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

May 2019

6 Ways to Increase Your Tradeshow ROI

Calculating your tradeshow ROI is pretty straightforward. Know how much you spent to do the show. Know how much you made off the show. Do the math.

There are any number of ways to increase the ROI, but it mainly comes down to controlling the main two numbers as much as you can: how much you spend and how much you make.

Whole books have been written about how to put on a great tradeshow exhibit, train your booth staff, use social media to beckon attendees and more. But for the purposes of this article let’s focus on keeping your costs down.

Let’s start with booking your space. By booking early, show organizers will give you a discount. So book early. Book the booth space. Book the electricity, rental carpet, internet, cleaning, whatever. Several months before the event, check the show website and put critical dates in to your calendar. By knowing when the various services are to be booked to get the early discount, you can save a substantial amount of dough.

Bring your own. Exhibiting pros know that when you’re onsite, some of the most expensive things are the cheap things that you should have in your tradeshow survival kit. Extension cords, scissors, felt pens, business cards, phone chargers, extra cables, and so on.

Plan to ship to the advance warehouse. While this is generally a money-saving exercise, it’s not always the case so you may have to do the math. But by shipping to the advance warehouse you’ll often get discounted rates.

Ship only what you need. Here’s where you may have to work with your exhibit house. Many exhibits these days are designed and built to be reconfigured into more than one size. But to make it effective, make sure you ship only what’s going to be set up at the specific show. Your warehouse can help coordinate the proper items. Nothing is more frustrating than setting up at a show knowing that there’s an extra crate that got shipped and you won’t be using what’s inside. Another note on shipping: be scrupulous about how to use the space in your crates. Many times a client will ask us to build some extra compartments into custom-jigged crates so they can ship extra products or samples.

Get rid of items in storage you no longer use. Yes, it may be great to think that you’ll reuse that exhibit from 2011 someday. But probably not. No reason to pay for storage for something that you’ll never use again.

Print only the graphics you need. Tradeshow graphics have a short life. If they last more than one show, it’s because they’re generic or the marketing team is lazy. Or maybe there’s nothing new to promote. In any event, you can save money on graphics a number of ways. Plan on having some of your exhibit graphics designed to be reused for at least a few shows. To save more money, have banner stands or other graphics produced at the show’s city to save shipping costs.


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Top Digital Marketing Conferences to Help You Step-up Your Marketing Game in 2019

This is a guest post by Vaibhab Kakkar of Digital Web Solutions.

Getting to rub shoulders with the leaders in digital marketing. Hearing their experiences and learning from them. Building useful contacts and partnership opportunities like never before.

Digital marketing conferences bring it all down under one roof.

And that’s why it’s always great for aspiring marketers to be a part of these conferences. But, can you or your fraternity attend all the big conferences? (Like all of them?)

Certainly not! You’ll need to make a choice.

To help you do that, here’s a list of the top 9 digital marketing conferences. To make sure these are worth your while and buck, we have shortlisted these on the basis of content.

So, let’s get going!

1. Digital Summit: Austin

Key Topics: Customer’s journey throughout the funnel, SEO, email marketing, content, UX.

Location: Austin

Date: June 04-05, 2019

With a total of 40 digital marketing experts assembling under one roof to make the Digital Summit: Austin happen, the event will certainly be rich with priceless insights.

To start off, the pre-event talks on 3rd June will include words and wisdom about influencer marketing and popular CRO techniques.

Moving beyond that, the conference will majorly focus on every important factor affecting digital marketing strategies.

So, be it SEO. Content. Email marketing. UX. Or growing your network along with your net worth, within the two days, speakers will open up and elaborate about all of these.

Also, failures and success stories don’t even need a mention.

The tickets are running out shortly and are priced between $200 to $995. A basic $200 ticket will simply allow you access to the masterclass, while a $995 platinum pass will include everything from lunch to exclusive keynote meetup & platinum swag.

Grab your passes now from their official site.

