Posts Tagged ‘tradeshow marketing’

Three Ways to Maximize Your Trade Show Investment

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

A trade show is an investment in your company, and you should take the time to treat it as such. It may seem simple, but it takes time to develop measurable goals for the show. Here are three trade show strategies to help you market your company and maximize your return on investment.

Plan Ahead 

  • Determine Your focus: Will you be launching a new product? Promoti31943028 - trade show meaning world fair and exportng brand awareness? Building a fresh leads list?  Each of these goals require a unique approach.
  • Research the Show and Its Attendees: Is this the proper venue for what you are trying to achieve? Will this be the right show for you to push retail sales or build business relationships? How many of your direct competitors will also have booths? How will you stand out from them?
  • Be Memorable: Interest creates interest! Capture attention by renting a Cash Cube Money Blowing Machine or Bingo Blower. Renting or purchasing a trade show attraction is just a phone call away! How about some useful custom promotional items? Consider options like custom USB drives, household tools or sports items.

Promote Before and After The Show

  • Social Media: Once you plan the details your event, get the word out well in advance. People will be excited to visit your booth for the chance to spin the Prize Wheel or play a custom Scratch Card.
  • Trade Show Publications: Each show will offer several ways for companies to participate in their printed material.  Print a voucher for an extra turn on a Plinko Board to attract people to stop by your booth. Do a half or full-page color advertisement listing all of the attractions at your booth to ensure guarantee that your booth has a crowd of people waiting to try their hand at attractions like the Prize Safe!
  • Leads, Leads, Leads!: Maximize your social media efforts by collecting relevant information as part of the effort. These generated leads can be turned into appointments booked at the show. Don’t stop there – follow up with leads after the show and offer company consolation prizes for being a valued part of your audience.

Be Ready

  • Staff Accordingly: Whether you are looking for new clients, retail customers or to develop relationships with existing clients, make sure you bring your company’s best! Ensure your staff is aware of your goal for the show so that they can help you achieve it. Assign each booth attendant an area of focus and direct attendees accordingly to keep the booth running smoothly during peak times.
  • Too Much is Better Than Not Enough: Make sure you have enough staff coverage – if traffic is slow any extra employees can be sent home. It’s better to have too many promotional products to giveaway than not enough.

There are so many ways to make yourself memorable. It’s worth the effort to plan in advance and maximize the benefit for your trade show investment!!

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.

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.

Trade Show Marketing Trends For 2013: Engaging Tech Savvy Visitors

Posted on: February 4th, 2013 by admin No Comments

tradeshow upcoming trendsTrade shows remain a great way to show off your products and talk face-to-face to potential clients, but the trade shows of today are not your father’s tradeshow. In the “old days,” starting in the 60s, you might place a few products on a table, hand out some literature, hope to engage in conversation, and get a business card so you could follow-up.

The goal of getting leads might be the same today, but the process is conducted in a very different atmosphere, characterized by interactive displays that are bright and eye-catching. Current trade show trends for 2013 reflect today’s fast paced culture and how people process information using technology.

Wowing The Sound Byte Generation

We live in a world of sound bytes, where people are attracted to products through catchy slogans, compelling graphics, and quick videos. Modern tradeshows play on these trends by depending less on the custom-built displays of the past and more on minimal displays with high-tech lighting and easily changeable banners. Even major exhibitors, whose booth occupies an area equivalent to a city block, count on the “wow” factor to woo visitors.

Engaging Through Interactive Displays

As an exhibitor, you must be friendly and show a willingness to engage, but interactive technology is now what gets people into the booth and promotes conversation. Touchscreen displays allow visitors to the booth to get information about your product and try it out. Many times, visitors come to the booth as a result of social media invitations to view demonstrations, not just endless loops of the company video. Some companies even offer interactive presentations via smartphones, which allows the attendees to play with the application long after the exhibitor has packed up and gone home. Booths might offer exciting games and contests, money blowing machines, and appealing giveaways in return for customers stopping by and giving up their contact information.

Giving Visitors Their Space

Your display might be a conversation starters for some attendees, but just as in a retail store, others are “just looking” and don’t want a salesperson hovering around them. Some exhibitors have created small areas where people can view information uninterrupted and then seek out a booth representative if they had a question. These companies have found that this approach increased the level of engagement with people who were looking for information on their own timetable.

Going Green

Gone are the days when an exhibitor would measure the success of a tradeshow by the amount of literature they distributed, while the attendee measured the value of the tradeshow by the pound collected! Rather than distributing costly brochures, companies are adding QR codes to their displays that attendees can capture on their smartphone or tablet and be directed to a website with the information they want. The approach is greener, costs exhibitors less, and cuts down the amount of literature that overburdened visitors throw away at the trade show exit.

Social Media For Trade Shows

Social media, both modern and green, allows marketers to do pre-show, in-show and post-show trade show marketing with a smaller trail of paper and minimal environmental impact. Your company can set up a page via your social media site that is a living piece of show history, which offers information about the show and your products, offers promotions, and allows for interaction with customers.

Modern trade show displays are more visually appealing and engaging in a way that is comfortable to their tech savvy visitors.

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.

Developing an Effective Trade Show Marketing Strategy

Posted on: November 30th, 2012 by admin No Comments

tradeshow checklistTrade shows are terrific opportunities to reach new customers but everyone else there is trying to do the same thing. Business promotion in this type of high-competition environment requires special planning to be sure you get your message to the crowd.

Ideas4Events offers many different event marketing products for car dealership promotions, trade show marketing, bank marketing, casino event marketing, and more. We’ve helped hundreds of company’s trade show booths stand out from the crowd at busy trade show expos with our host of unique trade show marketing products.

Establishing a Unique Niche for Your Trade Show Product

What makes your product better than the competition? It might be price, quality, unique benefits, or something else. Think about how your product differs from other similar products.

The difference must be meaningful. Saying that you offer blue widgets when everyone else offers red ones isn’t going to interest most customers. Saying you offer the same product for a lower price is going to get more people’s attention.

Defining and Attracting the Target Buyer

Each venue is different and potential customers are dictated by the type and location of the trade show. Promotions should vary based on age, income, and other characteristics of the crowd. Marketing for trade shows in Miami might require different techniques than shows in Denver or Seattle. Sales promotions that work at a health fair might flop at a baby expo.

Every venue is different and by customizing your trade show promotions you realize greater marketing success.

Conveying the Right Message

With a product focus and a target buyer in mind, create a message that synthesizes these ideas.

For example if your product’s best features is its budget price, it might be attractive to both college students and retirees. Yet it’s going to be difficult to find a message that appeals to both groups.

Instead, customize the message in your trade show promotions to appeal to the particular demographic of this show to grab their attention and bring in more customers.

Choosing the Most Effective Marketing Tools for Your Budget

The best trade show promotions are fun. Now that you have a clear message, consider your budget for the show and make a list of entertaining promotional options.

Once you’ve defined a unique niche, established your target audience and developed your message, you’ll need a way to attract visitors to your booth in the crowded trade show expo.

Across the board, one of our most popular event entertainment products is the Money Machine or Cash Cube. Contestants step inside the Money Machine booth and have a certain time to grab as much cash or as many store vouchers as they can. The Money Machine creates excitement which attracts people who wander over to see what all the excitement is about.

We offer a variety of models to fit your budget, from high-end hard case money machines to less expensive inflatable money machines to budget Money Machines and table top Money Machines that contestants reach into rather than entering.

Maybe consider one of countless other options from the old standby, the pen with your company name on it, to digital portrait painters to entertaining robots. By considering your product, your customer, and your budget you can find the ideal trade show marketing idea that gets the most attention.

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.

