“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra.”
Think about this for a moment.
Everyday, you spend more time influencing, persuading, or convincing other people to part with their resources, or to carve out a different path for your brand journey. You are either pitching new marketing ideas in your meetings — possible new events for focused user groups, or, why you should try a new color palette, or, a new anchor statement for your product.
And, it is no different when you participate at events and trade shows — you are are pursuing persuasion. You can do it TWO ways.
ONE: SPRAY AND PRAY
You have not carved out your target audience and you realize that the odds are against you and you go for quantity. You want to get the attention of every attendee in the show hall. As a result, you put little effort into each face to face interaction as possible, thus giving you the resources to have as many interactions as you can.
TWO: CELEBRATE EACH INTERACTION
Invest far more in each interaction than any rational human would advise. Use your trade show presence to know your target audience. Invest thought and time in creating your offer. "Don't personalize, be personal."
Yes, people can tell the difference between doing and caring. "And they're significantly more likely to give you an interview, make a donation, answer your question or do that other thing you're hoping for if you've signalled that you're actually a caring, focused, generous human."
CARING IS THE STRIKING ADDITIVE, THAT ELEVATES YOUR ORDINARY OFFERING INTO EXTRAORDINARY.
THE FUTURE MANDATES THE NEED TO BE EXTRAORDINARY
Being able to direct the future of your trade show marketing is imperative to the success of your brand and your company. For many of our clients, trade shows are the only events that they go to. Yet, they actively fail to participate.
As you know, there is a key difference in doing something just because you are mandated to do so and active proactive participation. If done with care, live events and trade shows energizes your brand and activates your brand offering in a dynamic way.
The noted futurist and the best selling author, Daniel Burrus states being able to stay agile, or staying proactive is less than desirable in an increasingly competitive international business landscape. It takes something more. "The ability to take a sudden burst of insight about the future and use it to produce a new and radically different way of doing things – solving problems, crafting must-have products, creating high-demand services or building new businesses."
Today, Daniel Burrus is our guide in providing us with some insights on ways to 'flash forward' your trade show marketing.
Taking the lead from Daniel Burrus, WE WILL carve out a path that will help you ACQUIRE leads, LEVERAGE YOUR MARKETING, create memorable moments and more importantly, help you stay ahead of the curve.
As event marketers, you know that trade shows are the undisputed frontiers of face time marketing. Along with electronic media, trade shows have retained a greater share of B2B marketing budgets than print and direct mail. That’s because trade shows provide what all marketers want: face time with clusters of decision makers under one roof.
BE SOCIAL — Take full advantage of your face time at shows, because it’s harder to reach buyers elsewhere and otherwise.
Start with the Hard Trends
Know your target audience.
Acquire knowledge about the way they do business. If, your target audience is primarily digital, the first thing thing that you do is have a hashtag in place to promote your event. This means on your website, on the different social channels, blogs, sponsored advertising banners, and all electronic correspondence including your email signature. Every employee, client, prospect, speaker, vendor, and guest should know about it. In other words, go crazy with the use of hashtags. Ask your trade show attendees to use it vigorously and repeatedly. As they are tweeting about your event ask them to tweet it with your chosen hashtag. Find ways to make it profitable for them to to tweet about you. Highlight the live tweet on a good size display that is prominently exhibited in your space. As Guy Kawasaki would say, "You cannot pimp your hashtag too much."
"Change from the outside in is typically disruptive. Change from the inside out is purposeful and constructive. This is the kind of change that allows you to direct your future and seize your destiny. And the only possible way to operate in that kind of change is by becoming anticipatory."
Good or bad, you know attendees will talk about you, your brand and your products and services. Monitor closely. Anticipate the questions that might be asked about your products or your services. Be armed with prompt answers. Engage the product managers and sales staff if you anticipate any signs of questionable interaction. Do not solely depend on your PR agency. They will have their hands full with the journalists, bloggers, execs and the speakers.
ABOVE ALL, REFRAIN FROM SAYING, "LOOK IT UP", WHEN FACED WITH AN OBVIOUS QUESTION — Chances are, that your prospects are more informed than you are about your own product.
