Posts Tagged ‘trade show marketing’

Make your trade show plan more productive!

Posted on: March 22nd, 2016 by admin No Comments

Are you planning to exhibit at any shows in 2016 or 2017? If you haven’t already started planning, the time is now. Participating in trade shows are a big financial commitment. Laser focused planning will help guarantee an ROI.

I always recommend beginning trade show planning six to eight months in advance. You may want to consider additional time if your involvement in the show consists of more participation. I’ve been in your shoes many times and trust me when I say, nothing ever goes exactly as planned. To save you time, money and headaches, I’ve created this guide to make sure you stay on track.

The 12-month plan

  • Know your objectives for the entire year.

  • Assess the national trade show calendar with consideration to your marketing calendar.


  • Determine which shows are best for you, consider new shows in new markets.

  • Decide on your yearly trade show budget.

  • Create a plan on how you’ll spread this budget over all your planned participations.

8-10 months before each show

  • Work with the shows producer in conjunction with the exhibitor manual to determine any rules that may affect your participation. You’d be quite surprised how inconsistent even the most presumptive things can be from trade show to trade show. For instance, one show may permit the use of orange extension cords while they next show requires you to use only black. Seems trivial, but you’d hate to lose your access to electricity on kick off morning all because of the color of your extension cord!

  • Know all of the show deadlines and create a method to keep track of those deadlines. I also recommend creating a backup plan for major components.

  • Book any dinners, meetings, meeting rooms, caterers this far in advance.

5-7 months before each show

  • If you’re using a booth that you own and reuse, put it together and make sure all components are in good working condition, determine if any repairs are necessary. If you’re making any changes to to the display/graphics components, place these orders now.

  • Schedule any additional services such as shipping, installation and dismantling.

  • Schedule any publicity or pre-show events/promotions. Create invitation lists for said events.

  • Purchase any travel accommodations including flights, rental cars and hotels.

  • Purchase any local advertising needed for the area surrounding the show.

3-5 months before the show

  • Determine, design and order any promotional material you’ll be needing such as brochures and giveaways.

  • Schedule shipping

  • Contract with servicers in the local area who will provide you with electrical, carpet, security, booth setup, etc.

  • Develop a plan to manage your leads

90-day countdown

  • Print mailers and brochures

  • Send out newsletters

  • Create press kits

  • Train staff, hire temp staffing if necessary

  • Create emergency kit

Please keep in mind that this list is just a guide!


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.


Reaching Niche Markets

Posted on: February 29th, 2016 by admin No Comments

As many business owners know, if you pitch your product or service to everyone, you may end up selling to no one. Figuring out your niche market – where you fit in- gives you precise direction on where to cast your marketing net. Traditional wide-net advertising (radio, tv and print) are great for letting the public know you exist, but there are often enough holes in such marketing tactics that many potential client sources are missed.

What is a niche market?


A niche market is a specific sector of a larger audience. It should consist of specific products/services for a specific group of customers. For example, if you sell artist supplies, your niche might be brushes designed specifically for professional painters.

Choosing a niche market

I find that one of the biggest mistakes a startup can make is not defining their niche market before they launch. Startups tend to be overly full of excitement and confidence that can land them in the category of “messy.” By defining a niche market from the beginning, you are able to laser focus your energy, time and finances to success. I love niche markets because it allows the business to set themselves apart from competition as an expert in their industry while developing more intimate relationships with customers.

Stand out, be different

Practically every industry you can think of is saturated with companies offering the same (or similar) products and services. If you’re not doing something different, something amazing, people have no reason to buy from you. When choosing your niche target market, do research and see what needs of this niche market aren’t being met by your competition and then meet it!

Multiple niche markets

Under rare circumstances, a company may succeed by targeting only one niche market. It’s common to see these companies revenue top out, once they have saturated their own market. Once you’ve tapped into one niche market and it’s working, don’t be afraid to tap into additional niche markets. I prefer to keep my niche markets relative so that they can benefit each other. For example, let’s say you make and sell a diverse line of children’s clothing to small boutiques. While you sell many different types of children’s clothes, you’ve had great success in your niche market of children’s sportswear. You’re looking to expand into a new niche market. The big question here is, do you continue to push your sportswear collection to a different type of store, or do you find a new market for a different division of your clothing? Where can you make make the most impact with your relationships and expertise?



About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.


Cut Trade Show Costs

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 by admin No Comments

Cut trade show costs

The recession might be behind us, yet companies and individuals alike are watching their money better than ever before. It is common knowledge that the first two budget cuts a company will make under financial pressure are marketing and training. It is no coincidence that trade shows are exactly that, marketing and training. When you consider the cost of exhibit space, payroll, flights etc., the cost of participating in a trade show can quickly become enormous. With the opportunity of great success, many companies spend their entire year’s marketing budget on exhibiting at just one trade show.

In today’s article we’ll discuss some ways to control your costs while exhibiting at a trade show.12448572_s

Rent Your Booth

Gone are the days when you could exhibit at a trade show with only a banner and a table for brochures. Today’s trade shows demand exquisitely designed booths, booths that can cost tens of thousands of dollars to design and construct. If your company only plans to attend one or two shows annually, renting a pre-constructed trade show booth is a great option. You’ll pay a fraction of the cost to build if you rent. The only additional investment you’ll need to make is customized signage. You’ll also be free of many associated costs including long term storage, shipping fees and insurance. Also, if your company is located a significant distance from where the trade show will be, consider renting a booth from a company local to the show, not local to your business.

Buying A Used Exhibit

If you’re company plans to exhibit at more than one show per year, it might be in your best interest to invest in a pre-owned booth. Large corporations often use a booth a handful of times and then sell them back to the company who built them. The trade show booth company in turn sells these booths at a fraction of the original cost. Trade show booth companies will charge you a nominal fee to remove prior branding and replace with yours. A quick internet search will display many trade show booth companies that specialize in pre-owned booths.

Hire local staffing

Travel expenses can add up very quickly. Flights, hotels, meals and taxis for more than two or three people can easily consume an entire budget. It may not always be necessary to fly your entire team to a trade show. If you’re looking to control staffing costs, consider contracting with a staffing or modeling agency local to where your trade show will be. Many of these companies have rosters of people who specialize in sales and promotions for all types of marketing events. In this scenario, you’ll need to consider a training session before the launch of the show. It’s important that your temporary staff can speak to your product and represent your company well.

