Going to be involved with social media at your next tradeshow? Will you be tweeting about your event, trying to draw people to your booth?
Joshua Persky thinks you might like to put one of his ‘Twisplays’ into your booth. Not only will the streaming text on the LED sign attract eyeballs, you’ll have the latest tweets about the event appearing in your booth.
Persky spent ten years in the banking industry until the recession hit. Recently he brainstormed an idea to combine a typical streaming display with text from a twitter account. He admits that the product could use some refining: “my developers are taking a little longer than I thought.” Some of his ideas have yet to be implemented but are coming soon, he says.
When did the company launch?
“Basically, yesterday!” said Persky, who added that a recent article on the Mashable website has created a lot of attention. “I’ve met a lot of great people because of that.”
While the Twisplay application can be used for a lot of different things, the idea of incorporating it into an event, tradeshow or convention seems natural.
Of course, seeing a shortened link on an LED display won’t really do you any good – it goes by so fast it’ll be virtually impossible to remember the link if you wanted to ‘click through’ – but it at least might draw you to Twitter to find the actual tweet.
The 26″ x 4″ displays sell for $299. The Twisplay website still is fairly bare-bones, but Joshua was easy to reach and willing to answer questions.
When I was younger I remember my grandparents always had the radio on in their car playing old radio shows that had big casts and sound effects and it was an experience. This caused me to have an addiction to radio.
That life long addiction to radio spilled over to a new addiction to Podcasts about two years ago. I tried a lot of them then settled on a handful that I still listen to today. I feel a connection with those individuals since I listen to them on a daily or weekly basis. And it is enjoyable and informative.
One in particular announced about 6 months ago that they were on Twitter. I began following them there. I started to get cool info and announcements I would not have anywhere else.
Then a contest was announced on there Twitter feed. You enter through a link in the post and agree to follow two other people on Twitter. Those two other people had a connection to the person I was already following so it was a type of bonus. And once you entered, a post from you on your own Twitter feed was created so you could begin sharing the contest with those following you. Then they could also register. Sadly, I did not win.
To recap I listen to multiple podcasts daily, I follow many important and funny people all the time and get access to things and people I could not otherwise. I pay nothing for this ability. That sounds great for me but a big waste of time and money for those who produce the podcasts, take time to post on Twitter and those paying for products then giving them away.
Or is it?
That particular person I mentioned above whose podcast I listen to, follow on Twitter and had a contest has written a book and it comes out in November. I will be buying that book thank you very much.
Yep. That is the sound of money changing hands. The ROI if you will. This relationship has taken a while but we have finally arrived at the serious part of all relationships – the spending of money part. Social Media / Social Networking is like building up to that first kiss; except it is not guaranteed on the third date.
This is an example, maybe small but true, of how offering valuable content and experiences over the Social Media / Social Networks, in time, can have a monetary result. However, I do believe the relationship I discussed that finally paid off took longer than it has to. You have to decide how much time you want to put into this type of marketing. That time, along with the content you provide, will determine how quickly someone starts buying from you.
Derek Leftridge has been in the Tradeshow industry, with Optima Graphics, for 17 years and Marketing Coordinator for the past 5 years.
All face-to-face meetings bring their baggage with them – including the trash and recyclables that are generated. Does the amount of cups, paper, water bottles, and more that are generated during the meetings put the meetings and events industry in a bad light? Can anything be done to substantially reduce meetings waste?
MeetGreen®, a meetings coordination company in Portland, Oregon dedicated to environmental sustainability, recently released a comprehensive report on how their work is impacting sustainability in events they are involved in. MeetGreen® works with the UN Global Compact, a global policy initiative that promotes the adoption of strategic sustainability principles into the activities of organizations. As a result, they’re required to generate an annual report that focuses on sustainable business practices within the meetings attended or organized by their clients.
I spoke with MeetGreen®’s Nancy J. Zavada, CMP about the report and their work with companies. She said one of the more interesting things to come out of the report is the realization that there is a big ripple effect – “what changes can you make in the world?” Nancy says that while MeetGreen® is a small company, by helping events become greener, it can have a bigger impact on the industry and the world.
According to the report, MeetGreen says that ‘as an independent sustainable event management company we are hired to assist others to manage their events, reduce their impact and improve their event-related business. As an outside consultant our role is one of manager, advisor and influencer in these projects, but not often final decision maker.’
So how well did MeetGreen® do with the year’s events? Among other stats, these came to the fore:
Eliminated 774,000 water bottles from the waste stream
Saved 1653 trees
Avoided emissions equivalent to taking 300 cars off the road for a year
There are more, but I don’t want to steal their thunder.
After tracking the results and compiling the report, Nancy told me that the big aha to her was ‘the importance of transparency.’ By showing people what you’re doing and how you’re doing, it creates more trust and helps the ripple effect to make more changes in the world.
The report breaks down the objectives and targets set up before the year started (which ran from August 2009 – July 2010). Goals included giving back to the community, being accountable for their carbon footprint, ensuring the supply chain has responsible social and environmental practices and more. Most were met or exceeded.
While the report is in essence a report on how one company’s efforts are unfolding to reduce, reuse and recycle using sustainable practices, the effect is far-reaching. A list of clients and organizations that MeetGreen® worked with in 2009-2010 includes Cisco, Jack Morton, Oracle, Wallace Fund, Unitarian Universalist Association, Cascadia Group, IMEX America and many more. The report looks at results from 48 events with over 130,000 participants in 19 destinations.
