This is a guest post by Rodney Laws, Editor at Ecommerce Platforms.
We’re all familiar with tradeshow swag. If you’ve been through a hectic stretch of tradeshow attendance, you’ve surely lurched back to your vehicle of choice with a heavy bag of assorted items — and if you’ve ever presented at such a show, you’ve most likely opted, or been told, to hand out some products (free of charge).
It’s a long-standing staple of the industry,
so you might think it’s inevitable, but you have a choice in the matter. Don’t
want to offer free gifts? You don’t have to. If you’re on the fence, though,
you might be looking for a nudge in one direction or the other. So what should
you do? Cover your stall in tempting swag, or leave it bare and focus on the
reason why you’re there?
To borrow from ecommerce parlance (it is my industry, after all), it’s like the delicate matter of landing page development: you can have a generic landing page that doesn’t impress or offend, or you can build a custom landing page that differs from the competition in ways that may delight or frustrate. Neither option is perfect. Either can go wrong.
To help you decide what’s best for you, here
are the pros and cons of giving out free gifts. Consider them my gifts for you
(have I tipped my hand there?).
Why you should give out free gifts
All those tradeshow presenters can’t be totally misguided in breaking out the
swag bags. Here are the main reasons why you should dish out the goods:
They can easily be branded. You don’t need to hand out generic items that will get thrown in bags and immediately lose any association with you. If you do it well, you can give out branded gifts that get across your brand identity and possibly your brand message too (it depends on how much space you have for text and visuals).
Tradeshows can be dry. As much as professionals will get hyped-up ahead of a tradeshow, the energy can run out quickly if exhibits are dull and they drank too much the previous evening. But free gifts will always get attention — and even if that attention is brief, it’s better than no attention at all.
You can get quite creative. Pens are always useful, but you don’t need to offer pens. If you can think of something portable and not overly expensive, you can make it a free gift, and that gives you a lot of creative scope. Look at what others are doing, and come up with something different.
People often expect them. Unfortunately, the precedent of free gifts at tradeshows can make life hard for those exhibitors who don’t have any. It might be viewed as indicative of a lack of effort, or even a cheapness that bodes poorly.
Why you shouldn’t give out free gifts
That something is popular doesn’t mean it’s sensible.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t
give out free gifts at tradeshows:
The ROI might not be there. While it’s great to get plaudits for the quality of your swag, you
need meaningful ROI for the process
to be worthwhile. If you keep handing out products and getting less value in
return than you spend on them, then you’d be better served not giving out any
gifts at all. Sometimes there isn’t much point.
You can make it a selling
point. If you just have an empty stall, no one will
care, but if you make a point of your lack of free gifts — you could make it a
stand against plastic use, for instance, or simply explain that your brand is
so good that you don’t need gimmicks (this is itself a gimmick, of course, but
don’t mention that) — then you can get the same kind of attention at no cost.
Overall, then, should you bother giving out free gifts? Well, it depends on whether you think there’s ROI to be yielded. If you can choose the gifts well and make them actionable somehow, they can prove quite fruitful. Here’s my suggestion: try to come up with a smart free gift strategy. If you devise one, use it. If you don’t, forget the gifts. Simple!
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsio.
This is a guest post by Ben Llewellyn of Ultimate Banners.
There’s no shortage of benefits that come with attending an exhibition, which is why it is something that a lot of event promoters and businesses do. However, that’s not to say that a successful exhibition is guaranteed without a level of planning and hard work. There are certain things that everyone should do before attending an exhibition, many of which first time event promoters don’t realise.
Things Everyone Should Do Before Their First Exhibition
There’s a lot to think about before attending your first exhibition, which can make the entire lead up stressful. It’s never a case of turning up and hoping for the best because organizing and planning is key. Here are ten things everyone should do before going to their first industry exhibition.
1. Invest in Branded Freebies – A lot of businesses make the mistake of trying to keep the cost of attending an exhibition as low as possible and though this does make sense, it is often beneficial to spend a little. After all, spending a little can often lead to you making more in the long run. Investing in branded freebies is a great way to impress potential customers and it reflects well on the business as a whole, as branded freebies are usually associated with successful brands. Giving someone a branded freebie, such as a pen or portable charger, is also an effective way to boost brand awareness. Once the event has finished, people are still going to remember who you are and the business name will be seen by more people.