About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Trade Show Trends

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 by admin No Comments

Trade Show Trends

When people attend a trade show, they are expecting to be impressed. There is a certain energy you can only find a trade show and it’s important that your company be in sync with that energy. This energy is generated by the details…the “extra special” components. Trade shows attract thousands of potential customers that equate to millions of potential dollars. This is why it’s important that your booth, staff, presentation and booth attractions be cutting edge. This is a great opportunity to really show customers and your competition that you are a real player in your industry. For many companies that exist exclusively online, a trade show is the only opportunity your customers and competition will have to experience you in person. Here are some great ways to stand out:

Phone Charging Stations

Phone charging stations are becoming more and more popular at trade shows. Phone charging stations work tremendously well at getting people to stop by your booth and engage in conversation while they wait for 8901786_stheir devices to charge. The great thing about phone charging stations is that regardless of how many other booths have them, there still won’t be enough to service the entire trade show audience!

Great Lighting

Fluorescent lighting is ugly and dreary. It’s also the most common type of lighting used in convention halls and conference centers. Lighting is important for setting the mood, featuring a product and grabbing attention. Consider contracting with a local lighting company that can advise you on different ways you can use professional lighting at your trade show booth. From rope lights to lamps, a pleasantly lit trade show booth can be the detail that really sets you apart from your competition.

Interactive Displays / Touch Screens

Beyond displaying your products on tables for the trade show audience to observe, consider adding components to your trade show booth that encourage interaction from the audience. Instead of a TV or computer monitor with a scrolling PowerPoint presentation, use a touch screen computer that lets the user control the presentation at their own pace. You may also want a monitor that features your company website and allows your audience to engage with your site.  In lieu of using a clipboard and pen to capture customer contact information, use tablets with lead capture software. You can also use tablets to conduct surveys!

Fashionable Attire

It doesn’t matter what industry you are in or what types of products you sell, your trade show booth staff must look on point! If you look around a trade show floor, you’ll see many companies dressing their employees in khakis and a company branded t-shirt or polo. While I encourage fashion choices that are appropriate to both your brand and your customer, consider thinking a little outside the box on this one. Simple accessory additions can easily add a pop of exciting fashion. You can use fun hats, suspenders, ties, scarves and headbands, to name a few.


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Don’t make these trade show mistakes!

Posted on: December 2nd, 2015 by admin No Comments

Don’t make these trade show mistakes

You must approach trade shows with focus, determination and with a plan for success. While this may sound easy, it’s surprising how many companies forgo the fundamentals of marketing when planning and producing their trade shows. Conscientious planning for the event involves precise devising, smart promoting, competent lead qualification and impeccable follow up. The level of accomplishment you’ll experience from your trade show is influenced by the amount of energy you put invest…before, during and after the show. Today, I’ll discuss three common oversights trade show marketers are famous for making, and how to avoid them yourself.

Mistake One – Failing to plan in advance9971973_s

Success is not an accident! Accurately identifying your objectives before the show seems simple, right? You want more customers and more sales.  How exactly do you plan achieve these things? More importantly, you must determine your definition of “more.” For instance:

More customers =  “I want to gain 100 new customers.”

More sales = “I want to sell $1000 more at this trade show than the last.”

Once you’ve finalized your goals, you have to focus on how you’ll achieve them.

“To obtain 100 new customers, I will make sure to introduce myself to at least 10 trade show attendees every hour and obtain their contact information.”

“To sell $1000 more at this years show than last years show, I will hold promotions every hour.”

Mistake Two -: Not generating media attention

In today’s virtual world, not all interested customers are at the show in person. I know many people who despise walking a trade show floor. All the stimulation is just too much for them to handle. Instead, they rely on their favorite industry bloggers to report on what’s happening at the show. These reports are published in the form of blogs all over the internet. Often times, live! In recent years, bloggers have begun to make their presence and importance in the industry very well known. If you look closely through the audience, you’ll notice plenty of attendees with badges that say “Press” or “Media.” So, how do you get their attention? Most importantly, how do you make it in their blog? I talk more about gaining media attention here.
Mistake Three- Following up too late

As we’ve discussed in prior articles, most of your energy should be spent attracting and qualifying new leads. While you may make some sales during the show, the real value in participating in the show is found in the leads you develop while showing. It is immature to believe that your phone will just start ringing day in and day out from all of the business cards you passed out. You absolutely must follow up with every person you meet at the trade show. It’s equally as important that you follow up in a timely manner. If you wait too long, another company will grab their attention or they will lose interest altogether. My personal preferred method for follow ups is to send a “Nice meeting you” or “thank you” card the day after the show closes. Depending on where the card is going in the country, I time a follow up phone call to correspond one day after its arrival.

Trade show marketing can seem overwhelming, but with the right strategy, it all falls into place fairly easily. Think it through and follow through!



About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Better Trade Show Demonstrations

Posted on: November 11th, 2015 by admin No Comments

As we discuss often, every second counts when exhibiting at a trade show. It all boils down to one thing: Better trade show demonstrations. The method you use to demonstrate your product at a trade show has a significant impact on the success of your exhibit. Customers love to be educated. You have a much better chance of closing the sale if your customer feels educated on your product. Featuring a product specialist at your trade show booth with a great attitude, sparkling smile and some old fashioned carisma is always a great start. Here are some other great tips to a stellar product demo:


Utilize the five senses of your customers, this creates an emotional connection to the product.  Does your product move? Does it light up? Does it have sounds? Can people interact with your product? If so, make it do so! It’s imperative to check with the trade show producers to ensure your booth will be fitted with necessary utilities such as electricity; in the event that your product requires charging or an electrical outlet to function. Do you have multiple products? Be sure to have multiple sales representatives actively showing each product at the booth. Look how quickly you can create buzz!

If you’ve ever been to a trade show, you know there is a lot to see. Combine all of this stimulation with the short attention span of humans, you may only have a few minutes (probably just a few seconds) to complete the demonstration process. Before the show, brainstorm with your team and create a 30-60 second script for each product. Use the F.A.B.C.E. product demonstration method to convey important information during your customer interaction:


F: Feature of the product.

A: Advantage of the feature.

B: Benefit of the advantage

C: Custom reason the product is great for the customer

E: Emotional statement about why you love the product.

“This is our newest theft deterrent carry on luggage piece. We designed it with a new fingerprint scanner.   This extra layer of security will keep your contents safer than ever before. The new model comes in three different colors to fit your personality! I love this newest addition to our luggage line because it’s modern looking and features the latest security technology.”

About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Budget Friendly Trade Show Booth Ideas

Posted on: November 11th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Perhaps it’s your company’s first trade show. Maybe you have a smaller trade show budget than previous years. Perhaps you’re renting a small booth this year. Whatever the case, if a fancy custom booth design is out of the question, you still have plenty of options when it comes to creating a dynamic trade show exhibit. There are ways to maximize with minimal! In this article we’ll discuss some fun ways to pull off a great trade show exhibit without all the bells, whistles and dollar signs. Here are three great ways to make an impact on a budget:

Keep it simple! Simple sells!