Attendees look up potential suppliers on the internet before the show, so they arrive already knowing about your products. If they visit your booth, it’s because they want to know if your product really does what you say it can, who your people are and how trustworthy your company is, in other words, they want to experience the culture of your company and the caring vibe that you emit or not.
Provide hospitality, have more space for longer meetings, and bring people who can answer detailed questions, but also deepen relationships.
Assign a dedicated person to take care of this business of 'social anticipation' and 'social promotion'.
Pre show — he or she will schedule promotional posts about the event, about your industry, about your product, about the magic of your business. At show — he or she will live tweet and live stream — what’s happening in your booth space, in the show floor, take pictures and video of speakers and guests and take note of the complaints or grievances about your existing clients, if any.
During breaks — he or she will post these pictures and videos to Google+, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. She will retweet and reshare other people’s posts about the event.
Post show — she will post more pictures and videos and enlist the help of the people who are in these pictures and videos to spread the word. Help them remember your brand with post show experience with the aid of games.
Transform (Use technology-driven change to your advantage)
"Transformation means doing something utterly and radically different. It means nanofusion; it means putting oil rigs at the bottom of the ocean and reimagining G.M. on a Dell model."
The burning question should be, "How can I give my attendees the ability to do what they can't do but would want to: if they had a choice to?"
Here are few ways to do it.
Provide fast, free, and unprotected wireless access hub that is dedicated to your booth space only. If you want your event and hashtag to trend, empower your guests to post updates fast and for free. Make it fun for them to tweet about it and reward them with gifts that they have to physically collect from you at your booth space.
Engross your audience in the art of gamification. Humans are pleasure seekers and they are hard-wired to perform an act that had given them pleasure before. App-based games increases active participation amongst your attendees and enhance their show-going experience. Gamification is not a one size fit all. And, there is no reason why you cannot design your games based on the cross section of your target audience. Indulge in this in-depth article.
Digital has changed the old, one dimensional, static rules of competitiveness. Those who survive will create a strong digital backbone with a focus on three interdependent fronts:
Growth and Customers, Profit and Sustainability and Trust.
Tap into Trust when you do Virtual Reality Right — Save yourself the cost and the effort of exhibiting, if your booth design has a wall with a VR setup that includes a table, a chair and a head seat.
“Where’s the sense of falling into the story?"
Instead of just focusing on the technology for the sake of technology, use real-world elements in your VR setups to enhance the total experience.
At the Propelify 2017 Innovation Festival, David Polinchock, who has worked in the virtual reality (VR) and experiential advertising space since the 1990s, explained, the three big ways technologists, marketers and companies need to improve their use of VR and AR to create amazing experiences in the future.
Polinchock offered up a few, low-budget ways companies could incorporate physical elements of the real world into a user’s VR experience. For example:
A tourism board wants a user to experience a particular beach. Craft a VR experience where the user sits in a sandbox and smells sunscreen while wearing a headset.
A company selling outdoor gears wants to create a VR experience that takes place in the woods — add cut out of trees and plants in your space, with branches occasionally brush over their cheeks or arms.At a VR experience about conquering fears, users in head seats “walked on a ledge” in VR -- and in actuality, Polinchock recounted. Users stood on a small ledge, a few inches off the ground, with their back to a wall, while also walking a ledge on a super-tall building in VR.
OR, BUILD IN VR SET INSIDE YOUR PRODUCT DISPLAY
IF, YOU ARE NOT, IT IS ONE MORE MISSED OPPORTUNITY
Power up Profit and Garner Growth when you Exhibit with a Signature Sensory Experience — Save yourself the cost and the effort of exhibiting if you are not incorporating the science of smell.
Smell is the marketing language that is understood at a cellular level. "It allows a company to define itself and not rely on the subjectivity of a salesperson. And it makes it more scalable."
The commerce of smell states that people linger in places that smell nice 40% longer and that the intent to purchase can be increased by nearly 80%. Attach aroma in your next booth design and work positively in creating a superb experience for your attendees.
