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


Classic Exhibits Prepares for Exhibitor 2012

I’ve had the pleasure of representing Classic Exhibits, based in Portland, Oregon, for several years. They produce great products and work diligently with customers and end users to give excellent value. They’ve exhibited at Exhibitor in Las Vegas for years, showing off great new exhibits that lead the industry.

This year could be different. When I got wind of their exhibit this year, I just had to investigate. After all, that’s what I do.



Posting Video from the Tradeshow Floor

It can’t be the easiest thing to post video from a tradeshow floor, there amongst the chaos and cacophony of exhibitors and attendees.

However, if you make a plan to get some video out during the show, you’ll surely benefit from it!

So to make a plan, make sure you have the pieces you’ll need:

  • YouTube or Facebook account
  • Video camera: Flip or Kodak; Smartphone with video capabilities or similar
  • Online access, either via a laptop with direct ‘net access or w-fi, or your Smartphone
  • Ability to edit video (or at least be able to shoot short videos that are ready-to-upload immediately upon shooting)
  • A list of types of videos you’d like to shoot

Once you have the first four items – the technical ability to shoot, edit and upload video – your next step is to create the shortlist of types of videos you’d like to shoot.

Some of those that you might consider include:

  • Testimonials
  • Product demonstrations
  • Guest appearances in your booth (authors, tech guys, creative folks who don’t normally see the light of day!)
  • Brief discussions with company reps (CEO, Marketing folks, etc) that discuss pertinent topics taking place at the show

Once you create the list, you are ready for the show. To implement your plan, put someone in charge. Create a schedule, which may include dates and times for product demos, guests, etc. If you can schedule testimonials with your raving clients, do so. Other testimonials may just grow out of random visits from clients or customers. Look for opportunities to put them in front of the camera. If you have room in your booth, leave the camera up on a tripod and ask if they have a few minutes to discuss your product and how it works for them.


If you can follow this type of shooting schedule and compile several raw videos during the show, chances are you can find a few per day to upload to your YouTube channel or to Facebook (or both). Hopefully, you’ll have a lot of videos that will give you plenty of material that you can edit and release over the next several months, hopefully right up to the promotion of next year’s appearance at the same show.

You’ll benefit from posting video in numerous ways: showing non-attendees what’s going on by including them in your show; showing off the various people who do attend (people love the attention); increasing brand awareness, showing how a product works to someone who might not have otherwise ever seen in, which might create a new customer; putting a face on company employees who might otherwise remain nameless and faceless, which makes your company more attractive to people who like to know the kinds of people they’re considering purchasing from, and much more. No doubt you could add to this list of reasons why shooting video at your tradeshow is beneficial – in fact, feel free to do so!

Creative Commons License

 photo credit: hr.icio


QR Code Scanning Failures (Video Demo)

Getting increasingly frustrated by the inability of my smartphone to scan QR Codes that show up in magazines, I thought it would be worthwhile to show exactly what happens (or doesn’t) when it’s time to find out more information.


Pick up my Kindle download ‘QR Code Tradeshow Marketing Guide’ here.

Get free training at Social Media Event Marketing U

A Dozen More Social Media Ideas for Your Tradeshow

  1. Tech@NYU Startup Week Spring 2011

    Put a ‘like’ button on your website. Install a FB widget.

  2. Keep Twitter followers informed. Information seems to spread quickly through the Twitterverse – it’s extremely easy to retweet a post and share. If you send something out on Twitter, chances are good that someone somewhere will pass it along.
  3. Make sure your Twitter profile is complete. This means having at least the basics: a link back to your site – or better yet, a specific Twitter landing page or to your Facebook page so they can connect with you on another platform; a good photo; and enough information so a visitor can decide if you’re worth interacting with.
  4. Tag posts ,YouTube uploads, Flickr photos: tags are how people find you. You can’t tag things enough.
  5. Schedule tweets and FB postings using Hootsuite. ‘Nuff said.
  6. Create an alumni group for your event on LinkedIn. It’s a great way to keep in touch with folks after the actual event, and to get them involved in the next event you do. If it’s not your event, look for a show group on LinkedIn. If there’s not one, consider starting one.
  7. Create a Deal. Yup, people love a deal, and they’ll go out of their way to get a good deal. How will they find out about your deal? One very effective way is through social media, especially Facebook and Twitter. If it’s a great deal, your followers will tell their followers, and so on.
  8. Use Foursquare to create deals for followers and check-ins Foursquare is still a bit out of the mainstream, but it is useful for those who choose to get involved. It’s yet another way for people to connect with you at a tradeshow booth.
  9. Use or create #hashtag for your event. This allows anyone on Twitter to track down any information on the show.
  10. Create a custom Twitter Background. Yeah, the basic Twitter backgrounds are sort of nice, a bit bland, but a custom Twitter background really helps to set you apart from the crowd. Just search for ‘create custom Twitter background’ and get a ton of resources.
  11. Need to get a video stream out? Use or
  12. Put your slide deck on Are you speaking at a show or conference? Share your slide deck with people who couldn’t make it to the show.
Creative Commons License

 photo credit: techatnyu


Swimming in the Social Media Sea

There has been a fundamental change in the way we connect with people for personal and business reasons. Have you noticed? It’s nothing we can control, and I’d wager we’re just seeing the beginning of the changes. Your best bet is to educate yourself, get started in social media (if you haven’t already) and start wading in. Eventually you’ll hit the deep end of the pool.