Six Ways to Attract a Crowd at a Trade Show

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Setting Goals and ObjectivesTom Hanks, Justin Timberlake, and Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Steve Young were among the many celebrities participating in the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in early January 2006. The show floor was 28 football field’s worth of space with 2,500 trade show exhibitors vying for attention in 1.6 billion square feet of convention exhibits.

More and more trade show exhibitors are finding that a great way to get noticed is to introduce an element of show business into their trade show display appearance. According to technology industry analyst Rob Enderle, “Each year they’ve (CES) had more of a Hollywood presence and this year is the biggest year.” At the CES, Intel hosted a performance by the Black Eyed Peas, Motorola featured the Foo Fighters and Verizon Wireless had hip hopping by Yellowcard and Maroon 5.

Celebrities and celebrity look-a-likes, athletes and former pros, comics, actors, musicians, and scantily clad booth babes all are attention-getters that can draw crowds of business prospects to your trade show booth.

Clients often ask how they can add glitz and pizzazz into their trade show display experience. Here are a few things to consider:

1. The obvious first step is to hire show stoppers—this can run the entire gamut from famous celebrities to clowns on stilts. Even your smiling, energetic and well trained booth staff can do the job of attracting attention.

2. Make your trade show exhibit exciting by incorporating movement, color, lights and action. Practice what motion picture producers do when they yell into their bullhorns, “Lights! Action!” Gobo lights traveling across a tension fabric can provide changing color and mesmerizing interest. New technologies bring high drama to your trade show booth such as 3D video/laser image displays suspended above.

3. Display a sense of humor. Think Billy Crystal and have your trade show booth staff prepare a few funny things to say when they meet and greet attendees. Remember that humor sells and it also helps to break the ice and get your crew off to a friendly start.

4. Bring Internet access into your booth that showcases your professionally designed company website. Incorporate on a large backdrop screen robotics, holographics and waterscreen projections. Be sure to take into consideration your trade show exhibit supplier’s advice and expertise on graphics, portability and trade show cost management.

5. Make your booth exhibit interactive so that you can involve people with a touch, feel, sight and sound experience. Experiential activity is better and longer lasting than passive involvement.

6. Provide exciting, fun giveaways—large or small, everyone likes to win something. By offering a drawing on a glitzy prize –perhaps a two night free stay at the luxury resort –would make it fun for your trade show attendees to allow them to have the “magic continue”.

By thinking creatively you can take your trade show exhibit to another dimension.

A show biz element brings the “buzz” to your trade show exhibit. And, remember, there is no business like show business.

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.

Get PR for Your Trade Show Exhibit

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by admin No Comments

tradeshow boothIf your company is planning to exhibit at a trade show and your firm has an intriguing new product or service to showcase, you may be able to generate thousands of dollars in free exposure by hiring a public relations specialist to get national and international media coverage. By hiring a public relations pro, you will be assured of getting releases to the industry trade media about that hot new product you are featuring. The trade show media will also be invited to your trade show booth for an interview with your company executive.

Be sure to keep in mind that a valuable and important publicity task is to create a comprehensive media kit. The kit should include background specifics on your company as well as an outline of your new product features and benefits. You should send this kit out in advance and also have it on hand to give to media trade show booth visitors. The press kit makes it easier for the media to write about the details of your story and learn why your news is meaningful to a broader audience.

Your trade show exhibit publicity campaign must begin with finding the right news hook or news angle. Your publicity team will help you craft and package your trade show news that makes sense for the trade show media to cover. And, in order to obtain trade show exhibit coverage, you need to plan ahead. Your media relations contact needs time to identify the trade show media that will cover your upcoming trade show.

Sending out media invitations to a specified media list with an invitation to visit your trade show exhibit booth with an offer to interview your firm’s spokesperson is critical. Your publicity person also needs to establish advance contact with the trade show media staff to learn what information they are sending out. It is also helpful to obtain the trade show pr staff’s specific media list that covers trade show online, broadcast and print media.

It’s critical for your publicity person to learn the story angles that the trade show PR staff might be pitching. This helps your pr agent avoid making a duplicate pitch and gives them the opportunity to piggyback your specific news to the general trade show theme. If one of the trade show pr staff’s angles is compatible with your company, product or service, you can hitchhike on the trade show PR efforts. Distributing your company news to the trade show PR staff is also extremely valuable as they often field media requests. They then will be able to refer the trade show media to your trade show exhibit when a reporter is looking for a case study or a specific story.

According to Trisha Britt, owner of Britt & Associates, an award-winning trade show public relations agency based in Mill Valley, California, there are specific steps to follow when working with trade show media. They are:

Begin by preparing a press release to announce an intriguing aspect of your trade show exhibit. Be sure to include your trade show booth number. Give editors and producers specific reasons why they should visit your trade show booth and interview your company spokesperson.

Do you have a new product or service to announce, a new member of the management team to introduce or a point of view that you are taking on an industry issue?

Also, suggest setting up a specific time for an interview with an expert from your company. Prepare a list of topics your executive can cover. At the minimum, make your executive give you a two hour window of time to be available at your trade show booth. Try to schedule interviews about 20 minutes in length, and make sure your executive is suitably attired for a photo or video shoot.

By having the media cover your trade show exhibit, you will expand your trade show exhibit story to a wider audience and develop ongoing contact with the trade show media for continuing news opportunities. It is a win/win situation.

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.

Are You Confusing Your Tradeshow Visitors?

Posted on: November 26th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Are You Confusing VisitorsWhenever I am helping a client with their tradeshow marketing strategy, I inquire as to what products they intend to show. Inevitably, the response includes any number of products and services, so my next question is, “What is the most important to you? What is the most important to your customer?” Rarely is that answer on the tip of his or her tongue. Many trade show participants want to seize the opportunity to show off ALL of their products to get the biggest bang for their buck. Doing this can confuse visitors and be detrimental to their overall tradeshow marketing strategy.

Information Overload

This is a big mistake and we’ve seen it time and again. So many tradeshow booths are overloaded with variety, and in an overall state of chaos. They can be so chaotic that a visitor isn’t interested to spend the time and energy to figure out if the presenter has anything worthwhile to offer.

Studies have shown that when the brain is presented with too many choices, it becomes confused, fatigued, and begins to shut down. Faced with too many choices and feeling the fatigue set in, the brain will look for the easy way out and choose to move away from the confusion – the offending booth or display.

Target YOUR Target Audience

There are a number of reasons an exhibitor might take the route of overloading their booths, whether inadvertently or not. Maybe they simply haven’t taken the time to prepare or are unaware that an overstocked booth can be a turnoff to visitors. Perhaps they have been indecisive about determining one specific product or message to focus on, so they throw them all out there in hopes of appealing to a larger audience.

Companies who are consistently successful at tradeshows know that identifying their target audience is job number one when it comes to a solid trade show marketing plan. Not knowing who your target audience is and which of your products will appeal to their specific needs can lead to a confusing trade show display and lower visitor interest.

Attract Visitors With An Inviting And Organized Booth

Visitors are at the tradeshow to seek out a solution. They want to see what is new in their industry and how your product can help them achieve greater success. They also want to move through a show somewhat quickly, so it’s important for your booth to be both inviting and organized.

Every part of your booth should contribute to your main goal: attracting prospective clients to your booth so that you can engage them and present the products and services you have to offer. Advertising specialties are a great way to engage visitors. Be sure that they are representative not only of your brand, but also of your featured product or service. Advertising specialties promote your company long after the tradeshow is over especially if they are practical or valuable items that visitors tend to hang on to. They can also highlight a new product, service, special achievement or event. T-shirts, mugs, pens and key chains are popular examples, and many companies are opting for unique items like recycled totes, USB drives, and hand sanitizers (a great item for tradeshows!)

