The simple definition of booth design or exhibit design in context of trade shows is the stage or the canvas that your brand message gets to be displayed. The stand design should ideally be targeted to your audience who visits the trade venues of different city centers across the globe. With over, 10,000 trade fairs going on in continental USA, trade shows are a significant portion that drives US economy. Since trade shows are organized along with industry conferences, your stand design should be an expression of your brand and intelligently tie in with the content of the conferences that are being held in the show venue to gain the maximum traction. Research the shows that you want toexhibit at and then drive your design that caters to the DNA of specific show and the targeted attendees that visits that show.
If you are hosting a private event, use your exhibit design to cater to the different product lines and and interaction areas. Architect your exhibit so that it can be segmented into different pieces for each product category to maximize on the ROI of your design and build investment. Think of using your stand design as a backdrop for your visual technological interfaces after you have been at a show or in between shows. Design your booth to be a silent reminder of your brand and your business.
Imagine different ways, that makes your booth to be the visual reminder of your commerce —it should impart confidence in doing business with your company, both on-line and off-line.
In the Age of Digital Marketing, events and conferences are emerging as the Experience Hub for the new, old and the transitional brands.
Exhibiting at a trade shows is an excellent way to find customers to help your business grow. However, in the Age of Connected Customers, trade shows provide a landscape of opportunities for engagement, as well as a new reality for your business.
Leaving aside the hard data, on the economic viability and the cultural relevance of trade shows; the gifts you receive by embarking on this journey by investing in designed experiences, personalized education and meaningful conversations are immense — "empathy, relevance and ultimately reciprocity — all of which are measurable by traditional business metrics."
Find an appropriate association for the industry you're interested in, look through the Encyclopedia of Associations published by Gale Research. You may also want to check magazines and newsletters such as Tradeshow Week or go through the Tradeshow Week Data Book. Next, define the experience that your product brings to enrich the life of your customers in a meaningful, advantageous and shareable fashion.
Stretch your imagination, open your heart and influence your mind.
Congratulations! You are the new CEO... the Chief Experience Officer.
What’s the first question to ask when you are exhibiting at trade shows? There are many important questions you and your team can ask when preparing for your trade show program:
1. Why do we need to attend trade shows?
2. Which shows should we exhibit at?
3. How big a booth space do we take?
4. What Kind of experience will we offer. How does that tie to our product?
5. Does our booth need to have a personality to compliment the experience? What is the color, the theme the textures. How are we going to hold the attention with our exhibit graphics?
6. Should we invite attendees with an email, a direct mail piece, or both? Or should we carve out a thematic invitation
7. What giveaways should we buy?
8. What clothes should our staffers wear? If the experience is is based on a theme of fun, then define the fun and how the costumes can add to the sharing of the fun?
9. Where in the show hall is the best place to put our exhibit? Do we get the space based on our neighbors or do we get a couple of smaller spaces instead of one big space?
10. Who should staff the trade show booth? Does the personality jive with the overarching experience/
11. Who will manage our leads at the show and after the show?
12. How should we hook the attendees in the aisle?
13. What demo can we do to get people’s attention? How do we measure the 'Like' rate of the demo in a creative fashion that will ensure more 'Likes' and 'Shares'
14. What products should we feature in our exhibit? Do bring an example of what the product does instead?
15. What kind of design displays will work best for us? Do we do a simple backwall with monitors slapped on or do we use creative technology to amplify our brand?
16. What activities should we do in our booth? How can we use gamification to engage our attendees? “Little wins and losses along the way are what keep people interested along the way.”
17. Is it worth hiring a trade show presenter? Will that elevate my boring business?
18. How will we measure our success? Is it the number of 'LIKES' or the actual sale of a product or the 'LIKES' that triggered the actual sales — what will use as a benchmark? On that note, are we better product builders or are we better marketers?
19. How do we keep the momentum going after the show?
20. Do we exhibit at more shows? Or, do we engage in private events?
21. Do we need to engage them virtually, before we bring our goods at the next show? If so, how we do it?
These are all good questions, and the answers are often critical to your trade show success. But all these questions go on hold until you answer the first question: “What is our main goal for exhibiting?” Once you answer that essential question, the answers to all the other questions fall into place.
The three most common goals exhibitors seek are to boost awareness, generate leads, and meet with existing clients and key prospects.
Each of these three key goals will dictate different answers to all the other questions.
For example, who should staff the trade show booth? If you want to generate leads, you will choose staffers who will quickly engage, qualify, present and close to many attendees. But if you are meeting with existing clients, you may want your company VIPs or key account sales people who already have relationships with key buyers. Next time you or someone else in your team asks a question about your trade show marketing, be sure you’ve got the first question buttoned up already. It will make all the subsequent answers that much easier.
Trade shows can be a very positive and lucrative experience for a lot of B2B companies. However, budgeting for your trade shows can be tricky because there are a number of hidden costs that make it difficult to figure out exactly what a show will cost. Here here are a few simple guidelines from Exhibitor Magazine to help you get a general idea of what various aspects of the trade show experience might cost.
Multiply the cost of your exhibit space at a particular show by 3 for a ballpark total show estimate. For example, if your space cost $20,000 then your total-show budget should is $20,000 x 3 = $60,000
Determine the average cost per square foot your company spends on each trade show.
1. Add up the cost associated with exhibition by adding up the costs associated with the previous year's shows (including amortized exhibit costs where appropriate).
2. Divide the total by your booth's square footage.
3. The resulting number is the average cost per square foot.
(ABOVE) Total exhibiting expenditure/square feet of your booth size
Determine the cost per square foot for each show that you attended last year.
Use the above formula to calculate this amount. For example, if you have exhibited at 6 shows in 2016, your cost per square foot, per show, after using the above formula, $156, $86, $111, $99, $75 and $101
Determine the average cost per square foot for your exhibiting program.
Add up the above cost and divide by the number of trade shows. In this case it will be 6.
(ABOVE) In 2016, you exhibited at 6 shows. You add the cost of per sqaure foot for each show and divide by 6 shows.
Determine the ball park budget for your next show.
Multiply the average cost per square foot by the square feet of the booth space you intent to purchase.
(ABOVE) The cost of the above 6 shows from 2016 gives you a ball park estimate for your future trade show budget
If you are an exhibitor who is well aware of your average cost of lead OR you can go by the 2015 Exhibitor Magazine survey, this is your way to do it —
If you know how much you typically spend on each lead, multiply the average cost per lead by the number of attendees you expect to attract at the upcoming show based on the show's audience demographics.
If you are planning to secure 500 leads from a certain show, and you typically spend about $160 per lead, then your total show budget for your next show should be $80,000.
$160 x 500 = $80,000
If you do not know how much you typically spend on each lead, use the averages provided by Exhibitor Magazine's 2015 Sales Lead Survey of $164.91.
If you are planning to secure 500 leads from a certain show, your total show budget for your next show should be $82,455.
$164.91 x 500 = $82,455
Make a list of everything that will cost you money (and most likely have to be paid for pre-show).
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR),
36% of your budget goes to the floor space. That’s a huge chunk and you must be aware of that before getting into all of the other necessities for a successful show.
17% goes to show services. Show services include the carpet and padding, electric, cleaning, rigging garbage pails etc.
With 47% left over, now, you have to account for
1. Exhibit Design and Build
2. Graphic Design and Production
3. Exhibit Promotion and Giveaways
4. Exhibit Technology: Lead Management, Internet, AV etc.
5. Exhibit Staffing - Hiring and Training
6. Exhibit Shipping and Drayage
7. Sponsorship Advertisement
8. Staff Travel, Food and Lodging
9. Surprising Additionals: Overtime material handling, installation and dismantle and accommodating last minute missed shipments
Do a rental instead of purchase. Ask about lease to own programs. If it’s a rental, find out what the cost to rent would be over 2 or 3 years. Since you’ll own the graphics after year 1, you’ll pay less for years 2 and 3. A bigger booth with a useless exhibit means colossal failure for your company.
OR, Exhibit at fewer shows, which cuts your show booth space rental costs. Exhibiting at fewer shows also means lowering your exhibiting costs overall — no booth to ship and install, no show services, no promotions, and no booth staffers for travel and hotel.
OR, Even better, eliminate the wrong shows for your company. Eliminate the wrong shows by measuring your results and cutting shows that don’t measure up. Cut shows for reasons such as low ROI, low turnout, not meeting objectives, bad match between audience and your target market, and shows that are too far away. Don’t be afraid to stop going to poor-performing shows because “you’ll be missing out” or “you’ll be conspicuous because of your absence.” Do not indulge in the 'Fear of Missing Out'. #FOMO
Communications Goals that includes brand influence, identity, awareness and brand positioning is hard to measure. To be able to attach a dollar figure to an abstract goal, you need to correlate it with a specific outcome.
