Extend Your Reach… Wait…How?

YES HelpSo many shows, so little time and worse yet, only ONE of YOU! Yes, this is a common ailment of Event Managers in every industry. Whether you are working with meetings or large trade shows and conferences, there is still only ONE of you. Extending your resources can mean doing a little research and certainly knowing you can ask for help and pay it forward. Having the type of expertise Tradeshowgypies have is a unique and extensive resource in of itself. Your management, organization, personal and communication skills are only a few of the key elements that can be shared with teammates/partners/vendors/suppliers to get more work done.

Gypsies have been known to barter on occasion and this is how you can extend your resources. You say, but I don’t want more work! No one does, but sharing the load with your internal teams and external resources will help everyone and often produce a better outcome and solution. From experience and observation Event Manager’s take on too much and are let down when they know things could have been done better. Large shows can have so many things going that you need help! If you do not ask, you will not get what you need.

Sales teams and product reps who are regional can be extremely helpful and valuable to reach out to local attendees. Work with your sales team to drum up a message that benefits them in their sales and lead generation. Quality and quantity gets all marks checked in the business model for shows. Cold-call emails from Event Manager’s get trashed or worse alienate potentials as junk mail offenders.  Offer a giveaway at the event for responses to your sales sent email.

Engage your partners or reps to get the show buzz going for each event with a participation nod to them at the event with a stand of their datasheets or a promo item relating to the partnership product/service. Limited to what you can handout? Turn it around and support them when they have an announcement. Find out if your team can add banner ads to their blog for a week or give them something that gives them social media visibility.

If you want to go New Technology, look into renting a BEAM at your show and travel around the show floor with someone from your office or your helpers can get people to your booth with follow-me messages as this is a REAL Person not an Avatar message.  My last show had an attendee from another country who could not make it to his speaking slot and used the Beam to give his presentation. Others showed up on the show floor too! C-Level staff can rotate in and out and be escorted to key customers. That helper may just be a robot! *Steve Ernst – Event Presence is the vendor at SCCC and is Awesome to work with! http://eventpresence.com/

Partners and suppliers are happy to help promote if they have a ready-made message or graphic. In your announcement of participation at the show-event, include a thank you to partners/suppliers who are a part of your product/service. If logo and promotion materials are on a restriction, send a letter of recognition for their support. Those things add up and it never hurts to include a social media shout-out for great service.

Extend your reach and get better results, get those bartering skills honed gypsies!

 

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Giving It All You’ve Got! Wait….How?

One month – 15 shows
4 people Instead of 2
… We Got This!

Well Gypsies it has been awhile since I have posted my pearls of … trade show cents! This has been a very busy show season with many new shows that have come up. An interesting trend is taking place in that many larger companies have developed new industry supporting organizations that are now hosting their own meetings/events. This is in competition to the already established larger events and it seems everyone is converging in various parts of the country at the same time on the same topic.

However, the interesting and great thing about this is that the audience groups are different in many cases because there are different levels of staff going/participating in events and a whole host of partners who are coming that may not have been able to attend the larger events due to cost. The leads can be much more focused and the quality vs. quantity is taking place.

This new trend is creating a new challenge for groups, with recourse allocation. After pondering this, I have decided that there are a few ways to manage this effort, as I am hearing this so often on the show circuits; “We just don’t have enough physical resources to cover a show”. Well, here are a couple of ideas that might help in extending your reach wherever you may need to be globally. Come in as a non-exhibiting sponsor to set your brand and let the industry and major customers know you are involved, if you can get a speaker for a session if you don’t have anyone to speak, get your BRAND out there and get a link posted on the show site to a video of your product/services/company. Get your show organizers to publish your press releases and do one specifically for each show. Keep the ball rolling until show time by doing a virtual giveaway for attendees of the session. With social media being the name of the game, do your giveaway through Twitter or Facebook.

Would you really like to have a presence on the show floor so that you can also display your solution/service/product or just keep your competitor from talking you down! Hire help, there are enough contractors out there (speaking from personal experience – tradeshow gypsy for hire!), that work in these industries and are well-versed in technology or any industry service who can staff a booth for you, even if it is to run a “short video of your CEO talking the talk, Engineering Wizard talking tech, or latest in Visual Eye candy of your product line/industry (you know the fun stuff – fashion, real candy, travel, health, fitness…the list goes on and on!)” and take real leads and these people know enough about the industry to be able to get the leads to you in time to follow-up as a show specific hot lead. Don’t miss out just because your arms don’t reach and you don’t want to hire models or gimmicky presenters.

Take a look around at all the consultants or people out of work in your industry. These people want to work, and if there is a show for a week they can cover you can definitely generate an ROI with an industry experienced individual that knows how to speak the language and be responsible enough to work a booth. Worried you won’t get your monies worth? How many contractors would take the gig to mess up a possible long-term opportunity or recommendation from you? They are going to give you their best! How about adding in a hiring event! Show organizers love when companies are hiring and having this in your booth has so many benefits and you can possibly share internal costs between divisions!