2. Set Clear Goals – Before attending any exhibition, you should be sure on what your business goals are for the day. Think about whether you are aiming to sell a product, whether you are hoping to network with other businesses or whether you are simply trying to get the brand name out there. This is especially important before attending your first exhibition, as the entire day is likely to be busy and having a plan can keep you organized and on task. Make sure that your goals are realistic and that everyone is working towards the same thing.
3. Research Competitors – It’s hugely important to stand out at an exhibition, but this can be difficult when you have an abundance of competitors to contend with. Looking at competitors and seeing what they are doing is a good way to find out what works, what doesn’t and what you could do differently. Though you will want to stand out and should avoid copying them, you should always work to industry standards and showcase yourself in a similar way. If you are new to a specific industry, researching competitors is a great way to know what’s expected of you.
4. Prepare and Plan Their Exhibition Space – Attending an exhibition can be stressful, especially when you are doing so for the first time. However, planning ahead can help massively. Consider what you will need for your exhibition space and allow adequate time to source everything before the big day. You will also want to make sure you have reserved the space, allowed enough time to set everything up and have advertising materials printed ahead of time.
5. Design Fantastic Artwork – With so many competitors at an exhibition, it’s important that you make a statement and stand out. There are a few different ways to do this, but starting with designing fantastic artwork is key. It’s important for banners and advertising materials to stand out from the rest, which is why standard or generic banner artwork isn’t good enough. There’s a lot of help out there and pull up banners ten signs they are working | ultimatebanners.co has a lot of advice on creating designs that work. Artwork should grab attention, create intrigue and provide information.
6. Allow Enough Time for Banner Printing – The turnaround for banner printed is extremely quick, which means that last minute orders aren’t usually a problem. However, it’s always best to avoid leaving it to the last minute if possible. When you leave banner printing to the last minute, you’re not leaving any room for error or delays. This could mean that you are left without the banner needed for an exhibition and no way to solve the problem. Reduce the stress of your banner printing by organising everything the moment you have the artwork. It’s better to be ready too early, than too late.
7. Spread the Word About Attendance – Once you know that you are attending an exhibition and have confirmed everything, spread the word and let everyone know. You could have existing customers attending the same event, in which case they can look out for you. There could be people there who have heard about the business and want to know more, in which case an exhibition is a great opportunity for them to do so. It’s also helpful for other businesses to know that you will be there, as they may be interested in networking.
8. Think About First Impressions – There is no doubt going to be a lot of people attending any exhibition, so it’s important to think about first impressions before going as making a good first impression is key. This includes ensuring that your display looks great, that staff know what to say to passersby and that you are ready to answer any complicated questions. You should aim to appear friendly, professional and knowledgeable about the industry. Though an individual may not take you up on a service or product then and there, you will want them to have a position opinion of you for future reference.
9. Get Staff On Board – A lot of hard work and energy goes into attending an exhibition, which is why getting other staff members on board is key. Not only does this allow for work to be delegated, but it reduces stress throughout the day. Rather than one or two people attempting to do everything, a large team provides more free time for networking and building a relationship with potential customers.
Ben Llewellyn is co-founder of Ultimate Banners in Birmingham (United Kingdom). Ben loves cycling and everything tech. He works as a designer and developer working with clients in the exhibition advertising and digital services sector. Find Ben on LinkedIn.
This is a guest article by Lee Becknell of Pinnacle Promotions.
Trade shows provide companies and marketing professionals with excellent opportunities to grow their brand awareness and generate valuable leads, but there’s a lot of preparation that goes into participating in a trade show. Between budgeting, arranging travel plans, preparing staff members and ordering promotional products, it can be difficult to prioritize all the necessary tasks—especially if you’ve never attended a trade show before.
We’ve compiled some helpful tips to guide you through the trade show process. From determining which conventions to attend to booking your travel plans, you’ll be able to master your first trade show experience and grow your business in the process.