For such an abstract goal, you can arm yourself with information by knowing how many people visited your booth, or how many people visited your website as a result of your exhibit. We have found that this latter figure is often the one missing from most trade show manager’s data sets, often because they don’t use tracking URLs and Google Analytics to prove exhibiting’s contribution to inbound marketing.
The other tangible goals that you can assign value:
Number of sales leads. Identify the number of booth visitors who commit to a sales contact or other specific sales-related step after the show.
Close rate. Estimate the average percentage of trade show leads that ultimately result in a sale or contract.
Average value of a sale or contract. If you'll be promoting multiple product lines at the show, develop a weighted average based on the level of interest for each product in your exhibit.
Collecting leads, building stronger relationships internally at companies and raising awareness has
helped the most exhibitor personnel justify their trade show marketing programs, according to the Skyline
survey respondents. The multi-year comparison above, shows dramatic changes in the amount and
type of data provided to justify trade show marketing programs.
You might be able to get an exhibit cheaper from one vendor over another; but if the exhibit has to ship in (6) 4’x 4’x 8’ wooden crates compared to an exhibit that breaks down into smaller parts and uses less crates, you’re going to pay more in the end for shipping and drayage and anything else that is priced by weight.
US DRAYAGE RATES
Advance Shipments to Official Service Contractor (per CWT) — $106.21
Direct, Crated Shipments to Exhibit Hall (per CWT) — $99.00
Direct, Crated Shipments to Exhibit Hall, with Special Handling (per CWT) — $126.07
Direct, UnCrated and Loose Shipments to Exhibit Hall (per CWT) — $142.54
Your trade show budget is obviously not unlimited. The more you can stretch your booth budget, the more you’ll be able to do with the resources you have available. Think about lighter construction material that makes impressive architectural stance.
Ask your exhibiting house about their different offerings. Ask them about creative alternatives to hanging sign to save the rigging cost. Lighter materials will often be more cost-effective and can meet your needs in a stylish way.
Ask your exhibiting how many man hours for set and take down of your booth. Ask them about overtime charges, Freight liability, Insurance charges, I&D contracts, Asset Management Charges.
Their attire, behavior and how they make your audience feel defines the brand of your company. In our vastly digitally enabled market place, brands that incorporate emotional hooks stand a far greater chance of getting during engagement than those rely on brand legacy.
"Experience is the common denominator and the more seeds planted in the trust zones of connected (attendees) ensure that brand essence scales through word of mouth."
Staffing for Trade Shows and Events has changed. More of the same will not do anymore.
Before “Big Data” and the proliferation of electronic marketing it was sales people who reigned supreme at the show. Their personality and ability to connect with people were key tools for getting more people into the booth. Crowd gatherers were big too as it was all about getting people who you did not know to come into the booth and learn all about your company. While salespeople can still be great staffers and people skills are always great, the landscape of trade shows has changed and with that the type of skills needed to staff the booth.
Why are you exhibiting at a particular show?
1. Are you looking to gain new clients or nurture existing ones?
2. Are you planning to educate people on an existing product or launch a new one?
3. Is it simply to say that you are a player amidst the other players? If so, what is your competitive differentiator? If you do not know that yet, then your booth design should stand out to make a statement without any brand imperatives.
(ABOVE) A very generic statement that states the business that you are in. But, notice how the inline booth is designed to make the prospect feel comfortable and at-ease, in order to have a conversation to know and understand the buyer in an effort to personalize interaction for future interactions.
4. What are your goals for the show and how do they fit into your overall marketing and company goal? It is helpful to give staffers specific goals they have control over. An example may be to ensure they find out from the client if they are aware of the new product, if they think it will meet the need, and what steps the company should take to get that client’s business.
If maximizing on the lead is your goal, let the staffers know approximately how many leads they are expected to take throughout the show and each day of the show. However, make it clear, that it is not just about leads, it’s about relationships. There are other ways your company can get someone’s name or email address.
Live events is where you start a real relationship with a qualified prospect by listening and making them feel welcome.
If the client is there and wants you to talk or listen, don’t force a video or demo on them. This includes pitching your products. Find out about their needs, their interests, and their experience with your company or their current vendor. The basic structure of the conversation is — More about them, less about you.
Above all the staffers have to master the art of engagement. In order to qualify leads, your staffers have to establish the needs of your visitors.
Ensure they are easily identifiable.
You don’t want attendees wondering who is staffing the booth and who is a client, as time is precious
Ensure that they are comfortable yet professional unless it fits well with your theme and branding.
Comfortable shoes are a must. Their feet will hurt regardless, but they will hurt more if they are wearing the wrong shoes, which is likely to make them tired and irritated. The emotional intelligence to interact goes in the negative range when someone interacts with pain.
Besides, dress codes are much more relaxed in most industries nowadays and good quality shoes can look stylish.
Brand and theme appropriate.
Gone are the days that the uniform at trade shows was branded cheap looking polo shirts. You can be brand-appropriate without necessarily wearing a uniform. This is more the case if you have a larger exhibit but try to think of alternate ways you can make your staffers easy to identify without making them look like they are ready for their hourly shift at a local burger joint.
(ABOVE) You can have branded name tags, accessories, all wear the same color shirts (not necessarily the same style). You want your staffers to feel comfortable, yet conveying a sense of approachability and humility
Fully control the customer experience. From keeping the booth clean and organized, to the time you take to ask your attendees how their day is going – The trade show is a unique opportunity to truly control their whole environment. Take advantage of it.
The staffers need to create an experience that goes beyond the booth. That could include and often does:
1. Recruit potential employees 2. Gather competitive intelligence
3. Gather market research 4. Give interviews to industry press
5. Meet with potential suppliers 6. Help forge new business alliances
7. Network with industry peers 8. Attend keynote & seminar sessions
9. Dine with clients, prospects, and business partners at breakfast, lunch, and dinner
10. Attend hospitality events
11. Host hospitality events
12. Other Multi-tasking Skills
Content Capture. Capturing information from clients via quotes, photos or videos is part of the value of the show. This information can later be re-purposed as marketing content that will extend the value of the event not only from a marketing standpoint but also potentially to benefit your product/service improvement and customer service initiatives.
The ability to deliver content to a larger audience through streaming a live event in real time. This is a great opportunity for sponsorship dynamic advertisements in the venue as well.
The ability to deliver content after the event on demand as a refresher for those who attended the session.
The opportunity for those who attended the event but could not make it to the specific session to access the content.
The opportunity for those unable to attend the meeting to receive the content.
The opportunity to slice and dice the content with other relevant presentations.
Knowledge about products or services that you are featuring at the show
If they need training they should get it well before the show. As products become more complex, hands-on time is even more valuable. Staff will be expected to know more than just the basics.
Skilled at presentation
Staffers should be comfortable doing a live demo of your products or service (as relevant) or, at the very least, access a video of one. If they can’t do this well the effectiveness of your live event will suffer and you will miss opportunities to build credibility with new and existing clients.
Technologically Coherent — Need to be More than Swipers and Clickers
The act of finding, grouping, organizing, or sharing the best and most relevant content on a specific topic is what is called content curation.
There are a number of curation tools to help with this information overload to provide more value to meeting attendees and a large audience as well:
Eventifier.com collates all the event-related contents from various social media streams like Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Flickr, Slideshare and many more. The event contents are archived and showcased in a dedicated, easy-to-use event page.
Conferize.com is a free social platform for discovering, following and attending conferences. It lets users follow conferences in real time to find conversations, videos, presentations, photos and more. Users can be part of any conference community simply by chiming in or commenting specifically on content.
Storify.com allows users to “tell a story” by combining original content with pinned outside media from across the web. User can share, blog, add real time updates and breaking news.
Curata.com provides tools to discover, refine and optimize content; to organize, recommend and index it; and to annotate, publish and analyze it as well.
Pinterest.com can be used effectively for simple event content curation as well. Separate boards can be used pinning speakers, sponsors, videos, infographics, SlideShare presentations, event photos and more in a free, easy-to-use and visually interesting spot.
These are just a few of the curation tools available. Consider using them for marketing and extending the life and footprint of your next event.
