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

July 2019

10 Great 60s Oldies to Help With Your Tradeshow Marketing

Yes, I love oldies. Spent a lot of time on the radio at an oldies station playing them and shouting over the top of the intro, which was basically required for Oldies radio. Which great oldies of the Sixties might we apply to tradeshow marketing here in the ‘teens of the new century? Let’s go year by year through the Sixties:

1960: Money (That’s What I Want) by Barrett Strong. Yes, it’s all about the money. How much you spend, how much you make from the leads you gather, and most of all about the Return On Investment.

1961: Hit the Road Jack by Ray Charles. As tradeshow marketers, we spend a lot of time on the road. We become road warriors. Sing this little tune to stay in the road warrior groove.

1962: The Loco-Motion by Little Eva. Written by Carole King, this tune knows all about the movement. And tradeshows are all about the movement. How many shows a year? How many different cities? How many people do you talk to at each show? You’re always on the move, always in motion.

1963: Sugar Shack by Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs. Grabbing a snack on the road? Why does it always seem to be a donut, or maybe a piece of banana bread, or perhaps a Frappucino? Whatever it is, it’s probably loaded with sugar.

1964: People by Barbra Streisand. Yes, as a song it’s a little downtempo, but tradeshows are all about the people. By the thousands! Ya gotta be able to get along with people when you’re in the tradeshow world!

1965: (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by the Rolling Stones. As hard as we try at tradeshow marketing and as successful as we are, most people I speak with feel that they could have done better if only they did something a little different. We’re never satisfied, are we?

1966: Summer in the City by the Lovin’ Spoonful. It seems there’s always at least one tradeshow on the schedule that takes place in a hot city in the middle of summer. This one is a perfect soundtrack for that show.

1967: Let it Out (Let it All Hang Out) by the Hombres. A goofy sort of song, but important when it comes to interacting with visitors. Don’t hold back. Be open, be willing to give plenty of your time and energy. Let it all hang out.

1968: Tighten Up by Archie Bell and the Drells. On the showroom floor, there’s chaos and confusion. There’s pitching and sampling and demos. And it’s easy among all of the activity to just let things go. But pay attention and tighten up in your presentations, your conversations, your booth.

1969: I Can’t Get Next to You by the Temptations. In every show there’s that one client that you’d like to catch. But for some reason they remain elusive. Keep trying. The Temptations are doing their best to urge you on!

Now that the Sixties are over as far as the top ten oldies to help with your tradeshow marketing, are there any songs we missed? Or should we move on to the Seventies?

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What Story is Your Tradeshow Exhibit Telling Potential Partners?

Yes, we know that your tradeshow exhibit tells a story. Often, a great exhibit design will capture the brand so accurately that the design is often all that is needed. But frankly, that’s the exception more than the rule. But even without an iconic design that broadcasts what your company is about, your tradeshow exhibit tells a story anyway.

Here’s how:

Design: even an average design can be executed well and tell a big part of your story. But a compelling story can come to life. Tell the story of how you created the soft drink because your Grandma used to make something similar when you were a kid. Or how you invented something to help a friend. Doesn’t really matter, your product or service likely came from some inspiration. Can you tell the story of that inspiration in a concise way using graphics and 3D elements?

Graphics: here’s where most of the story is told, and the weight of this rests on your graphic designer and marketing team that is communicating the correct message to the designer. Get it right and you’ve done better than most of your competitors. Get it wrong…?

Craftsmanship: not all exhibits are built from scratch. Depending on where you purchase your exhibit, it may be something that’s designed and built from scratch in the USA. Or it may be from an overseas manufacturer and it came direct from a catalog showing thousands of similar designs. With an overseas manufacturer involved, you will be hard-pressed to know the quality of the materials used for the exhibit.

Cleanliness: at least this is something you have quite a bit of control over during the show. But a clean booth tells a story. So does a dirty booth.

People: the booth staffers are your front line. Are they well-trained in how to engage with visitors? How to ask the right questions? How to politely disengage? How to act in a booth (stay off their phone, don’t eat, etc.)? Whether you like it or not, visitors will forget a lot of things. But they’re very likely to remember an unpleasant or below-average encounter with a booth staffer. Just like they’d probably remember an encounter that impressed them.

Stories are told with every piece of your marketing and your prospect’s interaction with your company. What story are your prospects being told, and what are they remembering? And is that story in line with your goals?