Keep your trade show booth exhibit clean and simplistic! If you’ve got a great product, all you need is a smiling staff, a few tables and a banner to feature your logo and website. Dress up the mood by having your trade show staff wear matching shirts or aprons. Instead of placing the tables at the front of your booth, place them on the sides. With this layout, you can invite the show attendees into your exhibit space for a more intimate conversation. Add some classy customer service and invite customers to sit down with you. Have snacks and refreshments on hand.

Don’t compare yourself to the big corporations!

budget trade show ideas

Major corporations spend tens of thousands, if not millions of dollars a year on trade show booth design. Some of these booths are designed to look and feel like a theme park experience. For most small and mid sized businesses, this just isn’t an option and that’s okay! People who attend trade shows regularly have seen everything. Believe it or not, there are people with the sole responsibility to travel from show to show all year long. These are the people that smaller companies should be looking to attract.  Your intimate booth can have big potential amongst the many supersized exhibits.

Feature a promotion!


Trade show booth promotional products are consistently effective at creating a buzz and pulling in leads. When custom printed with your company logo and contact information, they serve as great business cards. To help keep your budget low, consider offering two different promotional giveaways. The first tier of products can be inexpensive, a keychain or cell phone case are good examples. These types of items can be purchased in large quantities for a fairly low price. This is the promotional product you’ll use to pass out freely. The second tier promotional product should be slightly more expensive, more luxurious. Flash drives, insulated coffee mugs and calculators are useful to customers in their everyday life. Use these types of promotional products for leads you want to impress.

About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Choosing the Best Trade Show

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Participating in a trade show can help you achieve many goals at once. Building your brand awareness, generate sales, generate leads, launch a new product, investigate your competition, gain media exposure and open new relationship channels are just a handful of the possibilities. You can learn more about your industry, your competitors and your customers in just a few days at a trade show than you can in months or even years of just researching!

With so many trade shows happening all over the country on any given day, how do you evaluate a shows potential in reaching a ROI?

There are two main types of shows:


  1. Consumer Shows: This is the type of show where you will want to make sales. Like a pop-up flea market, consumer shows are marketed to product consumers who are often seeking special pricing or promotions. If you are looking to reach consumers directly and are willing to discount your products to compete with other booths, this is the show for you.

  1. Trade Only Shows: Typically attended by buyers, planners, media etc., Trade Only shows are geared towards featuring your brand to a captured audience of others in your industry. Trade only shows are networking events that allow you to present your brand amongst your competition, a great way to show your industry how you stand out.

Here are some ideas to help you decide which type of trade show is right for you:

  1. Know who the audience will be: Most trade show producers can provide you with metrics and reports on previous years that contain everything from audience count to the contact information of each company’s trade show coordinators. You will also want to know what the producers of the show are doing to advertise the trade show. How far in advance do they advertise? What media outlets does the trade show use?

  1. Know the history of the show: How many years has the show been active? How many cities does the show produce annually? Who has exhibited there before? What events or speakers has the show featured in the past?

  1. Know what perks are offered: Does the show offer specialized or private seminars? How can your brand participate in such events? Does the trade show offer intimate networking events? Are there any post-show activities for representatives to mingle? Do not be afraid to ask the show producers for anything you can think of to make your exhibition experience better!

  1. Know who will be exhibiting: How many of your competitors will be showing? Did any of the company’s from last year decline participation this year?

Trade shows have many potential pitfalls for first timers. Don’t rush into the decision, be strategic. Know exactly what it will cost to participate and leave a cushion in your budget for last minute hurdles.


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Three Phases of Trade Show Preparation

Posted on: November 4th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Three Phases of Trade Show Preparation

Congratulations on exhibiting at a trade show! While often a huge undertaking, trade show participation can pay off ten fold. You should know that participating in a trade show goes far beyond decorating your booth and passing out business cards. In this article, we’ll discuss some topics relevant to each phase of exhibiting at a trade show.


Phase One – Getting Started, Research and Planning.

You’ve chosen the show you want to participate in. Now what? This is a great time to begin brainstorming sessions with your team to formulate the following:

  1. What is your purpose for exhibiting? Are you targeting consumers or buyers? Create a list of goals you want to achieve by participating. Make a plan to meet those goals.

  1. What is the inspiration/theme for the booth? For big impact, your presence should tell a story. The energy at the booth should reflect  the energy of your brand. Use the power of social media and involve your customers in the brainstorming process. Research what other companies in different industries are doing at their shows. If you can attend any shows before yours, do so!

  1. Choose great promotional products to feature your branding and contact information.

  1. Contract with a professional booth designer. The more professional the booth, the better your brand looks.

  1. Two great resources include and

Phase Two – At the Show

The show has begun and you have just a few days to make all of your hard work count.

  1. Most larger scale trade shows feature guest speakers throughout the show. Select someone in your company to represent your brand and give a seminar. This platform for connecting to potential leads is priceless.

  1. Draw crowds to your booth by featuring a wireless charging station.

  1. Attract leads with on the spot demos of your products. Make the demonstration even more impactful with audio/video components.

Phase Three – After the Show

What worked? What didn’t work? Did you meet the goals you set for yourself?

  1. Host a “post show debrief” with your team and project manager. Go over every aspect of your experience at the show. Have a staff member compile a report of all relevant metrics and write a synopsis that you can reference for the next show.

  1. Before the show, take inventory of the number of followers you have in each of your social media channels. After the show, measure the growth of those numbers.

  1. If you were selling at the show, did you make your sales goals? If not, why?


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Use Social Media in Pre-Tradeshow Activities

Posted on: August 17th, 2015 by admin No Comments

Trade shows are an effective marketing medium that expand brand awareness. They are also a great way to showcase your business to your target audience. While exhibiting at trade shows, your business will receive immense attention. Participation in a trade show will provide you with a ton of opportunities including:

* Opportunity to analyze your competition

* Participate in face to face interactions with prospective customers

* Network with people in your industry

* Create lasting impressionsDefined Exhibits trade show

* Receive feedback and advice

* Reinforce existing business relationships

* Test out and introduce prototypes.