Emotional intelligence is the art and the science to manage one's emotions and the emotions of others. It is generally said to include skills of: emotional awareness; the ability to harness emotions and apply them to tasks like thinking and problem solving; and the ability to manage emotions, which includes regulating one's own emotions and the emotions of others like cheering up or calming down other people.
Take the total square feet of the booth:
A 10’x10’ booth = 100 sq., A 10’x20’ = 200 sq., etc., then subtract the square footage occupied by your exhibit, pedestal tables and demonstrations. The remainder should be divided by 50 to determine how many staffers.
(10’x10’ = 100 sq.ft) – (8’x2’ for booth display backwall & 3’x2’x2’ for two pedestal tables or 16 sq.ft. + 12 sq. = 28 sq.ft.)
(100 sq. – 28 sq.ft.) = 72 sq. / 50 = 1.2 staffers or 1 or 2 booth staffers; two would be preferable.
Another way to look at staffing is to establish an objective for contacts or leads to be generated.
If the objective is 100 qualified leads, then work backwards. An aggressive staffer can contact 10-15 attendees an hour. If the show is open 6 hours per day – then 60 contacts per day are possible.
If the show is a three-day show then one staffer can contact (3 x 60) = 180 attendees. If you have 30% qualification rate, then one staffer can qualify 54 attendees during the course of the show.
With a goal of 100 qualified leads, then you need two staffers.
Expertly trained staff plays a vital role in upholding the mission and the vision of your brand. "The people working your exhibit during a show are the face – and voice – of your company, and the way they interact with attendees can make or break your program. So teach them the booth-staffing basics before setting them loose on the show floor."
Trade show stands have morphed over time. However, the basics are still the same. The stand is a backdrop to show off your product and/your services, that sets you apart from your competition. In the digital age the stand has literally become the stage, from where you present your offerings. The design and manufacturing of stand comes in various flavors. There are portables and banner stands, there are modular and custom modular and then there are custom booths.
Skyline is the pioneer in portable, hyper-portable/air-powered, modular and custom modular booth design. As North America's leading exhibit system builder, we are known for their high quality, great design, cost-saving portability, and innovative functionality. Skyline's history of creativity, innovation, and performance includes over 70 patents and winning all the major U.S. exhibit industry awards, including Best of Show at Exhibitor Show and TS2.
When does it make sense to GO WITH PORTABLE BOOTH DESIGN
You are new in the exhibit arena: Rookie exhibitors have tapped into the extensive return on investment that these smaller stands offer. You’ll make a huge impact on your live audience, without having to worry about mastering an island exhibit setup.
You have a small staff: Smaller business owners simply may not have the manpower needed to successfully exhibit with a large booth. If you choose a more compact display configuration, you will be able to staff your booth without feeling like it’s too big. It is great for field sales staff when the booth has to be set up by the sales person.
You want optimal convenience: Easy to transport and even easier to setup, these lightweight exhibits epitomize the ultimate option for business owners who want a straightforward and seamless installation and dismantle (I&D) experience at all times.
You are watching your budget: Chances are, like most business owners, you find yourself constantly monitoring your bottom line. Smaller portable displays systems can still offer a return on investment at a fraction of the cost. These smaller designs are a financially savvy choice.
As shown above: (LEFT) A backlit portable display with backlit reception table in a 10' x 10' linear booth space. (RIGHT) An air-powered display that can easily break down into two 10' x 10' space or set up for one 10'x 20' back wall.
Exhibiting with a smaller, portable display does not mean you sacrifice the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. These small booths offer an impressive range of features including:
Creativity: Don’t let their size fool you; no matter what industry you’re in or the size of your product line, you will be able to exercise maximum creativity during the design process. An innovative design team will work with you to capture the very essence of your organization, so you receive a one-of-a-kind customized final look.
Sharp Professional graphics: Product images play a key role in any trade show exhibit. You will work with your chosen design team to include high-resolution, top quality graphics throughout your booth that leaves a lasting impression.
Accessories: Do you think that accessories only work in island booths? Think again. A reputable exhibit provider will also offer an extensive range of accessories that can be used with your portable displays. You can find shelving, literature racks, chairs, tables and even monitors; you’ll find exactly what you need to create a signature look.
These lightweight stands have proven that they can be used long after the event has ended. You will find a virtually endless list of ways to use your easy to setup stands throughout the year. Many businesses set them up in lobbies and conference room as large advertising billboards for visiting clients. They can also be used at recruiting events, as well as outdoor functions. In short, wherever your team goes, your portable displays can easily and conveniently go with them for the ultimate return on investment.
A pop up display does a few things really well.
Set up: They make set-up a breeze.
1. This is great for impatient sales people.
2. Folks who have limited install abilities.
3. If you cannot or will not pay labor, and don’t have a dedicated trade show person capable of moderately complex installation of 2+ hours – then a pop up is for you.
Shipping: If you want to reduce shipping costs, then a pop up is for you.
1. Modular displays require shipping 1-2 skids and will increase shipping costs significantly.
2. Pop ups can sometimes even be checked as bags with the airline.
Storage: A pop-up has limited parts and can usually easily fit in a closet. And pop ups almost always under 50 lbs, and in containers with rolling wheels. If you want to store conveniently in a small area in your office, a pop up is a good choice for you.
Affordability: Pop up displays are a great value. They are at the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to budget.
On the other hand, a modular exhibit system can do a number of things well.
Reconfiguration: Modular displays can reconfigure into virtually endless sizes. For example, your 10×10 can reconfigure to a 10×20, a 20×20, 30×30 and so on.
Accessories: Modular systems have the ability to support and great range of accessories. Storage cabinets, TV mounts, shelving, retail merchandising, iPad holders, and much more.
Custom look with our the custom cost: A modular system is designed by a trained exhibit designer to accommodate your unique needs and brand.
Things a modular system can’t do: Set up in under 1 hour, compete with pop up pricing, fit easily in a closet, ship as conveniently and affordably as a pop up.
Note: The difference between Modular and Custom Modular is the difference in the architecture and the details that goes into constructing your booth. For example, if you want custom elements in your booth like LED lit shelves, or unique shaped backwall, or koi pond in your space, then that falls under 'Custom Modular'. However, since, having in-house 3D printing capabilities, often times blurs the line between modular and custom modular offerings.
Many companies think that in order to be effective, they need to throw every bit of information about their company on the display. However, this is absolutely the worst thing you can do. Overdoing the graphics on your banner stand or exhibit panels means that visitors will have to stare at the exhibit for a few minutes before they fully grasp what your display is trying to convey.
If your display has large blocks of text, your visitors’ eyes will likely glaze over before they even read a single word. (ABOVE) Use bullet points or markers when possible and use contrasting colors and fonts to make certain words stand out even more. (BELOW)
One of the best things about these exhibits is that the pieces fit together in different configurations so that you can actually create multiple displays. No matter what configuration you’re using consider adding lighting, podiums, literature racks and other three-dimensional display elements to create visual interest that will keep guests at your exhibit.
Use visual elements of your brand with dimensional flare. (ABOVE) Find ways to paint your booth design with personality or sculpt out your booth with enticing brand visuals. (BELOW)
Start developing a personality for your brand by asking these questions:
Are you funny? Are you serious? Academic? Masculine? Kid-friendly? These questions will be answered by identifying the audience you’re trying to reach. Will you want to write your content with some wit, or focus on research? Will you want your photography to be loud and colorful or clean and monotone?
Every brand has a personality. One personality isn’t “better” than the other. Once you identify your company’s brand personality you can use that knowledge in all the marketing work you do.
Often flooring seems to be the forgotten element of your exhibit design. However if you’re standing on it all day long, you might wish that you had paid a bit more attention to it. Flooring does more than just bring together the elements of your booth together — it helps provide a cushion to protect your feet and your back.
Use angular die-cut plush carpets to add dynamism to your space. Mix it in with colors to be consistent with your offering. (ABOVE) Use technology on a portion of floor to add visual interest that compliments story-telling. (BELOW)
"As large-scale multimedia continues to trend, droves of exhibitors are trading hard-walled architecture for LED screens and audiovisual installations. But while walls are getting a high-tech makeover, floors seem stuck in the dark ages – until now."
Travis Stanton, Editor of Exhibitor Magazine, states that sometimes, it might be a good idea to forego traditional booth design altogether, and let your flooring take center stage in your booth, adding a reception desk, product displays, and little else. With countless products on the market, you can add the same eye-catching illumination to what's underfoot via futuristic flooring options that are sure to make your exhibit shine. While more expensive than standard flooring, interactive and illuminated options need not cover your entire booth space. Instead, use these offerings to highlight product displays, pathways, or presentation stages.