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, July 15, 2019: Ken Newman

On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, a lively interview with Ken Newman of Magnet Productions, a professional tradeshow presentation company based in San Francisco. I’ve had Ken on the show before, although it’s been awhile, and I wanted to catch up and talk about three things: what’s up with Magnet Productions; his involvement in music and how that music involvement led to his involvement with Blanket the Homeless, a SF non-profit.

Find Ken’s Magnet Productions.

Blanket the Homeless in San Francisco.

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING: summer bicycling!

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Learning to Ride a Bicycle

I recall the moment I learned how a bicycle works, and how I learned to ride a bicycle. I must have been 6 or 7 when I first tried. It was about the same time I first got on skis, but that’s a different story. I was reminded of that feeling when I saw a young bicycler with her mother this morning. The youngster was dressed in a unicorn mohawk bicycle helmet, colorful clothes and a unicorn back pack. I complimented her on the outfit – it really was stunning. Her mom said, “Say thank you!” which the young girl did.

Now there’s a bike helmet!

Her bicycle had training wheels, which made me think of when I was about that age and learning. I didn’t have the luxury of training wheels (an aside: maybe kids really shouldn’t have training wheels, after all).

In any event, that feeling of accomplishment, of empowerment, is overwhelming. I remember that feeling after riding 50 feet on a bicycle without crashing or falling.

YOU DID IT! I told myself.

And while that feeling was powerful, it comes around again and again in life when you learn more skills. I felt the same thing at times when learning to ski. Or learning to play the drums. Or the guitar. Or give a speech. Or publish a book. And so on.

Feeling that powerful emotion that’s tied into grasping and then learning a new skill is valuable. It reaffirms your sense of belonging. This works for me. I can do this.

It tells you that you’re on the right track. And it can apply to learning interpersonal communication skills, business skills, physical skills.

It reminds you that being human is a good thing. A great thing.

And ultimately, it tells you let’s learn something more. Now.

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Applying the Modern Business Plan to Tradeshow Marketing

The ‘modern business plan’ was hatched on a blog post by Seth Godin. I was a recent enrollee in Godin’s The Marketing Seminar, where at one point we were referred to the post which breaks down the five elements of what he feels are the important parts of a modern business plan: truth, assertions, alternatives, people and money.

It’s also possible to apply that thinking to how you approach tradeshow marketing.

The truth of tradeshow marketing would be the facts and figures of the specific show(s) that you plan to participate in. How many people attend? What percentage of decision-makers and influencers are among the attendees? Who are the competitors/exhibitors?

Assertions might include your thoughts on what you believe you know that is not necessarily supported by data. What new products are you launching that might be similar to new products from competitors? What types of marketing tactics and strategies are those competitors using? This is where you state what you believe to be true, although you might not be able to prove it.

Alternatives: ­This is where you play the “what if” game. What if things go wrong? What is your plan B? What if you get lucky by meeting the exact prospect that you didn’t anticipate? What if your top salesperson is poached by a competitor? Hey, anything can happen. At least opening your mind to some of those possibilities gives you a chance to chew them over.

People: who are your best people and how can you best use them? Where are your weak spots and how can you improve with them? Do you need to acquire people to get your tradeshow department to run like a clock and not like a Rube Goldberg machine?

Finally, money: Budgeting, logistical costs, personnel costs. Return on investment, cost of samples. You know the drill. But are your numbers accurate? And did you run the calculations a year later after the show so that you actually know what your return on investment really is?

What is your Return on Objective? Thanks to the Exhibition Guy Stephan Murtagh!

There are any number of ways of looking at your business or marketing plan, but taking this approach helps to clarify several issues at once. Give it a try!

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, July 8, 2019: Experience

Do you have ten years of experience? Or do you have one year of experience ten times? Or does it even matter, because you’re learning and growing regardless?

This week on TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee I take a look at experience from a number of angles.

Here’s the review of the Rolling Stones July 3rd concert I reference in the podcast (it’s a great one!).

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING: outdoor hiking in the summer.

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TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, July 1, 2019: Friendship

There are as many different kinds of friendships as there are friends. Some are business-related, some are school or college-related, others are just friendships you struck up from people you met randomly. This episode of TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee peeks at friendships.

Here’s a link to 50 Inspiring Quotes About Friendship from Inc.com.

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING is the Mueller Report.

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