It is not uncommon for a company’s marketing department to spend several months preparing for participation in a trade show. Anyone who has exhibited at a trade show can confirm how hectic it can be.  A great way to involve your customers and business partners in your show preparation journey is to photograph and post on social media your entire experience, start to finish . Don’t forget to have fun with it! Tell your company’s story along the way and demonstrate why you’re exhibiting. Blast it on your social media outlets, mostly every trade show has a hashtag, and make sure you use the correct one. Be consistent with the hashtag, and use it is in every post regarding the upcoming trade show. Show the human side of your company, it is not ran by robots! Trade shows are field trips for working professionals, and they do not need to be so serious all the time. A fun idea to do, is to come up with a contest or game.

Designate one person from your team to be in charge of this operation. Make sure they have a decent camera, and set them up with their own personal lap top or tablet. Even if this is their only job at the trade show, it will be well with it. After you start building a hype about the trade show you’re exhibiting at, start photographing how your team is preparing at the office. Take pictures of your team putting brochures in boxes, or of the team members who are going to the trade show. Showcase an exclusive behind the scenes of production and what everyday life is like at the office. Whether you’re flying or driving to the trade show capture your traveling experience. Usually, the organizers of the trade show will have some type of social event for the exhibitors. Take appropriate pictures in the laid back non-work environment.

When the trade show begins get pictures of your teammates interacting with your attendees. An easy way to get pictures is to set up a fun and catchy photo booth section, and maybe even provide a prop relevant to your company. Tell your attendees they can find their picture on your social media outlets, and give them something tangible with your company information. If you have anything unique at your booth, for example refreshments, couches or charging stations, definitely showcase and promote that through your social media.

In order to make a lasting impression to your potential customers, you want to provide an unique experience. Give your company an identity, and the best way to do that is through pictures. While exhibiting at a trade show you want to be able to draw in a crowd and stand out. Remember, you’re exhibiting in front of your potential customers and your competitors are in the same building. The second thing to remember, is that you have an audience outside of the trade show environment. By creating a visually interactive experience both at the trade show and online, it will not only help to boost sales but also increase your brand awareness.


Author: Kristyn Habercross is the marketing manager for Defined Exhibits. Defined Exhibits provides  world wide exhibit solutions for tradeshow and marketing communications.

Panning for Gold: Tradeshow Marketing

Posted on: August 14th, 2015 by admin No Comments

screen.shotFinding the best possible leads at a trade show is akin to prospecting for gold. You look around, ask a few open-ended questions, and hope you strike it rich. But that’s only the first part of the equation. After that, someone has to close the sale.

In business we talk about ‘closing the sale’ as the final, definitive action and it’s up to the sales team to accomplish. Unlike the normal sales process, at trade shows the ‘close’ is not necessarily getting someone to sign on the bottom line.  It is usually about collecting enough information on the prospect to warrant interest from sales.

The best place to find this information is by asking the sales team what, to them, defines a qualified lead, because only then will they follow up. This list of attributes, called lead qualifiers, determine the difference between a hot lead and a tire kicker. Even more important, we need to have a means of collecting and quantifying this data.

What are good qualifiers? My first question, or qualifier, is always some version of, “Can you write a check or issue the purchase order?” As a qualifier, this translates to job title and responsibilities. I also want to know if a budget has been allocated for my product and when the prospect plans to complete the purchase. Another key question is who else will be involved in the decision making process.

Asking these questions and collecting these details always precede a sales pitch of any kind because good prospects will usually tell you everything you need to know to customize your presentation in terms of their needs a wants. Now is the time to trap the name and contact information on the person.

Next, you want to provide information to the prospect that supports your presentation. This may include a video of a process, a case study, a letter of recommendation from a satisfied customer or a brochure of core competencies.

How you trap this data, distribute marketing collateral, and get it into your corporate CRM database (customer relationship management) is much easier today than ever before because technology makes it quick and painless. It also allows you to determine the value of your exhibit marketing by tracking trade show leads from the first touchpoint through to the sale.

A recent study on lead generation said over 60% of exhibitors have no formal lead scoring or ranking process. Without defining what constitutes an A lead versus a C lead, there’s no consistency for follow-up. Worse, a majority of exhibitors are still collecting business cards, using hand written lead forms, or getting a basic scanner from the show organizer.

Instead of printing (and shipping) collateral and renting a single scanner, a good lead management app that works on cell phones and tablets will be both more cost-efficient and give you better data afterwards. It means all your exhibit staffers can have a personal lead data collector, lets them qualify and rank each lead, distribute collateral, and define the type of follow-up required.

Today’s marketers need the best information possible to justify their exhibit programs. Technology provides the best solutions to accomplish this. And leads that convert to sales will win you gold.

Author: Margit Weisgal. CME, MSc    Twitter: @msmargit

Blue Stone Business Development

Margit has a real talent for envisioning goals, crafting the necessary plans, and nursing those plans to fruition. She’s is a passionate professional with the drive and determination to take on even the toughest challenges. And she always does it with keen insight and good humor. She is a tireless motivator and innovator and is constantly thinking through ways to make those around her better.


Better Ways To Engage Visitors At Your Trade Show Booth

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by admin No Comments

Better Ways To Engage Visitors At Your Trade Show Booth

If you’re a veteran marketer and trade show exhibitor, you may struggle to come up with new marketing, giveaway and tradeshow attraction ideas for each show. While these aspects are all key to attracting people to your booth and entertaining them, what you do with the time when you actually have someone in the booth is far more important.

Having a good engagement and prospecting strategy in place is critical to quickly vetting each booth visitor.

Using Trade Show Gifts As Relationship Builders29585613_s

When you give a trade show giveaway to a visitor, you have to stay focused. Your task is not to be a goodie dispenser, but to be an emissary for your company. The gifts should be part of your strategy as you engage potential clients.

Whether you choose to liberally pass out giveaways to every passerby, or whether you require some level of personal contact is up to you. But most marketers have adapted a multi-tier giveaway system so that everyone gets something small, and true prospects get something more valuable.

Quick Tips To Engage Visitors

The trouble booth staff often runs into is how to take a prospecting conversation from end to end, and how to more effectively engage visitors to get as much value out of the interaction as possible. Here are some quick tips you can implement immediately at your next show.

Data Collection. This is the most basic form of engagement at a trade show. The best advice here is to invest in technology. Even collecting business cards is considered a dated practice; asking a visitor to manually fill out a form shows a lack of respect for visitors’ time. Instead, use a handheld scanner to scan business cards or show badges, tablets or touch screens to capture data or instantly connect with new prospects on social media, or even smart phone apps created specifically for data collection.


Engage in a Conversation. While there are many techniques to build a rapport with visitors, starting a simple conversation is a priority. You might ask relevant question such as:

  • Are they currently a customer?
  • Do they buy similar products from another vendor at this time?
  • Have they ever heard of your company or used your product?
  • Do they have any concerns with their current vendor that might make them open to working with a new one?
  • Are they interested in a demonstration or in learning more about your product?