Doing this will help you take a few minutes to meet privately with clients, as well as learn more about potential customers away from the prying eyes of competitors. It can be completely closed and elaborate or not. Here are some options for you to explore in the form of conference rooms and lounges.
It is tempting to want to show all your wonderful products! If you are pushed by conflicting interests and often must answer to multiple teams who want you to show what they are working on, let them know about the importance of the RULE OF ONE. Find a way to simplify or find one connective tissue that ties all the elements together.
Be furiously picky about what you merchandise. “You can always bring extra product that you think you may want to show clients, but store it in a closet or cabinet until you need it”. This way you don’t have to clutter up your exhibit yet have the product you need just in case. By keeping the space cleaner, you reduce the stress of the viewer and you can better define the focus of what you want them to look at.
Given, that your logo is the anchor element in your exhibit design, instead of repeating a logo you can expand your visuals and create space to use your other visuals – advises designer Amy Kubas. Keep this in mind when you consider how often and how large a logo needs to be. A good rule of thumb is to “use the company logo as a focal point in your normal field of view” shares Andrew Forchas.
While you don’t want the name and brand of your Company to be a mystery, you can get attention by inciting curiosity about the experience you are providing, the new product you are launching or just the environment of your exhibit.
You can do so by sending a carefully worded invitation providing clues about what you are doing but leaving some details out for prospects to wonder about. For example – “We will be demoing our new product and giving away gift certificates to top rated restaurants in downtown Chicago to the first 10 people to try out the demo.”
You can also create mystery by providing a peek into the experience you have created with partial walls, curtains, windows or sheer material. Prospects can see there is something fun going on but they can’t quite tell what it is.
Euroshop EXAMPLE (ABOVE)
1. Visitors to the Atelier Dambock Messebau GmbH stand were escorted by umbrella-wielding staff, passed through a wall of water before entering the dry inner sanctum.
2. Three bright-pink mailboxes along an exterior exhibit wall were filled with attractive contact cards that were free for the taking at Formfactory GmbH & Co.
3. To convey Dart Design Gruppe GmbH's approach to designing exhibits and retail spaces "from scratch," this oversized pencil appeared to have scrolled the phrase in reverse, making it visible only as it reflected off the stand's mirrored enclosures.
4. Overhead, massive gold "droplets" appeared ready to plop onto mannequins below, all of which were partially covered in the gorgeous, glossy hue — to convery a sense of curious coolness, from mannequin provider 543 Co. Ltd.
5. A hypnotic display for Kinetic Lights by WhiteVoid GmbH featured an installation comprising 54 moving, color-shifting orbs.
Are you exhibiting in Las Vegas? Maybe there is something about your brand that can speak to that. You can either play up the Vegas look by including some neon signs or go completely counter-culture and provide an oasis to escape from that. What is the rest of the competition doing? You want to be sure not to do that. We saw a company do sparkly lanyards in Vegas. Very simple but it was a huge hit with that crowd.
What message are you trying to send at the show? What does your brand stand for? Is there something newsworthy or transformational happening in your company or with the industry? Do you have a theme that follows that messaging or ties into benefits for a product you are launching? This should all be communicated to your designer as they can use that information to create a space that communicates these messages in a unique and memorable way.
To draw passersby to your exhibit through movement here are some options:
Use Digital – A monitor with a great video or just a presentation showing your logo, top products and key messaging can create movement and tell a complete story especially when your staffer takes the time to explain the content to visitors
Fabric movement – An exhibit can have hanging fabric that moves with the natural breeze in a show or the air of a fan. Only do this if it makes sense for your brand.
Project your brand – Depending on the lighting at the show you may not be able to clearly project words or a complex message but you can certainly project shapes or a repeating pattern of your logo or a shape associated with your product or theme.
Demo your product – Do you have machinery that could move in a demo periodically. What a great way to create attention! A great demo one of our designers created was showing a clients’ waterproof product functioning under a waterfall. This not only created motion and attention with the water but showcased the benefits of the product very well.
Can you create an element of surprise that is not expected in your industry show, yet ties into your company or messaging? Stephanie Pheneger shares that some industrial companies assume they need to use truss hardware for their exhibit because that is what is expected of an industrial company. However, if the objective is to stand out and get a double take, you may want to stay away from what everyone else is doing and convey your message of strength, reliability or innovation without the truss.
(ABOVE) When your competition is bringing in fresh produce to make their presence known, you are bound to stand out when you have a exhibit design stand that establishes a genuine sense of place by highlighting beauty in the non-perfect, all working to generate a unique experience that connects attendes with quality produce.
Another way to stand out is to use crowd gatherers, mascots or unique giveaways. Crowd Gatherers get a bad rap but can be invaluable to communicate your basic messaging to someone walking by your booth. They can be especially helpful if you can have them wear something that ties into your theme. One year our dealer in Spain had staffers wear and give away black rimmed glasses with tape in the middle to highlight how they were trade show nerds who could see things differently. It made people stop and ask and then they would share how these were special glasses that could help you see things differently and encouraged visitors to use them.
Well thought out giveaways can help you stand out and tie into your company or theme. One of our clients sent out golf balls to high-value prospects and then invited them to participate on a hole in one contest for the chance to win a high-value driver. Not only were they able to attract top prospects to their booth, the activity itself attracted attention from people walking by. Also, the messaging tied into their brand message about quality and accuracy in their field.
People remember stories. Why? Because for the last 200,000 years we have been weaving stories. Our brains love it, expects it and our hearts wants to bond with it.
“A story still needs to be simple enough for the design to be bold and intuitive.”
The litmus test of successful storytelling is whether achieves its business aims for your client. The core purpose is to hook your audience in a specific way after encountering ‘the story’ — that could mean booking a cruise holiday, making a technological leap, or simply upgrading from 'Freeium' to 'Premium'. Always remember the ultimate goal throughout the process.
(ABOVE) With the planet’s population projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050, agriculture and food production will still have to achieve a massive scale, with help from technology and innovative research. IFT is the event, that brings together innovative companies with individualistic stories of innovation.
A fun way to hook your audience is to give them an unexpected element and get them curious to find out more.
Telling a story works better if you have a more involved client but, done right, it can create a value long after the end of the show. At the ExhibitorLIVE show, we set out to do just that.
We started with an insight.
Our clients were stressed out and needed someone to take care of all their exhibiting needs so they could relax.
Our internal agency Skyline 360 came up with the theme Experience Trade Show Zen. Our designer was then asked to create an environment that would showcase a show-stopping Zen Garden Experience and would also showcase the full capabilities of Skyline demonstrating that we could take care of the broad range of Exhibiting tasks so they could sit down and relax – Experience Trade Show Zen.
We sent out digital and paper invitations, we created a website, we blogged about the experience we were creating. The draw was an environment with a digital Koi pond surrounded by real plants, larger than life tree graphics, hot tea, and sweets. The entire structure was inspired by nature and created the calm feeling of being in a garden. The clients we welcomed felt understood, they loved the exhibit and we were able to start some great conversations and win Best of Show!
When you have a mega budget and want every aspect of your brand to be presented in a fashion that is unique and one of a kind, you opt for a custom booth. Custom booth calls for a unique ceiling, unique flooring, unique architecture and above all, unique blending of brand DNA with your brand presentation.
To convey the creative state of mind of the people who work at OKA, the stand (ABOVE) was designed with printed mesh and wooden laths and text concepts randomly placed on the facade. These elements, labeled with expressive key values, is sucked into a centrifugal visual force that that compels the visitor the walk in and experience the brand.
A presentation of digital, technicolor, touch-sensitive greenhouse exhibition stand. Dubbed “digital vegetables”, the psychedelic light Installation features seven types of vegetables planted inside, each triggering a different sound when touched — tomatoes are violins, carrots are trumpets, cabbages are oboes, radishes are flutes, sweet potatoes are pianos, eggplants are harps and pumpkins are clarinets — an incredible feast for the senses.
Bold brand story-telling, elaborating on Polaroid instant experience spans the digital and physical worlds with simplicity, creativity, sharing and authenticity. (ABOVE AND BELOW). Large video screens and countless graphics captured fun Polaroid moments while other elements evoked surprise, intrigue and familiarity. Designed to provide dramatic views from multiple angles and create a flow of people throughout the booth.
Custom Design elements included:
• Two ribbon-screen projections. Bright images flowed across a pair of ribbons -– each with five large flat screens -– that step up and over and across to the Polaroid name and logo mounted on weathered barn wood.
