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

Blog

7 Best Tradeshow Marketing Actionable Podcasts of 2019

Looking back at 2019 as we tumble freely into 2020, I got to thinking about the many people I’ve talked to over the past three years on my weekly TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee. In fact, you might have seen my blog post recently, 10 Podcasts From 2019 Worth Another Listen.

And they were all good, fun and worth your time to listen.

But I got to thinking about podcasts that actually gave you solid actionable tips to make things happen. And there were several. Let’s recap and give you a chance to dig in again.

Seth Kramer: Seth is a longtime professional presenter and, in this conversation, shares great tips on how to use a presenter, and how to prepare your staff for the influx of people and leads that will result. Other tips include how to gauge the interest of potential clients as they watch the presentation.

Sam Smith of Social Point: Sam talks about the many ways that games can be used to bring people to your booth and keep them there. Tips on creating an engaging activity, how to strategize to accomplish your objectives, and using new technology in tradeshow booths.

Francis Friedman: What’s happening with the Modern Digital Tradeshow? A lot! And Francis digs into how our industry is the foundation of the 1X per year event and the world is a 24/7/365 digital world.

Laura Allen is known as The Pitch Girl, and frankly, her method of distilling the essence of your pitch to a short soundbite is one of the handiest things you can have at a tradeshow when someone asks you what you do.

David Newman is a marketer’s marketer. His ideas work on so many levels, with tradeshows being just one. He discusses how to start a marketing plan, offers tips on marketing videos, how to use speaking (yes, at tradeshows) as a way to market your business and more.

Joan Stewart, the Publicity Hound. Yes, this appeared in late 2018. But hey, this half-hour podcast is probably the best 30 minutes you’ll spend if you’re trying to get a handle on your tradeshow marketing with specific actionable tips. Tips on preparation (get the show manual, try to find a speaking or panel slot), what to do at the show (make sure you have enough handouts such as FAQs, cheat sheets, quizzes, flash drives, etc.), why you should hang out a few times near the media room (get a blogger to write something about your company, let media folks know you’re an expert in two or three areas of your industry and many more), how to visit competitors booths, how to follow up and so much more. Seriously, a goldmine of actionable information related specifically to tradeshow marketing.

Hope you enjoy these seven podcast/vlog replays and find some great tips to put to use as you head into your 2020 tradeshow marketing schedule!


5 Things to Do in January Before Your Tradeshow Schedule Really Takes Off

Let’s assume that your company does a fair amount of tradeshow marketing. Maybe a dozen shows, including two or three large national shows and smaller, regional or more-focused shows where your product fits in.

Your first show of the new year is still a couple of months away, so you’re probably thinking you have time to make sure all is right.

And you’re probably on the right track.

But it might be worthwhile to go over your checklist for the new year one last time.

Let’s assume that you had decent results last year but would like to improve on those results in 2020.

Here are a number of areas to look at and things to consider as you plan your show schedule.

Know Your ROI

Return on Investment is critical for tradeshow success. Just because you’re getting sales doesn’t mean you’re making money. Calculating your ROI is, in theory, straightforward enough. You’ll need to know a few things, such as how much it cost you to exhibit at a specific show. Add those numbers up, including travel, booth space, any capital investments such as a new exhibit, any samples you handed out, drayage, shipping – all of it – until you get a final number.

Now, gather all the leads from that show, check with sales to learn how much profit the company actually netted from those leads. Then do the math.

Here’s a link to a blog post on calculating ROI and ROO. And if you’d like to download an ROI calculation spreadsheet courtesy of Handshake, click here.

Expand Your Goals Beyond ROI to Other Things

Beyond your goals of making money, see what else you can do to make your tradeshow investment worthwhile. Drive traffic to your website or social media platforms, track the number of booth visitors, networking with industry colleagues, launching new products and more – these are all valid and valuable things to track.

Plan Some Surveys

A tradeshow is a great place to do a little casual market research. Set up a survey on a tablet, offer a prize to people that answer questions, and see what useful information you get.

Train Your Staff

Really, when was the last time you paid a professional to come in and train your booth staff? The proof is in the pudding. A well-trained booth staff is one of the most important things you can do to increase your level of success.