Create an inviting, uncluttered atmosphere in and around your booth. You want your customers to comfortably explore your displays and activities. You also want your representatives to be on their toes, engaging and interacting. Do not provide chairs, and set up tables at the sides and the back of the booth to encourage interaction and avoid creating a barrier at the front.

Avoid confusing your tradeshow visitors by presenting a clear message with an uncluttered display that keeps the focus on your target audience.

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.

A Back-up Objective for the B to C Exhibitor

Posted on: November 16th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Business to Consumer ExhibitorThe secret to exhibit success lies in your ability to focus all your resources on a single, achievable and measurable goal. But there are situations where focusing on one goal may mean lost opportunities, particularly when you are exhibiting at B to C (Business to Consumer) shows.

Typically exhibitors who participate in shows that attract the end user, focus on selling products, setting appointments or writing orders. None of these are bad and for many companies provide an immediate method of gauging success. The opportunities that may be slipping through your fingers are with those attendees who are not ready to buy your product or commit to the appointment and need more time before placing an order.

To address this challenge we need to go back to the beginning and look at your marketing plan. When you developed your plan to bring your products and services to the market , surely you weighted the pros and cons of each marketing tool. Some of these tools include; print, e-marketing, social media, direct mail, brochures, trade shows and events. In addition you had undoubtedly considered adding special events to your rostrum of activities. These might have included: open houses, seminars, newsletters and special discounts.

Now, the next step is to integrate all your marketing tools to support the events you are planning. For example if you are planning an open house you may be printing invitations and mailing them to a pre-qualified list. If you are offering a special discounted price you may be considering an e-mail blast.

You can tie these marketing activities into your exhibit planning when you include as a secondary objective, attracting visitors to attend one of your other marketing events.

For example if a visitor at your booth is not prepared to buy now and you have assessed that there may be long term potential, why not invite them to a tour of your facilities or an educational session? Your secondary objective could be as simple as building a data base of interested people who will receive your newsletter.

In order to realize this additional benefit of participating in a trade show you need to carefully plan your approach. Here are the steps you need to take.

  1. Plan a post show event within 20 – 30 days after the show. This way you can promote the events and they will stay fresh in your visitor’s mind.
  2. Promote the event at your booth. This could take the form of a poster or sign-up sheet.
  3. Create a profile of the people who will get the biggest benefit of attending this event and train your booth staff on how to identify these people and qualify them.
  4. Develop a lead sheet, so that your staff can record the visitor’s information as well as additional bits of information that will help you target your post-show marketing.
  5. Ask for the commitment. If they have agreed to purchase your product, after the sale is completed invite them to a post-show event. If they are qualified but are reluctant to finalize the sale immediately, you can invite them to your post-show event. If you don’t ask, they won’t volunteer.
  6. Follow-up with these people immediately after the show to remind them of the upcoming event or the date of the release of your newsletter.

When you look at your marketing plan as a holistic component of your business success and you move away from focusing on one show at a time, you will achieve better results. Studies have proven that when you add this secondary objective to your exhibit plans, your ultimate show related return on investment could grow as much as 50 – 60% and that’s well-worth the effort.

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.

Why Your Tradeshow Marketing May be Confusing Your Visitors

Posted on: November 15th, 2012 by admin No Comments

marketing questionsA big part of trade show marketing is deciding the right products to show. Inevitably, to narrow down the possibilities ask yourself, “What is the most important to me? What is the most important to my customers?” Rarely is that answer on the tip of your tongue. Like many trade show participants you probably want to seize the opportunity to show off ALL of your products to get the biggest bang for your buck.

Your Indecisiveness Confuses Your Visitors

This is a big mistake but it happens all the time. Tradeshow booths are often over-stuffed, over-loaded with variety, and entirely chaotic. They can be so chaotic in fact that a visitor isn’t interested to spend his or her time trying to figure out if you have anything worthwhile to offer.

Consider this from a psychological standpoint. When the brain encounters too many options, it becomes confused, tired, and starts to shut down. When the fatigue sets in, the brain looks for a resting place and moves away from the confusion – in this case, the chaos of your booth.

There are a couple reasons an exhibitor may make this mistake. Maybe they haven’t taken the time to create a solid tradeshow marketing plan and determine one specific area to place the focus. There may also be selfishness involved. The exhibitor has not thought of what their target audience is looking for at a particular event, and they have made it about themselves and showing off all their wares at one show.

Make Your Booth Inviting To The Human Brain

An uncluttered, attractive booth will provide the resting place you visitors’ brain seeks. Remember that visitors are at the trade show looking to see the latest and greatest, and they want to find it fast – give them just that. Feature your latest product or service in a focused, manageable format and tell visitors exactly how your products will benefit them.
Allow visitors to comfortably walk around your booth and check out your products and services. Avoid setting tables up in a way that creates a barrier, and don’t provide chairs for your staff to lounge in. Your staff should be knowledgeable and engaging and able to assist visitors with questions and product demonstrations in an organized manner.

Use Advertising Specialties To Attract Your Target Audience

Always keep your main purpose in mind – attracting visitors to your booth so that you can present your products and services. Advertising specialties are a great way to do this. But be sure that they fit you’re your tradeshow marketing plan by representing your featured product or service, your company brand, and the ultimate goal of trade show. Advertising specialties are a way for visitors to remember you long after the event is over. So choose wisely and make sure the item you pick will really speak to your target audience.

Advertising specialties not only promote your company, but can highlight a new service, product, event or achievement. Pens, mugs and key chains are popular items, but a company may also choose more specific advertising specialties like MP3 players or clocks.

Your trade show marketing strategy should be focused and cohesive, and so should your trade show booth. Cluttered and unfocused trade show booths counter tradeshow marketing efforts by confusing visitors. Avoid confusion by presenting a clear message and using advertising specialties that keep the focus on your target audience.

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.

Add Some Magic to Your Booth and Make More Leads Appear

Posted on: November 12th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Hiring Trade Show Magicians to Complement Your Trade Show Marketing Efforts

MagicianThroughout history, people have been captivated by accomplished magicians and their amazing skills of illusion. Most individuals never get to see a professional magician in action and would seize the opportunity to be up close and personal with a master of the magical arts. That’s why trade show magicians – full-time professionals who specialize in display booth magic shows – can be counted on to always attract crowds and create buzz in the exhibition hall.

More than just performers, full-time, professional trade show magicians are hired by exhibitors to create customized shows that attract and engage booth visitors, as well as enhance product awareness. By working with a trade show magician, you can make a lasting impression on prospects, enhance excitement for your product, and yield a greater number of lead and sales. Moreover, a trade show magician can complement your other trade show attractions to maximize impact.


Not only are they experts in their profession, these specialized magicians spend a considerable amount of time before the event meeting with you and your team to learn about your company, market positioning, products, and key selling points. They script their shows beforehand to ensure your product is effectively and appropriately promoted to maximize message impact.

In essence, an experienced event magician becomes a sales partner by creatively incorporating your message into imaginative, high-energy performances that audiences love. He or she interacts with prospects, provides appealing entertainment, and sets the stage for your booth staff to follow-up and close the sale. A trade show magician may even include distribution of your company giveaways into the context of the performance.

To ensure successful outcomes, trade show magicians like Chicago-based Dennis Watkins always submit a customized magic show script to clientsto ensure upcoming booth performances deliver the brand message and goals for which they are hired.

Effectively staging the show in the booth area is also key to delivering positive outcomes. For example, Mr. Watkins travels across the country and is adept at presenting his magic in a wide variety of spaces. For small booths, Mr. Watkins can effectively perform from a tailored script in a tight space and have crowds gather in the aisle to enjoy an intimate, interactive experience. At the conclusion of the magic show, he will invite the crowd into your exhibit for an incentive and/or to learn more about your offering.