• Uplit stage. Lady Gaga unveiled the new Polaroid Grey Label line of products from the raised stage and its illuminated pixel-logo floor, drawing crowds that overflowed into other exhibits.
• Three Polaroid Classic Border screens. Jumbo rear-projection screens, framed by the familiar photo border, gave a close-up view of Lady Gaga’s hands-on demonstration and examples of photographers’ self-expression.
• Polaroid Grey Label lounge. Skyline designed an imaginative structure that seemingly sprouted within the exhibit but was actually suspended from the ceiling. The mirrored exterior led curious attendees to Polaroid.
Map your customer journeys from the outside in. Don’t start with your products and services — start with the outcome that your customers seek.
Understand the customer experience ecosystem that your brand has created to serve your customers, and then connect this outside-in view of your customers to the business capabilities that you need to help your customers achieve their outcome. This requires the participation of the upper management team. Because, it requires the linking of business capability mapping to customer journey mapping. This exercise will help you formulate a set of goals that you need to architect for your next trade show exhibition.
Trade show attendees expect experiences where they can interact with brands in a meaningful way. Without an experiential strategy, you're ignoring both hearts and minds.
You are what you exhibit at trade shows. So make your ideas stick with your attendees. Harness interactive technology to help your audience interact with your brand. Attendees who are engaged, stimulated and educated have a shorter and memorable customer journey map.
These factors are critical to effective communication and may even play a role in helping to synchronize your brain with others in your conversation. In fact, research has shown a significant increase in the neural synchronization between the brains of two partners during face-to-face, but not during other types of, conversation.5
According to the study, which was published in The Journal of Neuroscience:
The quality of the communication was found to be a more important contributor to neural synchronization than the quantity of communication. This suggests that perhaps even infrequent in-person meetings may have more of an impact than frequent digital meetings.
“Cause Marketing or cause-related marketing refers to a type of marketing involving the cooperative efforts of a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit.”
Why does Cause Marketing matter to you as a Marketer?
Because, your customer cares about helping others. Also, keep in mind — the bigger the cause, deeper will be your brand foot print.
72% of consumers have donated to charity at the register, and 65% of consumers felt positive about the company after giving. (Catalist’s Revelations at the Register.) Associating your company with a like-minded non-profit business that helps others, shows your customers that you care about a cause, and are willing to spend time and money as a business to be a part of it. Furthermore, a whopping 91% of millennials would switch brands to one associated with a cause (Cone Communications Millennial CSR Study) There is a huge opportunity to make it know that your company cares about helping others, and other businesses, by mutual marketing through cause marketing.
A study from the Stockholm School of Economics found that when it comes to product displays, motion increases sales. That research concluded that grocery store shoppers were 64 percent more likely to buy a particular brand of milk when its product display included a kinetic element. Dr. Christophe Morin, a media psychologist and the CEO of Salesbrain LLC, claims that moving objects are the most powerful visual stimuli. The reason is simple: As we evolved, humans developed a keen ability to sense and instantaneously evaluate objects in motion because those objects might pose a threat to our well-being. That's why our primal response when we encounter anything in motion is to direct our attention toward it.
Dr. Christophe Mori explains these three factors that will increase the impact of your exhibit's kinetic elements.
1. IMAGE SALIENCY
One aspect that affects the degree to which motion attracts the eye is image saliency, i.e., how much a moving object stands out from its background environment. As such, objects in motion that are brightly lit or contrast sharply from their background will stand out more and demand more attention from viewers than poorly lit objects that blend into their backgrounds.
(ABOVE LEFT) Standing more than 10 feet tall, the gigantic machine incorporated white lights embedded into the washer's rotating drum that resembled water jets. (ABOVE RIGHT) Attendees used a lever and dial to manipulate air flow inside the 10-foot-tall test tube to get the protein particles to hover at an acceptable range marked on the side of the test tube, mimicking how the drug works to control protein levels in patients' bodies.
2. PERCEIVED DANGER
Perceived danger influences motion perception. Nothing in your exhibit should be physically threatening, but there are certain factors that make the human brain perceive an object as more threatening. Faster objects and those moving toward the viewer pose more of a potential threat — and therefore attract more attention — than slower objects moving away from the viewer.
(ABOVE) A champagne bottle passed through a Plexiglas barrier with a bottle-shaped cutout to prove a conveyor belt's smooth ride.
3. LINE OF SIGHT
While humans will sense and respond to practically any moving objects within their range of vision, those on the periphery are often deemed less noteworthy than those directly in their line of sight. So instead of a rotating sign hung high atop your exhibit via overhead truss, consider incorporating kinetic elements that will be closer to the eye level of attendees walking by.
Map your customer journeys from the outside in.
Don’t start with your products and services — start with the outcome that your customers seek.
"Understanding the predominant problem that has brought your previous customers to your door – especially your best and most profitable customers – helps you recognize that motivation in others. Your pattern recognition for the people that comprise your best customers will improve dramatically. It also helps you create content that attracts more of those prospects."
Polls work great if you need to know more about your audience within the show/event deadline.
ALIGN CUSTOMER NEEDS WITH YOUR BRAND OFFERING
Start by understanding the customer experience ecosystem that your brand has created to serve your them, and then, connect this outside-in view of your customers to the business capabilities that you need to help your customers achieve their outcome. This requires the participation of the upper management team. Because, it requires the linking of business capability mapping to customer journey mapping. This exercise will help you formulate a set of goals that you need to architect for your next trade show exhibition.
Know that your audience will look and behave differently on social networks.
This is because each social network:
Attracts a self-selecting subset of your audience — reason for social participants are different than a random cross-section of your target audience.
Inspires different behaviors and attitudes — each network has its own context and “feel” (for example, playfulness on Snapchat, or planning and browsing on Pinterest).
According to comScore — In addition to communication, social networks tend to skew toward entertainment
(Facebook, Snapchat); browsing and immersion (Instagram, Pinterest); and utility (Twitter, LinkedIn). These skews naturally point toward different parts of the marketing funnel: branding, consideration and action. Hence, if you are going to develop Social ads, keep in mind of being context-sensitive.
BMW was a pioneer of short-form “viral videos” in the late 1990s with its “BMW Films” series, and the company continues to create striking video campaigns. For the launch of the centennial model, BMW launched a series of 10 and 15 second short videos.
The brand selected Facebook and Instagram rather than Snapchat because of a better fit with its target. Studying how prospects used the networks, BMW created different ad approaches: Facebook with a two-second, high-energy opening sequence, and Instagram with a single striking initial impression or “hook.”
The first step in setting up a campaign is to pick a goal.
Other common social advertising goals are, clicks to website, mobile app installs, video views and sign-ups.
As an exhibitor, you may want to design your campaign that will lead the visitors for specialized one-one-one product training or reviewing your product for a chance to win a raffle.
Goals matter more on social networks because campaigns are auto-optimized against the chosen KPI.
For example, Facebook penalizes ads for low or falling click-through rates. If the campaign doesn’t succeed against the defined goal, it will require higher bids and may not be seen much.
KEEP THE MOMENTUM OF YOUR EVENT GOING BY CHOOSING A GOAL THAT WILL ADD MORE FOLLOWERS
Equipment maker Ricoh is a B2B marketer campaign goal was to get IT professionals in a specific set of industries to become followers. It used LinkedIn’s role and industry-targeting capabilities to deliver sponsored posts and display ads. It's purpose was to expose the company’s ads and content over a longer period of time, as purchase cycles for many Ricoh products are long.
Over the course of the campaign, Ricoh gained 6,000 followers.
While facing customer needs in the office market rapidly shifting from "possessing equipment" to "using it", and customer changing workstyle into digital communication at anytime and anywhere, Ricoh's integrated products, services and solutions includes network communication products, document management systems, IT services and production print solutions as such.
Some of the most successful campaigns make smart use of special targeting features, including:
Customer and Prospect Targeting: All the networks have introduced ways to directly target a list of customers and/or prospects (and lookalikes) by uploading a list of emails, phone numbers, social IDs, mobile app actions or website tags.
This highly targeted form of advertising is called Custom Audiences (Facebook), Tailored Audiences (Twitter) or Matched Audiences (LinkedIn). Clever way to get attention from these targeted audience is to set specific codes to different set of inquiries. Over time, you will get an impression on the topic that your audience is highly interested in.
Get that data and design your exhibit and your product presentation based on the imperatives of your audience interest.
