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

Tradeshow presenting

Repeal and Replace: The Tradeshow World’s Version

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.

repeal and replace

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.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee: Jan 23, 2017 [video replay]

On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, I had a chance to sit down with Mike Duseberg or Magic Means Business:

Mike has put together a couple of nice things for viewers that he mentioned at the end of the broadcast. Check ’em out here.

And as for the two books in the One Good Thing that Mike mentioned, you can go take a look at them here:

Jay Abraham: Get Everything You Can Out of All You’ve Got

Jeb Blount: Fanatical Prospecting

And here’s Mike’s Twitter account.


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10 Things to Look for in Your Competitors’ Tradeshow Booths

Of course you’re busy at the tradeshow, but make time to check out your competitors’ tradeshow booths. You’ll learn useful stuff! Here are ten things to look for:

  1. tradeshow exhibit competitors

    New products or services. What are they launching, what is there that wasn’t last year? What is not in the booth that was there last year?

  2. Size of booth. Did they increase or decrease the size of the booth? What else changed?
  3. Lead generation. Can you get a good sense of what their lead generation and capture methods are?
  4. People. Who’s there? Do they have management along with booth staffers? How many?
  5. Preparation and engagement. Does the booth staff act prepared and trained? Do they greet visitors properly, or do they sit in the back behind a table and wait for eye contact?
  6. Exhibit function. Is there easy access to their booth or do they have tables or other items blocking the path? Does it look cluttered or clean? Is there significant meeting space?
  7. Messaging. is their brand message consistent throughout or does it leave you wondering?
  8. Visitors. are they getting a lot of visitors? Do you recognize any visitors as targets you’d like to connect with?
  9. Giveaways. Do they have giveaways? If so, what are they handing out, and is there any conversation that goes on prior to the visitor getting the freebie?
  10. Presentations. are they giving presentations in the booth? If so, is it a hired pro presenter or is it some member of management? If you can’t tell, go ahead and ask.

Once the show’s over, debrief with your comrades and learn what you can about your competitors’ appearances at the show. I’ll bet that information will come in handy some day.

9 Secrets to Tradeshow Success

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.

Everyone seemed to want to chime in: Huffington Post, Inc., Brandwatch, Forbes, Tradeshow Advisor, USA Today and others.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. IMG_3420

    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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Follow up. When you do get leads, don’t sit on them. Pick up the phone and get back to them. Nuff said.

Using Virtual Reality in a Tradeshow Booth [Webinar Replay]

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.

Here’s the webinar:

Sign up for future webinars at TradeshowGuy Webinars.com.

The Five Stages of Tradeshow Management

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.

panic-button

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!


Want a free digital copy of my “Tradeshow Success” book? Click here.

14 Proven Steps to Tradeshow Success [Webinar Replay]

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:

You can pick up a digital copy of the book at TradeshowSuccessBook.com. Or get your own copy here.

Tradeshow Memes Gone Wild

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!


Click Here to Get Your Digital Copy of My New Book

Thoughts of a First-Time Tradeshow Attendee

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.

Globalshop

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.

Pros:

  • 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.

Cons:

  • 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.


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