Exhibitors at larger venues with more sizable displays typically have space for a small platform or mini stage in the booth area for a more theatrical presentation. The magic and interaction is highly engaging, like aisle shows, just on a grander scale.


Look for Experience and Professionalism. According to Jules Sowder of, the magician you hire serves as a representative of your company and plays a key role in projecting your organization’s image. She advises exhibitors to look for someone who projects a professional appearance, has experience performing in an event environment, and who understands the unique nature and goals of trade show performances.

In addition, whether a magician works fulltime at his or her art (versus someone who does magic as a side-line or hobby) serves as an indicator of how successful he or she may be in driving leads and garnering sales in the exhibition hall.

Understand the Terms of the Working Relationship. Gain an understanding of how the magician works in partnership with each client, including the process of learning your business and customizing scripts. Ask about the typical length of each magic show and frequency of booth performances each hour. See if he or she is willing to perform additional shows, when opportunistic, during busy times in the exhibition hall.

Watch Magic Show Performances. Before you hire a trade show magician, ask for a CD of his or her magic shows at different exhibition events. If possible, see if you can see a booth presentation in person. Look for how the magician engages the audience and effectively incorporates the company promotional message into the act. Note how attendees respond to performances and how (or if) the magician facilitates lead generation.

Check References from Past Clients. Contact a minimum of three former trade show clients to learn whether they are satisfied with the outcomes from hiring the trade show magician. Inquire about the size of the show and the magician’s ability to consistently attract a crowd. Ask how many incremental leads were generated, as a result of the booth magic shows. Then, see if they plan to hire him or her again in the future.

Determine Fees and Return on Investment. Pricing for trade show magicians varies, based on experience level, time of year, day of week, location, availability, and the number of days you need his or her services. You will find that fees can range considerably from one magician to the next. Don’t be tempted to hire the least expensive talent. Rather, glean a full understanding of what you are getting for your money and the return you can expect to get from hiring the talent. Ask the magician for input, based on his or her experience. Return may be defined based on incremental leads, additional sales, enhanced product education, and/or media exposure from hiring the magician.

As you are evaluating your options for a trade show magician, also consider how he or she can work in tandem with your other trade show attractions and/or promotional items you are planning to use to enhance trade show results.

Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.

Using Social Media to Boost Tradeshow Marketing Strategies

Posted on: November 9th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Marketing StrategyTradeshow marketing is essential to the success of any company’s appearance at highly competitive tradeshows or conventions. Regardless of how much you spend on great boothattractions or giveaways, you won’t capture the audience you desire if you don’t generate enough interest in advance and maintain that level of interest throughout the show. Tradeshow marketing is crucial, and convention planners know that social media is the latest and greatest weapon in the tradeshow marketing arsenal. They’re using it to great advantage for convention marketing that’s targeted and timely.

Before The Event: Tradeshow Marketing with Social Media

One of the most popular forms of social media being used for tradeshow marketing is Facebook. This ubiquitous social media platform has more members than the population of the United States. By creating a Facebook page devoted to your company and announcing your appearance at upcoming tradeshows, you can create immediate buzz. The beauty of it is in the simplicity – you’ll discover that interested customers will become your marketing platform by posting comments and forwarding your information to others. Networking with other, non-competitor companies that will also have a presence at the convention is a great way to reach untapped customers with your tradeshow marketing.

Blogs are another form of interactive social media, encouraging dialogue and creating incoming and outgoing links from your blog to other sites. Through this interaction with customers, you can immediately expand the reach of your convention marketing dollars at no additional cost to you. YouTube can also help you create interest if you’ll be offering a new product or service – simply create a demonstration video that can be used as a teaser to draw potential visitors to your booth to learn more.

Tradeshow attractions are a great way to create excitement and stir a crowd at your booth. In addition to the tradeshow attractions you will feature, offering incentives when you demonstrate your services and products is also a great way to use Facebook for your tradeshow marketing. Offer anyone who mentions your Facebook page or who comments on one of your threads an incentive when they stop by your tradeshow booth. It could be a personalized consultation, an extra gift, or any other enticement that makes them feel like they’ve earned something extra simply by following your Facebook updates.

During The Event: Don’t Neglect Your Tradeshow Marketing

You may be tempted to sit back and relax about your tradeshow marketing once you’ve done the pre-event social media rounds, but you can continue to pump up the buzz and attract plenty of visitors if you keep in contact with interested customers via Facebook, Twitter or Foursquare. In fact, more than half of all event planners and tradeshow experts now use Twitter updates to keep interest high throughout an event.

Post audio or video clips from the tradeshow floor on Facebook. Choose short sound bites or brief videos that will encourage customers to visit your booth to check out the interesting tradeshow attractions you’ve given them a glimpse of online. Let potential clients know you have experts on hand to answer questions and entice them with booth attractions that make your booth a “must” as they navigate the convention floor. If you’re going to be doing specific product demonstrations throughout the day, tweet your followers to give them a heads up when something is about to happen so they won’t miss a thing.

After The Show: Use Social Media To Follow-Up

After you’ve packed up the products that you have just showcased and are headed back to the office or next convention, you can cement new relationships with anyone who visited your tradeshow booth by following up on your tradeshow marketing through social media. Send out a quick “thanks for stopping by” message via Twitter or post an update on Facebook that mentions the success of your booth. Post a brief, follow-up questionnaire to gauge how people responded to your products, services and the tradeshow attractions that you used to generate increased traffic. With this feedback, your staff can gain valuable insight that you can use to determine the results of your recent show. And of course, remind your new contacts to visit your website for product news and updates any time!


Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.

The Most Critical Questions in Trade Show Marketing

Posted on: November 8th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Tradeshow Marketing: Answers the Most Critical Questions in Trade Show MarketingAs a leading source of information for tradeshow marketing, we get lots of questions about strategies to from both trade show veterans and those new to tradeshow marketing. We’ve addressed a long list of questions on our frequently asked questions page, but want to highlight some of the most critical in even more detail here.

Is It Worth It For My Company To Incorporate Trade Show Marketing As Part of Our Marketing Strategy?

While this may seem like a question for those new to trade show marketing, veterans may want to read on. Even those who regularly attend trade shows may have lost sight of the purpose for attending the trade show in the first place…

Marketing strategies vary between industries, but nearly any business plan can enjoy greater exposure through tradeshow marketing — if its done correctly.

Attending a trade show just for the sake of attending likely isn’t going to be cost effective. You’ve got to have a clear goal in mind that you want to achieve and have a game plan to achieve that goal.

Since exhibiting is an investment, it is best to prepare thoroughly beforehand. Attend a trade show in your industry or other industry beforehand and view it through new eyes. Which booths get you to stop? Who encouraged you to leave your contact information and how did they do it?

In essence, the answer to whether or not tradeshow marketing is a worthwhile form of advertising for your company is up to you. While television or radio can be a great platform for advertising, an ineffective ad can make for an ineffective campaign. The same is true in trade show marketing. Thinking critically about your goals and then how to reach those goals is the first step toward making trade show marketing a profitable form of marketing for your company.

How Can I Make My Tradeshow Exhibits More Effective?

Each show is unique; tradeshow marketing strategies have to evolve over time. Strategize after each trade show — ask what worked and what didn’t. Conduct follow-up training and engage in brainstorming sessions immediately after the trade show. Bring new team members into the mix with each show to freshen up the energy and ideas — this can lead to an invigorated campaign for the next exhibitions.

Focus on creating a marketing plan before doing booth design, allow crew members to offer their input, and avoid tradeshow exhibits that create a barrier to buyers. Remember to offer training to staff as well, since the people behind the tradeshow exhibits are a vital component of effective tradeshow marketing.

