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

Tradeshow marketing

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, September 24, 2018: Andrew Bennett

What is the “revitalization of the human spirit” and how does it relate to events, tradeshows and conferences? Andrew Bennett of the Bennett Performance Group joins TradeshowGuy Tim Patterson on this week’s vlog/podcast to discuss exactly that, along with many other reasons that events are thriving, and in fact, will likely never go away.

Also, a tradeshow tip of the week.

And this week’s ONE GOOD THING: Chris Ducker’s Youpreneur podcast, etc. Good stuff!

 

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How to Use Event Marketing to Sell and Showcase Your Products

This is a guest post by Mohamed Bah of Springrates.

If you have plans to exhibit at a tradeshow any time soon, or you want to bring your newest product to the latest conference, you’re going to need a way to market your product. Doing well at a show or conference is a great way to generate early buzz and test a product out before it hits the sales floor. If you’re still not sure about how you should be showcasing your product to promote sales, we have a few suggestions on the most effective methods you can use.

1. Do Something Differently You

Absolutely everyone will tout the effectiveness of being “unique,” or doing something that no one else does to stand out of the crowd. It’s for a reason: Being unique will help you stand out, but only if you do it right.

showcase your product

When you’re trying to find a way to stand out of the crowd, think about the things that make your product special, or the characteristics of your brand that are unique. A marketing strategy is more effective if it’s meant specifically for you! If your brand has a more “fall” theme, then something like business cards made in the shape of rectangular-ish fall leaves would be a specifically you strategy. Someone else could copy it, but it fits you far better than it would fit them.

2. Don’t Be Afraid of the Big Bad Display

Large displays can be intimidating. This is especially true when they’re not yours, but you don’t need to have the biggest budget to have a big wow display. Maximize your airspace and do something unexpected! Bigger isn’t necessarily better, but bolder can be pretty close.

Instead of going for a massive banner or a 3D style, try eye catching colors, or upright flags. It might be a throwback to grade school, but don’t hesitate to run the proverbial underwear up the flagpole: if you’ve got something that makes your product stand out, or you’ve got a brand-specific t-shirt, make sure it’s flying high for the duration of the show. It’s a quirky way to attract attention, and it should set you apart from the crowd.

3. Rescale Your Style

People, as a general rule, love seeing things in the wrong size. Is your product too big to hold in the human hand? Shrink it down to toy size, and watch people play with it all day. Is your product more on team teensy? Scale it up to enormous, and see people gawk over how huge it is.

Things like rescaling the size of your product can also give you an opportunity to put it in context. It’s all well and good to have the full-size model next to your booth, but if you can provide a scale model of your brand’s lawnmower trundling around a standard-size yard, people are going to appreciate that a lot more than having to imagine what it might feel like. Alternatively, blowing up the size on something small can give people a better look at the little details they might not otherwise get to see.

4. Practice Proper Audience Participation

If your product is something that people can really get their hands into, why not let them? “Try before you buy” has become an increasingly popular selling tactic, and offering conference attendees and trade show goers the chance to test out something you’ve made demonstrates confidence. A bigger demonstration will also attract more attention to your booth, especially if you can work it into the schedule of main events.

This option also pairs well with the previous, and doubly so if your product is something like a game, or if you’re planning some kind of stunt for the demonstration. Getting your audience involved in the usage of your product, or creating some kind of game around how it works, will get them even more invested in what you’re doing and what you have on offer.

Event marketing is tough. Depending on where the event is held, you’re in a larger space, and you’re competing with dozens, if not hundreds, of other vendors, for a limited amount of time and attention. By focusing on what makes you great, and playing to your product’s strengths, you’ll be able to effectively draw attention and showcase and sell your product well.


Mohamed Bah

Mohamed Bah handles public relations for Springrates and in his free time enjoys playing with his dog, Leo, and working on cars.


7 Questions You’ll Never Ask Your Exhibit House

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How to Succeed Podcast: TradeshowGuy Guest Appearance

A few weeks back Mike Montague, host of the How to Succeed Podcast from Sandler Sales, interviewed me for his sales podcast. Had a great deal of fun! I’ve listened to this podcast for years and learned a lot. Now it’s my turn to join the conversation and share what I could about How to Succeed at Trade Shows:

And thanks, Mike, for having me!

Check out the How to Succeed Podcast here.

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How Can Personalization Improve Security at Tradeshows?

This is a guest post from Tamara Blackburn.