2. Call to Action Conference (CTA ‘19)

Key topic: Call to action optimization

Location: Vancouver, BC

Date: June 25-26, 2019

As the call to actions on websites and in ad sets are crucial for converting prospects into leads, the CTA conference will shower useful knowledge about how you can optimize your CTAs to the max.

Talking about techniques for writing brilliant CTA copies, choosing the right CTA colors, links and much more, this conference will guide you with everything you need for CTA optimization.

Super early bird passes are priced at CA$426.93 for existing Unbounce customers and CA$747.93 for everyone else.

Grab your passes here before the super-early bird period goes off and the prices go high.

Also, to get a rough idea of how the CTA conference events usually are and how the last one was, you can have a look at the speaker videos from last year’s event.

3. Nottingham Digital Summit

Key topics: SEO, PPC, experience sharing

Location: Nottingham, UK

Date: July 03, 2019

Take your digital marketing skills to another level with over 700 delegates and 26 expert marketing speakers and trainers. The grand event in Nottingham is going to have some of the digital industry’s leading thinkers, visionaries, and practitioners.

And another great thing about it?

Starting off at $50, the event is going to be the cheapest on this list. In fact, the costliest pass itself is priced at only a hundred dollars.

Which is why the event is supposed to be attracting a large number of aspiring and amateur marketers looking forward to honing their skills.

Grab your passes here, before the day is all sold.

4. MozCon

Key topic: Digital marketing

Location: Seattle, WA

Date: July 15-17, 2019

An electrifying and highly energized digital marketing conference, MozCon may just be bursting many digital marketing bubbles this year.

And with all the speakers and attendees from all walks of the marketing business, it may just be a perfect place to network with like-minded marketers and marketing enthusiasts.

By being a part of this event, you’ll get to learn about SEO, mobile, growth, analytics, content and a lot more.

The exact location of the event is The Washington State Convention Center situated on Pike Street.

To get an idea about what follows in MozCon 2019, you can have a look at the speakers who were there at the 2018 MozCon.

The price that one has to pay for attending the event varies for members and non-members of Moz. While members of Moz can avail a pass for $799, non-members will be required to pay $1,299 for the same pass.

To get your tickets before the early-bird deals expire, click here.

5. eTail Eadigitalst 2019

Key topics: Retail and e-commerce

Location: MA, Boston

Date: August 19-22, 2019

If you are a retailer looking forward to expanding your brand by exploring and bagging on new digital retailing opportunities like e-commerce, this conference can change your stars.

eTail has been inviting and gathering top retail executives from around the globe for 20 years now. The key USP of their conferences is that they bring their “how-to’s” from leading retailers. This motivates newbies and other experienced-yet-aspiring retailers to scale their businesses on their will.

The tickets for the conference are reasonably priced between $1,299 to $3,899. For further details and booking your place, you can check out their official website.

Discount coupon for eTail passes: Retailers can use MKTERMS19 to avail 20% off on current prices.

6. Inbound

Key topic: Inbound marketing tactics

Location: MA, Boston

Date: September 3-6, 2019

What makes INBOUND stand out of all the other digital marketing conferences on this list? A stand-up comedy show.

But calm down, that’s not the highlight. Apart from lighting up the mood with a spot-on stand-up show, the event is going to discuss in detail some of the most effective inbound marketing strategies and techniques.

Also, the event will include innovative discussions and presentations relating to inbound. This is to make sure that the attendees get the most of the killer inbound growth tactics.

Speaking of the strength, INBOUND is going to be totally houseful with over 25,000 guests arriving at the venue from more than 100 nations. The past INBOUND events became famous for getting influential speakers like Michelle Obama, Deepak Chopra, and Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah on-board.

Apart from that, the event is charmed up with an instagrammable ambiance, the INBOUND studio, and platforms for interviews, videos, and curated content (which can also be reinvented for IGTV).

Prices range between $299 and $1,399. For booking your seats, go check out their register page.

7. Social Media Strategies Summit: NYC

Key topic: Social media marketing

Location: New York

Date: October 15-17, 2019

With over 63% of customers expecting companies to offer services via their social media channels, the need for investing rightly in social media marketing is real.