Selecting the right tradeshows
first of many steps in the trade show preparation process is selecting which
events are the best for you to capture the attention of your target
demographic. Begin by researching upcoming events in your industry and decide
if you’d like to showcase your business on a local, regional, national or even
international level. If you’ve never attended a trade show as a professional,
you may want to start small with a local or regional event before moving on to
national and international events.
Depending on factors like location, other attending vendors and time of year, some trade shows may be more beneficial to your business than others. Ask other experienced business owners in the industry for tips and try to seek out feedback on specific shows for more insight on which events would be the most advantageous to your company. Keep in mind that you should try to plan all events for the year at once to keep yourself organized and provide plenty of time to make arrangements, including enough time to order promotional products.
Book flights and hotels in advance
Determining which tradeshows you want to attend well in advance ensures enough time to plan, prep your employees and purchase travel accommodations before prices begin to rise. Tradeshows typically attract people from across the country, and sometimes even the world, which means everyone will be scrambling for plane tickets and hotel rooms. The earlier you can plan, the better off you’ll be in terms of securing accommodations.
If you’re the one in charge of planning for tradeshows, you should develop a travel protocol to ensure that all employees know how they’ll be arriving at the event and where they’ll be staying. Once the most willing and qualified employees have been selected to participate in the event, you can create a spreadsheet to organize important information such as flight and accommodation details. If the event is close enough to drive to, coordinate groups to carpool.
Many tradeshows are hosted in convention centers, which are usually located inside a hotel. If you can plan the trip in advance, you may be able to secure rooms right at the convention center, saving your employees travel time and the additional costs associated with transportation.
Budgeting for the event
Setting a budget for any given event is an essential part of the trade show planning process. A good rule of thumb for estimating the total cost is to multiply the price of a space at any given event by three. This should give you an accurate guideline on how much you’re likely to spend on all major expenses, including booth rental, display materials, travel and promotional products.
Set objectives for the tradeshow
can provide businesses with many different kinds of opportunities—networking
with other influential members of the industry, generating leads, expanding
your brand influence and building a reputation for your company. But, before
you hit the trade show track, you should set some clear, obtainable goals for
First, determine specifically what you’re hoping to get out of each event and avoid goals that are too vague. Are you looking to expand your brand’s exposure? Generate sales leads? Recruit employees? Announce a new product line? All of these objectives are common reasons to get your company involved with trade shows. By narrowing down your intentions, you allow the business to more accurately create materials and select promotional products that will reflect your goal and lead to your target results.
Order promotional products well in advance to use as trade show giveaways
products are vital to the success of a company’s display booth. Handing out a
unique product that people will actually use will help your business stand out
and make an impression at the trade show. Though attendees certainly go to
these events to learn more about the vendors and network with other
professionals in the industry, people still tend to gravitate towards booths
offering some type of trade show giveaway.
Attract more people to your booth by offering useful and interesting trade show giveaway products like customized travel bags or retail-inspired tumblers. Once you’ve attracted people to your booth, you’ll have the opportunity to talk to them about your company and spark their interest in your products or services. Another huge benefit of promotional products is that these items work as usable advertisements. Every time someone reaches for that promotional product with your company’s distinct logo, they’ll be reminded of your business, which can lead to conversions and positive word-of-mouth reviews.
Lee Becknell serves as the Senior Digital Marketing Manager for Pinnacle Promotions. Lee oversees digital marketing from the Atlanta, GA headquarters. Lee has been with Pinnacle for over six years. Lee enjoys spending time with her husband, son and golden retriever, running and taking naps.
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
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.
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
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.
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,
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.
Key topic: Digital
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
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.
Key topic: Inbound
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
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
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
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.
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.
This is a guest post by Tania Longeau of InkJet Superstores.
Setting up a booth at a trade show is a great way to build awareness of your brand and gain new leads. On the busy floor of a trade show, however, you only have 6 to 10 seconds to catch the attention of a passerby and draw them into your booth. You are lined up alongside several other businesses and, depending on the size of the show, you could have several thousand people walking past over the course of just a few days. If you want them to stop by your booth, you need eye-catching signage to draw them in.