You may conclude after the first 2-3 questions that they are definitely not a prospect for what you have to offer, or you may mutually agree to contact them after the show for further discussions.

Ask for Referrals or Introductions. If the conversation is going well, don’t hesitate to ask for referrals to contacts and other companies, or even to contacts within their own company that may have a use for your product.

Share the Love on Social Media. Some marketers offer incentives by asking visitors to take a picture in front of the company booth and share it on their social media networks in exchange for a more valuable giveaway. While you can’t expect someone to go to this trouble for a stress ball, they might be more agreeable for a nice tablet stylus or a credit card pouch for smart phones.


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

What Makes A Good Trade Show Giveaway?

Posted on: August 3rd, 2015 by admin No Comments

What Makes A Good Trade Show Giveaway?

Most traditional marketers know that offering giveaways is a part of trade show culture, even though it is hard to measure the ROI. You realize that the value of giveaways cannot be measured in the dollars and cents, yet they have an important role to play getting people into your booth, getting them to talk about their needs, and building your brand so that people remember you after the show.

Simply put, tradeshow giveaways are a critical aspect of prospecting and something you should not take lightly.14381978_s

But year after year, the million dollar question is, “what makes a good trade show giveaway?”

What Trade Show Giveaways Best Suit Your Purpose?

 With thousands of options available at every conceivable price point, how do you select the right one? No matter what you choose, your giveaway must meet three specific criteria to be perceived as valuable and useful by visitors:


  • It should be branded. The importance of customization cannot be stressed enough. Opting not to spring for the imprinted logo, or even choosing a product with a poor imprint location, means that no matter how amazing or useful your giveaway is, no one will ever remember you.


  • It should be cost-effective. Having good quality giveaways is important for prospecting, but stocking up on ample giveaways for the masses should not break the bank. It’s a delicate balance, and something you should give careful consideration to as you’re planning your trade show giveaways.


  • It should be distinctive. Yes, you may want to have THE giveaway of the show – the one that everyone’s talking about. But the truth is, as long as it is relevant to your industry and most importantly, perceived as valuable and useful to visitors, it will still make the desired impact. Items like pens, key chains, and flash drives – while very popular – can still be crowd favorites when done tastefully.


Pinpointing The Best Gifts

 What type of giveaways can set the stage for people to do business with your company?


  • The tried-and-true. While pens and key chains are often the entry-level giveaways at shows, they can still make an impact. When personalized, they can meet your objective of affordability; but, to make them something that attendees take home and use requires choosing a unique style, paying a few cents more for higher quality, or choosing 4-color imprint over black or white.


  • The appreciated show accessory. Trade show visitors away from home appreciate tote bags and small sundries such as reusable water bottles, lip balms, hand sanitizers, and touchscreen cleaning cloths – these types of items can be custom-printed and have lasting promotional value far beyond the show.


  • The ever-welcome consumable. Bottled water or soft drinks, candy, snacks, and breath mints are a welcome sight to tired show goers. Any of these items address an immediate need that visitors have, while running the risk that brand identity will not outlast the item. Consider them a true giveaway and not a marketing tool.


  • The trendsetting choice. Wine, USB car chargers, and Card Ninja holders for credit cards that fit on the back of your phone are appealing and useful to the modern show goer, although a bit more expensive than some traditional giveaways. One consideration: while distributing alcoholic beverages has its liability issues, upping the ante on your giveaway could instantly put you ahead of the competition.


  • The novelty selection. Stress balls, toys, balloons, and games can be a fun and colorful trade show giveaway, but many of these items have a short shelf life. While these are a perfectly acceptable giveaway for the masses, it’s not generally recommended that they be your only gift. Consider novelty giveaways as a lower tier in your multi-level trade show promotion strategy.


Any of these giveaways can meet the criteria of brandability, cost-effectiveness, and distinctiveness. Selecting the right combination of trade show giveaways can increase foot traffic and interest, identify prospects, and set the stage for future sales.


About the author: William Hall is a seasoned business coach specializing in branding, social media and promotional events. William has spent his career teaching businesses of all sizes how to stand out in the crowd while using marketing dollars most effectively. His clients are continuously thankful for his out-of-the-box ideas that lead to increased revenue, more clicks and a bigger online presence.

Trade Show and Convention Display Ideas

Posted on: July 21st, 2015 by admin No Comments

The convention booths that attendees are going to remember the most are the ones that have trade show games and activities that will keep them engaged while also informing them of what your company does. As important as trade show displays are at gaining your audience’s attention, it is the activities and booth staff that will turn their attention into a possible client. Here are some trade show ideas to take into consideration as you and your employees prepare for the upcoming event.

Choosing the Right StaffTrade Show Display Ideas

As you are deciding who will be in charge of your trade show booths, take a look at the itinerary of the event to find out what times there will be the most traffic on the trade show floor and what times will be the slowest. Your staffers with the highest energy, most upbeat attitude, and outgoing personalities should be in your display system during the busiest moments. Most conventions take place for over 10 hours a day, so it is a little unreasonable to expect them to stay upbeat if they don’t get the much-needed break they deserve. Having other employees manage your booth during the slow times, which is usually at the beginning and ending of the event, will allow for your high energy employees to stay on their game and represent your company well when they are on the trade show floor.

 Trade Show and Convention Display Ideas

The first thing attendees will notice is the look of your trade show displays and they will quickly decide whether or not it is worth stopping by. Many exhibitors assume that the more information they squeeze into their graphics, the more they will reach their targeted audience. I like to think of trade show graphics like billboards along the highway – they are simple with only one or two photos and a couple short sentences that let’s their target audience know who they are and what they do, and bold colors. You only have between 3 and 5 seconds to appeal to attendees, so keep it simple and they will come to you. Effective portable displays do not have to be expensive; whether you have banner stands, pop up displays, or truss systems, well-designed graphics is what will help them decide if they are or aren’t interested.

Trade Show Promotional Ideas

Giveaway and promotional items will definitely draw in a crowd at the event, but there are a couple questions you need to ask yourself before deciding what items your will be handing out:

  1. What’s my budget?
  2. Who’s my target audience?

First things first, having a specific budget in mind will make it much easier to make this big decision. Know what the total amount is that you want to spend as well the size of the event to decide how much to spend per item. For example, if you are going to a massive trade show like CES, there will be thousands of attendees so you will need to order more promotional items than if you were going to a convention that only had a few hundred attendees.