Helping you with the same, Social Media Strategies Summit: NYC is going to talk in details about crafting, managing, and optimizing all your social media marketing strategies.

That’s the first aim of the conference; instructing the attendees about the nuts and bolts of a successful social media strategy to position their brands for success.

The tickets start at a price of $1,399 and go up to $2,289. To see various pricing features and to book yourself before the prices go up, see their pricing page.

8. Internet Summit

Key topics: Digital marketing using Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and several other platforms

Location: Raleigh, NC

Date: November 13-14, 2019

For all the digital marketing enthusiasts who are always hunting for new marketing tactics and using new media platforms for expanding their reach, Internet Summit can be a boon.

Speakers include Dave Isbitski from Amazon, Diamond Ho from Facebook, Caroline Hubbard from LinkedIn, Seth Weisfield from Pinterest, Ben Morss from Google and many more from other platforms.

Also, the event will cover topics like email marketing, storytelling content, mobile marketing, UX design and optimization, analytics, etc.

And the best thing about the summit provides is a continued learning experience with access to speaker slides and recordings after the conference, so, you don’t have to worry about forgetting.

Standard ticket prices start at $445 and go up to $1,195. However, if you book before July 24, 2019, you can save $200 on each pass that you buy.

9. Digital Marketing Leaders Summit: Hong Kong, 2019

Key topic: Digital marketing

Location: Hong Kong

Date: December 13-14, 2019

One of the greatest digital marketing conferences taking place in the last month of 2019, Digital Marketing Leaders Summit: Hong Kong will uncover the secrets of SEO, influencer, email, and social media marketing.

The conference is going to have some of the leading thought and internet marketing leaders from across the globe.

To get an idea about their previous events, have a look at the list of their previous speakers.

Early bird passes are priced at $799, $899, and $ 1,099. To know more about what the three passes offer and to book yourself before the early bird offers go void, visit their registration page.

Final words

For marketers and entrepreneurs trying to step-up their marketing game, the concept of digital marketing conferences can turn out to be a game changer.

But with hundreds of such conferences taking place every year, choosing the best one can get you in sweat. To ease things out for you, here we talked about 9 of the top digital marketing conferences, hand-picked by us, so you know what you just can’t afford to miss.

Hopefully, this helped you.

Don’t forget to share this piece with your marketer friends to pick the right conference for you and to book tickets before the seats dry out.

Vaibhav Kakkar is the CEO of Digital Web Solutions, a globally trusted agency with a full suite of digital marketing & development solutions. Vaibhav believes in building system over services, and has invested in multiple tech startups including RankWatch, NotifyFox and a CRM software to help scale up client agencies from scratch to niche-leaders with million dollar turnovers.

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, May 27, 2019: Josh Banks and Marie Ferguson

One of the booths I visited at last month’s NAB Show in Las Vegas was Time Lapse Cameras. They had done a good job of outreach with a couple of press releases and the follow up back-and-forth emails – and the fact that this type of tech appealed to my inner geek – I looked forward to visiting them.

Which lead to an eventual chat with Josh Banks and Marie Ferguson of TimeLapseCameras.com for today’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee. Add to that the fact that they came away with one of the NAB Products of the Year, well, it made for a fun conversation to learn more about their products:

Check out more from TimeLapseCameras.com here:




And this week’s ONE GOOD THING is the trailer from the upcoming Terminator movie:

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How to Get Ideas for Your Next Tradeshow Promotion (or Exhibit)

Are you faced with authors call “writer’s block” when it comes to coming up with ideas for your next tradeshow promotion? Or need to come up with a unique exhibit design or presentation that perfectly fits your company brand?

I wish I had an answer. You know, like the Staples “EASY” button. But it ain’t that easy. Not if you want an idea that can be fully executed and give you remarkable results.

So where do ideas come from? Ideas that actually work?

There are several places to look for and generate ideas, so let’s go over a few.

What have other people done?