Be active at social listening. Every day there are over 500 million Tweets, 4.5 billion Likes on Facebook, and 95 million photos and videos uploaded to Instagram.Know the likes and dislikes of the segment of prospects that you will be targeting at trade shows — who are these people, what are their concerns, can you possibly reach out and address those concerns even before they go the event — a positive way to introduce your brand.
Companies and Titles: B2B marketers are able to target employees of specific companies from segmented industries, and people with certain titles.
Competitive Trolling: Campaigns focused on competitive differentiation can target people who follow competitors (Twitter, LinkedIn); have liked their brand pages (Facebook, Instagram); or who are searching for them.
Second-screening: Reinforcing or drafting on news, sports and other events as they happen can improve campaign impact. For example, Twitter enables targeting against TV shows and sports events based on timing, user actions and posts.
Life events and circumstances: Some of the most interesting targeting options are related to a person’s social life. For example, social channel allow marketers to target movers, newlyweds, and people who are living away from their family or hometown, have a new job, or are in a long-distance relationship.
Social networks are entertaining and functional, but above all, they are social.
They are built for sharing, commenting and reacting. Social advertising should be built to share and encourage reactions. How is this done? Tom Affinito, CMO of social ad and search platform Kenshoo, puts shareable ads into three categories:
Silly — Cadbury’s “Obey Your Mouth” Snapchat Lens campaign, which turned users’ heads into disco balls, is an example.
Sincere — British retailer Marks & Spencer gained positive attention for its Twitter video campaign “#LoveMrsClaus,” which featured a pensive snowy spouse.
Group adventures — Dutch airline KLM’s “Bonding Buffet” viral video campaign featured a group of travelers stranded at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Christmas Eve who share a meal together.
One good way to encourage sharing is by incorporating user-generated content (UGC) into your ad campaign Apple showcased images from users of its products for its ubiquitous “Shot on iPhone” campaign. Ben & Jerry’s invited customers to #captureeuphoria on Instagram, sharing random moments of delight.
Instagram is the world’s biggest “look book,” requiring slick visuals.
Snapchat is whimsical and eschews obvious polish.
Facebook feels more “homey,” like a family album.
Capture gorgeous product shots for Instagram or Pinterest, whimsical 10-second snippets for a Snapchat sequential video, and functional shots for a Facebook Carousel ad.
That is if you want to play by the book.
If you are adventurous and want to blaze your creative path, on Instagram, you get the opportunity to be creative about the feeling and the perception of your brand, not just it's products and services.
On 2016, Instagram launched 'Instagram Stories' that disappear after 24 hours. ANOTHER VERY IMPORTANT FEATURE — YOU CAN SEARCH STORIES BY LOCATION AND HASHTAG.
"You can bring your story to life in new ways with text and drawing tools. The photos and videos will disappear after 24 hours and won’t appear on your profile grid or in feed."
AND THIS COULD BE THE ONE SINGLE REASON THAT YOU MIGHT WANT TO ADD INSTAGRAM IN THE MIX. Ofcourse, the fact that the stories features alone had around 200 million daily users in April, according to Instagram, compared to Snapchat’s 158 million is a big bonus.
#1 – LIST YOUR SHOW ON YOUR WEBSITE HOMEPAGE
This means you’ll need a place for dynamic content somewhere on your homepage; ideal locations are on a banner, badge or sidebar and always above the fold (in the area visible when you open a page without having to scroll down). Display with prominence your attendance on specific shows or a certain upcoming industry show. Doing this, will help capture customers and prospects who may have missed your direct marketing message, and, gives you the chance to capture interests of industry influencers and or interested parties that you weren’t even aware of.
Above, is a example as highlighted by one of our clients
#2 – ENSURE YOUR SITE SPEED IS ADEQUATE
This is important any time of year; not just before an event. Think about this: Google can return 500,000 search results in under half a second. Today’s internet users expect speed. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 40% of users abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
#3 – PROMOTE YOUR EVENT ON A LANDING PAGE, YOUR BLOG AND YOUR COMPANY SOCIAL MEDIA CHANELS
Consider a blog when you simply want to inform your customers about the basics of the event: when, where, how to find you, what to expect when they stop by. If you want to kick it up a notch, consider creating a dedicated landing page for the event or trade show with multimedia and maybe even an on-page form as part of a pre-show contest.
Create a campaign hashtag and come up with a cross-channel challenge publicized on Facebook and Instagram. Ask followers to upload their own Hyperlapse videos using your chosen hashtag to one of those two channels. Then, measure that hashtag and the activity around your accounts to see if you’re on the right track.
#4 – INVITE CURRENT AND PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS
But use a different message! Set up two campaigns in your email marketing software and send different messages to current and prospective customers. In your message, be sure to include all the basics of the event plus a teaser about some sort of incentive or giveaway you have planned.
#5 – AS PART OF #3 OR #4, CONSIDER INCLUDING A PRE-QUALIFYING QUESTIONNAIRE WITH AN INCENTIVE TO ANSWER IT
This allows you to segment clients and prospects so that you are prepared with “what pitch” to use when you meet them at the show. This also saves you valuable time pre-qualifying visitors at the show.
#6 – HAVE PDF/DIGITAL VERSIONS OF YOUR MARKETING MATERIAL AVAILABLE
Back to preferences in our digital age, some show-goers get downright mad if you try to offer them (gasp!) printed material. While it’s true that plenty of people still prefer printed collateral, and the industry tends to influence this as well, having high-quality digital versions ensures everyone is happy. QR codes are an easy way to send prospects directly to your marketing material; you can even have multiple codes that go to specific documents to satisfy different types of inquiries. You can have large codes printed as part of your booth display, or print them on anything from a business card to a stress ball.
#7 – SEND A PERSONAL THANK YOU EMAIL POST-SHOW
This doesn’t require a lot of explanation other than the personal part. Take the time to recall your conversation with the customer or prospect and write a follow-up email that both thanks them and sets the stage for additional sales dialogue.
#8 – VIRTUAL POST-SHOW PRESENCE
During the show, you can Tweet or even Livestream from Facebook. Using social media is a valuable tool for alerting show attendees to what’s going on in your booth right then, and the media can be used to create a virtual post-show presence to post on your site or blog for people who missed the show. Additional media from your staff, such as them walking the show and interacting with visitors, can also be included in the round up.
If you can only afford something that will break the second time your client uses it, save the money and buy coffee for your staff on the day of the show instead. Another option may be to give your clients coupons for a discount on their next purchase and only give an inexpensive, but durable, giveaway to other clients such as a pen or branded post it notes. You may not get points for originality, but it is better than being remembered as the company that had the water bottle that leaked.
Everyone loves the tech giveaways, but they are more likely to draw everyone to your booth. This brings a potential for not reaching your target audience. There are too many Apple Watch and iPad giveaways and they are not always relevant to the brand. Instead, create a giveaway that does tie into your branding. For example, Skyline gave away donations to one of three charities the year we launched our “Helping the World Trade” core purpose at EXHIBITOR. While this was not related to trade shows, it did tie into our release of our core purpose of “Helping the World Trade” which in part is about sharing and caring.
Instead, consider having a knowledgeable speaker in your industry or someone who can help improve your customer’s productivity at work. It is great to have someone who can draw a crowd, but they should also be able to draw the right crowd and give them a message that is relevant to your brand. Consider an educational speaker or someone higher up in your company that can speak to your product in an entertaining way.
Pay attention to your audience. Look around, meet your fellow attendees and you might discover people with the most interesting stories to share. If they are not good public speakers, you can help them by coaching them, adding them to a panel with a good moderator or proposing shorter sessions (a short amateurish-but-interesting presentation of a great idea/project/etc is more bearable than a long one). It’s all about how relevant that presentation it to your audience.
It is also a good idea to host a networking meeting for top clients and promote it via a special invitation just for them. For larger exhibitors create spaces inside your space to host such event, or, reserve a room at a nearby restaurant after the show and spring for appetizers and their first beverage.
#notleveragingyourbrand. Make sure you include the hashtag for the trade show or event you are participating in and others for your company or relevant industry publications. If you have a tagline for your theme, make sure to include that consistently in all your communications as well. For example, if you are at CES, the Consumer Electronics Show, you would use #CES #CES2018 @nameofyourcompany #Yourtradeshow/eventtheme.
Create a hashtag designed to spark conversation.
