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Four Trade Show Myths Exhibitors Need To Know About

by Kat Shea 14. September 2011 18:54

Today our featured post is by industry veteran - Bob Milam, aka "Tradeshowbob".  Read on to get his insight on how less can be more.....

The factors that are most critical to your success as an exhibitor are not always what many folks spend a lot of their time worrying about. Contrary to popular belief, these four "myths"  aren’t "mission critical" to your Show Smart success. Exhibitors have agonized and obsessed over them for years and years AND will continue to do so, but if you take a deeper look, these “myths” have little impact on your trade show performance.
1. Overall trade show attendance
Of course, show attendance has declined since the onset of the recession. But look more closely and you'll notice that the declines are the result of companies shrinking the size of the entourage they send. The actual number of companies who send at least one buying rep to walk the trade show floor is actually increasing. Instead of sending a team of 10, companies now send 2 or 3.  But guess what, these 2 or 3 must uncover the same amount of solutions as 10 did previously, so they need your help to make purchasing decisions more than ever! They’re focused, they’re at your show and they’re buying. Will you be able to find them? Instead of worrying about overall show attendance, focus on targetting your share of the audience.

2. Your trade show booth location
Coupled with the trend above, buyers are now very organized when they hit the exhibit floor. They no longer wander around like kids at a carnival. Having an exhibit in the most prominent spot in the exhibit hall might make your executives feel important, but it really doesn't contribute all that much to your trade show's success. Remember, most buyers now attend trade shows with a pre-set agenda of the companies they need to see. As long as you’re on that list, they’ll find you. The key is -- get on their list. And do it before they arrive to the trade show. A successful trade show marketing campaign needs to incorporate integrated elements of pre-show promotional efforts (email blasts, social media posts, high visibility sponsorships, exclusive offerings etc.) to make sure you get on your key buyers' agendas.

3. A trade show booth must be busy to be successful
This is only true if your key prospects are also the majority of overall attendees at a given trade show. Busy booths tire out your staff, but, that "busy-ness" just makes them feel successful.  As in “we’re tired, therefore, we had a good trade show”. However, at most trade shows, your key buyers will be only a tiny percentage of the overall attendance. Think: quality over quantity here. Did you meet all of your key buyers and convey your messages fully to them? Did you walk away from the trade show with enough actionable leads for your sales force to support your overall business goals?

4. The “800 pound gorillas” are the Fortune 500 exhibitors who have the resources to succeed
Absolutely not true. At an average trade show of 600 exhibitors, about 500 of them are small (just like you), 75 are medium size, and there usually only 25 gorillas. You might look around and see other brands plastered on the lanyards, shuttle buses, bags, taxi cabs and airport billboards. You might think, “I have no chance against that”. But you do. By targeting your efforts and focusing on “the few and the proud” (your prospects), you can invite direct comparison with larger exhibitors and get your key prospects to consider you right along with the 800 pound gorillas. If your story is compelling and can stand up to scrutiny, you’ll be noticed and hopefully remembered. Without a big budget, it does take time. But you can successfully ride the coattails of the big spenders and build momentum, if you think strategically and plan carefully.

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Trade Show Tips | Trade Show Lead Management | Trade Show Promotion

How To Cast Away Common Trade Show Spells

by Kat Shea 31. August 2011 18:55

Susan Friedman, the Trade Show Coach, is our featured guest blogger.  She's an industry think tank, author and trainer. Susan helps companies worldwide get the most out of attending trade shows and industry events.  The Trade Show Coach is known in the industry for designing and implementing strategies for show organizers and exhibitors who want to retain and grow their customer base. Enjoy the read!

Have you ever thought that approaching a trade show is like exploring for hidden treasures? You delve into the marketplace and identify key  prospects to form strong business relationships that have the potential to develop into bountiful sales opportunities. This is the prize every exhibitor looks to uncover.  But beware of the deep, dark danger that threatens your trade show booth staff.  Your normally competent, cheerful exhibit staff may be transformed into frightening creatures afflicted by any one of these four his curses:

The Know It All

The “Know It All” is the most common, especially in your sales force.  Individuals affected by this spell lose their ability to listen.  It’s easy to identify the “Know It All".  They’re compelled to talk NON STOP.  These staffers devote much of their time to booth attendees, showing off how smart they are.  They’ll tell visitors more than they ever wanted to know about the company, products and services, leaving little need for essential post show follow up.  If you notice your valued audience glazing over and making desperate attempts to escape, you have a "Know It All" on your booth staff.

The Cure
Impress on him/her the importance of making visitors feel comfortable and relaxed.  Overloading attendees with random information will only make them feel overwhelmed and reluctant to come back. Trade show booth staff should be helping prospects solve their top challenges. Make sure your booth staff knows the golden rule - - to listen to your prospect 80% of the time and spend the other 20% asking open ended questions to unveil THEIR latest pain points and challenges . Exhibit staff should use attendee responses to questions to guide their sales pitch.