Once you’ve gotten their attention, you need well-designed marketing materials like brochures, flyers, catalogs, and cards that they will take and look at again after the event. It sounds difficult, but learning how to make eye-catching signs, brochures, and other branding and marketing materials isn’t as hard as you might think. Keep reading to discover a few of our favorite trade show tricks.
Businessman Alan Lakein once said that “failing to plan is planning to fail,” and he was absolutely right. If you fail to do extensive planning prior to attending a trade show, you are very unlikely to have a particularly successful event. Goals and desired outcomes need to be established months before the date of the event to ensure that you have time to create everything you need.
Set SMART goals and come up with a solid plan of attack for meeting them. Think about what advertising and marketing materials you will need. Figure out whether you will make those materials in-house or have them printed elsewhere. If you plan on making them yourself, make sure you are stocked up on printer ink, paper, and other essential supplies. Trust us. Few things are worse than running out of ink at 11 p.m. the night before a trade show because you failed to plan and waited until the last minute!
Say it with an Image
When you only have a few brief seconds to grab someone’s attention, a sign or banner with lots of words just won’t do. A picture says a thousand words and, when you use images that are eye-catching, your signs will say a lot about your business, products, or services without needing to say a word. Keep the wording on your booth graphics short and to the point. Your signage should mostly consist of attention-grabbing images. Text should be kept to a minimum. On a busy trade show floor, very few people are going to stop and read an entire paragraph or a long list on a sign. Keep your message short and sweet.
Don’t Go Crazy with Fonts
You may love the look of the fancy font you use on your website or logo, but it may not be the best choice for creating trade show signage and displays. When you are designing signs, banners, and anything else that will be viewed from afar, choose fonts that are simple and easy to read. Remember that, on the trade show floor, your booth is competing for event attendees’ attention. If your advertisements aren’t easy to read, those attendees are just going to look elsewhere.
Be careful when choosing fonts for printed brochures, too. If most of your marketing materials currently exist online, adjustments may need to be made to ensure that they print well. Fonts and colors that look great on a computer screen or a smartphone might not look so good on paper, so be sure to do some experimentation to make sure everything is flawless.
Know When to Hire a Professional
There is a lot that you can do with the inkjet printer or laser printer in your office. Many of today’s higher-end models are capable of creating prints that rival professional quality, and you may be able to get away with printing many of your own signs, flyers, brochures, and pamphlets. It’s also important, though, to know when to hire a professional. Unless you have a high-quality inkjet printer that’s capable of printing large-format banners and other big displays, you should definitely work with a professional printing company. You only get one shot at making a good first impression, so the signage and displays you put up at your booth are extremely important.
Unless you have professional graphic design skill, working with an expert designer is a smart idea, too. A design may look awesome to you, but it may not actually be all that great. There is a lot more that goes into a successful design than just making it look pretty. A good designer can help you create brochures and signs that are eye-catching, tell your brand’s story, and evoke emotion. It takes a lot more than a copy of Photoshop to do all that!
When you are attending a trade show, setting your booth apart from all of the other ones around you is extremely important. There will be hundreds or thousands of people passing by your booth over the course of a few short days, and you will only have a few seconds to grab each person’s attention. With eye-catching signs, banners, and displays, you can let event attendees know what your business is all about and encourage them to stop by. With eye-catching brochures and pamphlets, you can encourage them to pick up your marketing materials and check them out after the event. Keep the above listed tips in mind, and you will be well on your way to meeting your goals for the event!
Tania Longeau serves as the Head of Services for InkJet Superstore. Tania oversees a team of Operations and Customer Service Reps from the Los Angeles headquarters. Before joining InkJet Superstore, Tania was a team leader and supervisor working for one of the biggest mortgage and real estate companies in the country. Images are provided by the author via Shutterstock.
From celebrity promoters to next-level artificial reality adventures, trade shows are becoming less about selling and more about experiencing. And that’s by design, as trade show trends shift with culture at large. Today, there are two big trends influencing the marketplace: 1. Consumers, especially millennials, are becoming more minimalist. 2. Simultaneously, consumers are shifting their spending away from goods and more towards experience-related services, says management consulting firm McKinsey.