Tradeshow giveaways are also a great way to bring in people to see your tradeshow exhibits. Treasure chests, prize wheels, and scratch cards are particularly effective since they are ways to have visitors interact with your tradeshow exhibits rather than just receiving a handout. Integrating activities with tradeshow giveaways will also make your tradeshow exhibits stand out. Cash cubes, video games, and promotional ATMs are all excellent examples of effective tradeshow exhibits. For a truly unique offering, consider promotional robots, event photography, or promotional inflatables. A well thought out marketing plan can greatly increase your presence not only on the trade show floor, but in your industry.

Looking for even more ideas? Take a look at our FAQ page where we address some of the most commonly asked questions about trade show marketing. If you don’t see your question there, send us an email and we’ll be happy to address it!


Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.

A Lesson From Game Shows: 3 Trade Show Booth Ideas for a Successful Trade Show Experience

Posted on: November 8th, 2012 by admin No Comments

A Lesson From Game Shows: 3 Trade Show Booth Ideas for a Successful Trade Show ExperienceIf you have ever watched a game show on television, have attended one, or have even been lucky enough to participate in one, then you know how exciting it can be. Consider a game show like Wheel of Fortune for example. What is it about this sort of game show that keeps people coming back for more?

The excitement and sheer hysteria that is generated from spinning a wheel and anticipating the fortune that is going to befall you is incredibly tantalizing for both the audience as well as the participant.

By bringing this sense of excitement to your trade show, your booth can be equally as engaging. The trick is to know what gets audiences excited and create trade show attractions around that concept. The following are several convention booth-marketing ideas to help you keep your audience engaged.

Turn An Experience At Your Booth Into an Interactive Game

Why do we love game shows? The thrill of anticipation and the interactivity keep the mood upbeat and hold our interest. When people become bored, they become disinterested — you goal is to keep both participants engaged and to stop crowds in their tracks.

Don’t be afraid to go big with your interactive games. You’re investing a lot of money to participate in a trade show — it only makes sense to go the extra step and to design a booth that really grabs attention. Not only will bringing a big attention getter work in your favor on the trade show floor, your booth is likely to be mentioned by bloggers and industry journalists covering the event. Creating a fun event that people naturally gather around and snap pictures of can bring you a lot of coverage at the trade show and beyond.

Interactive Game Ideas:

The Cash Cube Money Machine is a serious attention grabber at trade shows. Not only is it fun for the people inside the money machine who are grabbing cash or coupons, watching participants grab at cash is entertaining for the crowd as well!
Interactive Game Ideas
It’s no question that slot machines draw massive crowds. With a promotional slot machine you can organize a promotion with the same level of intensity as a casino, but without any special licenses. Because promotional slot machines don’t dispense real cash, you can use them anywhere. And because the reels can be customized for any promotion you can dream up, the possibilities are endless.

Taking a literal cue from the success of one of America’s most popular game shows, a Wheel of Chance is a proven trade show attraction tool. The wheel can easily be worked into a variety of different trade show game ideas and is easily customizable for your specific event.

Entice Participants With Prizes

When it comes to trade shows, you don’t need lots of “big prizes.” One big prize can certainly drive visitors to stop in and try — but you don’t have to bust your marketing budget on prize giveaways. Whether a prize is small or large, people just naturally want to win one! When participating on a nationally syndicated televised game show, people expect big prizes like cars and jackpots, but in a trade show atmosphere, thoughtful yet inexpensive giveaways can have the same type of draw.

Consider giving away useful and inexpensive logo imprinted giveaway items that double as prizes and as long-lasting advertisements for you company. When choosing prizes, look for those that are unique, useful, and that relate to your industry and target audience.

Entice Participants With PrizesFor example, if your target audience are techies, consider a logo imprinted flash memory drive or a wifi finder. If you’re in the banking or finance industry, consider giving away logo imprinted piggy banks. Every time they use one of those items, they will be reminded of where they got it and from whom.

For a broader approach, consider a giveaway that will be useful on the trade show floor and in the future such as a logo imprinted lanyard or badge holder on which to hang their trade show badge or a logo imprinted canvas bag to carry their trade show swag. With these types of items, they will not only remember your company in the future, but also advertise your company on the trade show floor.

Pre-Arrange An Audience

Before a game show airs, a great deal of planning takes place to ensure that there will be an audience turnout. Smart trade show marketers can do the same.

“Hoping” that people will stop by your trade show booth is not a plan for success. Like any business event, a successful trade show event requires planning, communication, and some marketing.

Pre-Arrange An Audience1. Work to gain a list of registered attendees and other exhibitors.

2. Identify which companies and individuals are in the right target market or demographic for your products and services.

3. Reach out to those companies and give them a strong incentive to stop by your booth. For example, consider sending scratch off tickets that reveal a prize they can pick up at your booth or a code that may unlock the Prize Vault at your booth, inside of which is a mystery prize. Another option is to arrange to have a scratch off ticket handed to every trade show attendee as they arrive and sign in to receive their badge. This ensures that every person who enters the trade show has been given a ‘ticket’ to stop by your booth.

Just like popular TV game shows, there is no reason why you cannot pack an audience before the show even begins.

What can you learn from the success of game shows and their ability to excite and engage an audience? How can you incorporate the strategies of some of your favorite game shows into your your trade show marketing strategy? Creating an exciting and engaging event can leave a lasting impression on your prospects, making your own ‘show’ a number one hit with your target audience!


Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.

Trade Show Marketing Inspiration from the Convention Floor

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by admin 1 Comment

Trade Show Marketing Inspiration from the Convention FloorOne of the most valuable sources of trade show marketing ideas comes directly from the exhibit floor. There is no better opportunity to observe the promotional tactics that work. In fact, your experience while exploring the floor is a key indicator of what your own audience will respond to. Incorporating the ideas that attracted your attention into your own trade show exhibits is a great way to leverage proven tactics.

Below, we’ll take a tour through some of the most effective trade show marketing strategies being  implemented across convention floors. These are strategies that are already being used by successful exhibitors, some of whom may be your direct competitors.

Suit Up To Stand Out

Dress uniformity is appealing to trade show attendees, even if only on a subconscious level. If your employees are wearing clothes that are consistent in color and style, it sends a clear message that they are working together as a team. Plus, not only does that uniformity help to brand your company and support its image, but it also makes identifying your staff easy.

You can take this strategy a step further and coordinate your booth staff’s clothing with the colors of your trade show exhibits. For example, suppose your company logo is lime green. The color is splashed generously across your overhead banners, displays, and other trade show marketing signage. If your employees’ shirts are also lime green, attendees will immediately recognize them as part of your company.

Appeal To The Appetite

Delicious food can transform the most cynical trade show attendee into a raving fan. But, not just any food will do. Candy bars and cookies can sate the hunger of most visitors, but both lack reach. Ideally, you should incorporate food that not only tastes scrumptious, but can also send mouthwatering aromas wafting through the aisles.

For example, customizable popcorn machines can attract attendees from across the convention hall. The aroma of the popcorn is irresistible and draws them to your trade show exhibits. Plus, you can provide customized popcorn bags that carry your logo, marketing message, and contact details.

Take The Higher Ground

A large portion of trade show exhibits fail to make use of the space high above the average attendee’s sightline. Instead, exhibitors often focus solely upon their primary site. Remember, convention halls can be massive. It may be difficult for people to find your booth among the hundreds of other exhibits across the floor.

By taking the higher ground with an attractive hanging display, you can grab attendees’ attention and make it easy for them to find your exhibit in a crowded arena. A triangle, quad, or circular hanging banner can be a perfect complement to a well-designed booth.