At your next tradeshow, whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee, take some time to walk the floor and see what others have done. There are going to be so many ideas that you won’t be able to capture them all. And to take it one step further, if you see an idea you like, imagine how it would work if you folded that presentation idea into your brand and products. And you know that anything you see at a tradeshow had to go through a lot to make it to the floor. It had to be created as a concept, then discussed at length to see what would work and what wouldn’t. Then a 3D designer had to determine how to put that concept into the real world. Then, once all parties had signed off on the idea and concept, it had to go to fabrication, where the builders had to figure out how to build it. Not always easy, especially if there are some unusual or outlandish ideas that need to be brought to life.

What other exhibit ideas are good enough to borrow or get inspired by?

But remember, just because it was brought to life and used at a tradeshow doesn’t mean it actually worked, that it actually achieved what the creators thought it would achieve. Which means it’s also worth asking “how well did that work?” Probably the only way to find out for sure is to ask the exhibiting company after the show how it all went for them. But by doing that you might be tipping your hand that you’d like to use their idea for inspiration!

What gets written about?

To see what is creative and actually works, pick up a copy of Exhibitor Magazine. To my way of thinking, all tradeshow marketing managers should get a subscription to this bible of the exhibit industry. Nearly every issue there is an in-depth look at tradeshow exhibits. Not only that, there is a breakdown of how the idea worked, how it fit with the company’s overall goals, what the results were, and often the cost. Even if the idea doesn’t exactly fit with your product or brand, use it to kickstart your own creative thinking.

Beyond Exhibitor Magazine, search online for creative tradeshow exhibit ideas. There are a lot of them floating around, and any one of them might be the inspiration you’re looking for.

Talk to others in the industry.

Networking can do a lot of things. One thing it does well is spread good ideas. By talking to other exhibitors, designers, managers and executives in the industry is that no doubt they’ve all seen some memorable tradeshow exhibits along the way. Ask them what they recall, what they liked, and how it worked. Make notes. And if you get a great idea that leads to something, be sure to thank ‘em!

Brainstorm.

Creative thinking can often be generated in-house with a handful of people. You may have even been in a brainstorming session or three in your career. If done properly, they can be brief and productive.

Combining ideas from other sources.

Pick up a book on creative thinking and see where it takes you. One of my favorites is Thinkertoys by Michael Michalko. Worth the price no matter what you pay.

Any other books or ideas you like that help you creatively? Make a note and share!

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In Tradeshow Sales, Focus on the Moment

Tradeshow sales is a much different beast than any other kind of sales.

Picture this: you’re standing in your tradeshow booth with dozens of competitors lining the aisle, selling to the same market. They’re all trying to convince visitors that they’re the best solution. The goal is to talk to as many people as possible, because if you do that, you can gather more leads. And the more leads, the better off your sales team is. That’s the common knowledge, and generally it’s correct.

But step back a moment. Let’s examine that interchange a little more closely.

“Less haste, more speed.”

Instead of doing your best to gather contact information, such as scanning a badge, or writing down names and numbers and email addresses, take the time to qualify. I’ve been to tradeshows recently where it seemed like the only thing that was important to the booth staffer was to gather as many scans as they could. Maybe it was a contest. But it was one in which they ultimately lost, because they no doubt ended up scanning dozens or hundreds of people that have no interest in buying, are not qualified, are not the decision maker or don’t have the money.

Even though you’re trying to get as many leads in a limited time, let’s remember a few things.

Are you qualifying visitors properly?

One, most of the people at the show are qualified to a certain degree. They may not specifically be in the market to purchase your product, but they are in the market, otherwise they would not be there. If they’re not a potential buyer, there’s a good chance they know someone who is.

Two, a majority of them are decision-makers or can influence a buying decision.

Three, given the volume of people walking from booth to booth, you will not talk to everyone. It’s not possible.

Four, knowing that you can’t talk to everyone, take enough time with the ones you do talk to to qualify or disqualify as soon as reasonable.

Now that you have the right perspective, understand what you are really trying to do: qualify the leads, and gather as much information as necessary for a productive follow-up on an agreed-upon date.

What you want to know

Here are the items you’ll want to uncover:

Are they interested in your product or service?