Second, your giveaways should be something that would appeal to your target audience as well as being related to your business. For example, if you were a painting company and wanted to attract more families, you may want to hand out paintbrushes with your company’s logo and name on it.

To save you money on expensive trade show promotional items, consider having two separate items: a large quantity of inexpensive items that you can hand out to everyone who stops by your booth and a few expensive items you can give to leads who are very interested in doing business with you. This way everyone will walk away with something to remember your trade show exhibit by, but the potential new clients will leave with a gift that will keep you in the front of their minds when they are ready to buy.


About the Author: Kristin Hovde is the Marketing Manager for Smash Hit Displays. We sell hundreds of portable displays to fit every style and budget, including banner stands, pop up displays, and custom displays.

How To Create Buzz At Your Next Trade Show

Posted on: March 10th, 2015 by admin No Comments


Put A Little Vegas In Your Next Trade Show

Why do people go to trade shows? With plenty of consumer information readily available on the Internet, they can get much of the information they need by simply surfing on their tablet, laptop, or phone. Trade show exhibitors must offer something more to engage people that they cannot get from behind a screen. When deciding to participate in a trade show, exhibitors must ask themselves two vital questions: What are consumers looking for? And how are you going to deliver?

Trade Shows Must Exceed The Normal Customer Experience

No show does customer engagement better than the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held every January in Las Vegas. The 2015 show included nearly 3,700 exhibits and attracted over 170,000 visitors who saw the newest phones, wearable technology, appliances, robots, and even a driverless car. In the vast, high-tech sea of exhibitors, not every booth was able to stay afloat. The most successful exhibitors were those that incorporated an array of techniques aimed at mesmerizing viewers, leaving an impression that far outlived the show itself.

How To Create A Buzz With Interactive Displays And Tradeshow Attractions

While many strategies were used to enthrall visitors, the most favorable incorporated the following:

  • Interactivity. Users can read about new cell phones, smart watches, interactive tablets with pen and touch displays, and video games on CNET, but CES is set up so visitors can see them up close and even try them. The hope is that the hands-on approach, in which consumers see and test products like the new Ultra HD 4K TVs with Quantum Dots, they are more likely to develop a liking for the product, ultimately leading to a purchase.
  • Larger-than-life displays. When it comes to capturing consumer attention, bigger is always better! To promote their home automation system, SmartThings constructed a four room smart home. As visitors could walked through, they could scan QR codes to trigger animated videos that explain the technology in use in each room.
  • Celebrities. Many companies at the show used celebrities to pitch their products. The current year’s show included an array of spokespersons and brand ambassadors, including Nick Cannon, Dr. Phil McGraw, Ryan Seacrest, and the rapper 50 Cent to engage visitors. These celebrities result in a large number of wholesale orders at the show and create a buzz around the product that will hopefully result in consumer sales. Post show advertising spots include the celebrity in an attempt to capitalize on the success of the show.
  • Visitor amenities. Walking a large tradeshow can be tiring for attendees. Not to mention the abundance of visual and auditory stimulation can get in the way of networking opportunities. Many companies supported visitor lounges. In the CES Social Media Lounge, there were plenty of opportunities to grab a coffee, charge your phone, rest your legs, and have conversations with important people in the industry, a group of colleagues or customers. Some companies, such as Skype, had their own lounge within the larger one where you could relax and connect.
  • More visitor engagement. In true Vegas spirit, the CES show offered many flashy games to attract crowds of interested attendees. Raffles, prize wheels, cash cubes, video games, and prize vaults with tie-ins to company products decked the aisles. Not every company in the show had a product launch or a major announcement at the show, so using tradeshow attractions allowed any company to engage attendees.

What Happened In Vegas Shouldn’t Stay In Vegas

Few shows attract the crowds of CES, but attendees at any show are eager for information. They also want and expect engaging technology and exciting attractions to make it worth attending the show live. To leave a lasting impression and achieve maximum ROI, be sure to incorporate the right mix of interactive displays, provide services and amenities to visitors, and incorporate attention-grabbers that might include colorful displays, celebrity spokespersons, and show attractions.

About the Author
Jon Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

5 Lesser Known Tradeshow Mistakes

Posted on: February 11th, 2015 by admin No Comments



If you have ever planned or worked a tradeshow for your company, you know that they require a lot of careful planning if you want to come home with a success under your belt. Most marketers know of the big mistakes, like failing to promote your presence at an upcoming booth, or worse, investing too much of your budget in a show that is not targeting the proper audience. However, there are several other components of successful tradeshow planning and execution that are often overlooked.

Here are five of the lesser known tradeshow mistakes and how to avoid them.


1. Forgetting That Size Really Does Matter

When participating in any tradeshow or convention, it is important to know your show, your audience, and your competitors. If the show is crowded or you have a small display, your booth can look overcrowded. On the other hand, if your booth is too big, it can be perceived as having a lack of visitors, causing passersby to avoid it. Lastly, if you pick a booth size smaller than your competitors, you may appear to be the underdog.

The best approach is to own a scalable display that can be adjusted depending on the show and crowd. Some companies find that renting or leasing a booth for a year is an excellent way to educate themselves about the right size and type of booth to buy and to plan the ideal layout to capture the attention of potential customers.

2. Selecting Promotional Products For The Sake Of Having Something To Give Away

While anything that you offer to a visitor that has your company name on it has the potential to increase brand awareness, you must always consider the popularity and functionality of the item. Promotional Products that will most benefit your sales endeavors are those that are useful items related to your industry.

When you select promotional items, take your time. You should have a goal, as well as a budget in mind. Also, consider having multiple levels of giveaways. At a pharmaceutical show, for example, you might want to give all visitors a pedometer, a freezable chill bag that looks like an IV bag, or stress ball. For your current customers and hot prospects, you might choose a more expensive first aid kit or high-end sports bottle.

3. Not Springing For Nightly Cleaning

To cut costs, you may decide to forgo professional cleaning services, thinking your sales staff will have plenty of time to straighten up at each day’s end. However, signing up for professional services will ensure that your booth is always free of clutter and has clean carpeting and a sanitized counter. Your booth is a reflection of your business so you must always present a pristine exhibit space for your visitors, ideally without adding more items to your own to-do list. A clean booth will represent your company much more effectively than one with tacky counters and an overflowing trash bin.

While someone else may be doing the dirty work, it is still important that your team spruces up a bit by wiping down any technology or tradeshow games, as well as restocking collateral and any other items accessible to attendees.