Because trade show trends mirror what’s going on in the rest of the marketplace, the best event marketers are those who are totally tuned in to the buyer’s needs right now. To create effective trade show displays in 2019, you have to very closely understand what buyers want, what they expect and what will entice them to stop and take notice of your booth in a sea of competitors. Here are some of the ones we’ll be able to bank on this year.
It’s All About Immersion: Trade Show Experiences
The basic booth and table will no longer do. In today’s sales landscape, marketers need to stand out by creating displays that quite literally draw visitors in. The goal is to achieve effective narrative marketing by removing the consumer (not literally, of course) from the convention center and taking him or her on an exciting journey that elicits emotion. This can be done in many distinct ways, but some of the best are the ones listed below.
Artificial Reality—Companies in the tech space have been incorporating augmented and virtual reality components into their event displays for a couple of years now, but things are starting to really ramp up in this space. Experts are already predicting that AR will overtake booths at the world’s biggest tech trade show, CES 2019, with displays highlighting new AR products (especially non-wearable AR, like smart mirrors) and also helping to sell non-AR products using interactive, immersive demos and presentations. Experiential Design—Experiential design, though broad, vaguely refers to the art of creating spaces that provide some sort of experience. Often, this means taking a small corner of a convention center and transforming it into a totally different place entirely, like a store, a playground, an art gallery or a hotel room. For example, logistics giant FedEx recently showed up at the China International Import Expo with a giant airplane mock-up at the center of their display, while other big-name brands have developed full-blown store experiences at this year’s retail conventions. Multi-Sensory Experiences—In addition to the brightly colored backgrounds and banners that please the eyes, the coolest new displays have begun to incorporate elements that appeal to all other senses as well. Visitors will be able to jump into full-blown tactile, auditory and gastronomic experiences at this year’s trade shows, with big sounds, sights, smells and flavors to experience. Designers are also beginning to invite show-goers into exhibitor’s spaces to play and explore, with instruments, toys, seating areas and gadgets to try. Everything Brand-New—The 2019 Global Consumer Trends report published by the market research company Mintel gives us some fascinating new info on the latest consumer behaviors. The report showed that consumers are more adventurous than ever—they love to travel alone, experience new places and order foods they haven’t tried before. At trade shows and in other marketing sectors, we can expect to see an uptick in the new, fascinating, unusual and intriguing.
Appealing to the Consumer: Getting Crafty
To understand trade show trends, you have to understand what your audience wants. Most buyers at industry events are professionals with purchasing power (in fact, 81 percent of those who attend have some kind of buying authority), but they are also consumers who get giddy at the thought of fun, new experiences. You can bet that you’ll forge a positive brand image when you go for some of the ideas below. Shareable Elements—It doesn’t matter where they go, consumers look for “shareable” spaces and experiences that would contribute to nicely encapsulated social media posts. In 2019, we can expect to see many more booths creating special “photo ops” for show-goers to share to social media. This is great news for the marketer, as it offers more opportunity for building brand recognition and creating a positive presence across social. Special Guests and Performances—Take a look at some of the biggest conventions and trade shows for 2019 and you’ll see a lineup peppered with celebs. Last year, we saw big-name celebs like Tina Fey, Jamie Foxx and Spike Lee gracing the stages of big industry events, and this year’s no different. Look out for actors, musicians, change-makers and entrepreneurs beefing up the speaking agendas of the biggest conferences in tech, music and marketing. Everything Ethical—Again, trade show trends tend to mirror what’s going on in the greater consumer economy. Now more than ever, buyers care about patronizing eco-friendly, responsible and ethical businesses and will quickly alienate the ones who are less focused on corporate social responsibility (CSR). We’ll certainly see more brands in 2019 highlighting their CSR efforts in the trade show market, including through more eco-friendly displays and demos. All Things Personal—The personalization train hasn’t slowed yet. In fact, it’s primed to pick up some speed this year. As you probably know, buyers are gravitating to more personalized products and experiences across all industries, and this should be applied to trade show marketing, too. We can expect to see the most success coming from booths that create a personal experience by offering one-on-one staffing and personal engagements.
Paying Attention to the Consumer Market
As you can see, the most important thing about trend-spotting in the trade show world is trend-spotting in the world. If you can identify some of the key drivers of the greater market, and you can implement them into your trade show display strategy, you’ll be well on your way to a hefty return on investment from your event marketing efforts.
When I started looking through the analytics to determine the top ten 2018 TradeshowGuy blog posts, I faced somewhat of a dilemma. Many of the “most-viewed” posts of the year are not from 2018. Do I include those or not? Perhaps the best approach is to create two lists: one that includes the most-viewed, and the other narrows the list down to the most-viewed 2018-published blog posts.
Take a look – starting at Number One:
SWOT Analysis for Tradeshows. This was posted in February of 2015, but still manages to get more traffic than any other post. And interestingly, more than half of those visits come from out of the US.
While the reasons for attending a tradeshow are different from company to company, everyone has essentially the same tradeshow goals – we all want to spread awareness about our brand, make sales, and forge connections with new partners and customers.
Regardless of how top-notch your product or service or how flashy your booth, you won’t achieve any of these goals if you don’t have a steady stream of traffic. Get creative in your tradeshow approach so that no one can resist stopping by your exhibit.
Make your booth unmissable—Step No. 1 of effective tradeshow marketing: design a show-stopping, crowd-pleasing, sales-grabbing booth. Of course, how big and bold you can go varies greatly on your budget, but be sure to look around at some of the top tradeshow booth ideas to get some inspiration and learn how you can do more with less. You don’t necessarily have to have a huge and flashy environment to draw in more visitors. Simple but creative designs—turning your booth into an indoor garden, recreating the feel of an art gallery, or including interactive components—are the most successful in today’s tradeshow landscape. Anything that serves as a conversation piece will get people talking, generating some big-time buzz.
Dress your reps to impress—After your booth, the first thing attendees see is your reps. You should make sure that anyone representing your brand adheres to a strict dress code, and one that jives with your brand image. In other words, if your brand has a laid-back, youthful vibe—and those are characteristics of your target audience—then it’s okay to have your reps dress in jeans and company T-shirts. If you’re catering to a crowd of attendees in suits and dresses, it’s best to stick to the suits and dresses yourself. When visitors think they’ll be in like-minded company, they’re more likely to cozy up at your booth and connect with your team. Be sure that all representatives wear badges displaying their name and company to keep things professional.
Showcase your giveaways—A not-so-well-kept secret in the tradeshow world is that swag is everything. The fact of the matter is that registered attendees are much more likely to pass on your booth if they don’t believe they’ll get something out of it, whether it’s a new partnership or a free gift. Make your promotional giveaways part of the display so that passersby can see them from the aisle. It’s also a good idea to go name-brand with your freebies and to use them as incentives. Save your cool items, like custom Nike swag bags and YETI tumblers, for those who sign up or commit to a deal.
Promote your presence—Make sure that your existing customer base and networking circle knows that you’re exhibiting so they stop by and bring their friends. Be sure to schedule marketing emails and blast your social feeds with your exhibit location and encourage all of your followers to visit. Not only do you need to promote your own presence on social media, but you need to leverage the broader event pages and hashtags to get attendees who may not yet be engaged with your brand to look at your posts.
Host a giveaway—As we’ve already discussed, tradeshow attendees love free stuff. With that in mind, one of the best things you can do to entice visitors to your booth is to host a giveaway. Choose a desirable item—perhaps a gadget, a gift card, or a getaway—and make it a prominent feature of your display. Ask everyone who passes your booth to drop in a business card as their entry and designate a time and place for the official drawing at the end of the show. This is beneficial to you for many reasons. It draws attention to your booth, encourages visitors to stop by twice (once to enter and once to see who won), and earns you lots of new contacts and leads.
Get on the VR bandwagon—There are a few important technologies that you should be leveraging to get ahead in today’s tradeshow environment. The first is virtual reality. If it’s in your budget, do what you can to draw in customers with VR, primarily if what you’re selling is a place or an environment that can’t be recreated at the show. For example, the German airline Lufthansa drew major props when it invited tradeshow attendees to watch the world’s first 360-degree movie filmed on a Boeing 747 at a recent tradeshow—in virtual reality, of course. VR can help users visualize, learn, experience, and get hands-on training with your product without the need to get them in the door for a real-life demo.
Make your booth a getaway—What do tired, busy show-goers want more than anything? A place to chill. If you can make your show environment simultaneously high-energy—you want attendees to take action, after all—and relaxing, you can bet that visitors will come back again and again with friends. Whether it’s adding a TV, massage chairs, or a couple of phone chargers, anything you can do to make your booth feel homey and welcoming is a win. Just be careful about loafers! It’s important to keep the energy flowing rather than stagnant in a tradeshow environment.
Selling with a smile
One of the most important things you can do to draw more visitors to your tradeshow booth is to exhibit with a smile. Put your friendliest, most charismatic employees on the frontlines and train them to act as hosts and hostesses of your environment. If they’re able to make warm connections with people passing by, whether it be making eye contact and smiling or asking them a question, they’ll be able to help convert visitors to loyal customers. Be sure that your exhibit has an open and inviting feel no matter what.
Lee Becknell serves as the Senior Digital Marketing Manager for Pinnacle Promotions. Lee oversees digital marketing from the Atlanta, GA headquarters. Lee has been with Pinnacle for over six years. Lee enjoys spending time with her husband, son and golden retriever, running and taking naps.
Many exhibitors crave ideas on how to attract more visitors to their tradeshow booth. They want an attraction that makes their booth irresistible for attendees walking down the aisle.
Do you want to drive booth traffic, too? Here are 5 proven ideas you can consider:
Rather than make all their purchases over the Internet, buyers continue to go to trade shows because it allows them to see and touch real products in person. Leverage this strong advantage by demonstrating your products in your booth. Show how your product solves real problems. Have a presenter constantly demonstrating your product, and even invite attendees to try your product themselves. Just be sure to have your booth staff trained to perform the demo smoothly, especially if it’s a new product.
Games & Contests
Attendees love to play trade show games. They can have fun, win prizes, compete with colleagues, and even learn something about your products during the game. Trade show games can be selected to fit your audience and booth size. They can be designed to include your company branding and logo. You can host games that are digital or old-school analog style. Games rejuvenate attendees drained from tromping down too many aisles, so they’re ready to talk shop with you again.
When a simple giveaway isn’t enough, exhibitors are upping their game by hosting experiences in their booth. Experiences are best when they are immersive, personalized activities that emotionally connect buyers to your brand story. They engage the senses and are hands-on. Experiences that attract visitors to your trade show booth require space and staging, which means planning your exhibit design in conjunction with your activity.
Trade shows continue to remain relevant and grow in part because exhibitors have integrated technology into their exhibits. Tech-dependent attendees are never without their smart phones, tablet computers, and the Internet, so exhibitors include tech to match attendees’ higher expectations. What content works best on all that technology? Exhibitors start by showing their websites or PowerPoint presentations. Some graduate to videos or apps made just for the show. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are sought by exhibitors with the largest budgets and longer planning timelines.
Some exhibitors choose to put the “show” back into trade shows by hiring entertainers in their booth. They may be magicians, artists, dancers, celebrity lookalikes – any kind of performer that will attract visitors to your booth. The best entertainers will customize their performance to blend in your product messages.
With hundreds of exhibitors at the average show, you need an edge to get attendees to stop by. When you choose any of these 5 ideas to attract visitors to your booth, you’ll make your space, and thus your company, more interesting. Not only will attendees will be more engaged, but your booth staffers will also have more fun, too.
Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award-winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology. You can read more from Sam at http://www.socialpoint.io and reach him by email at email@example.com.
This guest article on tradeshow marketing trends is courtesy of Sam Holzman of ZoomInfo.
Despite our increasingly digital world, in-person events such as tradeshows and professional events continue to rise in popularity. And, for good reason: 31% of marketers believe that events are the single most effective marketing channel, over digital advertising, content marketing and email marketing (source).