Trade shows continue to be immensely popular within a variety of industrial spheres for a number of reasons from networking opportunities to celebrating the launch of a new product, or simply allowing brands and professionals to come together to pool their very best lines. They are also a bustling hive of people who need to make sure they keep their own ID and brand ID safe and secure at all times.

Shows and exhibitions, when run correctly, can be very safe environments and can effectively ward off potential criminal activity with minimal effort. However, it always pays to keep your own wits about you and to protect your own data, and there are plenty of ways in which personalization of various products can help to assure the safety of personnel and firms alike.

Access Granted ID Cards

tradeshow security

It perhaps goes without saying that the primary reason for ID cards to be issued at all is to ensure that the right people have the right access to the right areas.  That’s a lot of rights and a lot of sensitive areas, so it’s important to give only the correct people access cards and to make sure they are security enhanced cards.

ID cards can be manipulated if they are not secure enough and whether it’s unwanted attention or potential criminal activity, it’s a very good idea to make sure that personalised ID and cards are produced to a high-end standard.  Make use of ID cards which have identification on the front to prove authorisation and are near impossible to clone.  This way, not only are show staff always assured that they are handling authorised personnel, but there is no chance of such cards being copied if they are stolen or lost.

The Power of Lanyards

Lanyards are often seen as freebie material which can be used to promote certain brands and services. Beyond marketing, however, they are a great way to both protect and show off personal ID and information which can be quickly and easily checked.  Personalized lanyards and otherwise, can be used to display who you are and why you request access to events and certain areas. What’s more, specifically printed lanyards with brand names and otherwise can also prove who you are working for or with – a great way to offer quick confirmation to anyone checking ID beyond the standard protocol.

Wristbands

The access wristband is a standard which has been around in several forms for many years now, and at trade shows, they are a great way for personalized information to be stored and displayed without thorough checks needing to be established on each and every occasion.  For example, a personal wristband can be printed and offered to a show guest once they have passed all initial mandatory checks and they can then simply display their bands should they wish to gain re-entry to certain rooms or areas.  This process of personalization and ID protection allows for fast verification, which is likely to be sought after at trade shows and exhibitions.

Controlling Your Access

Personalized items such as those discussed above offer plenty of power to the individual, and therefore, it is their responsibility to make sure they take care of such items at all times.  Personalized ID can help improve security as it essentially makes sure that each individual takes responsibility for their own data. It can help to cut down on access checks and the time it takes for mandatory protocol to be followed, meaning a smoother event.  Furthermore, it can help attendees to easily identify one another, on a different level to security benefits, so it can break the ice in terms of networking. It can also let other attendees know that you have full access rights to such an event and that you may well be an authority in your field.

Personalized access items are always recommended in a trade show setting. For the tightest control and for the most efficient checks, cards, lanyards and wristbands are essential apparel.


Tamara Blackburn is a hands-on Digital Marketer for the UK’s largest ID card company, Digital ID. Tamara has a passion for writing and specializes in creating high-quality content, mostly on topics relating to marketing, security, branding and even press releases to name a few.

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Tradeshow Marketing is a Competition

When you’re ramping up your tradeshow marketing machine for the next show, do you think of it as a competition? Or is it merely a chance to make your pitch to hundreds or thousands of visitors, almost as if you’re in a vacuum.

Methinks there is more than one way to view tradeshow marketing. Let’s look at two views in particular:

tradeshow marketing competition

First, it’s a unique marketing event where you’re setting up shop in a situation where the organizers have done their best to bring as many members of your target market to view products and services under one roof. You are showing off new products that are being launched. You are showing off your brand with graphics, 3D exhibit construction and your well-trained booth staff. For the people that stop by at your booth, you do your best to engage, interact and determine if they are prospective customers. If they are, you work to find out their pain points, explain how your products and services can help them. If not, you politely disengage, perhaps asking if they are able to refer any colleagues your way.

Second, it’s a competition. You are setting up shop in a situation where dozens, maybe a hundred or more, direct competitors are doing the same thing you are: showing off products and services, representing their brands, and trying to make a deal with the very people you’re trying to make a deal with.

Yes, tradeshow marketing is a competition, and generally it’s a friendly competition. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try your best: you should. But if you keep in mind that you’re not only there to engage visitors, you’re also there with hundreds, sometimes thousands of companies are competing directly with you.

What does it take to get an edge? There are dozens of ways. From the size and look and feel of your exhibit to your actual products, to the skill of your booth staff and many other ways where you’re working to get an edge.