4. Overdoing Your Social Time

Your booth is a great site for networking with customers and colleagues, but you should keep it businesslike, as other visitors may not want to interrupt a perceived private party. In the evenings between show days, you and your staff, along with customers, may go out to enjoy the evening at a restaurant, sporting event, or club. While a social break is well deserved, you do not want your group to be mistaken for a frat party. Remember that your company is always on display. A successful sales staff is one that keeps the socializing professional, even after hours.

It is important to use your down time effectively. An hour before the show, quarterback the pre-show staff meeting.  Be highly detailed by reviewing key messages and talking points. Remember to always set realistic goals for the day.  After the show, spend 10 minutes debriefing.  Distribute hot leads and discuss practices that worked well during the day. This will allow you to identify necessary adjustments for the next day.

5. Failing To Pack Or Unpack In An Orderly Fashion

Many exhibitors make the mistake of hastily throwing show materials into their cases before or after a show. The result? Broken or damaged booth parts or forgotten items that will cost you time and money to replace or buy onsite. Worse, a hasty packing job for the trip home could result in lost leads or important notes. A better method is to have a trade show packing list to guide your packing and unpacking.

For better planning and more successful shows, avoid these common but lesser-known mistakes.

About the Author
Jon Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

4 Ideas To Include In Your 2014 Trade Show Marketing Strategies

Posted on: January 26th, 2014 by admin 1 Comment

2014 holds a lot of promise for companies that are looking to improve their marketing strategies and reach new customers. If you’re feeling a little behind or overwhelmed when trying to map out your 2014 marketing strategies, consider using some of these ideas. While this doesn’t cover everything you should be doing, these four things can help you jump start your marketing plan.

marketing ideas to use in 2014Don’t Forget About Mobile Users

While desktop and laptop computers still have their places in today’s business world, more and more people are working off mobile devices such as tablets and smart phones. Many of these mobile devices can handle a great deal of tasks that a regular computer can and companies are realizing the benefit of mobile devices in the work place. This means that if you’re not focusing at least some of your efforts on engaging with customers through mobile technology, you could be missing out on valuable leads. Consider adding QR codes to your exhibits or handouts so that mobile users can easily access information about your company.

Focus On Entertainment Strategies To Attract Attention

You’ll be fighting other exhibitors throughout the hall for the attention of attendees, so it’s imperative to incorporate a trade show attraction to make your booth stand out. While there are a few different ways to do this, there are some proven methods to consider starting with.

Booth attractions such as prize wheels, Plinko games and even video games or popcorn machines have proven to be successful at capturing attention and luring trade show visitors to your booth. Visitors will be clamoring around for a chance to spin a wheel or drop a Plinko puck down a board to win a prize. However, if you’re really looking to make an impact, consider a cash cube money machine. Attendees will swarm your booth for the opportunity to have just a few moments inside a cash cube with money swirling around. Grabbing money is harder than it looks, but if you’re concerned about spending a lot of money you can replace the cash with coupons or gift certificates for your business.

Consider Attending Hybrid Events, But Focus On Content

While most people think of a trade show or marketing event as an in-person only event, hybrid events are gaining in popularity throughout a number of industries. Hold a webcast before you attend an in-person event and invite your customers and potential customers to attend. However, in order to be successful, you need to be prepared. If your webcast seems disorganized, your customers will think the same thing about your company and may not be so eager to visit your booth at the upcoming in-person show. Make sure to run through your webcast a few times to ensure that you’re prepared for any questions that could potentially come up during the presentation.

Use Big Data To Spot Business Trends

It’s easier than ever for companies to collect customer data, but this doesn’t mean that they know what to do with the data once it’s been collected. Companies have the opportunity to analyze response rates to a number of different marketing initiatives, including text messages, email blasts, webcasts, interactions with sales staff, event attractions, and any other pre-, post- and at-show marketing techniques used. Use this ‘big data’ information to determine what the best way to connect with your customers is so that you can further tailor your message and trade show marketing strategies to increase your sales.

Before you move forward with marketing in 2014, make sure that you have your plan mapped out. When you have a comprehensive strategy using some of today’s proven techniques, you’re more likely to be successful.

About the Author
Jonathan Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

13 Tips For Effectively Using Trade Show Promotions

Posted on: July 15th, 2013 by admin No Comments

tips-keyboardSetting up a trade show exhibit at a show is not enough to guarantee success. To maximize your investment, you need to develop a strategy that includes pre-show promotions, at-show promotions, and giveaways. To entice people to come to your booth, receive something of value, and buy your products or services.

Pave The Way to Success With Pre-Show Promotions

Once you become an exhibitor for a trade show, your name is listed in pre-show publicity, but you must take a proactive approach as well to ensure a steady stream of booth traffic.

1. Reach out to clients, past show attendees, and prospects to invite them to the show. Your invitation should include a reason for them to stop by your booth, such as an exciting demonstration or being the first to see a new product in your line.

2. The show is an excellent forum for meeting with clients. Before the show, reach out to those clients to set up meetings in your booth or over coffee, drinks, or meals.

3. Tie your show participation to your SEO strategy. Add your show schedule and information about your at-show promotions and specials to your website and blog, optimizing the page for search phrases people might enter to find industry shows. Make sure to link back to these pages in other blogs and publicity you do.

4. Don’t forget social media. By using a scheduling tool such as Hootsuite, you can promote your presence at the show daily or weekly, invite the public, and advertise an upcoming demonstration in your booth.

Create At-Show Promotions That Draws In Traffic

Once you hit the exhibit floor, your goal it to make your booth so compelling that people stop dead in their tracks when they reach your booth.

5. Modern trade show exhibiting revolves around compelling graphics, interactive display and demonstrations, insightful presentations, and effectively-used technology.

6. Train your staff to welcome and engage visitors. You want them to qualify the visitors who are likely customers, but friendly staff can extract the information in a conversational tone that helps build relationships. Not every visitor will be a million dollar client, but they might be an influencer who can promote, ignore, or bad mouth your company based on interactions with your staff.

7. Consider livening up your booth with games, contests, and attractions. In-booth events encourage interaction and conversation.

8. Unless you are selling Slap Chops at a consumer show, you likely won’t get many sales at the show, so make sure your at-show promotions include discounts and coupons for after show sales.

9. Continue to use social media at the show so attendees can keep up with the excitement while walking the show.

Effectively Use Giveaways As Trade Show Promotions

Giveaways are fairly universal at trade shows, but you should be clear as to what their purpose is and how they fit into your trade show strategy.

10. In planning, decide what the giveaways are supposed to do. Do they to increase name recognition, generate leads, reward customers, or produce actual sales? Imprinted items you offer visitors build your image in an intangible way, even if you leave them on the counter of your trade show booth for everyone to take.