The question is: will you merely tread water, swim like a champion, or drown?

Going to the Hukilau

The new normal isn’t the old normal. Not only are the changes happening now, the pace of those changes is increasing. Does that make you upset, anxious and ready to crawl into a fetal position? I know it does for some people! When we don’t understand something, we as humans will often run from it. We’ll resist with all of our strength. We spend time thinking of what life must have been like in the Fifties, when business relationships were largely personal. When you went to the corner hardware store to solve a problem, you talked with the owner or manager, who was an old friend.
Maybe we fondly recall the technology of the 70s and 80s when fax machines, mass advertising and large-scale marketing were used by almost everyone. It may have been impersonal, but at least the changes were slow enough to assimilate.

Often we find ourselves wishing that the pace of technological acceleration was the same now as it was then.

But no. You’d be wrong. Those days are gone. Long gone. And they ain’t comin’ back.

Soooooo…what to do?

There is a small sign that hangs on my studio wall that reads “Start Now. Begin Anywhere.” It is a reminder that no matter where you start, it is better than not starting. So if it means setting up your first Twitter account, or posting a few tentative photos to Flickr, or seeing what it takes to start a YouTube channel, get going. You don’t have much time. Your competitors are saying the same thing: where do we start and what do we do?

I talked with a marketing person from a large multi-national company recently, whose corporate leaders still insist on ‘no social media’ in their world. As if it didn’t exist. As if by ignoring social media, it will go away.

Trust me, it won’t. They will lose ground, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, but believe me; they will lose ground against their competitors who are moving into the world of social media. Ignoring the sea change will get you swamped.

As someone who swims in the social media sea on a daily basis, I have to occasional step back and realize that not everybody is doing the same I am. Companies still struggle with the changes. Even companies who appear to be happily involved in social media with Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, YouTube Channels and LinkedIn pages find themselves puzzled by what they’re doing – and what they SHOULD be doing.

It’s a challenge – and it should be. Significant changes to the status quo are often hard to take. But if you realize that everyone else is going through the same thing, that makes it easier.

To begin – if that’s where you’re at – take a few steps, measure the results and your ability to interact with those tools, and do it again. And again. And again. It’s just a matter to getting used to it.

At your next tradeshow, for instance, plan on tweeting out or posting on Facebook whenever the opportunity arises. Take photos of clients and post them (ask permission first). Tweet out any special deals you have. Ask for feedback on new products or services. Check the response, make any adjustments you feel should be made – and do it again.

Give yourself permission to screw up – nobody really gets this stuff 100% right, anyway, so don’t feel you have to do this perfectly. Just get in the social media water and start splashing.

Creative Commons License

 photo credit: Justin Ornellas


10 Things NOT to do in Your Social Media Tradeshow and Event Marketing

Instead of posting another Top Ten List, I thought I’d put it to video. Just a smidge over four minutes long. Enjoy!



Social Media Tradeshow Marketing from the Bob Marley Songbook

If you’ve read this blog for awhile or know me at all, chances are you have discovered that, yes, I am a big Bob Marley fan. Have been since the mid 70s. Saw the guy on tour. Twice. Not to mention the tattoo.

So I thought it might be fun to thumb through Marley’s extensive library and pull some song titles for social media tradeshow marketing inspiration. And I thought it might be fun to grab some YouTube videos along the way… So here we go…!

Stir it Up


Before the show, get on Twitter and Facebook and let people know you’re going to be at the show. If you don’t stir the pot, so to speak, the only thing you have to depend on is how your booth is viewed and how your staff performs at the show itself. On the other hand, if you ‘stir it up’ on social media, you can spread the word about your booth (is it new?), where to find it, who and what are going to be there and generally create a bit of buzz.

Get Up, Stand Up


Not getting a fair shake from the show organizers? Getting a raw deal from a supplier? Well, don’t take it lying down! Get Up, Stand Up! Stand up for your rights! Be assertive (not aggressive) in making sure that you are getting the full measure of what you’re paying for. Be mindful of what you deserve – and think of those around you. Stand up for their rights as well when the time is right.

Rat Race


Yes, you’re in the rat race. There are hundreds, possibly thousands of exhibitors who are all trying to stand out from the crowd. No worries! As they say in Jamaica, soon come! Just realize that you’re part of the mix. Not only will you have a lot of competition, you can BE a lot of competition for the rest of the exhibitors. Present your booth and staff on a Positive Vibration and you’ll find that you won’t be Waiting in Vain.

Sun is Shining


What’s your outlook? Are you spreading positive vibrations, or are you Mr. Stick-in-the-Mud? If you believe that the sun eventually shine down on you, let your followers and friends online know about it!

One Love


Your clients and customers must feel some love for you in some way. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be buying your product or service. So return the love. When customers stop by, ask them if you can photograph them for your Facebook page. Or get them to sit down for a one-minute testimonial. Show them love by sharing the testimonial on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. They’ll love the recognition!



At some point you will be faced with a crisis – small, medium or (hopefully not) large. Keep in mind, this happens to everybody! If you can keep your head while everyone else is losing yours, you’ll appear as the cool, calm collected individual that people can depend on. Always have a Plan B in mind.

Wake Up and Live


Tradeshows are a jam-packed, chaotic environment that goes by really, really fast! Before you know it, they’re over, and you’re left wondering ‘what happened?’ Don’t let that happen to you. Take a few moments during the show to bask in it – to soak it all in – and if the spirit moves you, to share it with your social media community.



The show is over! Hallelujah! You can get back to normal, whatever that is for you. But at the end of he show, don’t forget about those social media followers. Tweet out your thanks, photos, videos and other items at the end of the show. It’ll help remind those followers who you are and what you do. And if you do take time to thank people by name (individual or organization), you’ll be seen as that much more human.


Why YouTube is Essential to Your Tradeshow Marketing Success

Let’s put a box around this: YouTube doesn’t make or break your tradeshow marketing success. Certainly you can find exhibitors that have never been on YouTube that have packed up after a show, ecstatic at the results they got at the show.

YouTube - Tradeshow Marketing
YouTube - Tradeshow Marketing

Nope – YouTube is essential if you want to delve into new media and touch people you’ve never reached before and have never bothered to see your booth at a show. Because, let’s face it, having a tradeshow booth is great. Tradeshow marketing, if done thoughtfully and effectively, can be one of the most worthwhile places to put your marketing dollars.

With YouTube, though, you’re moving into a whole new realm. If you haven’t added videos to the YouTube mix, here are a number of reasons why you should seriously consider using the platform as part of your tradeshow marketing efforts.

  • YouTube is the second largest search engine on the ‘net, right behind Google. Videos on YouTube can show up on the top results for both YouTube and Google.
  • Videos are cheap and easy to shoot, unlike the old days of only a few years ago when video editing software was really expensive, good cameras were a king’s ransom, and the whole package was bulky and unwieldy – and expensive. Nowadays, video from small handheld cameras like the Flip or a recent model smartphone are very good quality.
  • By adding links to the description of your YouTube video, your viewers are just a click away from your website. If your video is product specific, that link should be to a specific landing page, not to a generic front-page site link.
  • YouTube videos are extremely easy to share on YouTube and Twitter, and a simple cut-and-paste embeds them in your blog or website.
  • By shooting acres and yards of digital footage at your next tradeshow, you’re gathering material that can be used and posted for months.
  • People are easily informed with video, and there are millions of folks who prefer a two-minute video to a two-minute text blog post. Give those types of consumers the choice of video to win them over.
  • Video allows you to demonstrate things easily. By showing, your audience is knowing.
  • Videos are personal. When you interview a client for a testimonial, it’s easy to see exactly how they feel about your product or service.
  • It’s easy to add sub-titles or captions to videos to enhance what’s on-screen.
  • By making videos focus on a single idea or concept, you can keep them short – which means more people are willing to take a chance on them. There’s no hard and fast rule length of online videos, other than this: they should be as long as needed to get out the necessary information, but not one second longer.


Video on is hot: YouTube almost half a million unique visitors a month. Together, those users spend 2.9 billion hours on YouTube during the month. That’s 326,294 years.  You’ll find everything on YouTube, from business, biting babies and music videos to dancing cats.

By shooting video and posting it before your tradeshow to promote your appearance, you’re giving potential visitors a chance to find out more about you in a way they previously couldn’t.

By shooting video during the show you’re letting prospects and clients see what you’re all about – in living color.

By posting video from the show over the next few months, you’re stretching time to remind people of what you did at the show, and tease them on what they missed, and can likely see at the next show, whetting their appetite for the next go-round.

Video and YouTube may not make or break your tradeshow marketing, but it can exponentially increase your reach and influence. Which puts you miles ahead of your competition.


Six Ways to Use Video at your Next Tradeshow

If you’re not used to shooting video, it can be a major mental shift to be able to have your video camera ready to go at all times. A small Flip video (or similar) camera can help alleviate that some, but it’s still a bit of a shift to go from not shooting video at your shows to shooting a LOT of it for present and future use.

One way to be prepared is to simply be prepared: in the booth, keep your video camera out and attached to a tripod. That way it’s only a moment away from being able to turn the switch and shooting testimonials or demos.

Another way to always be prepared is to ensure that you always have enough power. In some cases that means extra AA batteries; in other cases it may mean that you are able to plug your video battery into a USB or AC outlet anytime. A full-power camera is easier to use than one that’s down to it’s last 10%!

Next, have a list of videos that you’d like to shoot – or at least a list of possible ideas. Here’s an incomplete list of things that you might consider at your next tradeshow:

  1. Testimonials: nothing like a satisfied customer telling potential customers how well your product or service works. The more details, the more believable (but make it short!).
  2. Demos: if you’re able to demonstrate how your product works inside your booth, shoot that demo a few times and put the best one up on your YouTube channel.
  3. Guests: if you have a celebrity or other type of guest, have them sit down for a short interview.
  4. The Boss: is the CEO stopping by and can he be counted on to be a good ‘face’ of your company or product? Then make sure you get him on video discussing something cool, new or important about your company or a specific product.
  5. Q&A: if your product makes people curious as to how it works, shoot random visitors asking questions (get their permission) and then show someone from your company explaining the answer.
  6. Other Products: do other exhibitors have products that can be used in conjunction with yours? Get one of reps from that company to your booth (or go to their booth) and get some video showing how that combination might work to benefit potential customers.

Yes, some of these may take more work than others. But if you come back from your tradeshow with a few hours of videos, this gives your marketing staff oodles of ways to use that video and roll it out on your YouTube channel, blog, website and Facebook page over the next several months. Be sure to put a package together to post a few weeks before next year’s show as well to promote the upcoming appearance.

People like to watch video online – the stats that support this keep growing all the time. Find ways to get people to spend a few moments with YOUR video and you may have a new customer.



Social Media is NEW! (No, it’s not…)

You’ve probably heard it a lot, and maybe even agree: Social media is NEW! It’s something that’s so brand-spanking new that it’s going to take you a lot of time and effort to figure it out! There are new tools, new toys, new ways of connecting. And since it’s NEW it’s gotta be confusing and confounding.

Nope, that’s not true. Social media has been around for quite awhile. Yes, some of the tools and toys are relatively new, but think about it: if you’ve been online for at least a decade you should be used to this stuff. I’ve been connecting with people online since before the Internet. You may remember a brief period of time in the early 90s – before the ‘net – when there were online community bulletin board systems (actually around from 1979 – 1995). These BBS’s would allow people to dial in to a central computer, share notes and programs. I remember having a conversation with a guy who introduced me to one of his BBS’s where he shared software. It would take two or three days to transfer a small software program from one computer to another via a dial-up connection.

But we were connected.

In fact, ‘instant chat’ was available as early as 1988, which was when IRC (internet relay chat) made its debut. It became a PC desktop feature with ICQ in 1996. Yes, we were sharing instant messages with smiley faces by the mid-90s.

Then came CompuServe, Prodigy and AOL (remember all those millions of CD’s you get in the mail hoping to get you to get on board with AOL?). And the web and email. Being from a radio background, my interest in those days was figuring out to share audio online. It wasn’t too tough, and shortly thereafter I was hosting (albeit briefly) a short comedy show online through a website I had figured out how to set up.

Yes, it was all pretty rudimentary in those days. But around 2004 podcasting came along and I jumped in with both feet.

Then around 2006 we all read about the new Web 2.0 where we’d all be interconnected. Except that we already were connected in so many ways.

Early in the decade lots of people were connecting using Friendster (founded 2002) and MySpace (2003).

Today with Facebook (2004), Twitter (2006), YouTube (2005) and LinkedIn (2003) generally regarded as the ‘big four’ of social networking, it’s not hard to realize that this stuff has been around for several years. And with our online connectivity reaching back a couple of decades, don’t believe anyone who says social media is “new” – it’s not.

What’s new is that the tentacles of social media are reaching further into small businesses, who are then trying to figure out how to implement these platforms into their marketing mix.

It takes some adjustment, admittedly. Often new people need to be brought on board, or current employees need to be re-purposed for some of their work day to ‘figure out’ how to use social media to reach their target market.

The good news is that there are unlimited resources available to help. If you’re the self-help type, you search blogs about social media marketing. If you’d rather hire consultants to teach you how to tie it all together, that’s appropriate as well. No matter how you approach it, there are myriad ways you can implement social media in your tradeshow or event marketing efforts.

But again – none of this is really new. If you think it is, you literally haven’t been paying attention. And you’re living in the past….around 1979.

If you still haven’t started using this “new” social media to reach your market, when do you plan to?

(image courtesy of Mentionablehonor and is used through Creative Commons)


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