FOOL THE BRAIN BY USING CREATIVE PROPS. IT ENHANCES THE 'FEELING OF SMELL' and provides for easy Instagram moments.
Sun drenched Apricot Rose smells stronger in the featured exhibit multidimensional wonderland of flowers by Yankee Candles
Photos courtesy of Yankee Candle, Splash Studios
Word of Caution: "Smells don't have any meaning prior to being associated with an experience, then after they become experienced with something, that's what they represent," — if your face to face performance on the trade show floor was not good enough, your attendees will remember you for that experience and will conclusively associate the scent with your brand. Use scent with sensibility.
Redefine and reinvent (identify and leverage your uniqueness in new and powerful ways)
"In the twenty-first century, the one and only thing you can depend on is transformation. This means you can’t go backward and you can’t stand still; you can’t rest on your laurels, and you can’t keep doing what you’ve always done, even if you do your best to keep doing it better. The only way to survive, let alone thrive, is to continuously reinvent and redefine. Reinvent and redefine what? Everything."
THIS IS WHAT YOU COULD CALL, SOCIALIZATION ON STEROIDS
1. Instead of having one 20' x 20' booth space, go for two 10' x 20'. Spread out in any way you can. Or, keep your 20' x 20' and pay to partner with other exhibitors in their space.
Above, Luxury fashion brand Louis Vuitton redefines retail by creating a printed 3D super structure (approx. 30 ft. by 33 ft), to launch its' menswear collection in a month long campaign at Sydney's Westfield Shopping Center.
2. Hire people, to populate the show floor, dressed in your branded T-shirt and armed with Etch-A-Sketch, with drawings of your logo and or your products — hand out etch-a-sketch postcards to come by the booth. Give Etch-a-Sketches away, every hour.
3. Hand out branded packets of mints or gums with messaging that questions the status quo — every time, they pop in a mint in their mouth, they will think about you.
4. Hire a pedicab company and do a graphic wrap of your brand. Give the riders your branded T-shirt to advertise you around town. Have them hand out a gift or collateral to riders. Here’s a video of how Levi’s engendered goodwill during Giants appreciation week in San Francisco.
5. Hire flash mob, or impromptu street dancers.
6. Get celebrity impersonators outside the event center
7. Walls for Hire — Put a interactive slide show broadcast on a building outside the convention center.
8. Windows for Hire — Put transparent decal graphic on the windows of the neighboring buildings
9. Get a street musician sing your brand messaging and the local hot dog vendor, or any food vendor, give out food for free - with your branded paper holder.
REDEFINE YOUR BRAND BY DIGITIZING YOUR SOCIAL FOOT PRINT
"Our social networks have turned us into unpaid factory workers, toiling in a giant system, one that pushes us to feel shame, to be in a hurry, to worry about nothing but the surface."
— In other words, we are denying ourselves the sauce of creativity, thus aiming to keep our standards, mediocre at best. Take your time. Yes, it is a rushed economy of instant gratification — however, keep in mind "you are, what you share." Go beyond the surface, digitize your social events with care and creativity. Find ways to enrich your trade and inspire your industry.
Uploading pictures are a great way to promote your trade shows, but very soon you suffer from 'sameness', because it is more of the same. Guy Kawasaki mentions a creative way of doing it instead. Shooting a slow-motion video is a perfect way to capture and share the images of dozens of guests. Just turn on your camera and walk through the crowd, use a 360° camera, as shown below.
Here are some power tips that Guy provides: First, walk fast. When viewed, slow-motion video is approximately six times longer than regular video. Second, YouTube lets you add music to the video, and music makes a slow-motion videos sing. Third, grab the long link address for the video in your browser address bar (not the address you get by clicking on Share) and add “&hd=1” to it. This will ensure that people see the high-definition version.
Above, a 4.2 seconds video that has been slowed down, to give you the impression of extended time.
Here, we have only used 4 of the 7 principles that Daniel Burrus prescribes in his New York Times bestseller book, Flash Foresight. Read the book. You will discover hidden opportunities, gain perceptive advantage in your marketing strategy and using the power of certitude you will transform your brand and your business.