Hire a Professional Presenter

Perhaps not every tradeshow booth needs a presenter, but if you’re going to get serious about showing off a complicated product, having a professional presenter that knows how to draw a crowd and distill the critical bits and pieces of your product or service in invaluable. And worth every penny.

Beyond these ideas, it always helps to keep your staff informed on plans as appropriate. If your staff knows what you’re planning and what the company’s goals are, and why, they will be much more likely to have buy-in to the company’s success.

Make it a great 2020!

Wake Up and Smell the New Year!

It’s a little hackneyed, I know, but how often do you say to yourself, “Where does the time go?”

I said it again just a day or two ago when I noticed the calendar, did the math, and said, Holy Smoke, where does the time go?

2020 beckons. Are you ready?

I don’t usually do a formal year-end assessment of my business, TradeshowGuy Exhibits. In the past I have shared on these pages and in the weekly podcast, the state of the business. And I don’t plan to do a formal assessment this year.

But, having said that, I can safely say that 2019 was the best year yet for TradeshowGuy Exhibits. In terms of new business, new clients, and total dollars. Which means we must be doing something right.

The challenge of running your own business, and specifically a business in the tradeshow world, is that cycles often determine the amount of business and the number of clients we work with at any given time.

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!

For example, the first four months of the year were incredible. New projects, new clients galore. The next four months were good, not great. Certainly not like the first four months. And the last four months have seen us hunting and wishing for more business. But like the cycles that we end up living with, I can already see a few months into the future and see things picking up. Perhaps not as grand as it was 12 months ago, but still good.

This year also was the third year of my weekly TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee video blog, which is also posted on SoundCloud as an audio podcast.

Another 100 or so articles, along with the podcast, were posted on this blog, bringing the total posts to over 1000. In November the blog also celebrated its eleventh birthday. If you’d have told me I’d still be blogging eleven years later, I would have probably choked. But wow, here we are.

And personally, I kept up a consistent exercise routine of daily yoga, daily walks (with the dog who insists!), lots of bicycle riding and lots of skiing.

How about you? How was your year? Was it what you expected? What do you have planned for 2020?

Whatever you are looking for next year, buckle up – it should be a wild ride!

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, December 16th, 2019: FUN

What is fun? Why are some things fun to you but not to others, or vice versa? Why do some people appear to have more fun that you, even though they’re doing the same thing?

Lots of things to explore on the nature of FUN on this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee. Also, today is ZZ Top’s Billy Gibbons’ 70th birthday, so he gets a little shoutout!

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: Exhibitor Magazine.

6 Earworms for Your Next Tradeshow

What is an earworm? Basically, it’s song or melody that gets stuck in your head and you have a hard time unsticking it. It goes around and around and won’t go away.

It happens to me all the time. I must have fifty songs bounce around my head on any given day. Some stick for a few moments, others for up to an hour.

Why not come up with a short list of good songs to get stuck in your head that make sense for your next tradeshow appearance?

Let’s start with Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately?”

It’s catchy and gets to the point of any attendee’s message to an exhibitor: yeah, I’ve seen your stuff before, but what have you done for me lately? Plus it’s a classic mid-80s dance video, so there’s that.

Prince – Kiss

Another video from 1986. Popular year, perhaps? Maybe not an actual kiss, but certainly a metaphorical one. You want that connection that leads to becoming either a client or a supplier. And to do that, there’s a certain amount of closeness that must be done.

So why not a metaphorical kiss?

Rolling Stones – Get off My Cloud

Exhibiting at a tradeshow means sharing the stage with hundreds or even thousands of other exhibitors. But in YOUR booth, you’re the master. No other brands allowed. So yeah, get off my cloud, two’s a crowd!

Beatles – Come Together

Now that we’re in the Sixties for a few moments, how about we ask The Beatles for a song? Come Together is certainly a great earworm, and oh-so-appropriate for a large gathering.

Billie Eilish – Bad Guy

Let’s jump up to the present for Billie Eilish and her mega-hit Bad Guy. Not only is it catchy as hell, but at every tradeshow there always seems to be a bad guy. Sometimes it’s the neighbor exhibitor that’s playing loud music in their booth or crowding out your visitors. Or some floor manager that is making it difficult to get your crates delivered to your booth in a timely maner. The good thing is, there are not that many bad guys at tradeshows. Most people are there to have a good time and be a good guy or gal.

Queen: We Will Rock You

Exactly what you’re looking to do at your next tradeshow: rock your visitors.

Got a song stuck in your head?

Tradeshows Succeed Because It’s Real Life

Back in the dark ages of technology and social media, say 2008 or so, I read many prognosticators who predicted that tradeshows would disappear. Or become shells of themselves, simply because everyone was going digital. I remember seeing online ‘virtual tradeshows’ where you could navigate from booth to booth and see what companies were hawking.

Except that virtual tradeshows never really got going so much. And the real thing is doing just fine, thank you very much.

Why? My hunch is that it’s because people are face-to-face. In real time. In real life. Instead of interacting online over Skype or virtual tradeshows.

Don’t get me wrong: there is a time and place for interacting online, for social media, for Skype or Zoom.

But tradeshows are here to stay and they’re growing.

A recent (July 2019) post from Marketing Charts indicates that tradeshows have not only proven to be effective across all stages of the buyer’s journey, the channel has a projected annual compound growth rate of 4.3% through 2023.

The article shares other key points, including that tradeshows are the second largest and fastest-growing source of B2B growth. The B2B tradeshow market is expected to be a $15.7 Billion market in 2019, moving up to $18.5 Billion by 2023.

Yes, tradeshows as a method of marketing are critical to a company’s success. The money spent on tradeshows often will take up as much as a third of a company’s marketing spend.

There are lot of reasons that companies are successful at tradeshow marketing (as well as many reasons they’re not successful!), but to my mind it all comes down to the face-to-face aspect.

It’s Real Life, not digital.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee, December 9, 2019: Permission

Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to do something. You might be surprised to know that it’s harder than it sounds. On this week’s TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee podcast/vlog, I dig into the concept of giving yourself permission to do – or not to do – creative things in your life.

This week’s ONE GOOD THING: The Oregon Ducks takedown of the Utah Utes in the Pac-12 Championship Game Friday Night.

How do You Stand Out in a Crowd?

Back from Thanksgiving week, a nice few days away from work. Sit down at the computer Monday morning.

Hundreds of emails piled up in my in-box. 785 to be precise. Lots of them with pitches on Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I mean, a ton of pitches.

Delete them all: delete, delete, delete. Don’t bother to read them. They do nothing for me.

On a few, I decide to unsubscribe. But that takes longer. And with most of the newsletters I unsubscribe from, I feel like they keep sending me stuff. So what’s a guy to do?

It’s obvious that none of those emails stood out. They did nothing for me (I think I said that already). I’m not looking for any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, I have work to do. I’m not looking for Christmas presents for anyone, or to save money on things that I probably would not buy at any point. I’m busy and want to get these off of my to-do list as soon as possible, which means I’m scanning quickly and deleting almost everything once I determine it’s not a client, or a potential client.

I’m not their target market.

Email is one thing. Let’s move from email to other venues, such as retail, or online ads, or, hey, tradeshows!

When people walk by your retail store in a shopping mall, are you doing anything to stand out?

When you advertise online, what makes your ad stand out?

When people walk by your tradeshow booth, are you doing anything to stand out in a crowd?

It’s easy to ignore and delete an email. It’s easy to walk by a retail store without stopping. It’s a piece of cake to ignore ads on your screen.

It’s pretty easy to walk by a tradeshow booth, too, unless something really outstanding is going on at the booth. Maybe it’s a unique booth. Maybe it’s a presentation that draws you in, entertains you and informs you of the company’s products and services. Maybe it’s a unique food sample. Could be anything.

Tradeshows have a distinct advantage over emails, and here’s why: emails go out to people who have (supposedly) opted-in to a company’s pitches. But over time, it’s not uncommon for that company – which is often owned by another entity – to share that email address with another company, and soon you’re getting pitches from (somewhat) related companies or products or services. Has that happened to you? Happens all the time to me.

The difference that tradeshows have is that you have spent handsomely to be at the show. But the show is targeted, the audience is specialized. The people walking the show floor have also paid to be there, and they are usually there for specific reasons, the main one being that they are SHOPPING for something, and since you’re exhibiting there, chances are they’re SHOPPING FOR SOMETHING YOU ARE SELLING.

Still, you have to stand out in a crowd. Tradeshows have a lot of competition. Your biggest and best competitors are doing all they can to make their best pitch to the same people you’re pitching. That’s the name of the game.

Which means that whatever you do, it had better be good. It had better be worth your time and money.

It had better be something that stands out in a crowd.

What’s So Funny About Trade Shows: Book Review

Yes, there are a lot of books about tradeshows. In fact, I wrote two of them. Many – actually, most – are good investments. A candid, experienced author can walk any exhibitor through the briar patch of tradeshows, which can often ensnare the inexperienced exhibitor. Actually, tradeshows can ensnare the experienced exhibitor, too. It happens all the time. Just check out the Plan B column in the monthly Exhibitor Magazine, which is full of real tales of exhibitors having to MacGuyver their way through the crazy, deadline-heavy world of tradeshow exhibiting.

Mel White, the VP Marketing/Business Development at Classic Exhibits, has always been a prolific and entertaining writer. His blog posts enliven the pages at Classic Exhibits.com, and his insight into tradeshow marketing comes from years of experience. (Full disclosure: Mel was instrumental in going through both of my books with a fine tooth comb to make them much better than where they started, and encouraging me at every step).

And now Mel has released a book available as both a Kindle download and as paperback, What’s So Funny About Trade Shows? A Humorous Guide to Effective Trade Show Marketing. Brilliantly illustrated by Meredith Lagerman, the book touches on a lot of the elements that make his blog posts entertaining and educational: zombies, Sasquatch, dumb stuff people do at tradeshows, why your booth staff kinda sucks and much more. And, of course it’s highly entertaining while making sure to impart great tips and tricks along the way.

As an introduction to tradeshow marketing, or as a refresher if you’ve been exhibiting for years, What’s So Funny About Trade Shows? is a great addition to any marketing library. Highly recommended!

Pick up the paperback book or Kindle download now!

Or go to Classic Exhibits and get a free PDF download.

TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee: 10 from 2019 Worth Another Listen

When you put out a new podcast/vlog every week, frankly, it’s hard to keep up. Makes sense. That’s a lot of content to devour, and it’s easy to let things slip by.

But 2019 has given me a lot of great guests, and chances are you may have missed some of the really good ones (and there are many!). So here’s a random list of 10 guests I hosted on TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee this year that you might have missed. And even if you didn’t miss them, they could be worth another listen:

January 8: BJ Enright of Tradeshow Logic discusses the groundbreaking NAB Show Cares program that looks to address hefty drayage and material handling fees at the National Association of Broadcasters show.

March 25: Dave Scott, long time Portland on-air radio fixture, gets into the podcast game with his Embrace the Change podcast.

May 13: Phil Gorski discusses 3D Virtual Tour Technology and how it can affect tradeshow marketers.

April 8: Tom Beard of Eco-Systems Sustainable Displays talks sustainability in the exhibit world. This vlog/podcast made more timely by the recent announcement that Classic Exhibits and Eco-Systems are merging.

June 17: Danny Orleans. Magic on the tradeshow floor is always an attractor. Danny, Chief Magic Operator at Corporate Magic Ltd talks about how he works magic into a presentation.

June 3: David Newman of Do It Marketing talks, as you might expect, marketing. I have to admit that I like to read his emails, which come about once a day. Really short, but a good mix of very usable info and pitches.

July 22: Howard Berg. Fascinating, fast-paced learning. Howard was a gas.

July 15: Ken Newman of Magnet Productions. Ken travels the world doing his professional presentations for tradeshow clients. He is also a big presence in the Blanket the Homeless effort in the SF Bay area, and talks about both in this fun interview.

September 16: Jay Gilbert, a long time music industry executive has had his own company for years now. And while this is not much related to the tradeshow world, it’s a fascinating look at what it takes in the world of music promotion.

September 23: Laura Allen, The Pitch Girl, helps distill the essence of your pitch down to a simply formula. Very useful in so many situations!

There are many more of course – just search for TradeshowGuy Monday Morning Coffee – or browse the archives at your leisure.

We’ll be back next week with another episode.


© Copyright 2016 | Oregon Blue Rock, LLC
Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

Call 800-654-6946 for Prompt Service
Copyrighted.com Registered & Protected <br />
QA4E-AZFW-VWIR-5NYJ