Use Promotional Giveaways Wisely

Your trade show giveaways can either be a short-term novelty or a long-term marketing asset. Too many exhibitors invest their trade show marketing budget in promotional items that attendees discard as they leave the convention hall. A paddle-and-ball with your marketing message may seem like a good idea initially, but its long-term value is limited. Invest in high-quality trade show giveaways that your booth visitors will take home and use throughout the year. It’s a cost-effective way to keep your company’s name in front of your audience over the long run.

Inject Interactivity

Hours spent walking the trade show floor can zap the strength of the most enthusiastic attendee. The fatigue is mostly due to a lack of mental stimulation. When attendees visit your trade show exhibits, give them a way to interact. You can use video game attractions or a cash cube money machine to stimulate their senses and inject a dose of interactive excitement into their day. Not only will they have fun participating, but your booth staff will have the opportunity to qualify them as potential leads.

The trade show marketing ideas above are being used by a growing number of exhibitors. As the costs of appearing at trade shows rise, exhibitors are realizing they need to do everything possible to stand out, brand themselves, and attract a wider audience. Often, the best marketing inspiration comes directly from the trade show floor.

Successful Trade Show Marketing

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Successful Trade Show Marketing

Trade shows have grown to become the number one business-to-business marketing medium.  Why are a growing number of companies marketing themselves at trade shows?
Trade shows provide a unique opportunity that cannot be replicated in any other type of venue. The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) revealed the following about exhibitions:

  • 88% of attendees have not been seen by a member of your company’s sales staff in the preceding 12 months
  • Seven out of ten attendees plan to buy one or more products
  • 76% asked for quotes and 26% signed purchase orders (average all shows)
  • 72% of show visitors say the show influenced their buying decision
  • 87% of attendees will share some of the information obtained at an exhibition
  • 64% of attendees tell at least 6 other people about the event
  • 58% attend only the show in which you are exhibiting
  • 40% are first-time attendees
  • It costs 22% less to contact a potential buyer at a show than it does through traditional field sales calls

While trade shows are worthwhile, they are not easy.  To get the most out of trade shows, exhibit marketers set measurable objectives, pick good shows, design effective exhibits, and more.  Read on to discover the main elements of a successful trade show marketing program.

Setting Objectives and Measurable Results

The first step in planning your trade show success is to set effective and realistic trade show objectives and measurements for them.  Effectively planning your show’s objectives allows the rest of your show to fall into place. Choosing the right measurement tools enables you to draw the correct conclusions following your trade show performance.

The first question to ask is the most basic:  Why are you exhibiting?  While most go to generate leads and build awareness of their brand or products, many also exhibit to build relationships or introduce new products.

Once you know the reason you are exhibiting, set objectives based on them that you can measure – and then measure and report them.  Measurable objectives range from simple lead counts (200 leads at the XYZ Show) to Return On Investment goals (Generate $10 in sales for every $1 spent exhibiting at the XYZ Show).

Select The Right Shows

With over 13,000 trade shows, conferences, expositions, private and business-to-business events in North America, featuring 1.5 million exhibiting companies vying for the attention of over 100 million attendees, it can be daunting to select where your efforts are best spent. However, there is a method to help you find the best opportunities to market your organization at trade shows.

To start, select the shows you want to exhibit at only after you have set your trade show objectives. Then dig in to do some serious background research. The best bet is to look at the trade shows in your industry and carefully weigh the options. Talk to your fellow employees — what shows have worked in the past?  Where do sales people see the customer’s needs leaning? Look at whose going to be there. Talk to your current and prospective customers — is this a show they will be attending?  While you may exhibit well at your large industry show, also consider smaller shows that have a higher proportion of people likely to be interested in your products or services.

Space Selection: Where and How Big?

The average trade show has over 400 exhibitors, so how do you choose the best booth space for you? Most shows give space-picking priority to the exhibitors who have been with them the longest. Yet some studies have found that where you are in the show hall has no effect on the amount of audience you receive to your booth. For every veteran exhibitor that requires a space in the center of the action, or at the front entrance to the hall, or near their biggest competitor, there are veteran exhibitors who flee from the same locations. All the same, the size of your booth space is a very important decision, where you must weigh the need to stand out from your competitors with a large booth, and yet having enough budget to exhibit at all the worthwhile shows for your company.

Budgeting: Planning saves you time and money

Exhibiting can be complex. A large part of that challenge is identifying how much to budget for related services.  The easiest way to estimate your overall budget for exhibiting at a show is to take the cost to rent the exhibit space, and multiply it by three. So if renting a 10-foot by 10-foot exhibit at a show costs $2,000, then the overall show costs are usually about $6,000.

The biggest expenditures after booth space is staffer’s travel, hotel, and meal costs, show services such as installation and dismantle, the cost to build or rent your exhibit, and shipping.

A large portion of show services costs is called drayage, which is the cost to bring your exhibit and crates from outside the show hall to your exhibit space.  Sometimes it can even be as expensive as the cost to ship your exhibit from your city to the show.  The trend for exhibitors is towards lighter weight, more modular exhibits that lower costs like shipping and drayage.

Planning avoids rush charges and lets you figure out how to do the most shows with the fewest exhibit properties.

Exhibit Design:  Make Your Exhibit a Marketing Tool

Why does exhibit design matter? Because a well-designed exhibit is so effective at cutting through the trade show clutter and getting your message to your target audience. The average trade show attendee will spend 7 to 8 hours on the floor over a period of 2 to 3 days visiting an average of 25-31 exhibits. This leaves 5 to 15 minutes per visit – just 5 to 15 minutes to make a lasting impression that will give you an edge over the competition.

Create an exhibit that works as a true marketing tool.  Make sure your exhibit graphics say who you are, what you do, and what is your benefit to prospects.  When you state those clearly, you’ll bring in more visitors – and more qualified visitors.

Your exhibit is more than a three-dimensional ad. It’s actually a temporary workspace, filled with booth staffers there for hours or days, and visitors there for just a few minutes. Increase productivity by giving them enough space to work in, and by designing around their needs, be it for gathering leads, demonstrating product, meeting with key people, or storing their personal items.

Get More Traffic With Trade Show Promotions

Trade show promotions are the secret weapon of the veteran trade show manager. That’s because, when done right, trade show promotions work so well.

Consider these two items:

1. The average trade show has over 400 exhibitors, where the average attendee will visit about 21 exhibits, and that average attendee walks into the show with a list of 75% of the exhibits he/she wants to see. That means you have to get on their dance card before the show.

2. You can boost your trade show lead counts by 33% with trade show promotions – even thought they require a much smaller percentage of your budget.

So, trade show promotions are money well spent. Pre-show promotions are the things you do before the show to make attendees want to visit your booth.  At-show promotions are the activities and trade show giveaway items you do during the show to bring in more attendees into your exhibit.

Just be sure to pick promotions that bring in your desired target audience, not just anyone at the show.  And don’t just give things away – get information about prospects in exchange that will help you qualify and prioritize your leads.

Train Your Booth Staff So They’re Comfortable At Shows

85% of the positive feelings visitors have are due to the staff.  Your booth staff is responsible for drawing in your customers, effectively engaging them and creating leads. Because of this, it is important that you select the most effective staffers that your company has to offer. If they are sales people, you have to train them to adapt their selling style to the trade show floor. If they are not salespeople, guess what – they can still do extremely well, given the proper preparation.

Trade show staffing is uncomfortable for almost everyone at first.  You will give your booth staffer greater comfort and confidence by training them to understand and follow a 4-step booth staffing process:

1. Engage: 30 seconds
Start the process by stopping attendees.  Prepare and practice questions that won’t get a yes or no answer.

2. Qualify: 2 minutes
Determine if the prospect is worth presenting to … and what to present.

3. Present: 10 minutes
Demo on just the prospect’s needs, not everything you know. Prepare for common objections and questions.

