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

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Choosing a Shipping Company

What company should ship your tradeshow booth? Could be a tough question and a difficult answer. But there are a few steps you can take to make it easier.

photo by Alain Gillet
photo by Alain Gillet

First, ask other exhibitors. Find out who they’ve used, what their experience has been and their thoughts about the cost. Then start a few months before your next show so you’ll have time for due diligence on the potential shipper.

Determine if the company handles a lot of tradeshow booths. If so, perhaps they’ve got a truck going to the same show, which could lead to some savings.

Some questions you might ask:

Can you track shipments online? How your shipments are kept secure? Have they worked with the venue before? Do they have any references?

To get an accurate quote, you’ll need a count of the pieces you’re shipping, along with dimensions and accurate weight estimates.

Finally, once you’ve found a good shipper, don’t be afraid to be open to other recommendations – keep your ears open. The industry shifts quickly and keeping your options open is always a good idea.

Check our July 2008 Newsletter for more on “Shipping Your Tradeshow Booth” – (243 KB).

Five Ways to Cut Your Trade Show Budget

In the old days it seemed a tradeshow was an excuse to party half the night and wake up in the hot tub.

But with an eagle eye on budgets being the norm today, how can you stretch your bucks? Let’s look at five ways:

1. Plan ahead. The sooner you know details of your show set-up and travel plans the better. You can usually save by submitting show paperwork early, and booking flights and hotels months, not weeks, ahead of the show.
2. Buy a nice carpet and take your own trash cans instead of renting.
3. Know the rules. Some shows will enforce codes that can be very costly, or penalize you if you break them. Your trade show manager should have the show books nearly committed to memory.
4. Ship early. Last-minute drayage costs can shoot the moon.
5. Avoid high cleaning fees: take your own carpet sweeper.

These are just thought-starters. With a little brainstorming you come up with your own $$-saving list.

Client Profile: Mountain Rose Herbs

Business Name:  Mountain Rose Herbs
Person responding to questionnaire: Irene Wolansky
Title:  Marketing Director
Years in business:  22
Location:  Eugene, Oregon
Approx number of employees:  65
Website Address:  www.mountainroseherbs.com

Main target market: Our target market is fairly large, and includes almost everyone!  We sell retail to the public as well as wholesale to stores, co-ops, manufacturers, resellers, etc.

Most successful marketing strategy/tactic or method: We don’t believe that there has been a single successful marketing strategy for us.  Rather, we believe that it is a culmination of everything that we do which has led to our marketing success.  This includes print and web advertising, sponsorships of festivals and conferences, postcard and catalog mailings, e-newsletters, and our presence at tradeshows with our beautiful booth made by Interpretive Exhibits.

What is the best thing you get out of tradeshow marketing? We enjoy the opportunity to meet our customers and suppliers in person, make new contacts, and show people who we truly are.  For us, tradeshows are not about making sales, they are about strengthening new and existing relationships.

Biggest complaint? Our only complaints are sore feet at the end of the day and greedy attendees who grab everything in sight including our display materials!

Favorite Quote: Attendees often tell us that our booth is one of their favorite at conferences, but our favorite is when they tell us that they “find our booth an oasis in the middle of a hectic show.” People comment that it feels so relaxing and inviting at our booth that they don’t want to leave!  We let them stay as long as they would like.

Biggest Lesson Learned: Find a reliable company that you trust to set up your booth.  Interpretive Exhibits assisted us with this, and we are forever grateful to them.  We will never hire show labor again!

Most extreme thing you ever did?  Business or personal?
The most extreme thing that Mountain Rose Herbs has done was eradicating conventional products entirely from our product line.  We offer over 3,000 products, so this was no small task!

On a personal level I can’t think of a single most extreme thing that I have done, but it might be backpacking alone throughout Southeast Asia.  I spent 6 months in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia, and it was one of the most rewarding and amazing things that I have ever done.

All-time favorite movie? I don’t watch too many movies, but “Office Space” is definitely one of my all-time favorites.

Tradeshow Marketing Podcast: Emilie Barta Interview

What does it take to choose a professional tradeshow presenter?

We talked with just such a person in Emilie Barta, a New York-based independent tradeshow presenter. Some of the topics we covered included: how can you find a good presenter? What kinds of questions should you ask? What results should you expect?

And from the exhibitor’s perspective, why should you even consider bringing in a ‘hired gun’ to demo your products or services?

It all made for a lively and informative interview for our latest installment of the Tradeshow Marketing Podcast from Interpretive Exhibits in Salem.

You can find Emilie Barta online here.

Tradeshow Blues Back

Jeffrey D. Brown has re-launched Tradeshow Blues, a website that he’s maintained for years mostly as a labor of love. Tradeshow industry folks have congregated around features such as “Spill the Beans” and the Tradeshow Wall.

Jeffrey and I have had a number of conversations over the years and I find him to be a passionate advocate for tradeshow marketing. Definitely picked up some useful tips from him and the site, too.

Jeffrey’s on Twitter, so you might give him a follow at http://twitter.com/tradeshowblues.

One thing which fascinates me is the Tradeshow Wall, an interesting take on the ‘wall’ concept which seemed to be the rave for a short time back in, what, 2005? But it’s a wall with a twist. Take a look and see what you think!

Jeffrey also hosts a guitar wall, a wall for Orange County and the Housing Wall – just launched to help people find homes.

The Guitar Wall in particular is a terrific resource for anyone interested in guitars (me!). Lots of links to guitar manufacturers and suppliers.

Okay, rock on!

Podcast: Amber Lindsay Interview

As an exhibitor, how can you get the attention of the media at a tradeshow? After all, media coverage is free and has a lot more credibility than a purchased ad. So it makes sense to have a strategy in place to court the media’s interest and – hopefully – good coverage.

What gets the media’s attention? How do you approach the media? What kinds of things do you need in place on your website that will help the media see you in a media-savvy light so they’re more inclined to cover you?

We put those questions to Public Relations Director Amber Lindsey with Koopman Ostbo, Inc. in Portland. KO is a Marketing Communications company, focusing on brand development, packaging, public relations, consumer testing and yes, media relations.

It turned out to be nothing short of a ‘tradeshow media relations’ primer! Listen here:

How to Attend a Tradeshow for Maximum Results

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First off, what are your objectives for attending a tradeshow if you want maximum results? To network? To spy on the competition? To learn about new products for your store?

Determine your top two or three objectives, and then make an Action Plan. If it entails ‘learning’ you’ll want to figure out which workshops meet your goals. If it’s to learn about competition, go over a list of exhibitors and map a route through the show floor.

If you’re researching a specific company, study their website and search for press releases or news stories relating to them.

Tradeshows and conventions are the ultimate for networking. Clients, prospects, industry experts, consultants and company management will all be there. Looking for a job? A tradeshow is a terrific place to make connections. You get to see the company put on its best and meet some of the shakers and movers.

Attending a tradeshow is a bit like a hunting expedition. You never know what you’ll get in your sights.

101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing

101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing

Now that we’ve already had several dozen downloads of the free e-book “101 Rules of Tradeshow Marketing” from all our Tweets it might be time to do an actual, official post announcing the e-book. So here it is.

Given that tradeshow marketing is (or can be) a very expensive marketing proposition, and that almost 80% of tradeshow leads go down the drain, I thought it was time to compile a fun crib sheet or ‘cheat sheet’ of Rules of Marketing. Yeah, there are probably more than 101 rules, but it’s such a nice number.

To download the book click here or click on the image of the book.

And…yes! We’d love to have your comments and feedback! Feel free to tell us what you think.

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Tradeshow Guy Blog by Tim Patterson

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