In a perfect world, all tradeshow managers would have these skills – and more. But we know that a perfect world doesn’t exist, right? So if you have most of these you’ll probably do okay!
People (read: sales) skills. There’s a lot to be said for having the power to get along with people and being able to kindly persuade people to do things for you. In a chaotic tradeshow world, the one leadership skill that stands out above all others is the ability to ‘get along with others.’ Just like in kindergarten.
Social media skills. If you’re still wondering how to tweet or post to Facebook, you’re probably not right for the job. Beyond simple social media skills, are you able to shoot a Flip video and upload it within a few moments? Can you grab a photo of a client with your product and get it out on Facebook before they get on Facebook on their iPhone? Can you figure out how to promote special deals via Twitter, FB and YouTube before you head for the show? Do you know how to listen to the chatter on social media about your product, company and industry?
Number-crunching ability. Budgeting in today’s economy is more important than ever. Being able to determine a show’s budget based on last year’s numbers (or no comparable numbers at all), getting a realistic look at the show’s ROI and putting together a final show budgetary report and analysis for the CFO will go a long way to keeping you in your position.
Organization. There are so many moving parts in a tradeshow manager’s job that your organizational skills have to be top notch. Showing good time management skills, for instance, is a big plus.
Understanding your product and market. A familiarity with your company’s culture, products, competitors, clients and customers is a must to executing a great tradeshow experience.
Being flexible and resourceful. Things go wrong. In a tradeshow when things go wrong, you’re not only in a chaotic environment of a show floor, but you’re away from home and you’re under a time crunch. Not to mention the microscope of clients and management. If you can come up with rapid workable (not necessarily perfect) solutions under those conditions, you’re golden.
Jack of all trades. As a tradeshow marketer, you are called on to wear so many hats your head will spin. ‘Nuff said.
After seeing the video tool from VisibleGains in action recently at David Meerman Scott’s blog, I discovered that it’s being used as a tradeshow marketing tool. So I looking up the CEO and co-founder, Cliff Pollan, and we sat down and chatted about how the video tool works – and how it might be used to capture leads and bring more people to your tradeshow, event or conference.
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.
I’ve been reading a lot about social media engagement lately – and talking about it a lot, too. Have you noticed that if you even mention the term ‘social media’ to some people, it’s like you handed them a gold Rubik’s Cube. They’ll want to play with it and play with it and never put it down.
But they’ll never solve it, either.
So how do you get on board with social media in your tradeshow marketing?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. If there was, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.
Speaking of conversations, what is your audience talking about? Are they discussing your products or services? If so, are you aware of what is being said?
And if you’re aware of it, are you responding? In real-time?
In a Vocus-hosted webinar this week by David Meerman Scott, he stressed that the ‘real-time’ response is what is needed. Because if you don’t see what’s happening in real time and respond accordingly, you’ll get left behind. Or run over by the steamroller.
So when it comes to tradeshows, yes, it’s great to have a strategy in place complete with a bunch of tactics that you intend to use: tweeting out your appearances, posting video interviews, demos and testimonials and launching a bunch of cool visitor photos to Facebook. This is all important.
But are you aware of what your competitor down the tradeshow aisle is doing? Do you know that their customers are going crazy over a new product they just launched? If so, did you insert your company into the conversation in a light-hearted way steering some of those tweeters and bloggers and Facebook-posters your way?
It’s not about all the tweets or videos you post. It’s about getting the attention of your audience in a place where they live.
And when it comes to responding to the pertinent tweets and Facebook postings, as Scott said in the webinar: ‘Speed and agility are decisive competitive advantages.’
Peter Shankman went off on social media marketers this week in a ranting post. I chewed over the post along with the webinar from @DMScott, did a little mashup of those thoughts along with my own and came up with a list of reminders as you prepare to bring social media on board for your tradeshow marketing efforts (thanks to Peter and his readers for a few thoughts and phrases here):
Awareness – what is the conversation about regarding your products and industry?
Add value – don’t just try and get more followers to increase your numbers; what of value are you really offering those followers?
Know the difference between social media and social marketing
Be available – break the ‘impenetrable wall of stupid’ that seems to surround most companies
Why? Make the connection with your customers by telling them WHY it matters to you and them
It’s not about YOU. It’s about your customer.
Twitter, Facebook, et al are TWO-WAY, not ONE-WAY communication platforms
Want to learn about blogging? Want to know how WordPress works? Here is video playback of the Blogging 101 webinar I hosted in late September with the assistance of Classic Exhibits.
Keep in mind this is really aimed at beginning bloggers or those who are still trying to figure out what it’s all about and how they might use it. So if you’re an advanced blogger you could probably give this webinar!
After my Blogging 101 webinar earlier this week, I connected with a couple of folks who attended that were interested in finding out more. One question came from Sarah Meeks of Configurations in Florida: what B2B blogging resources are my faves?
Well, actually she asked which was my fave – singular. But I can’t stop at one!
So here’s the brief list I came up with – I think highly enough of these resources that I thought it would be worth a blog post:
Lots of great blogging resources…some of the more consistent and useful include: