Another in a continuing series of short videos, under three minutes, that takes a look at an aspect of tradeshow marketing. This time, it’s a look at the variety of skills a good tradeshow marketing manager should have.
While many of us are working from home, trying to juggle work schedules with kid demands and more, we are looking forward to a time when things return to at least semi-normal. On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I chatted with Heather Haigler of Switch Four about their new tradeshow management software, WorkTrip – for the remainder of 2020 they are offering free access. Here’s the conversation we had about that and other things that were on our minds:
Links mentioned in the show:
This week’s ONE GOOD THING: free streaming for the next few weeks on EPIX, thanks to XFinity, where you can find all of the James Bond movies!
Face it, we’re all swimming in data. Every time we walk out the door, drive to the store, buy a cup of coffee, order something online or even just sit at home watching TV, that information is getting logged. If you have a doorbell camera, there’s a good chance that you also chose to connect with local law enforcement agencies, who now can use the images to theoretically catch the bad guys. Stories abound, good and bad, about how all of that data can be used.
So yes, the data at times can be overwhelming. But what about your tradeshow booth? Are there any ways to track data during a show that can be helpful?
Let’s say you set up a time lapse camera in your booth. Put it somewhere that allows you to track the number of visitors, that can show you how long people stayed, or what they interacted with in the booth. That would be one way. Certainly, it would take some time to go through the video after the show, but my guess is that you would get some good intel as a result.
Other data you could consider tracking isn’t so high tech: leads generated, sales made (and dollars brought in as a result of those sales), new customers. You might also look at web traffic you got during or right after the show. And be sure to look at social media impact: number of likes, retweets, engagements and so forth.
Back to tech, here’s a great article from the Event Manager Blog on ways to track visitors using smart mats, wi-fi monitors and heat maps, badge scanners, wearables, beacons and more. Loads of stuff to digest, and some of it may actually be useful in certain situations.
Gathering data to examine from a single show is certainly valuable. But it’s just one piece of the data-gathering path. When you gather the same type of data at show after show, year after year, you can see trends develop.
All of this information can help you make more informed decisions on how to approach and shape your marketing messaging by uncovering what makes things tick.
In three weeks, Natural Products Expo West will be launching in Anaheim California. It’s a show that TradeshowGuy Exhibits is most involved with of all the shows our clients go to each year. For the past couple of months, we’ve been working with new and current clients to finalize artwork, shipping and logistic schedules and more. It’s a crazy wonderful show. I’ve met hundreds of people there over the years and gained clients with almost every appearance. And of course, I’ve met people from companies that seemed to think they’d become clients, but it never happened. Maybe next year!
The preparation for a big show for many clients goes well beyond making sure the tradeshow exhibit is up to snuff and sporting new graphics or furniture or counters or new AV elements or lights. It’s about making sure they’re positioned right with new products and services. It’s about making connections with old colleagues and meeting new ones. It’s about seeing what your competitors are launching.
It’s also about all of the details and all the moving parts: scheduling labor, electrical, shipping, flooring, furniture, you name it. There are endless details when it comes to tradeshow marketing. Handling it each year and making adjustments at the next show to improve is not uncommon.
We’ll report more from the show during and after, but if you want to see how last year went for us, well, it went pretty well. I don’t think we’ll be quite as busy this year as a few of those clients are not making changes to last year’s presentations. But yeah, we’ll be busy.
I look forward to walking the floor for a few days, seeing what people are doing, talking with exhibitors, learning their challenges. I look forward to being in warmer climes than Oregon during early March! I look forward to connecting with an old friend in LA and catching up on a spare night (there aren’t many).
But most of all, I look forward to seeing the clients we’ve worked with, whether for decades, years, or even a few months. I look forward to seeing how all of the hard work is received. It’s great to make clients look good, not only to their immediate supervisors who may not have been intimately involved in the new exhibit or upgrades, but also the clients who come away impressed with the exhibit.
One of the big challenges for exhibitors is keeping track of everything: records, travel, budgets, exhibit pieces and more. Now there’s a new tool that looks to address many if not all of those issues.
ExhibitDay launches this week with three models: lite, professional and premium. Lite is free; the others are available on a monthly fee basis depending on the optimum number of users you would want to have access to the tool.
According to the press release, “ExhibitDay has been in Beta since January, 2019. During the Beta period, ExhibitDay worked closely with nearly 1,000 Beta testers across a diverse group of event teams consisting of Trade Show Coordinators, Event Managers, and Exhibitors in order to develop and test its service.”
The release details the various tools:
- Tracking and management of information about trade shows and exhibits.
- Tracking event attendees and their travel reservations.
- Management of booth reservations, booth services, and shipments.
- Tracking of event sponsorships, costs, and expenses.
- Event team collaboration via tasks and to-do lists.
- Coordination of event team schedules before, during, and after each trade show.
- Synchronization of events, tasks, and schedules with third-party calendaring apps such as Google Calendar, Apple Calendar, and Outlook.