11. Consider tying giveaways to an action, such as answering qualification questions or sitting through a demo or presentation. The more you expect people to do to score a giveaway, the better quality it should be. You can even have low cost giveaways for anyone who stops buy and a better quality item for customers and those who “work for it.”

12. Choose your giveaways with care, as at-show promotions make an impression both at the show and later. A 2009 study show that memorable promotional products that are appropriate to your industry lead to sales in about 21% of cases, according to attendees at trade shows who responded to questionnaires. Ninety four percent remember getting a giveaway, while 89% recalled who distributed it. Over 89% said they liked to get freebies, while 69% reported that they kept them.

13. You want your trade show promotions to be distinctive and relevant to your business, but not cost too much or be so unique that they attract too many people with no potential. Universal items of appeal for today’s trade show attendees include flash drives, styli and accessories for smartphones and iPads.

Pre-show and at-show promotions, including giveaways, work together to improve the effectiveness of trade show exhibiting.

About the Author
Jonathan Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

Trade Show Marketing Ideas: Keep Shows Relevant Through The In-Person Experience

Posted on: June 17th, 2013 by admin No Comments

In the “old days” before anyone with an internet connection could see your company’s flashiest, newest presentation online, trade shows were often the forum for launching new products, releasing updates, and making company announcements. Visitors included some decision makers, along with many junior personnel who walked the floor to learn and enjoy a couple days of business travel in a different city. Now that the internet can both deliver the presentation and facilitate online meetings, are trade shows irrelevant?

Diminishing trade show attendance numbers may suggest this, but trade shows still have a very important role to play in product sales and marketing. Since attendees are more discriminating about which shows they support, the onus shifts to exhibitors to make the shows “unmissable.” The result? Good trade show marketing must now make the in-person experience more valuable than the online experience.

Product Releases And Promotions That Popstradeshow relevant ideas

Just as there is a difference between seeing Star Wars on a 50′ movie screen or 15″ laptop monitor, trade shows offer you the opportunity to showcase your product or service in a big way. You can’t have live fireworks in the exhibit hall, but you can surround your product launch with the equivalent through entertainment, interactive displays, demonstrations, and one-on-one consultations to make it all larger than life. If your trade show marketing strategies incorporate a Twitter and Facebook presence, you can invite visitors to your booth to be the FIRST to see your announcement or product presentation live. Stress the value of experiencing the event in-person!

Plan to have plenty of highly-knowledgeable, friendly staff on hand to answer questions from both the trade press and potential buyers. Though your presentation may incorporate video presentations and other technology, engaging staff can interact with impressive technology for maximum effectiveness.

Competitor Faceoff

Trade shows have a “keeping up with the Jones” element, as your competitors are often present at the show within a few feet of your booth. In some industries, you “must” attend certain shows to be considered a major player. Having a well-designed booth that incorporates current trade show ideas offers you a chance to show how your product and the knowledge, professionalism, and friendliness of your staff compare with competitors. When products are similar, booth presentation and effective personal interaction can make all the difference, giving you the opportunity to outshine your competitors in a show situation. Without ever saying anything negative about them, you can clearly underscore the differences between buying from your company and theirs.

The Personal Touch In Trade Show Marketing

Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to meet with customers, potential customers, and vendors all under one roof. Even if most business takes place online or by phone, putting a name with a face and developing a relationship via a conversation in the booth or over dinner still has immeasurable value. Best of all, many of the people who attend shows these days have buying authority, so even if you don’t make sales at the show, you have the opportunity to develop potential projects and establish a buying timeline with these visitors.

If you use trade shows as a forum for training, you can interact personally with participants, getting instant feedback that can shape further marketing materials, presentations, and product development. You can even turn the on-the-spot feedback about your product and your team into valuable testimonials.

Despite attendee statistics, trade shows are anything but irrelevant in today’s internet age. With trade show marketing and execution that stresses the value of face-to-face contact and seeing presentations live, shows will continue to be a useful tool for exhibitors and attendees alike.

About the Author
Jonathan Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

Walking A Trade Show Can Benefit Your Future Trade Show Marketing

Posted on: April 1st, 2013 by admin No Comments

walk a tradeshowEven if your prime reason for attending a trade show for your company is to work the booth, you can learn a lot by walking the trade show in your off hours. You will not only get a needed break from being on display as one of the go-to people in the booth, you will also gain some valuable information that will benefit your company’s trade show marketing efforts in the future.

Maximize Your Time As An Attendee

The average attendee spends seven or eight hours roaming the floor. If you are working your own company booth, you will have even less time or may have to split up your time to see the show. Peruse the show directory to mark particular booths you want to visit in advance.

Are your competitors at the show? Make sure to visit their booth to observe their layout, location, apparent traffic volume, and more. Your competitors may not want to engage you in conversation, but you can take plenty of mental notes to help you compare their trade show presence to your own.

What’s Your Trade Show Strategy

To maximize your time on the floor, plan a trade show strategy for visiting other booths that allows you to take in their marketing flavor, as well as gather information about products and services on display at the show. Here are some of the things you should look for:

  • How do the other booths look? Are there any exhibitors who have jumped out of the box with their design? What booth styles are dominate?
  • What type of giveaways are they offering? Do booth workers dispense them to everyone or only those who stop and provide information?
  • What techniques are other exhibits using to attract visitors? Contests? Looping videos? Games and attractions?
  • Do they offer scheduled demonstrations or in-booth seminars?
  • What type of product information do they offer? Do they have only small tri-folds or flyers on the counter? Do they promise to mail more detailed information if you request it? Or have they gone digital with QR codes?
  • Does booth location seem to affect traffic?
  • When you stop at various booths, how do the workers engage you? How do they collect leads?


Make Interacting A Major Focus When Walking A Trade Show

Your observations will offer you insights about trade show marketing trends and valuable measuring tools for assessing your booth and presentation. But don’t just soak in the show vibes and keep walking. Interact! As you walk a trade show, stop and talk to booth workers. Don’t be afraid to leave your business card and pick up theirs. Approach them as a regular visitor might and ask questions about the products. If there is little traffic in the booth at the time, make “marketing small talk” about the show, how they think the traffic has been, how often they change their display, how lead quality has been in past years, etc.

This approach may slow you down a bit, but you may pick up more valuable information if you purposefully walk a trade show than if you whiz past every booth on the floor.

About the Author
Jonathan Edelman provides exciting trade show marketing ideas, including advice about prize wheels, customizable scratch-off cards, money blowing machines, and other exciting trade show attractions. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, lead generation techniques, and networking with trade show vendors. Helping to build a referral-generating system, his ideas continuously lead to a boost in sales and revenue.

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