If so, when? If not, do they know anyone that is?

At this point, you will make an A/B decision: if they’re interested, uncover more information. If not, and if they don’t have any one they can refer you to, politely thank them and move on to someone else.

If they are interested, ask further questions, as if you’re peeling back the layers of an onion:

When do you plan to make a decision? Next week, next month, next year? This tells you the urgency of the situation.

How is that decision made? Is it one person, or is it a collaborative decision?

Does the company have the funds committed to the purchase?

The follow-up questions

Once you have qualified them by getting the right answers to these questions, quickly move on to the follow up questions:

When would you like us to follow up with you? Find a date, and if appropriate, get the time and date scheduled in both yours and their calendars.

How do you want us to follow up? Phone, email, in-person visit (if feasible), sending something in the mail?

That’s the simple, straightforward way to qualify and get enough information for your sales team to follow up.

Yes, there is a good chance that your visitor will have a lot of questions about your product or service, especially if it’s a complex product, such as software or some technical hardware. In that event, answer their questions on the show floor – take as much time as you need to determine if they’re a real prospect or not – and then move on to the confirmation and follow up phase.

Once you’ve confirmed the follow up, thank them and move on to the next.


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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, May 20, 2019: Disconnecting

In such a connected world, there is a lot of value and importance placed in disconnecting from everything for a short while. But do we really do it that much? In this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I disconnect from the grid for a few days.

ONE GOOD THING: Disconnecting or Unplugging.

Need to disconnect? Take a look at this. Or this. Or this.

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Showing Up is Only Half the Battle

If you do a Google search for “showing up,” you get all sorts of links and suggestions as to what it means. Showing up for a performance, showing up for important events in your life for your friends and family, showing up at work by giving it your attention and energy.

Showing up is important. As Seth Godin put it, though, we’ve moved way beyond simply showing up, sitting in your seat and taking notes. Your job is to surprise and delight and change the agenda. Escalate, reset expectations and make your teammates delighted.

Show up to delight your visitors

Sure, showing up is important. On a personal and business level to me, showing up means controlling my behaviors and emotions. Knowing that when I set out to do a day’s work, I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do (calls, projects, communications with clients, writing, etc.), and doing my best to do it, every day. For example, I made a commitment in January of 2017 that I would show up every Monday to do a video blog/podcast for at least a year. Once the year was up, I would assess it from a number of angles. Was is working? Was it fun? Was it good? Did it get any attention? Did my guests get anything worthwhile out of it? Did the listeners give good feedback, even if there were very few? Based on my assessment of those questions (not all were completely positive, but enough were) I committed to another year. Then another.

So here we are.

Showing up at a tradeshow is more than just being there. If you are to take Seth Godin’s perspective, you want to have more than just a nice exhibit. You want to show up with more than just average enthusiasm and average pitches to your visitors. You should set high expectations for your company and your team.

How can you do that? By starting months before the show and having ongoing conversations about how to get visitors to interact. How to get them to respond. How to tell your company or product’s story. How to make it exciting to just visit your booth, exciting enough so that your visitors feel compelled to tell others to come.

There are no wrong answers, and plenty of right answers.

What will you do beyond just showing up?

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As Technology Evolves, so do Tradeshows

I’ve been attending tradeshows for nearly twenty years. In looking back on photos from that era – the early ‘Naughts as the first ten years of this century are sometimes referred to – things look different. It’s often subtle, but what the photos from that era show is what’s NOT there. You have to look closely and compare the images from around 2003 – 2005 with images from today’s shows.

Lots of these types of exhibits in 2004 (Natural Products Expo West)

The big changes?

Video: Depending on the show, some are stark and blatantly obvious. For example, I saw so many large video walls at this year’s National Association of Broadcasters Show in Las Vegas I lost count. Big, small, portable banner-stand-like video walls, large walls used for training (Adobe and others), most of them extremely high quality.

Some smaller shows or different types of shows may not have the large video walls (or only a few), but my impression is that a majority of exhibits have large video monitors. These typically range from around 40” to as much as 70” and all show sharp images. It’s much easier to attach monitors on exhibit walls when the monitors are so slim compared to what was available a couple of decades ago.