4. Close: 1 minute
Lead card complete? Agree on the next step and go on to the next lead!

Lead Management, Not Lead Neglect

Astoundingly, almost 80% of leads generated are never followed, according to the Center For Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).  Rather than sending your hard-fought trade show leads into the abyss, strive to be part of the elite 20% that actually follow up on their leads!  We’ve heard horror stories of exhibits pulled out of storage to prepare for a show – only to find the leads from the previous show still packed with the exhibit. What a tragedy!

Rather than just sending a business card from the prospect on to your field sales reps, provide and train your staffers to use a lead card.  It’s a half sheet of paper that has check boxes to the most common qualifying questions, and room for notes about what the attendee said in your booth.  Your sales reps will be much more likely to follow up on a lead when they know what to say, and that it’s worth the call.

Also, think of your first day back from the show as the last day of the show.  Have your lead fulfillment packages prepared ahead of time, so you can send your responses right away.

Measuring Results Improves Future Performance

Once you return from a trade show it is important to measure its success.  Why?  Because while trade shows are a great marketing medium, you still have to prove the value of your individual program.  This information can be used to report to management the effectiveness of the show and to improve exhibit performance for future shows. Success can be measured by simple lead counts, or better yet, by the return on investment, or whatever objectives you set when you started your trade show program.

By tracking your results from show to show, you can make informed decisions about which shows to continue, expand, contract, or cut.  And when you are armed with data proving the value of your overall trade show program, you can maintain – and even expand – your trade show marketing efforts.

Marketing Before, During, and After the Trade Show

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by admin No Comments

Marketing Before, During, and After the Trade Show Trade show planning does not stop at the show itself. It takes months of preparations to be successful. Here are five effective tips to becoming a trade show success long after the show is over.

1.) Pre-show Marketing

Although hundreds, possibly thousands of people attend trade shows, letting the public, especially current customers, know where your booth will be located is a good idea. Send out direct mail pieces with promotions that are only for the show. An example of this would be a direct mail piece that was sent out by a cell phone company. They offered free activations (normally a $30 value) and phone rebates that would only be effective if they purchased the phone and service at the exhibit. They received a huge amount of new business from this promotion. With an economy that won’t be getting better any time soon, it is crucial to have coupons or some other form of discounts available to the attendees.

Another valuable pre-show marketing mailer that could be sent out would be to inform potential attendees of a drawing you will have at your booth. Whether it be for a briefcase, vacation, or a t-shirt, everyone loves to get free stuff. This may be reason enough to get them over to your booth.

2.) A Dazzling Trade Show Exhibit

Ah, yes. This is the most important tip of all. Obviously you can’t exhibit at a trade show without a trade show booth. With only 3 seconds to gain the attention of your potential new client, it is important to have a display that will catch their attention. When it comes to graphics, less is more. Having a photo of your product with just a few words would be remembered more than having several photos with a paragraph of text. It needs to be something easy to see and read while walking by.

The display itself is equally as important as the graphics. One of the most popular displays is called the pop up display. Just as the name implies, the frame “pops up” into place. It is very easy to set up and take down. Having a display that is simple to setup yet has a unique design is key to gaining attention. The Alumilate Hybrid Display is one of the most innovative displays on the market. With the unique look of the frame and canopy, to the flawless, stretching fabric used to print your graphics on, you are sure to get positive feedback from attendees. This is also very lightweight, keeping the shipping costs at a minimum.

The Xpressions Fabric Tension Display is a three dimensional display that can be configured in several different ways. The graphics are also interchangeable, making a new display at each show. This is a great way to keep your display fresh and unique.

3.) Staff Training

Your booth staff can make or break your trade show success. Consider these two examples: Booth A is staffed by employees who spend more time eating, drinking, talking on their phone, and talking to each other than they do talking to potential leads. These staffers are also not knowledgeable of their products or company. However, the staff at Booth B are professionally dressed, end phone conversations when potential customers enter your booth, do not eat while in their booth, and are very passionate about the company they work for and the products they sell. Which booth are you most likely to visit?

4.) Charming Giveaways

As I said before, everyone likes to get something for nothing. Consider giving away items that can be used regularly, rather than something that is of no use. T-shirts, pens, water bottles, and bottle openers are all items that can be used daily. It is important to have the name of your company on these items in order to be remembered by these potential customers. If you are looking for something that is sure to get attention, consider a giveaway wheel. The attendees will spin the wheel and get the prize shown.

5.) Lead Follow-up

Although the show may be over, the marketing is far from complete. While at the show, get the contact info of those individuals who may be interested in the products/services you have to offer. After the show is over, make sure to follow up with these people. Don’t wait too long though; a week after the show would be a good time to start calling those people back.

4 Trade Show Ideas To Increase Your Booth Traffic

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by admin No Comments

4 Trade Show Ideas To Increase Your Booth Traffic With the economy continuing to struggle, it’s more important than ever to employ creative trade show ideas that can help transform your trade show spend into a positive ROI.

One of the key ingredients is booth traffic. In order to make your trade show efforts successful, you must be able to attract people to your exhibit.

While other exhibitors strive to draw in the few passersby who express even the mildest of interest in their products, you can turn your trade show exhibits into traffic-magnets. Below, I’ll reveal 4 exciting trade show ideas that you can use to increase your booth traffic.

#1 – Promotional Prize Wheels

Prize wheels are a proven strategy for attracting people to trade show exhibits. Convention halls are often dreary and colorless; the dull thrum of conversation can further desensitize attendees. Promotional prize wheels can inject a splash of color and excitement into your exhibit, drawing people in. And they can be customized to support your trade show marketing effort.

For example, allow anyone who will provide their contact information a spin on the wheel. Every spin wins a prize. Each prize carries a promotional message that spreads your company’s name throughout the convention floor. Plus, watching someone spin the wheel is almost irresistible to other attendees.

#2 – Money Machines

Money machines are one of the most effective trade show ideas for capturing attention and attracting crowds to your exhibit. An attendee steps into a transparent booth and waits expectantly while an attendant counts down in a microphone. Then, a whirlwind of dollar bills, vouchers, or coupons blows around the attendee as he struggles to grab as many of them as possible.

With a little creativity, you can integrate money machines to support your marketing strategy. For example, let attendees collect as many vouchers as possible within 30 seconds. Then, let them trade a certain number of vouchers in for a spin at your prize wheel.

#3 – Popcorn Machines

Imagine yourself as an attendee. You’ve been on your feet for the entire day. Plus, you’re mildly bored and more than a little hungry. Suddenly, the seductive aroma of freshly-popped, buttered popcorn wafts by you. Popcorn machines are one of the few trade show ideas that attracts booth traffic by teasing attendees’ taste buds. Not only does the scent of fresh popcorn draw people in, but the bags can be customized with your company name, logo, and marketing message.

Before long, you’ll have dozens of informal ambassadors giving your company and exhibit more exposure throughout the convention floor. Once other attendees observe people enjoying your popcorn, they’ll search frantically for your booth.

#4 – Video Game Contests

Most people are familiar with classic video games like Pac-man. They’re instantly recognizable. Plus, they can provide event attendees with needed entertainment after they’ve spent hours visiting trade show exhibits. By organizing video game contests, you can increase your booth traffic, provide entertainment, engage in conversation with attendees, and collect their contact information. It’s one of the most popular trade show ideas because it entertains visitors, encourages conversation, and sets the stage for following up after the event.

Because only one person can play the video game at a time, you and your employees can create a comfortable dialogue with those who are waiting their turn. Plus, by offering promotional items as prizes for the top five scores of the day, you’ll encourage people to provide their contact information.

