All this talk and angst about ‘repeal and replace!’ Yet it happens all the time in the tradeshow world. Yesterday I walked the floor of the Natural Products Expo West show in Anaheim as exhibitors assembled exhibits for business later in the week. Many of the exhibitors there have performed a version of ‘repeal and replace’ on their exhibits. Others have done a partial makeover, hoping to satisfy the budget-minded constituents in the company. And yet others have stuck to their guns, not making any changes from last year.
That’s the way of the tradeshow world. Every year there are new competitors in the marketplace. Every year there are new potential customers that are going to view your exhibit with new eyes. Every year there will be the same visitors who have seen your exhibit before.
So what prompts a company to throw out the old – repeal – and bring in a new exhibit – replace? It could be any number of things, but a recent client described it perfectly: their old exhibit was a ‘train wreck’ and the new one fixed all those issues with something that was well-planned and well-executed.
Certainly budget comes into it. So does function. So does the competition, company growth (or contraction), change of direction or any number of things.
When you’ve come to the decision to repeal and replace your exhibit, take the time to get it right. You’re going to want to live with it for several years.
Secrets to tradeshow success? There’s no secret! It’s all out in the open. Actually, it’s all lurking online somewhere. Just for fun, I plugged the search term “tradeshow success secrets” into the Google to see what I came up with.
Success is measured by how much effort you want to put into it. I suppose that’s true of pretty much anything you do. But good effort is important.
Trade leads and information with other exhibitors (that aren’t your competitors). I admit, I’ve only heard this one a time or two, and I suspect it’s rarely done. I wonder if you could actually get anyone to do that with you.
Let people play with things. Yes, adults like to get hands-on experience as much as kids do. Create an experience where visitors can interact with something and they’ll stick to your booth longer than others.
Have a booth host that knows what’s up. A trained staffer is worth their weight in gold. The really connections are person-to-person.
Speak at a show. If you can’t speak at a show, sit on a panel. It’s better than nothing. If you can’t do either of those, create your own event that you speak at and invite everyone in your database.
Steam live video from your booth. With the advent of Facebook Live, it’s easy to pull out your phone and go LIVE! Interview guests, do product demos and more.
Stop people in their steps with creative flooring. Put your logo or some other attractive graphic at foot level. It’s still enough of a new thing that it’ll stand out and get people to stop.
Know what to say to people. It’s great to have a trained staff member, or to have booth staffers who are knowledgeable on the products you offer. But spend time honing a brief 30 second pitch that focuses on the pain people have around things that your products can solve. For instance, if you sell roofing with a lifetime guarantee, ask visitors if they experience leaks, or if they are due for a new roof but are afraid of hiring some fly-by-night firm that won’t back up the roof installation. Let them identify their pain, then tell them that your product can resolve that pain.
Follow up. When you do get leads, don’t sit on them. Pick up the phone and get back to them. Nuff said.
I love a good discussion where I come away with more information than I had at the beginning. That’s what happened with the 20-minute webinar discussion I had with Dave Beck of Foundry45, a company that creates content for virtual reality viewing. Virtual reality can be used in a number of ways, and content can be created from many different angles and for many different reasons.
Stage One: Don’t we have a show coming up in, oh, a few months?
This is the stage where you KNOW you have a show coming up, but you haven’t confirmed dates, haven’t confirmed who’s going, don’t yet know what products or services you’ll be promoting and, well, basically, anything to do with the show. There’s still plenty of time, right?
Stage Two: Have you signed up for the booth space yet?
The dates in the calendar are definitely getting closer. Should we confirm the space? Who’s going to do that? What about travel – should we book that yet?
Stage Three: When are we going to look at the booth to see if it still has what we need?
Just a few weeks left. Maybe time to update the booth. Let’s get someone to set it up and see what shape it’s in. Does it need new graphics? Is anything broken? You know the drill.
Stage Four: Panic!
Frantically shipping the booth, confirming lodging and travel with just a week or two left. Samples have shipped, right? What about the company branded shirts and promotional products? Isn’t Larry handling most of this? The PANIC stage moves from the brief pre-show panic into nearly full panic during the show, and finally subsides when you hit the airport.
Stage Five: It’s over, thank God! We don’t have to deal with it until this time next year!
Last fall I put out the book “Tradeshow Success: 14 Proven Steps to Take Your Tradeshow Marketing to the Next Level.” I’ve done several promotions around it, given away a bunch of copies, and use it as my main calling card.
But I’ve never done a webinar on the book. Until now. Check it out:
I hadn’t seen more than a couple of tradeshow memes until I stumbled across a Tumblr by Anders Boulanger, otherwise known as Anders the TradeshowInfotainer, called simply TradeshowMemes. There are some great ones there, but if you poke around the corners of the internet, there are quite a few out there. So let’s have a little fun and go through a few here:
Want to make some on your own? Check out MemeGenerator and see what you can come up with. And be sure to share!
This is a guest post by Christine Ton of Stratacache.
I had no idea what to expect when I walked into my first-ever tradeshow. I imagined it to be like one of those state fairs where you would walk through different tents, or in this case, a bunch of booths. There were people everywhere, and the experience was incredible for a first time attendee. From the flashing signs to the abstract booth shapes and sizes—every stand was so unique and told a different story.
As a first time tradeshow attendee, I decided to make a pros and cons list while I was at GlobalShop 2016 to further breakdown my experience.
Great Place to Network-There are so many companies that are at the show and it’s a good time to hand out your business card to the places you are most interested in. Strike up a conversation and see what opportunities lie ahead to strike a deal.
Show Off the Latest and Greatest-Tradeshows are a great place to test the waters on new products and services that your company is getting ready to launch. Get feedback on some of these items and take back some information that could make it even better for the next time. See and hear first-hand on how people react to your business.
A More Focused Industry– There are a lot of tradeshows that revolve around specific industries. When you are at a tradeshow with people in your market, you are reaching an audience that is relevant and important to your business.
The Lead Scanners Are Amazing-Collecting leads is extremely valuable, especially if you are at a huge show. It’s an easy way to collect information in order to follow up with your potential clients. Some scanners allow you to take notes too, which is incredibly helpful if you are meeting a lot of people each day.
It’s Expensive- From electricity/internet, to the booth rental itself, everything costs money. It’s amazing how quickly it adds up, and I don’t mean by a few hundred dollars, I mean by thousands and thousands of dollars.
Risk Factor– You have no guarantee at getting your money back from a show—which is why it is extremely important to be prepared. You can spend thousands of dollars on your booth, but it means nothing if your audience isn’t engaged or interested in your business products/services.
A Lot of Boxes to Check-Setting up for a tradeshow isn’t easy. You don’t just put down your name and show up to your ready-made booth. It takes work and a lot of hands to get everything in order. Get your company organized before show festivities. You don’t want to end up at your booth to find out you forgot to ship the main attraction back home.
Overall, my first tradeshow experience was wonderful—but it wouldn’t have been without the organization and help from the entire team putting the show together. It’s a jungle out there, so get prepared and be ready to answer any questions that may come your way. The opportunities are endless if you know how to work the room.
STRATACACHE is a provider of intelligent digital signage, digital merchandising, mobile enablement and rich media solutions that help influence customers at the point-of-decision, leading to new sales opportunities, with over 1.3 million software activations globally.