- Event-specific and annual budgeting, fund allocation, ROI measurement, and engagement analytics.
- Customizations to the fields and data points tracked for each event.
- Granular access-control and robust user management tools.
Take a look at ExhibitDay here. And if you choose to use it, use the discount code TRADESHOWGUY and save a few bucks!
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:
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:
- 1000 sq ft booth – this one has 3 embedded video clips
- 2500 sq ft booth – there’s an airstream in their booth
- 8800 sq ft booth – this is a big one
Find out more here.
Every now and then it’s good to take a look at the tools we use every day in our work – hence a list of my favorite useful tools. Whether it’s a piece of software, an app, a physical tool of some sort or just a mental approach. Here’s what I find most useful these days – the things I use the most:
Microsoft Office 365 for Mac. This has everything, and at a modest price. I use MS Word for writing, Outlook for email, Excel for spreadsheets. PowerPoint is a part of the package, but I prefer Mac’s Keynote, which I find more elegant. There’s nothing wrong with PowerPoint, and at times I’ve had to export Keynote presentations to PowerPoint to play them on PCs. I was never fond of the Mac native Mail program, and was glad to see the recent upgrades to Outlook, which used to be Entourage. I’ve managed to carry my email database through several computers from PC to Macbook over the years, and the current version of Outlook for Mac is nearly flawless.
Keynote. It’s a Mac-only program and is useful for presentations of all kinds, whether for a recorded video or a live presentation.
Screenflow. My go-to for video has screen recording, video camera recording and the ability to choose a specific microphone. You can also record screens from your plugged-in device such as an iPhone or iPad, although I’ve never found an occasion where that was necessary or even useful. But hey, maybe someday! Along with Giphy, Screenflow can create easy gifs as well!
Hootsuite. An online multi-use tool for send out social media items. Send things to more than one platform, upload multiple posts for timed release.
Photoshop. Still the standby for creating quick graphics and photo editing with text overlays. I’m no graphic expert, but I know this program well enough after using it for a couple of decades to get done what I need to quickly. My old CS4 version hasn’t been updated for years, and it works well.
UltraEdit. Billed as the world’s best text editor. Developers and programmers use it for writing code. But I’m no coder and still use it all the time. For when you want text files with no formatting whatsoever. It also works when you have some heavily formatted text from a website that you want to keep without the formatting. Just copy from the website and paste into UltraEdit and all the formatting is gone.
Scrivener. The best book-writing software I’ve experienced. Great at organizing notes, drafts, thoughts and more.
Dropbox. Lots of alternatives, but this has been my go-to for archiving client files, sharing files with and from clients and archiving personal photos.
Filezilla. FTP software that works really well. Free is a very good price, too.
Microsoft OneNote. Part of Microsoft Office 365, available as a standalone download. With the MS Office 365, you get a terrabyte of storage which is very useful for storing notes and files. Very useful in some instances, but I come and go from this one. Lots of interesting things in this tool. You can take a photo of a whiteboard for instance, and the app will convert the writing to text. Put it on an iPhone or iPad and you can write notes. I don’t use this as much as I probably should!
Microsoft OneDrive. Similar to DropBox, Box and other cloud storage and sharing apps.
CleanMyMac. Between this and MacKeeper, my laptop stays humming pretty well. After all, it’s almost seven years old. I’ve upgraded it with a 1TB solid state drive and maxed out the RAM to 16 gig, but it still needs software to keep it clean.
Google Calendar. I’d be lost without reminders and notifications from Google Calendar. Syncs with the app on my phone.
Adobe Audition. Ever since my professional radio days ended, I still record and edit audio frequently. Part of it is due to my continued volunteering with my weekly reggae show (Monday nights at 6 pm Pacific – stream it live!) on the local community radio station, KMUZ, and part of that is my weekly vlog/podcast, the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee.
Zoom. I use this for video meetings, mainly to record the conversations for my vlog/podcast. Easy to use and will record the meeting with the click of a button.
Aweber. I’ve used AWeber for all of my newsletters, autoresponders, etc. for years. The program is easy to use and it keeps getting better. Lots of alternatives, but I’ve seen no real valid reason for switching.
LeadPages. Lead capture software. You know the ones – the annoying popups that ask you to opt in to a newsletter in exchange for some sort of goodie. Yes, popups can be annoying, but they work and people have gotten used to them. Integrates seamlessly with AWeber and other email programs. Highly recommended for its creativity and flexibility.
Carbonite. One of at least two backups I have. Carbonite works in the background to archive the essential files (not all kinds of files, though – it doesn’t typically back up video or audio files unless you ask it to). There is also a Carbonite app, but I’ve had issues with it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Although there have been times with Carbonite has save my ass on the floor of a tradeshow when I needed to pull up a critical file. More than once.
Time Machine. The other Mac back up. I used it once a week to manually backup all of my latest files.
Soundcloud. This is the host of the audiofiles for the TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee podcast. Easy to use, easy to grab the code to embed the file into a blog post, and useful listening stats as well.