What about booth costs and setup – get a small booth that your contractor can setup a few banner bugs a table some pens and a monitor (most expensive part) and voila booth; don’t feel like you have to shoot-the-moon or don’t show up.

These days being there is key and making sure your staff is not all gathered like cattle talking amongst themselves and saying how bad the show was! Get the staff that go out into the aisle and stand in front of your product and bring up your speaker. You know the, “Hi, how are you doing? What do you do? Let me show you what we do” the sales conversation starters. If you can supply a technical person that is helpful of course, but if you don’t have the resources, get a good contractor and your territory sales person to commit at least a few hours. You will get your speaker some traction (or be able to get on the speaker list for next year by supporting this year), your brand leveraged, sales leads and get a good feel for the show. This will help determine this is a great vertical for us, or a genuine lead grabber, or it could be an industry innovation venue where the industry really comes together and ideas are shared and new products are developed.

Don’t miss out just because you don’t have the direct hires for your company.
Let’s face it everyone is trying to sell to everyone in one capacity or another when you are on the show floor. Be helpful to everyone, you never know who talks to who and the whirlwind of company buyouts and staff changes and media/analyst chats! Make the show what you want it to be; get people engaged and excited about your participation with or at this event!

If you hire contract staff make sure you give them a prep talk even if it is through online briefing of the what and what not too’s – and send them plenty of business cards and materials. Make sure they have what they need to put your best information forward.

Well onward gypsies, fall show season is in full-swing! Pack an extra sweater and short sleeve seems the weather is a bit fickle this time of year; and of course your magic, and a pumpkin (bread) just in case the plane is delayed!

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Making a small show generate big ROI!…Wait…How?

small

Crazy like a fox…small show big ROI!

When attending shows it is always interesting to take into consideration all the aspects of what it takes to pull one of these events off successfully!

Hosts that have smaller shows might attract smaller groups of attendees. Therefore, they work  to assure that the groups are vertically focused and will prove to be the gold nuggets when it comes to lead generation. A smaller show does not necessarily mean smaller companies, often larger OEMs that have changed their methodology want the quality of vertical leads rather than the quantity.

Attracting and promoting to certain market segments or industries often takes many hours of research and decision-making by the hosts. This is not an easy task, but as an exhibitor or sponsor it is also your responsibility to make sure your ROI balances out if you are not going to garner hundreds of leads, (REMEMBER: Quantity is not necessarily QUALITY!) and can cost many hours of culling through contacts and risk of contaminating your CRM with junk leads.

Use all your mediums of contact to help you get the word out that you are exhibiting/speaking/attending! Get on the phones, email, text, social media and make sure you don’t fall for that old adage of, “why would we invite our customers to see our competitors”? This is not going to do you any good, your competitors already know your customers and generally you invite people you are not already engaged with so you can provide them with a benefit of a personal invitation and tour of your product lines.

Call on those hard-to-get-in organizations that your competitors are working with, or that one that everyone is fighting over, get them there with YOUR invitation. The sales industry, no matter what market, is intertwined and that is what brings out the “healthy” competitive way to target prospects. If your organizations are too closed off and worried about your customers, the gig is up! Those customers/potentials know you are worried and so do your competitors! Inviting prospects to shows is one way to add another touch point for clients with that personal contact that makes your customer service memorable. This type of contact also ensures your organization is secure in its products/services.

Make your mark by generating the leads you want to see, as often the general lists that are definitely helpful and industry specific may not hit the exact group or person you want to see. This is a venue for you to target many clients at one time and your organization has taken the time, money and efforts to get you out there, so make the most and best of a small show. Get those vertical leads, they are out there! The hosting organization has also invested many hours targeting the audience they feel you need to see, and the money they invest and the work involved in marketing to large groups to host a small show is significant.

Small shows are also a great place to garner partnerships. The more intimate venue will help you learn about new innovative companies coming into the market that might have a solution that would work with your product/service or possibly be a new supplier with a better solution and rate.

Make the most out of your events Gypsies! Face-to-face interaction and seeing exactly what is being offered is critical to making good decisions and making the right contact within sometimes overwhelmingly large organizations. Don’t let a small show fool you or take ROI expectations down.

Gold coins hidden in secret places! ….wait…How?

Many Gold Coins to be had…

As gypsy’s go we are a discerning lot, and full of pride in our work! Though some may call it crafty, or think less of us because we travel from place to place with our wears; we are smart and get the job done in record-time thus saving money and making it look like magic.

For you my gypsies I am revealing certain (NOT ALL) secrets to the trade to make things look easy. Smoke and mirrors of course!

SMOKE

Show hosts want you to sign-up early because it secures their event and gives them the resources they need to host a good show. When you sign-up on the show floor a year in advance there is a significant reduction in price and you secure a great booth space.

