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

November 2011

Art of Negotiating: Knowing When to Shut Up

The best rental car deal I ever got happened when I shut my mouth.

I was at the rental counter at the airport in LA waiting for the clerk to get my car keys – I’d reserved an economy car – when he finally got through poking around on his keyboard and announced, “I’m sorry. We’re out of economy cars. Would you like to upgrade?”

I waited a beat or two and considered. It would cost only an extra few dollars a day. But I said “No” mainly to see what he would offer me.

After a minute or two of continued keyboard hacking, he finally said, “I can offer you a Mitsubishi Eclipse for the price of the economy car. But I must warn you – it’s a convertible. Is that okay?”

Yeah, um, sure.

I didn’t consider the size of my (large) suitcase or the size of the (small) trunk. When I got out to the car, I discovered the suitcase didn’t actually fit into the trunk. But I was able to push the passenger’s seat forward and fit my suitcase into the back seat area, which was very small, but larger than the trunk. At that point I didn’t even think about putting the top down to toss my suitcase in, but…whatever.

So for the 4 days in March I was in LA it was around 80 degrees and I drove around with the top down most of the time.

The Getty Museum in Los Angeles
The Getty Museum in Los Angeles

I ended up driving around much more than I normally would have. I headed up the freeway to the Getty Museum. I ended up at the beach one day.

The Eclipse probably would have cost me twice as much had I reserved it, but I ended up with it because I shut up. By not taking the first deal, by keeping my mouth shut, I got a better deal.

This often works in the busy, chaotic environment of a tradeshow where hundreds of exhibitors are clamoring for your attention, and ultimately your business. And often it’s an excellent way to get people’s business. If you’re an exhibitor, don’t you feel pressured to throw more into the deal to close the sale? If you’re a buyer, do you jump at the first offer, even if it’s good, or do you bite your tongue so you can wait to see what else is on the table?

What extra value can you offer your visitors to help move them to sign on the dotted line? It needn’t be something that costs you a lot – as long as it has a high perceived value it may be enough to move the deal forward.

The Eclipse that I got for the economy price probably didn’t cost the rental car company much extra at all – but it was a high perceived value – which will take me back to that rental car company again.

Podcast: Mike Vincent Interview

Recently I posted a video call “QR Codes FAIL” on my YouTube/tradeshowmarketing channel and here on the blog. It was meant to show that QR Codes don’t always work as intended.

Mike Vincent of chimed in with a comment about using SMS codes, since they’re so much easier.

Since my knowledge of SMS codes is limited, I hooked up with Mike to discuss the issue…and out of that came this podcast.

Find here.

LinkedIn for Event Promotion and Marketing

Even if you’re not using LinkedIn to its full extent – and who of us really are? – no doubt you recognize the enormous potential that LinkedIn holds especially for those of us in the event industry.

A number of recent blog posts point out the benefits of using LinkedIn when you’re looking to bring more people to an event or conference, or draw visitors to your tradeshow booth.

Earlier this year, LinkedIn made it easy for web masters to integrate their LinkedIn groups into their websites. They did this by opening up its API to groups. What’s an API? Check Julius Solaris’ very informative post here. Basically, it allows you to make tons of connections to like-minded professionals through LinkedIn – but you do it by putting that outpost onto your website. At this point, I’m not seeing a lot of plug-in widgets, but I get the impression they will soon become plentiful. If you run a WordPress blog (like this one), there are a couple of LinkedIn plugins that allow you to display a LinkedIn badge or a share button. Check this article on WikiHow to find out more about connecting LinkedIn with your WordPress blog.

And then here’s a discussion on LinkedIn about what social media tools are best used to draw people to events. Lots of different answers as you might expect.

There are a lot of ways you can use LinkedIn to promote your business or event, as seen in this post from the Social Media Examiner, one of my favorite blogs on using social media.

LinkedIn pen

You can sync your Twitter account with LinkedIn so any tweet lands on LinkedIn, or make it so that only those with the #LI hashtag are posted on LinkedIn. Messages don’t get lost as much on LinkedIn as they can on Twitter, which is important especially when you’re out promoting your event appearance. By syncing Twitter with LinkedIn, you’re getting more coverage for the same effort.

The LinkedIn Events App is seen as a powerful event promotions tool, allowing people to find your event and RSVP, too.