The Flirt

The “Flirt” curse is a powerful one that can transform even timid individuals into wild and crazy guys or gals.  Little attention is paid to the business of trade show exhibiting. Instead, victims of the "Flirt” curse devote themselves to approaching good-looking individuals in an effort to find romance. They believe that their attentions are welcome, and that no one notices their innocent behavior.  Neither is necessarily true. While "Flirts" may be extremely charismatic and engaging, attendees may feel uncomfortable which could result in an “unprofessional” perception of your brand and company.

The Cure
You can help stop their suffering.  Emphasize the importance of professionalism and their responsibility as a brand ambassador that represents your company.  Remind them of your company's behavior policy which should also be published in their booth staff handbook.

The Party Animal

The “Party Animal" is easy to spot.  Look for bloodshot eyes, fatigue, headache pain, slow pace, sweating, thirst....all evidence of a hangover.  Trade shows cultivate the “Party Animal” curse. Far from home, temptation to indulge in the nightlife is strong. This indulgence can have huge consequences.  “Party Animals” can suffer from impaired judgment. They might make a little comment that they consider harmless while out partying, that could have huge ramifications for your business. “Loose lips sink ships” as the old saying goes!.  They may be ill prepared to identify and fend off the competitors gathering intelligence. And finally, feeling poorly often translates into lackluster booth staff performance at the trade show.

The Cure
It's unfair for booth staff to let themselves, their peers or the company down.  So point out to the "Party Animal" that your booth is the shop window of your business at a trade show.  In fact, meet with your team prior to the opening of the show each day and be very clear about what is acceptable (on and off of the show floor) and what the consequences will be if the guidelines expressed are not followed. Keep everyone focused on their goal of leads to collect. Offer a small incentive to the person who collects the most qualified leads.

The Rat

The most difficult to identify and combat, is the curse of the "Rat”.  The "Rat” is not happy with your company.  He or she is ready to jump ship, to find employment somewhere else, and is more than happy to do their job search on the company's dime.  After all, they're in a location where the major players in your industry gather.  What better place to network and attempt to find a new position with one of your competitors?  “Rats” may be eager to provide competitors with intelligence information about your organization. 

The Cure
If you spot a "Rat" on your team, limit your exposure by limiting their interactions.  Assign them to cover a different attendee badge color. Or keep them occupied with logistical tasks such as scanning badges, stocking literature and event giveaways.

Protect your company and staff.  Selecting booth staffers is important to driving business development and brand recognition.  But appointing them is only the first step.  Make booth staff training a priority in your pre-show planning.  Remember, booth staffers are your dedicated brand ambassadors and if they start showing any of the above characteristics you risk your brand being tarnished based on your staffers behavior.  Training, clear communication of goals, objectives, and expectations, and an element of accountability can help minimize, or even eliminate the most pervasive tradeshow curses!

Written by Susan A. Friedmann,CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, Lake Placid, NY, internationally recognized expert working with companies to increase their profitability at tradeshows.
Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market” and “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies.”

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Trade Show Tips | Trade Show Lead Management | Trade Show Promotion

10 Ways To Cause A Speed Bump At Your Trade Show Booth Part 2

by Kat Shea 24. August 2011 18:08

Back by popular demand is Part II of our post, 10 Ways To Cause a Speed Bump At Your Trade Show Booth. We’ve gathered essential “intel” and have listed the latest tactics your colleagues are using to AMPLIFY their booth traffic and get the results they want. So, kick your promotional efforts into overdrive with these Show Smart tips:

1) Enliven Your Booth Staff
Video badges were all the hype at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show.  Now savvy Exhibit Marketers everywhere are using them in their face-to-face initiatives because they make a perfect conversation starter. This nifty novelty catches the attention of visitors just long enough for your booth staff to engage them. Video badges are also pixilated powerhouses that will cost you a pretty penny or two – some average out around 178.00 each and require pre programming! So, if you think these are as cool as we do, make sure to include them in your budget for next year!

2) Arrest Your Audience
A visually arresting trade show display features graphics that POP.  Your trade show graphics need to grab attendee attention and then IMMEDIATELY communicate who you are, what you do and how your product/service can help them. Whether it's your brand that will draw audiences from all directions to be consumed by one individual at time, you need to understand how your trade show booth graphics should all work together. Not sure that your display is realizing its full potential? Download our whitepaper on Graphics That Work for more…

3) Create a Snap Shot of Your Brand
Photo booths featuring your branded back drop are fun show stoppers. While attendees enjoy “glaming” it up for silly candid photos, they bring back your branded "kodak moment" to share with friends, family and business colleagues. So, it's a great PR opportunity.