Fabric Graphics: Printing on fabric has come so far, it’s hard to imagine what it was like at the turn of the century. Printers have gotten so much better and fabrics have also improved that in many cases what you’re seeing on the exhibit walls are fabric graphics printed with such depth and clarity it compares with top of the line paper printing.

LED lighting: Hand in hand with fabric graphics, the evolution of LED lighting has meant better lights for a fraction of the cost. Combine LED lights and an aluminum frame with fabric graphics and voila you have a fantastic-looking lightbox that shines!

Augmented Reality: I’ve only seen this a few times at tradeshows, but I think it’s going to spread. It’s showing up at museums and other permanent installations. Why not tradeshows?

3D Virtual tours: Again, not used so much these days, but check out the recent interview I did with Phil Gorski from Ova-Nee Productions and see what they’re doing in the tradeshow space. I can see this happening more and more to take the physical tradeshow to a larger audience in the digital world.

Virtual Reality: Not something that is taking over the tradeshow world, but it is definitely there and a smart exhibitor that chooses to use VR will plan to do it right. Here’s an interview I did with Foundry45‘s Dave Beck.

Interactive Touch Screens: Depending on the way you want your visitors to interact this can be a big benefit to help show off your company, products and people.

Charging Stations: At the turn of the century hardly anyone thought of the need to charge a portable device. Now it’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t have that need a time or two a day during a long tradeshow. Charging stations can be custom-designed and built to fit your brand and to fit seamlessly into your exhibit.

Apps: Of course, there were no apps 15 – 20 years ago. Today it is a rare tradeshow that doesn’t have its own app where you can find exhibitors, information and subscribe to updates about the show.

Big Video Walls in 2019 (NAB Show 2019)

Social Media: This also didn’t exist back then. Today it almost seems old school to be doing regular social media posting about your tradeshow appearance. I mean, even Grandma is on Instagram, right? But social media is still a good way to post photos, respond to comments and let your followers know what’s going on while your company is exhibiting.

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, May 13, 2019: Phil Gorski

Here’s a novel idea: using the 3D Virtual Tour technology that is often used on real estate to allow potential buyers to virtually steer their way through the home, and use that tech to allow people to visit your tradeshow booth long after the show has ended.

That’s the topic of today’s interview on the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee. Phil Gorski of Ova-Nee Productions spent a little time sharing how he started the company and how the technology works on a tradeshow booth.

You might like to see this story about Phil.

Check out some of the 3D exhibit tours done by Ova Nee Productions:

Find out more here.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Haruki Murakami’s recent novel “Killing Commendatore.”

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Attract Eyeballs with a Tradeshow Custom Floor

At tradeshows, the game is all about attracting attention. Have you considered a custom-printed floor?

Every client we’ve worked with that has chosen to use a custom graphic on a printed floor has been happy with the result. They like it, it looks good with the rest of the booth, and it gets positive comments from their visitors.

There are a lot of different floor choices, but what I’m talking about here is bringing the area below your feet into the overall graphic design of the exhibit and booth area. When you incorporate a branding element into the floor as part of the overall look, it adds POP and depth. Take a look at these examples:

With Schmidt’s Naturals, their iconic flowery design spreads across the 10×40 space. It reinforces their overall brand. And when added to the clean and spare look of the rest of the exhibit elements, the colorful floor stands out.

Schmidt’s Naturals and their custom colorful flooring

Wildbrine chose a custom-printed floor that also added to the overall color scheme. The striped green and black floor added another dimension to the bright colors throughout the rest of their simple layout.

Wildbrine’s custom flooring of green and black stripes

Of course, you can create a custom look without printing a graphic below your feet. Another way is to use typical flooring but present it in unusual cuts or angles:

Whatever flooring you choose, there are any number of ways to make it stand out.

Disclosure: Dave’s Killer Bread, Schmidt’s Naturals and Wildbrine are clients of TradeshowGuy Exhibits; the others shown here are not.

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