Putting These Trade Show Ideas To Use

Most exhibitors struggle to attract visitors to their trade show exhibits because they fail to think like an attendee. The key to drawing crowds to your booth is to understand what motivates them. The 4 trade show ideas I’ve described above focus on people’s instinctive curiosity, hunger, competitive spirit, and attraction toward games of chance. Each of these trade show ideas is easy to implement and cost-effective. Most importantly, they can help ensure that your marketing efforts deliver a positive ROI.

6 Steps To Successful Pre-Trade Show Marketing

Posted on: November 5th, 2012 by admin No Comments

6 Steps To Successful Pre-Trade Show Marketing Effective trade show marketing begins months before an event. Exhibitors who wait until the last few weeks before informing their customers cannot fully leverage one of the most cost-effective marketing channels at their disposal. Fortunately, by starting their marketing efforts early, they can get the word out and build enormous momentum leading up to the show.

Outsourcing key tasks to trade show vendors, mailing your customers, and sending press releases are important components of your pre-trade show marketing plan. Here’s a 6-step system for getting the most from your trade show investment.

Step #1: Formulate Your Strategy

Trade shows represent one segment of your company’s marketing strategy. The first step is to design your trade show marketing plan to fit cohesively within that strategy. Identify the objectives you’d like to accomplish. Are you trying to build word-of-mouth buzz about an upcoming product launch? Is your company trying to build a larger presence within a specific market? Do you need to solidify relationships with your customer base? Your trade show marketing efforts must be consistent with your company’s strategic vision.

Step #2: Formulate Your Tactical Plan

Once you’ve planned your strategy, you need to identify the marketing tactics that will help you achieve your goals for the show. That might include investing in promotional giveaways, trade show attractions that build traffic to your booth, and reaching out to other trade show vendors. Think of each marketing tactic as an individual spoke on a wheel. Together, they support each other, creating a synergistic strength in your overall plan.

Step #3: Start The Buzz Early

Buzz marketing starts at a grassroots level and builds momentum through word-of-mouth. Its strength lies in the nature in which it grows. Once you plant the seeds, the buzz spreads as people interact with one another. Before long, small ripples of exposure turn into larger waves.

You can plant the seeds by issuing press releases, writing editorials for an industry trade magazine, or through a savvy advertising campaign. If you’re unsure regarding how to approach these strategies, you can contract trade show vendors who have experience with public relations and trade show advertising.

Step #4: Mail Your Customers

Your customers represent one of your most valuable resources for increasing the ROI of your trade show efforts. By keeping them informed about an upcoming event, you can draw them to your booth. Plan a mailing schedule through which you send postcards, newsletters, brochures, tri-fold mailers, and other marketing materials that not only inform them, but remind them as the trade show grows closer. Each piece should emphasize the benefits of visiting your exhibit.

Step #5: Hold A Contest

Organizing a tradeshow contest is a fantastic way to start the buzz about your exhibit at an upcoming trade show. It builds excitement in your customer list, especially if the prize is relevant to your company’s products. Scratch cards are popular because they’re simple, cost-effective, and can be mailed out to your customers weeks before the show. Plus, by telling your customers that they must visit your exhibit in order to claim their prizes, there’s an automatic traffic-building component.

Step #6: Send Out Press Releases

Press releases are a potent marketing tool for generating traffic to your trade show exhibits. By sending them to trade magazines, local newspapers, and other publications, you can generate inquiries from the media as well as potential customers. There are always newsworthy items that you can use as the basis of your press releases. If you have never written one, you can hire trade show vendors who specialize in creating media kits and other PR materials.

Planning A Blockbuster Trade Show Event

Pre-trade show marketing begins with formulating your strategy and designing your tactical approach. Then, it’s a matter of planting the seeds for word-of-mouth buzz, building momentum, and getting your customers excited about the event. From organizing contests to creating press releases, scheduling direct mail to designing advertising campaigns, there are dozens of marketing opportunities to take advantage of. Consider using a trade show marketing checklist to keep track of the details. And don’t underestimate the value of hiring trade show vendors to handle the tasks for which you lack time or expertise. They can help ensure that your next trade show event is a blockbuster.


Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.

Creating Your Trade Show Marketing Plan of Action

Posted on: November 3rd, 2012 by admin No Comments

Creating Your Trade Show Marketing Plan of Action All successful trade shows are driven by their marketing goals and objectives. When approached without a convention marketing plan, the results are predictably varied. By creating a detailed exhibition marketing plan of action, organizations can track and measure their performance in the context of the company’s larger mission.

It is only by reviewing this performance after the trade show that they can properly evaluate the effectiveness of their convention marketing efforts over time. If an organization fails to meet its target goals, it is usually due to inaccurate assumptions within the exhibition marketing plan, unreasonable expectations of the marketing tactics deployed, or a performance failure.

You can take advantage of this same level of performance analysis by developing a trade show marketing plan. It should include a detailed description of your target market, primary competitors, trade show strategy, and a variety of other components. Below, I’ll provide an overview of the most important elements to evaluate when developing your trade show marketing plan.

Situation Analysis

  • Product analysis: features of the product, benefits delivered to the target market, and product branding strategy
  • Price analysis: how pricing is structured for vendors, distributors, and users
  • Top-level promotion analysis: overview of advertising, marketing, and promotional strategies (includes media, public relations, and product positioning)


Target Market Analysis

  • Demographics and psycho-graphics: gender, income, vocation, purchasing patterns, etc.
  • Market traits: benefits sought, reasons, frequency, and manner in which the product is used
  • Positioning within the market: perception of the product and position relative to competitors’ products
  • Purchasing process: who makes the buying decisions, what is the product’s purchase cycle, and essential information required before a decision is made
  • Size of target market: estimate of current market size, estimate of potential market size, and estimate of future market growth


Competitor Analysis

  • Target market: who the competitors serve and how they reach their market.
  • Pricing: competitors’ price structures, including incentives and discounts
  • Promotion: competitors’ promotional activities and distribution network
  • Strengths and weaknesses: market perception of competitors, financial stability, etc.


Financial Analysis

  • Sales: by industry, market segment, product category, distribution sectors, company-wide
  • Profit: revenue, marketing expenses, gross profit, net profit, return on investment, contribution to company profit


Marketing Strategy Analysis

  • Tactics: branding, positioning, publicity, promotional, word of mouth, viral, advertising, and marketing activities.
  • Segmentation: how tactics are deployed by geography, product category and distribution channels
  • Pricing: structure and methods of pricing, use of discounts, elasticity relative to market dynamics, break even analysis


Budget Analysis

  • Allocation to tactics: budget allocation to each marketing tactic (ref. Marketing Strategy Analysis)
  • Allocation to market: budget allocation to each segment of the target market
  • Timeline: budget allocation by month and year


The main benefit of creating a trade show marketing plan is that it provides a distinct road map that guides your entire strategy. Within successful convention marketing plans, there is not ambiguity. If your company fails to reach its marketing goals and overall objectives, it’s likely due to a performance breakdown or unreasonable expectations. It’s common for many business owners to miscalculate one or multiple elements in an exhibition marketing plan. When this happens, the company’s stated projections will usually be missed.

For example, if your marketing tactics yield the expected results, yet you have incorrectly forecasted the size of your target market, your company will not meet the objectives detailed in your plan. Similarly, if you have correctly forecasted the size of your target market, yet have miscalculated your main competitor’s reach into that market, it’s likely that their marketing efforts will encroach upon your own. The result? A failure to meet projections.

The important thing to remember about your trade show marketing plan is that it’s not a static document. It’s fluid and changes over time. Market dynamics shift. The internal direction or capabilities of your company will likely do the same. When these things happen, your marketing plan will need to be updated.


Jonathan Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques, and using trade show marketing strategies to boost revenue.

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