You can also garner early marketing from this event if you sponsor and have your logo included on the show website, advertising through banner ads as a part of your show/exhibit package or other early promotion for the show. Show hosts that are active on social media sites can also give you even more marketing exposure by posting your sposnorship/speaker/new product announcement for the conference; and other noted marketing campaings throughout the year.  A year’s worth of online marketing and cost savings, not bad for a GYPSY 😉

Early-bird rates are one of the easiest ways to save money and add it to those goals and objectives again for your performance appraisal. This hard work has a 3-fold return; to save money, secure your booth space, and get good show floor placement. Otherwise prepare yourself to listen to the staff saying; “Why are we way out here?…This sucks…no way anyone is coming back here”, “How am I supposed to get leads with this pole in the way? (Beware booth with POLE/PILLAR/ELECTRICAL HUB!); I have a whole slew of answers to those responses but that is for another post!

If you can save your organization $500-1000 at every show in just signing-up early, make your case and get it through the system; and by the end of your show year you will have saved $$$$$$$$$, lots of those! If you are hosting an event and working with a conference facility/hotel early-bird rates will extend to you as well; that venue wants to be BOOKED!

MIRRORS

When you get your show kit or service order sheets, the minute you open the box with the huge binder or receive an online show/event kit; respond right then!  If you set it aside and do not note the dates, cha-ching the price goes up!

Each service often has its own early-bird expiration date. I once received a show kit to find out that the early-bird rate had expired 2 days prior to receipt; as it was a short window (5-days including the weekend); and snail-mail delivery was not in time. I had to take a picture of the sent date and received date and had to call the show organizer/service company to get the early-bird rate. (What a gypsy goes through to save those coins!) AYE!

Order your services, Electrical, Furniture, Carpet/Padding, Flooring, Cleaning, Floral, Audio/Visual, Meeting Room Space (if you choose to have it on the show floor/or at your hotel), entertainment, support staff, photography, and Catering. Take a look at the shipper documentation and see if that has an early-bird rate for booking as well, if not call them and ask them if they offer one.

COINS!!

The amount of money you can save in just ordering early will benefit everyone involved! Being the generous gypsy that you are, you want everyone to have the best time at your event with as little that can go awry as possible.

Nothing can throw a dagger into a show like missing ancillary services that have to be ordered on the show floor! Sometimes non-experienced staff (or lazy, uncaring…etc., etc’s…) that will pay anything not to have to do it themselves and point the finger at you when the bill comes in! Or an event that you really do not want to have one tiny little question as to where is the???; or have to let your client know, oh by the way there is this little addition; the worst yet, start chewing that costly piece of crow that just took out your commission!

Take a look in that little velvet bag and watch those gold coins multiply as your show/conference/event is planned you will find that the earlier you begin the more coins you will have left and the more you will be rewarded for saving coins for the clan!

Show booth pieces and parts…wait How?

No Directions In This Box!

You arrive at the show, you are proud, you are after all an Exhibitor, says so right on the badge!  You get in before anyone else! Or you are running like mad trying to get to your booth for set-up?

One tiny little issue, the so-called straight-forward pop-up crate is missing wheels, latches, and it looks different from the last time. OH C>>P! where are the instructions? Wait…how hard can this be, right?

As you begin to empty the contents you find a variety of obscure pieces that you have never seen in a booth crate, there is also a larger issue; how does the web part work? After spinning the spider web in each direction, and having said every expletive in the book from pinching your fingers trying to get the ding dang thing open in the first place, your patience is dwindling. Now the jerks (competition) next door have finished their booth and are walking by watching you as they leave for the day/evening; this is getting ugly! You have so many pieces that are supposed to connect, how? That’s it you are calling!!!

I had many a late night or early morning call asking me to go through the step-by-step process of how to set-up the booth with an upset sales staff member that received the booth with no DIRECTIONS! in the crate.

After calming them down a bit and reminding them the booth came from another show and I would help them track down that so and so that lost the directions, we would talk through it! Knowing the booths like the back of my hand I would walk them through easily.

With set up done and another reassurance that the offender would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of  trade show gypsy law, it was time for the after-booth-set-up-strut as there were still a few others struggling with their booths!

One team building game that I always thought would
be a good way to educate staff who were going to be setting-up or working shows was a booth building game. This would not only expose staff as to how to put a booth together but maybe throw in a few challenges in the booth like missing pieces and or different style of booth pieces to see how creative they would be. Also, how well they would work together.

With Mobile Devices out in the field; having booth set-up/pack-up directions for your show booth online would save many a frustration by having them sent to all the staff who attend shows. Some staff can set up a booth in their sleep but others are new or have not worked with a certain brand etc. So getting that little tidbit done would be a plus on any goals/objectives list to show how wise you are at supporting staff, or aka Exceeded staff support by…

Oh yeah, most booths, the lights are always an after-thought, so make sure to take them out and test them before putting them up, and as long as you are illegally teetering on a show rental chair or show crate get those suckers up there before you hang your graphics!

Booths have come a long way and can have custom designs and
a good exhibit house is worth their weight in gold!  Links coming soon…Ping me if you need a recommendation right away!

NOTE: Do unto others as you would have done to you! (Especially when packing up at the frantic and frightening moments of tear-down at the end of a show)! If you are a manager or exhibit-booth-keeper, know the equipment or have a binder on hand with all the information, and take one home with you! You will be called!