Quickbooks. Money tracking, check-writing, invoicing, etc., at its best.
Beyond the usual text, email, messaging, maps and such, I find the following apps very useful (links are to the iTunes store):
Google Calendar. Mentioned earlier.
Microsoft OneNote. Mentioned earlier.
DropBox. Also mentioned earlier.
GasBuddy. Only when traveling do I really want to find the cheapest gas, but when I do, this is a great little tool.
Road Trip. Tracking of automobile gasoline and repair costs.
Waze. Another GPS enables navigation aid, complete with crowd-sourced warnings and alerts on traffic jams, stalled cars, accidents, police sitings and more.
Scanner Pro. A very useful document scanner that, when combined with uploading to Dropbox, lets me instantly scan documents and upload so that I can easily grab them on my laptop.
Point of Sale, formerly Square. The time or two a year that a client wants to pay by credit card, I use this app and the money shows up in my bank account a day or two later.
And a handful of fun, non-work apps:
Zillow. Not really a work tool, but fun to use when you’re traveling to see the market value of the homes nearby.
MapMyRide. Tracks my route, distance, etc. when riding my bicycle.
Fender Tune. Keeps my guitar in tune.
Soundhound. Lets me know the name of a song when I can’t pin it down. Although it’s not infallible – it can’t name every song!
Lose it! Tracks calories, exercise and more.
Ski Tracks. Tracks my routes and distance on the slope.
Apple Macbook Pro. 13” early 2011. Upgraded to 16 GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD hard drive. Rarely have I had a glitch with this.
Blue Yeti USB Microphone. I switched to a USB microphone a couple of years ago when I couldn’t chase down an annoying hum in my analog board. Works great and is very reasonably priced. You see it in all of my podcast videos.
iPhone 6s, 128 GB of storage. Solid piece of gear through and through. Music, email, camera, you name it. It’s all there.
Sony MDR-V6 dynamic stereo headphones. I’ve used these headphones for more than twenty years, since my radio days. Still use them when recording and volunteering at the local community radio station. It’s my second pair.
SkullCandy ear buds. While I tend to go through a pair of these about every year, they deliver much better sound and comfort than the earphones that come with the iPhone.
Keen messenger bag. The model shown in the link isn’t the one I have, but very similar. Great for carrying laptop, books, lunch, whatever.
Am I missing anything? What are you using? Leave a comment!
Tradeshow numbers rattle around my brain. It’s just part of the scene, man.
For instance, when someone asks how much exhibits costs, I whip out this factoid: industry averages for a custom designed and fabricated island booth ranges between $135 and $165 per square foot. Your mileage may vary.
If they ask about inline booths: Industry averages for inline booths is around $1,000 per linear foot. Again, your mileage may vary.
But there are other numbers, too. If you toodle on over to Statista and check out their facts on tradeshow marketing in the US, you uncover some more interesting numbers:
- Average number of tradeshow visitors per 100 square feet of exhibit space in the US: 2.2
- Average time tradeshow visitors spent viewing exhibits: 9.5 hours
- Share of tradeshow visitors attending that tradeshow for the first time: 38%
Let’s stop a moment. Think about that last one. Over 1/3 of all tradeshow visitors to that show you’re exhibiting at are NEW to the show. Never been there before! You’re exposed to a whole lot of new people. And think about the number of people – 62% – that may already be familiar with your brand. Put those together and 100% of the people at the show you’re exhibiting at next are susceptible to your brand message.
Now a few more:
- Share of tradeshow visitors planning to buy exhibited products or services: 48%
- Share of potential audience who remembered visiting a company’s tradeshow exhibit: 81%
A few more fun digestible numbers from WillWorkInc:
- Worldwide the tradeshow industry is worth about $14 billion, which is about 2.7% in 5 years.
- Even though tradeshow attendees average 2.3 days and 9.5 hours on the tradeshow floor each year, 46% of those attendees only go to one show a year – make that visit count!
- 82% of attendees had buying power, according to Exhibit Surveys. Sell something!
From big shows to regional and local shows, putting up a booth with an accompanying tradeshow marketing program is an effective way to reach new markets and create new business.
Let me close with some tradeshow numbers on one of the world’s largest shows. Last year’s Consumer Electronics Show drew more and 170,000 people for tech’s biggest show. In 2017, a show which closed down less than a week ago from this writing, the show celebrated its 50th anniversary with more than 3,800 exhibiting companies and more than 2.6 million net square feet of exhibiting space. More than 175,000 industry professionals, including 55,000 from outside the US for the Las Vegas event.
Last week I sat in with the good folks at Handshake.com and offered a look at Tradeshow Logistics: Getting Your Ducks in a Row. It’s a part of tradeshow marketing that is critical, but tends to be set aside in favor of things such as pre-show marketing, staff training, lead generation and so on.
In this webinar, we covered a lot of pertinent things, such as shipping, booth upgrades and graphic changes, the logistics of lead generation and getting them back to your sales team and more. Thanks to Handshake.com for offering to have me host another webinar with them!