As in any competition, you may win some, you may lose some. You may win with some people, you may lose with others. You may beat some competitors and you may lose to some other competitors.

From that perspective, to me the best you can do is to observe and learn, see what works and what doesn’t, and do your best to be better next time.

Because with tradeshow marketing competition, there’s always a next time.

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After All is Said and Done at the Tradeshow: The Follow Up

After the tradeshow, you get back home, unpack the bags, get a good night’s sleep (hopefully), show up at the office and are faced with the next step: the follow up.

For some, it’s drudgery. For others, it’s bittersweet: the show was fun, now the work begins.

Depending on how well you executed at the tradeshow, the follow up will either be fairly simple and straightforward, or a hot mess.

Let’s try to avoid the hot mess, okay?

tradeshow follow up

During the tradeshow, when you’re talking to visitors, identifying them as prospects or not, and collecting vital information, you’re really preparing for the follow up. Whether it’s something you’re doing yourself or handing off to a sales team, that information should be clean and precise. Which means that you’ve created a unique set of data for each prospect: name, company and contact info, and any particulars about the follow up. It might mean that all you’ve got is a date of a phone call, an in-person meeting or sending them an email with additional information. It might mean that they’ve committed to a purchase and you’re following up to seal the deal and deliver the goods.

Whatever your methods at the tradeshow, the follow up will be much easier, no matter who is doing it, as long as all the pertinent information is there. If it’s a potential customer, grade the lead: cool, warm, hot, so the sales team will know who to follow up with first.

It’s not rocket science, but so many companies fail on this step. Deals are left unsigned. Phone calls are not returned. Emails end up in the dormant file.

Figure out how to execute on the tradeshow follow up and you’ll be banking more business.

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6 Tradeshow Marketing Trends to Keep an Eye Out For

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.

Key Takeaways

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.

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What About Those Tradeshow Results?

As an exhibitor, we’re all looking for great results. But what if you get back to the office a few days after the show, and frankly don’t have a lot to show for it? The lead collection came up short, there weren’t that many “warm” or “hot” leads, and the boss is wondering why all of that money was committed to the show.

First, recognize that you can’t control results. The only things you control are your activities, your behavior, and your technique.

Let’s start with attitude. Books have been written about attitude. Suffice it to say that if you go into a complex tradeshow marketing program, a good attitude will help immensely.

Activities are all-important. From pre-show marketing, to having a good interaction with your visitors, to lead generation and post-show follow up, knowing what to do and when to do it is critical to your success.

Finally, what technique do you apply to your behaviors? Does your booth staff know how to properly interact with visitors? Do they know how to as

tradeshow results

k questions, when to shut up and when to disengage?

All of your behaviors are subject to being done properly or not. And there is no end to determining what is proper and what works and discarding what does not work. Books have been written about techniques, attitude and behavior, so there’s much more to discover than what you’ll see in this brief post.

But back to results: if you are not getting the tradeshow results that you are hoping for, the three areas to examine are those that are most important to your success: attitude, behavior and technique.


Thanks to Sandler Sales for the tip. Full disclosure: I spent a year in a Sandler Sales Training Program, and this is just a tip of the iceberg.

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Simple Exhibits for the Win!

Even though many clients want custom design and fabrication for a unique look, often having simple exhibits is what you really need.

In fact, many clients that I work with go to several shows. They don’t take their big, deluxe, state-of-the art exhibit to all of the shows. Instead, they’ll take something that can ship via UPS or FedEx, or can even be loaded into a van or SUV if it’s a closer show and you have only one or two people setting up the exhibit.

In this type of situation, it often comes down to convenience in setting up, convenience in shipping, and a starkly simple look. It’s all doable, and it’s usually a step above what many competitors as similar shows are doing. I mean, have you seen those wrinkly vinyl banners that hang lopsided across the back of the booth, and a cheesy table cloth (or none at all) over the organizer-provided 8′ folding table? Of course you have. And you are thinking the same thing: “What can I do that’s a step or two up from that, but won’t break my budget?”

simple exhibits
X-1

I get asked this question on a regular basis. And there’s no one answer, but there are a lot of options, depending on budget. And depending on how many people might be setting up the exhibit with you.

For starters, you could start with an 8′ or 10′ graphic back wall. There are a number of options, but we like the HopUp and the VBurst and have sold many of them. The HopUp comes at a lower price point, but still provides good quality. It also comes in different sizes, up to 20′, and is available in straight or curved. The VBurst is a higher priced, but also comes with options that the HopUp doesn’t deliver, such as back lit graphics. And with either, if you want to cover a 20′ (or more) back wall space, you can always set up more than one side by side. Another option is something a little different – the X-1, which comes in a variety of configurations.