4) Extra, Extra READ All About It
Broadcast your Twitter buzz on a large LCD monitor in your exhibit using the official show hash tag. As attendees are dismissed from information packed seminars and pass by your trade show booth, they’ll see what they’ve missed out on while they were away and be encouraged to follow you on Twitter.

5) Be Intelligent
Part of driving quality booth traffic to your trade show display is knowing your particular audience and tailoring your message to them so that they feel like they are an exclusive customer. Lygase RFID Solutions has developed a product that allows exhibitors to communicate surround sound marketing messages that can be displayed on a big screen or kiosk based on recognition of an attendee's presence. The attendee wearing a lanyard with a UHF RFID tag will be shown a targeted message once detected by an RFID reader and that message will invite that person to a particular booth.

This targeted approach will impress booth attendees and will ensure that your brand is remembered. Fish (a software solution offered by our distribution partner, The Tradeshow Group) and Capture technologies are also leading vendors for RFID solutions. So, make sure to research your vendors before signing the “dotted line”. 

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Top Tips to Finding "Eggcellent" Trade Show Leads

by Kat Shea 21. April 2011 17:58

The search for qualified buyers at trade shows can bring memories of childhood Easter egg hunts: you search high and low, the competition is fierce and you want to get MORE than everyone else. Before you embark on your next “Hunt”, check out our Show Smart survey of questions used to qualify visitors and avoid getting a “bad egg”.

Talk the Talk, but not TOO much
While you’re trying to promote your products and services, prospects can be turned off by hard sell approaches, so keep it casual. You want to listen to your prospect 80% of the time and the other 20% you should spend asking questions to unveil THEIR latest pain points. Use their responses to guide your sales pitch.

1) What is important to you in selecting the companies you do business with?
2) What is the most challenging aspect of your current (product/service)?
3) What results are you hoping to get with your next purchase?
4) How is a purchasing decision like this typically made? and who is involved?
5) What are your current business priorities? Do you see them changing in the near future?
6) What do you like the best about your current (product/service)?
7) What do you like least about your current (product/service)?|

Keep it Short and Sweet
In 5-7 minutes you should be able to get a sense of their interest in your company/product/services and identify top decision makers. Wrap up your conversation by thanking them for their time and offer to send them information(electronically or in print).

On The Hunt for a new trade show display? Let Nomadic help you! Download our new product brochure featuring over 36 Show Smart designs

6 steps to jumpstarting your trade show program with QR codes

by Kat Shea 15. March 2011 18:10


QR Codes are fastly becoming a trademark of the mobile marketing world and are growing in popularity.  QR’s have marketers everywhere scrambling to place them in their campaigns. But, how, as a trade show marketer can you integrate QR codes into your face-to-face initiatives? You don’t have to be an IT junkie to appreciate our helpful hints on leveraging these PIXILATED POWERHOUSES.

1) Know your audience
According to comScore, Inc, a leader in measuring the digital world, 45.4 million people own smart phones, which is 19% of all cell phones now active in the U.S.  Does your target audience have smart phones?  If not, your creative use of QR codes may be in vain. See if QR’s are suitable in YOUR marketplace by conducting a poll.

2) Select Your Medium
Establishing where you want to embed your QR codes is the second step to igniting your mobile marketing efforts. They can be incorporated into online and print media.  Plus, you can measure the number of people engaging with your brand through QR codes to help determine the success of your campaigns.

3)Choose Your Platform
You can generate standard QR codes for FREE using a QR code generater like the one available at YouScan.me.com.  You can also purchase customized QR codes with colors or imagery on request.  From a design perspective steer clear of design elements that may border the QR code because it may interfere with the user's scanning process.

4)Reproduction Tips
Make sure your QR code is fully opaque to allow for swift scanning. If the QR codes detract from the aesthetics of your creative artwork, consider applying them discreetly, like on the back of your literature. Be careful when you’re resizing QRs, if they’re too small or too close together it will be difficult to scan which will only irritate users. Make sure that you test your QR code multiple times with different smart phone platforms (Iphone, Blackberry,Android) before sending it to print.

5)Empower Your Viewers
You don’t want prospects to abandon your campaign simply because they’re not supplied with the right scanner.  So make sure to supply your audience with a url where they can download the QR code scanner that will work with all smartphones: Blackberry, IPhone or Andriod. 

6)Track Your Results
Like any other marketing effort you'll want to measure its performance.   based on the scans it receives supply metrics boasting your campaign’s success. Your QR code should direct your audience to a clear call to action such as: a website registration form for VIP passes to your event, a landing page featuring a map to your trade show booth on the show floor or entry into an in-booth contest with a grand prize drawing.

Follow these Show Smart steps and your next event is guaranteed to Stand Apart!!