LinkedIn allows you to see if your connections are attending specific events (if you pay attention). Just by visiting the event RSVP page you can find people who might be worthwhile to connect with. Reach out to them, mention that you’ll be at the event and try to find a way to connect in person. If you have a first-level connection or are in the same group, you can reach out through LinkedIn email. If you’re a2nd or 3rd degree connection and have no group connection, use InMailTM.

Another great way to use LinkedIn for events is to find new connections and strengthen current connections. Again, here’s a terrific tutorial from the Social Media Examiner.

Making connections is what it’s all about: finding areas to connect on, reaching out, offering help, asking advice, be a resource – it’s all there on LinkedIn. If you’re not there, get there. If you’re already there, I suspect that you can really ramp up your connectivity efforts via LinkedIn if you just spend a little time on it.

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 photo credit: TheSeafarer

Social Media Event Marketing freebies now!

Social Media is a Two-Way Street

Or maybe it’s a two-way freeway with traffic going a hundred miles an hour, depending on the size of your community.

Watch out for traffic when you go for your morning swim.

If you’re promoting an event through social media, the most important thing to realize is that all communication is now two-way. The second most important thing is that when promoting an event make sure you have an actual event that is worth of that conversation.

That means bringing interesting, compelling and valuable content to the table. Are your speakers engaging? Do they have a good reputation in your community? Do they have good content that your audience is hungry for?

Often, the best way to find out what topics are at the top-of-mind for your audience is to ask them directly. Which is where social media comes in. Using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn you can follow the topics of conversation to find out what pushes buttons, and ask questions to clarify and uncover more topics. By creating quick surveys you can narrow down the interest to more finite topics.

And of course, ask for feedback. People are more than happy to give honest feedback. As much as we connect on social media, there is a barrier between one person and another which allows them to offer feedback that is often more honest than if they were sitting across the lunch table from you (of course, that depends on the individual). When comments come, be prepared to respond quickly – there’s nothing worse in social media than waiting too long to respond. Social media is ‘real-time’ and if you’re not engaging in real-time, you can be assured that your community IS communicating in real-time. If someone posts a negative comment on your Facebook page, don’t respond negatively or defensively back to them. And never delete a negative comment unless it contains profanity or is entirely inappropriate. Deleting comments makes people think you have something to hide or that you have a thin skin – neither of which will endear you to your community.

The best thing about social media is that you have access to current thinking on all of the topics that are important to you and your company. And sometimes that’s the worst thing, too! But take those negative comments with a grain of salt and realize that in a sense you’re getting free research that will help you correct deficiencies in your products or services.

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 photo credit: dougtone

Podcast:’s Eric Olson Interviewed

“Active Network is the leader in online registration software and event management software to all industries.” At least, that’s the claim in their website. As far as I can see, that claim is not only substantial, but after looking thoroughly at least one of their tools, it’s substantiated.

Recently I had the opportunity to view their online registration product,, up close at a demo in Portland. It was an hour-long look under the hood of an adept tool that is used to handle all of the various complexities of event registration – and handle it well and without fuss. seemed interesting enough to warrant a little deeper digging, so I hooked up with General Manager Eric Olson for a podcast interview to discuss the service in more detail.

Active Network

Fastest-Growing Tech Companies Still Using Tradeshow Marketing

Lead411 recently released its list of fastest-growing tech companies in the US – the Technology 200 – which is based not on total sales, but on sales growth between 2008 and 2010.

The list itself is a peek inside the growing technology sector, with companies involved in everything from search engine optimization, software, hardware, internet, media, advertising, e-commerce and much more included.

But what struck me was how important tradeshow marketing still is to the 200 companies on the list. Yup, in the new and improved faster-and-faster world of social media and technology, these tech companies are still working hard to market their companies the old-fashioned way: face-to-face at a tradeshow or conference.

Twenty-five percent of those surveyed spent over half their marketing budget on  tradeshow marketing, and 71 percent of the companies surveyed spent at least some of their budget on tradeshow marketing.

Yes, they’re still using social media (63% of those surveyed), but face-to-face is obviously considered to be a very valuable tool in their marketing efforts.

Tom Blue, the founder and owner of Lead411, made mention of the fact that many of the companies on the list are not household names – companies such as Zillow, Crowdflower, SEO Slingshot, Motion Soft, Yodel and others. But they’re still moving ahead strongly and growing quickly.

Download the complete graphic here and find the whole list here.’s website.



Freebies from Social Media Event Marketing U

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