Tradeshows provide the unique opportunity for face-to-face interaction and can help marketers forge long-lasting relationships with customers and prospects. But, like any marketing tactic, tradeshow marketing is constantly evolving. And, event marketers continue to find new ways to deliver fresh and unique tradeshow experiences.
To maximize your tradeshow potential, it’s important to keep up with modern event marketing trends. For this reason, today’s blog post looks at some of the top tradeshow marketing trends in 2018. Let’s get into it!
1. Artificial intelligence.
Machine learning and artificial intelligence have become more prevalent throughout all marketing tactic– including tradeshows. AI refers to technology that can rapidly process large amounts of data and subsequently “learn” and make adjustments based on this data. AI can aid your tradeshow efforts in more ways than one. Here are a few examples:
Lead collection: AI can capture important information from attendees as they arrive at your tradeshow booth. AI fueled technology can help you organize and score tradeshow leads instantly so you don’t have to play catch-up after the event.
Personalized interaction: AI can rapidly process and analyze information so you can tailor your conversations with attendees to fit their needs. With instant insights about an attendee’s industry, company size, and more, you’ll be able to have more personalized, targeted interactions.
Generate buzz: AI won’t just help increase your efficiency at tradeshow – it will also gain the attention of attendees. When attendees see new and exciting technology, they are more likely to stop by and check out what you have to offer.
2. Creative booth designs.
More and more marketers have grown tired of traditional booth designs, and for good reason. In a crowded event hall filled with competing companies, it’s difficult to stand out with your tradeshow display– especially if your booth is indistinguishable from those on either side of it.
Fortunately, plenty of businesses have begun to think outside the box and build unique tradeshow booths. “Un-booths” is a term that’s gaining steam in 2018, as it refers to tradeshow booths that feature unconventional and interesting designs. For example, some marketers craft their booth as more of a “hangout”, complete with comfortable seating for attendees.
Remember, your booth doesn’t have to be over the top or expensive to stand out. It just needs to be creative and different.
3. Mobile event apps.
In recent years, event-specific mobile apps have become commonplace at most tradeshows and conferences. In fact, last year 86% of event planners said they would create a mobile app for their event (source)– and we only expect that number to rise.
A mobile app can dramatically improve attendee experience by providing an event guide, allowing them to schedule meetings, and offering polls and surveys to get their feedback in real-time.
If you’re still relying on business card collection and physical handouts to connect with potential buyers—you’re living in the past. Research the different mobile applications that can help you be more efficient and organized at each of your tradeshows.
4. Virtual reality.
It’s no secret that virtual reality is one of the fastest-growing trends in marketing. Virtual reality provides an immersive, multi-sensory experience through which attendees can observe your products or presentations. VR can combine visuals, sound and other elements to captivate your booth visitors and take them out of the event and into the world of your products and services.
While VR may seem like a complex technology, it has become more accessible over recent years and will continue to be a staple at tradeshows in 2018 and beyond.
5. Social media engagement.
In the past, marketers used social media to post updates about their booths for their followers who aren’t in attendance. Now, there are a ton of creative ways you can leverage social media engagement to improve the experience for both attendees and your audience at home.
One example is branded Snapchat filters, which attendees can use to take fun photographs and share them on their own accounts. And, live video streaming on Facebook and Instagram can bring followers to your event even if they are unable to attend in person.
6. Cohesive campaign themes.
Your tradeshow booth is an extension of your brand – so it’s important to tie the theme of your booth to your overall marketing strategy. More companies are creating unique themes that align with their other marketing campaigns. When you offer one cohesive message to your attendees across all channels – including tradeshows – you will strengthen your brand and offer a more cohesive experience both at the event and in your other marketing initiatives.
And there you have it, six of the biggest tradeshow marketing trends in 2018. If you have already implemented some of these strategies, you’ve likely seen firsthand how effective they can be at improving your tradeshow performance. If not, we hope this list has provided you with some ideas to take your next tradeshow to the next level!
About the Author: Sam Holzman is the Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo where he writes for their B2B blog. ZoomInfo is a leading business information database that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Sam regularly covers topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting, and likes to write about sports and travel in his free time.