Create a hashtag designed to spark conversation. You might want to create a dedicated product realted hashtag that interested parties can use to contact you with questions, comments and concerns. this is very helpful if you are using the trade show venue to show off your new product. Start this atleast 6 months before the show so that it generates lot of brand buzz around the product. McDonald’s recently used product related hashtag to promote one of its specific menu items, Buttermilk Crispy Tenders. The brand used the hashtag #ButtermilkCrispyTenders, which is more specific than a simple hashtag like #McDonalds or #ChickenTenders. This hashtag effectively showcases McDonald’s Buttermilk Crispy Tenders and makes it easy for users to find more images of the product.
Boost audience engagement, consider using hashtags to run social media contests and giveaways. Contests and giveaways are a great way to incentivize social media users to reuse branded hashtags. Many brands that leverage this strategy see an influx of valuable user-generated content.
To promote its coffee and donuts during the winter holiday season Dunkin' Donuts ran a photo contest on its Instagram that encouraged user participation. The company instructed users to post a photo or video of a holiday moment with Dunkin' Donuts alongside the captions #DDCoffeeJoy and #Contest. Multiple prizes were awarded to top posts, including Dunkin' Donuts gift cards and JetBlue travel certificates. Additionally, more than 300 original posts were created using the unifying hashtag #DDCoffeeJoy.
This use of hashtags emboldens the “social” in social media, and allows your brand to connect one-on-one with highly engaged fans or the curious onlookers who are wanting to become engaged. It is an effective tool to build brand awareness — touch lives and solve problems.
If you did not send anything to your followers at least four weeks before the show then they don’t have you on their radar. You should ideally send at least 3 communications before the show via your different channels. We recommend you focus on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. However, depending on the nature of your product you may also want to do Pinterest.
Make sure that your key message is consistent across all your communications:
Pre-show promotion, industry advertising, event or trade show signage and publications and exhibit signage.
Do you have anything new to share?
Maybe a newer product or service?
Will you be providing demos or training in your booth?
Will there be hands on opportunities with product or face to face opportunities with key company representatives? Whatever your key message, make sure potential attendees know about it.
Make sure that your branding jives with your giveaway — Is it brand appropriate? Is it attractive?
Think about how long someone will hang on to the promotional piece and consider wear and tear before making your selection. If you have a more formal brand, you would stay formal with your giveaway and messaging. If you have a playful brand or if you are edgy, then show it.
Make their job easier or inform them why they should consider your product or service.
While some large companies may be able to leverage past communications and rely on their brand equity, Coca Cola or Nike for example, in general, most companies should say what they do and their product/service or organization’s benefits. Find captivating ways to capture their attention. The day the iPod launched and Steve Jobs called it “a thousand songs in your pocket.” Wow. That's captivating. He didn’t have to explain any further. We wanted it already!
Focus on the benefits of interest to your largest audience segments. You can’t be all things to all people. Attack the segments of lesser value in a separate exercise.
You may assume that they already know about the show or that whether or not you send an invitation will not make a difference. However, they are more likely to attend and visit you if you send them a personalized invitation. Remember, they are busy and although they may have attended, or not, in the past you want to stay on their list of companies to consider.
To better select promotional items most relevant to them. Don’t assume that the latest popular gadget – or worse, the cheapest giveaway – should be your giveaway at your next show. Take a moment to look at information about attendees provided by the show or information you have about your clients. Then think about what they would appreciate when making your promotional material selection.
Email promotions with high SPAM scores will go directly to recipient’s SPAM folders or can’t get through their firewall. Work with your e-marketing or IT specialists to make sure your email promotions have the best chance of making it to their intended recipients.
Make sure they know the overall objectives of the event. What are your goals, target market, giveaways, who gets what and why?
Set a goal that the value proposition for the product or service be stated in no more that 3 bullet points. Your giveaways should be tied to this value proposition.
Formulate a succinct answer to the competitive differentiation question. Prepare a series of answers, if needed, to address various competitive segments. Again, your competitive differentiation should align seamless with your giveaway. Remember, competition is about perception as much as it is about reality, so make sure you are asking your customers and prospects who they think is competitive and not just relying on whom you know to be in your space.
Review the copy used by your competitors. Make sure yours is clearer, more honest and more memorable.
Train your staff on the speech and the competitive answers. Drill them thoroughly so they can recite the speech with a smooth and natural delivery.
Important marketing planning gets overshadowed by urgent logistics planning.
Because of the flood of deadlines, often times you get more distracted by the “what to do” rather than the “why to do” it.
The essentials to plan for your trade show starts with your goals for the show, followed by your marketing messages for your graphics and staffers, and creating a promotional campaign that will get more of the right people to your booth.
Here are some ideas for your plan, either for a single show or for your entire program. Marketing and logistics steps are mixed together, as you need to do both to truly succeed.
1. Review Past Objectives: Evaluate previous year’s shows to see how many leads converted to sales, and your marketing return on investment. If you set different objectives, measure return on those objectives.
2. Set New Objectives: Set your top 2 or 3 objectives for your next year’s trade show program.
1. Set Budget: Adjust your budget based on what worked last year, your current financial state, objectives, and opportunities.
2. Select Shows and Booth Spaces: Evaluate your show schedule to determine which shows have the best match with your target market for the best value, and pick the spaces you will take in those shows (if you have not already reserved space)
For a larger exhibit, start 6 or more months out.
For a small display or banner stands, start 3 months before the show.
1. What are the company's capabilities and specialties
2. How long have they been in business
3. How many clients do they serve
4. Where are they located
5. Typical turnaround for producing and shipping a display
6. Number of people on staff
7. Services they may contract to others
8. Whether they offer guarantees
9. A list of past clients for reference checking
1. Pick Booth Staffers: Review last year’s qualified lead counts by booth staffer to identify the staffers you want at your upcoming shows. Contact their managers to ask if they can attend. Ask your best booth staffers who else they would recommend.
2. Research Technology: Consider how you can integrate technology into your exhibit to help get more attention, tell your story, and facilitate better conversations between attendees and booth staffers.
3. Invite Exhibit Builders: If building a new trade show booth, set appointments to meet with 3 exhibit builders, and give them access to your key marketing decision-makers.
4. Start Building a Website Presence for your Event:
Whether you choose to have an event microsite, to add a mention of it on your homepage, or a dedicated event page on your site, a web presence should be part of your arsenal. If people are thinking about attending or planning to attend an event but want more information, their instinctive step is to… Google it!
Yes, you need to make sure they find the information you want them to know – location of the show, your booth number, your giveaway offer, new products you may be launching. This should all be easily accessible. You should add these links to all your social media postings about the event to help drive traffic to the page and improve your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking.
5. Start Building Content to Promote in Social Media — This media has proved to be very successful in promoting events before, during and after the fact. This promotion can increase attendance and engagement at the event. It can be used to poll attendees about their preferences before the event and gather real-time information during and after (this can be dangerous if things did not go as well as you hoped for).
Depending on your type of event, you can have your clients share social posts and even ask them to rate your company using social platforms. With all of this comes great data you can gather to further fine-tune your marketing tactics. In fact, events give marketers a great reason to communicate with clients on social media and further the client relationship from a digital connection to a personal face-to-face engagement.
6. Start sending out email invitations — Invite your clients and prospects to visit you at your next trade show via email. Just make sure you give them an incentive to do so, whether it be an activity, giveaway or a new product demo. It is also nice to have a feature that enables them to add the event to their calendar and to share the invitation with others.
“There is immense power in an idea, because it unites people. It motivates them toward change. But the real power lies in their unity, in coming together – if enough can be rallied to a cause, no matter how ridiculous, it will be seen and heard.”
As shown above, now imagine expanding your cause into a viable brand marketing plan for your business? Start with e-mail invitation.
1. Review the “Show Book” — The book or webpage from the show with all the forms for ordering services. Find the forms for services you need, and create a master list of all the deadlines to order and still get the discount rates. Start earlier if the show provides it earlier.
2. Create Promotions — Brainstorm ideas for pre-show and at-show promotions that will help bring in a greater number of qualified leads into your booth, plus help your booth staffers to engage attendees.
3. Start Blogging — In your blog, start posting about your event and the things you will be doing that may interest your clients and readers. This is a great opportunity to give your clients a sneak preview of the products, demos, and giveaways they can expect to see if they visit you at the show.
4. Start Producing Video Content – While production of videos used to be left to the experts, due in part to the cost of producing them and distributing them, now anyone can create and share a video. You can create videos with an iPhone and share them on YouTube to promote your event. Stream video of your demos on Periscope or share your videos on Facebook.