What about counters? Again, it depends. Do you want a counter with lockable storage, or is an open storage shelf workable for your specific situation? We like the HopUp Counter, the Formulate Counter Pillar (and related counters), the Hybrid Pro, the Linear Pro and the Embrace counters.

Many counters can be shipped flat in a custom-jigged padded case, and can also be fabricated with charging ports. Loads to look at here.

If you do opt for using the 6′ or 8′ table, you can dress it up with a fitted table throw or a table runner.

Exhibitors often want a little more than convenience and practicality and start adding things like tables and chairs. We particularly like the OTM-100 set of two chairs and a table that breaks down and packs flat.

Simple exhibit do win. They win with convenience, ease of shipping and set-up and in pricing that doesn’t break your budget. Don’t let the big guys have all the fun with their fancy schmancy custom exhibits. Get some attention with simple exhibits. Hey, your boss will love it.

Check out this gallery:


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Legal Cannabis Industry Evolves with Tradeshows

legal cannabis industry

As a wanna-be 70s hippie I follow the evolution of the legal cannabis industry with great interest. Not because I don’t use it so much anymore, but I’ve always felt that the use of marijuana – or as its getting to be known – cannabis – should be a personal choice, and government shouldn’t be locking people up for simply using it. I figure if the state allows alcohol as a social drug, it has no valid argument to disallow cannabis. But politics aside, it’s a fascinating industry.

legal cannabis industry

Now that cannabis is legal across much of the country, with more states (and countries – Hello, Canada!) to follow, the first thing you’ll be seeing is much more data coming out. For instance, I ran across an article which shows that the method of cannabis consumption is changing. In the old days, you’d roll a joint. Maybe you’d bake some bud into a batch of brownies, and hope you ate the right amount. But now there is data showing that people are smoking it less and eating it more or finding other ways to consume cannabis without smoking.

So why is this topic showing up on a blog dedicated to tradeshows and the event industry? Because there happen to be a BUNCH of tradeshows dedicated solely to cannabis. For instance, there’s a big show in San Jose this summer, the Cannabis Business Summit, put on by the National Cannabis Industry Association, that will attract hundreds of exhibitors and thousands of attendees. And a listing at the Cannabis Business Times shows quite a few cannabis related events.

I’ve attended at least a half-dozen cannabis events in Oregon over the past few years and chatted with dozens of exhibitors about the industry and how they’re finding their way through an industry that, until just a few years ago, didn’t legally exist. Now that it’s out in the open, it wants to shine. Hence, the explosion of tradeshows and conferences dedicated to the industry.

Another twist: in the old days, it was never called cannabis. It was called marijuana, and the scourge of the devil weed, or reefer, spawned panicky movies (Reefer Madness), conspiracy theories and so on. Here’s a quick take on the reason it’s called cannabis these days and is rarely referred to as marijuana.

legal cannabis industry

And what about the exhibitors? How are they faring in a new legal industry? I’ve spoken to many of them over the past couple of years, and as you might imagine, it’s a mixed bag. Some exhibitors are well-prepared with sharp-looking, functional exhibits. Others have barely managed to put up a cheesy vinyl banner hanging from the back of the drape behind an organizer-supplied table. In other words, it’s like a lot of industries.

I heard talk from some exhibitors that when legal cannabis happened here in Oregon, a lot of money rushed into the industry. Businesses were snapping up storefronts, staking out their ground and doing what they could to promote their new businesses. But since that beginning rush (no pun intended), reality is a bit of a come down. Some businesses have closed, others are trying to sell.  It’s a marketplace where a glut of product is keeping prices down. And this comes all with an industry that is heavily taxed by the state so that it can be regulated properly. I recently saw that Oregon suspended applications for new cannabis outlets due to the backlog. For a deeper dive into the Oregon Economic Forecast that looks closer at recreational and medical marijuana, check this out (direct PDF link).

All of which brings me back to the statewide event industry and how its working with cannabis producers, retailers and supporting businesses. Coming in January, TradeshowGuy Exhibits will take part in its first cannabis-related event as an exhibitor. We’ll be at the Cannabis Collaborative Conference in Portland on January 23-24, 2019.

And yes, we’ll be in booth 420.


Interested in getting a price on a new exhibit or accessories to make your exhibit look and perform better? Submit a quote request here.

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