

Notes from this week’s vlog:

Fast Company article by Stephanie Vlozza

Lifehack Article

TED talk on asking better questions

ONE GOOD THING: The Portland International Airport


Get the free report “7 Questions You’ll Never Ask Your Exhibit House”

The Day I Wore Red Pants

As a kid, I was pretty shy. In junior high school, it was an ongoing goal of mine to NOT stand out in the crowd but to blend in. Which made it pretty odd that one day while clothes shopping with my mom I saw this awesome pair of red pants. Bright red. Fire engine red. You could see them a mile away. These were designed to make one stand out in a crowd. Up to this point, my wardrobe mostly consisted of blue jeans and athletic shorts, with maybe a pair or two of dress pants for Sunday School.

red pants

I told mom I wanted them. I thought there were some of the coolest pants I’d ever seen and had to have them.

Junior high school is a nutty time of life, exceeded only by high school in some ways. Crazy mid-adolescence, cheerleader crushes, chaperoned dances, the whole thing.

I had new red pants to wear and I wanted to do it! But when I wore them, I didn’t think they were the coolest pair of pants I’d ever seen. In fact, I imagined everyone staring at me. I felt so self-conscious I couldn’t handle it. If I ever wore those cool red pants again, I don’t remember it.

I suppose I could draw some parallels between red pants and tradeshow marketing but you could probably do it better. I just figured the story was worth sharing. You should know what you’re getting into before putting on red pants.

Lesson learned: I still dress pretty conservatively today except for the half-dozen tie-dye shirts I have, but hey, I like tie-dye!

Someday remind me to tell you about the platform shoes I owned in the 9th grade.

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