5. Given any Thoughts to Interactive & Trackable Digital Signage? – Creating digital signage is getting easier as there are apps and vendors to help you create content that can be used at your event to showcase your products and services. Also, these can be set up so you can integrate brochure requests, email and interactive capabilities. Some will even have a feature that can track what items you, or your prospects, look at and for how long. This can be a particularly useful feature if you are launching a new product or trying to gauge interest amongst the existing line you are showcasing.
1. Choose Staffers — Finalize your booth staff choices. If you are doing a major product launch, you will need the help of temporary staffers.
2. Arrange Travel — Book hotels and flights for booth staffers before rates go up. Here are some new travel apps that will help you keep organized.
3. Order Services — Order any show services you need according to your list from the show book.
4. Choose Your Exhibit Builder — Award the new build, and then continue to quickly and thoughtfully respond to their questions and requests for graphics art to ensure timely completion of your new exhibit.
5. Order Promotions — Select and order any promotional items you will be mailing pre-show. Some can take only a few days, some can take over a month, depending where they are made and imprinted.
6. Order Uniforms for your staffers — If you are providing shirts, pants, and more for your booth staffers to wear, order them now.
1. Optimize Your Customer Relationship Management System – This way you will be better equipped to follow up on those contacts and to estimate the revenue generated as a result of your show presence or event.
2. Check to See if your Electronic Brochures Needs to be Updated – Clients now use electronic brochures that can be viewed on a tablet or digital monitor during the show and emailed to them immediately – either during the conversation or right after.
Some software will even allow you to mark up the brochure via a touch screen before emailing the brochure to a client. This provides the client the information they want in an easily accessible, savable and searchable format. You can also keep track of the brochures you distributed at the show in your CRM, which will help your sales reps by letting them know what the client inquired about.
3. Send Promos – Send the first wave of your pre-show promotion campaign.
4. Train staffers, Part 1: Set up first booth staffing meeting, to train them on your main client profiles and your products.
5. Order More Services: Order any final show services you need from the show book.
6. Order At-Show Promos: Select and order any promotional items you will be giving away at the show, and have them shipped to the show (with a sample overnighted to you).
7. Ship Exhibit: Ship your new exhibit to advanced warehouse, getting it out the door soon enough to save on shipping. Take extra care in shipping out your AV equipments and your show specific technology
1. Train Staffers, Part 2: Hold your second booth staffing meeting, to review the booth staffing process and info about your new exhibit, your promotions, technology in the booth, the convention city, and the show hall.
2. Send More Promos: Send the second wave of your pre-show promotion campaign (if by snail mail, mail first class rather than by standard/bulk rate, or they may arrive after the show!)
3. Ship Staffer Supplies: Ship a tub with all the supplies you’ll need in your booth for staffers, such as pens, clipboards, staplers, staples, water bottles, snacks, mints and wipes.
1. Prepare Lead Fulfillment: Create and gather your post-show lead fulfillment packets, and assign the team that will process the leads
2. Verify Exhibit Arrival: Ensure your exhibit has arrived at the show.
3. Collect Documents and Backup: Prepare and pack a master book or data file with all your at-show contacts including your booth staffers, exhibit house, and local show city vendors such as I&D to carry with you to the show. Include art files for your graphics.
4. Verify Staffers: Check in with all booth staffers that they are still all set to attend the show; get a substitute if needed.
5. Love Your Loved Ones: Be extra nice to your family and friends because you won’t be there soon.
6. Start sending out SMS (Short Message Service) or texting – According to the book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” by David Meerman Scott, some companies use text as a way to make it easy for people to sign up to receive communications from a company.
However, make sure to ensure that people who sign up know what they are doing and give you explicit consent to communicate with them. One recommendation from Constant Contact is to provide a clear, incentivized call to action to promote a keyword, like “text keyword to 12345 to receive X offer and to join our texting list.” CTIA, The Wireless Association, has best practices outlined on their website. As they also state, not to contact the receiver too often or outside of the context that you laid out or they will unsubscribe or, worse yet, not want to do business with you in the future.
That said, a useful text message will probably be appreciated. If you set meetings with your clients at a trade show or provide a time-sensitive premium, a reminder text that they can opt in for will likely be appreciated.
1. Be Your Best: Be brilliant, calm, hard-working, lighthearted, and creative.
2. Make It Happen: Execute your plans for booth staffing, at-show promotions, lead management, and booth logistics.
1. Come Home: Give your family and friends souvenirs from the trip, preferably chocolate.
2. Say Thank You: Thank your booth staffers and vendors.
3. Fulfill Your Leads: Get promised packets out and update your CRM.
Note: Many companies don’t differentiate the casual booth visitor from the serious buyer who stops by the booth. If Marketing simply sends all trade show leads to sales for follow-up, they’ll probably make life more difficult for the sales reps. In this case, Marketing has done nothing to validate the true intent of each buyer. By sending an email follow-up to each lead and analyzing the Digital Body Language that follows, Marketing can pare down the list and send only the more qualified leads to Sales.
Once, you have done the above, keep checking on lead follow up with the sales team.
4. Check Costs: Review your actual expenditures against your planned costs to see if you are still on-budget, and the reasons if not on budget.
5. Measure and Analyze: Measure if you met your objectives, and figure out what went right and what can be improved.
6. Report Results: Let management know how well you met your show objectives, what worked, and what could be improved upon.
Give yourself the opportunity to succeed. Take the time to create a solid plan, then work the plan you created, covering both logistics and marketing activities.
Attending trade shows and putting in an appearance at the many industry-specific conferences and conventions held each year is a crucial part of most company’s marketing plans. Companies that participate in these shows and conferences often invest a significant amount of their budget in exhibits that are designed to capture the interest of attendees and leave a lasting, positive impression. Some companies invest in custom-designed booths and display pieces while others look to a more modular exhibit.
No doubt, custom trade show exhibits send a powerful message about companies that use them. Trade show attendees tend to admire these personalized displays, associating them with words like “success” and “established.” Perception is critical when you’re in front of thousands of potential leads, and custom exhibits tend to be remembered longer than their often cookie cutter cousins because visitors perceive them as a reflection of the company’s quality. However, since custom booths are one of a kind, they tend not to be flexibile for conversion on different sized booth spaces. The question you have to ask yourself, "Are custom exhibits worth the price for the message you want to put out?"
The most obvious advantage to modular exhibits is also the most important one – flexibility. Custom-designed displays are generally static; that is, they can’t be reconfigured in the “mix and match” way that modular exhibits can.
With a modular display, you can move sections around and adjust the lay-out of your exhibit based on the space available at each trade show. A custom exhibit designed for thirty feet of space can’t be reconfigured for a smaller area, which can leave you in a bind if you don’t have an alternative.
(ABOVE), miraculously extend your budget when the same architecture is used. You please your target audience because you champion their cause, by changing your brand graphics and your brand offering. Capitalize on the perception of your brand without undertaking phenomenal risk or high cost.... This is what modular design does.
The flexibility of modular exhibits gives companies the opportunity to create and add new graphics or display areas without having to invest in an entirely new exhibit each year. Modular trade show displays can be reconfigured so that your display area looks fresh at each show, which can increase traffic and interest.
With a custom exhibit, you’re generally locked in. It can be difficult to change any of the elements of a custom designed display, which is unfortunate if a new product is launched or your company’s information changes just before an important trade show. Modular trade show exhibits make it easy to replace one section or multiple sections of your display whenever needed. You’ll always have the latest information and current visual appeal with a modular display.
(ABOVE) This is a custom-modular Skyline exhibit which ships in only 2 pieces. One 4' x 4' x 8' crate & one monitor case 50" x 24" x 46" (anvil case not pictured). This is a traditional non-modular custom exhibit (BELOW) which ships in nine 4' x 4' x 8' crates (6 verticals & 3 laydowns).
Modular displays are designed to be easy to assemble and easy to break down. Unwieldy custom displays are often cumbersome and difficult to assemble. With a modular system, your trade show representatives can quickly get your booth up and running and just as quickly take it apart when the show is over.
You can easily order new graphics will fit seamlessly with your current modular exhibit, giving you the opportunity to update your trade show booth without spending a fortune on designing custom elements.
Your customers expect experiences. When it comes to business, an experience is essentially an opportunity for your customer to build a relationship with you. If the experience is successful, your customer feels connected. They might purchase something from you or not. If the experience fails, they will not purchase anything from you and they will be talking and conspiring against you.
In a "postcommerce era", where is everyone is connected through shared experiences, in this dynamic customer journey, your product/service and your booth design is much a part of marketing, as everything else in your strategy.
Start thinking about designing your display booth to do the bidding for you!
Get in touch.
Let's Start Conversing for Effectual Conversion!