For more tips on exhibiting expertise download one of our free whitepapers 

Events in America: Your New "Go To" Tradeshow Resource Part II

by Kat Shea 13. January 2011 19:12

Last week we shared with you how to use the Events in America online directory to organize and streamline your trade show itinerary. Below are more membership benefits on how this comprehensive online tool can help you exceed your trade show deliverables.

Generate buzz for your next event
Using the Advanced Networking Function you can promote your attendance at trade shows to other EIA members.

Above are icons of Events in America members that attended CES 2011

How it works
Each event record (ex:CES) has a section at the bottom called: “Advanced Networking” - see screen shot above. If you plan to exhibit at a particular event, you can post your booth photo or a photo of your sales team, so that everyone can see it.

Additionally, you can see other EIA members that are attending the event by clicking on their profile thumbnail picture (above).  By selecting their thumbnail profile, you can see their contact information and what other events they plan on attending in the future – it’s a great conversation starter!

Send out an evite
After posting that you will be attending a trade show under “Advanced Networking” a thumbnail of your member profile will appear and you will be prompted to invite your customer base by plugging in their email addresses and sending out an invitation through EIA, in addition to your email service.

Search and Deploy
On top on the Advanced Networking Feature, you can use the Hotel Search Feature to find facilities nearby for some one-on-one time with colleagues or exclusive buyers. 

Above, Hotel Search Feature

As a member of Events in America, search features allow you to narrow local hotel listings by: meeting room sizes and seating capacities so you can get exactly what you are looking for and end your search by submitting an online RFP.

EventsInAmerica.com can help you contact event organizers, find Preferred Suppliers , find Special Offers for savings on a variety of products and services and build custom contact lists.  EIA has a wealth of useful information that is streamlined to be user friendly for your added convenience. 

For more trade show resources check out our education connection library.

Events in America: Your New "Go To" Tradeshow Resource

by Kat Shea 6. January 2011 18:12

On the hunt for events to power up your 2011 trade show program?Events In America(EIA) – is a one-of-a-kind online trade show directory.  Unlike results provided from general search engines or online tradeshow calendars, EIA gives you the results matched to YOUR specific business criteria within seconds. It's a great tool for expanding your brand reach and sales opportunities through trade shows. Here’s how it can help you drive new business:

Set Your Target

EIA has approximately 13,000 events in its directory, grouped into 14 major industry categories and 150 sub-categories. Find the right events for your evolving business priorities by using the Basic Search function to select events by: industry, dates, city, state and more. 

Basic Search Function(below)

Advanced Search Function(below)
Use the Advanced Search function to search on multiple categories.  EIA even has listings for new show opportunities all the way out to 2020.

Rapid List Building

Results are quickly delivered in list form. Create any number of lists.  Save time targeting shows for your sales reps by making show lists by region. Click on any event in the list to link to detailed information.

Seamless Integration
Export your lists to EIA’s online calendar or your own Outlook calendar.  Then set alerts in time to secure management approval to book space. You can even download the contact information for some show attendees to start your pre-show marketing communications.

Stay tuned next Thursday for more ways on how Events In America can help you drive business for 2011

Apples To IPads: How The IPad can Revolutionize Your Next Trade Show

by Kat Shea 18. November 2010 17:55

See How we can take make your booth stand out at your next event

IPads are taking the trade show industry by storm and are becoming common accessories among Exhibit Marketers.  IPads will probably never replace the full functionality of laptops, but are able to help in execution of your event objectives. Below are some reasons you should include Apple’s IPad in your event marketing strategy and budget for next year.

• The IPad’s sensitive touch screen allows you to quickly capture vital lead contact information of booth attendees with out the high costs associated with lead generation devices. 
• Depending on the CRM system your company uses, your sales team can easily integrate your lead information directly into CRM onsite.
*please note that not all CRMS are packaged to support the IPad*

• Unlike traditional netbooks that boast on an extended 8 hour battery life, IPad’s battery life lasts an unrivaled 10 hours to support your electronic post show collateral fulfillment.  This sleek , portable netbook does not confine you to a predetermined location, instead you can meander through the show floor aisles on a dedicated 3G network  taking polls, surveys. etc.

• If for some reason, in a frenzy to get out the door and on the plane, you forget vital trade show collateral (presentations, slideshows etc.).  Fear no more, you can easily access your desktop remotely at the event with IPad's Wyse Pocket Cloud App.

• The IPad is engineered to support both Go to Meeting and Webex.  These free apps will allow you share real time exclusive presentations with your audience.  Additionally, you may share live presentations with attendees that may have missed the opportunity to stop by your booth earlier on in the show.

• Going along with the gamut of other Apple products, the IPad is very easy on the eyes and is an innovative way to engage with customers by conjuring up presentations, surveys, demos, promotional videos in an interactive format. 

From cool trade show swag to your home away from home, let us know how you use your IPad at events