SHOW BUZZZZZZZZZZZZ….Wait…Why?

Now that is SHOW BUZZ!

Now that is SHOW BUZZ!

I cannot stress enough about the value of creating show buzz! You know that viral little hum that you hear either prior to the show or on the show floor.  You want that buzz to be loud and attract as many attendees as possible. Having this sound also brings in media and higher-level attendees!

What generally happens is this task is left to show organizers. With pleading efforts to exhibitors/speakers/sponsors/media to help spread the word; this often falls on over-worked ears!  However, one way for organizers to help with the request to participants, is to have something ready for them to send out! Short-sweet and to the point. Where, when, why and big news.

As a recipient of the announcement, this should get in the hands of Business Development, PR, Sales Staff, and Newsletter lists.  This is often a one email blast from a marketing member.  The rest of the team should be targeting every one they can get their hands on, at every call, blurb at the end of the email; Come see me at “XYZ show/conference”. This also helps the staff members that may not have time to call everyone to set meetings.  Seeing that someone is going to be at the same event you are often sparks that quick “let’s set up something at the show”, text or email. I’ve seen/had this work numerous times on LinkedIn.

Organizers often do countless blasts, promotion at other events, and media trades to get the word out but often it is the true participants that drive the quality of attendees because they are working with these clients all time and/or know who they want to attend.  Customers, right? Yes, we say/hear it all the time, we want more customers! Great, who are they? I need names…departments and staff change like socks these days and only individuals working directly with these companies know who is wearing a new logo!  So send the organizers lists if you have them, often they will do the leg work and send invites.

Sales/BD teams:  When you are having a difficult time getting to see a client, use a show to meet-up. Find out if they are going if you can and if not get an invitation ready to personalize. Often times companies host a meeting room or have one on the show floor. Find out how they are participating and get on the list to meet with them.  Making that face-to-face introduction is invaluable and can set the stage for a more formal meeting.

Marketing teams: Invite media, your favorite writers/editors to see what you have and meet with them to discuss why it is important. Don’t be shy to go after the big guys, after all you want your business to grow, and take leadership positions. Having articles written/blogs posted/social media activated – you guessed it you smart marketing gypsies…. SHOW BUZZ and an extension of ROI for your shows.

Gypsies get out there…start the hum…! I love that sound!

 

Change It Up!….Wait…Why?

A Few Changes

New Look + New Outlook = Great Outcome!

Making changes is not always easy when you have the exact same setup with graphics, booth, products, and sometimes even staff, who also are quite grumpy about being at “another” show. A few little tricks that can help to give a fresh look are; change your carpet color, buy different flowers (daisies, roses, bird of paradise)…ok, that was Washington, California, and Las Vegas. If you have to wear certain logo wear, change-up the color for the staff if that is an option. Make note of what was worn if your shows stack up back-to-back,  just to make sure everyone is on the same page.

One little tip that I loved, from some gypsies that I have known for many years, was that the marketing and host staff (all women) wore company colors, but bought dress blouses, different tops with just a little bit of “bling” on the collars/neckline for each day. We were at a show in Vegas and this was quite appropriate and a hit! Yes it made a huge difference in attitude for the staff, and gave a more formal dressy look for their booth which showed attention to detail. Lilly, Angel, Nancy, and Tasha- you and your team ROCK!

Visual perception is huge on a show floor and this kind of little element, depicts attention to detail which carries forth for the company image. Having staff that look good and are happy and welcoming will have people stop that may not have stopped. This also will generate a crowd; if people can feel the high-energy from the staff, attendees will feel comfortable enough to stop, and that is how you generate BOOTH BUZZ!

Often staff come in from all over the map, and you have never met them, so you need tricks to keep up with everyone working in the booth. Have a pre-show meeting and make introductions to make sure everyone knows everyone even if you have to take phone photos to remember who is who, VIPs included!

I walked up to several booths this past week and asked for certain people who were at the show, but no one knew what they looked like and had no idea where in the booth they might be working. In one case I had met one of their customers at lunch and was going to introduce them to my contact, but I had to do the badge search because no one knew who the person was or what they looked like and they did not want to leave their post to find them. This customer felt very unimpressed with that process and did not start with a good impression of the customer service on the show floor. He mentioned it to my contact who by the way was the CTO, he was not happy that this had occurred and had the customer point out the uninformed staff. Nothing like an angry VIP on the show floor! EEEEK!

If staff is not engaged and have that look of boredom, or have their phone in hand, their face/body language says, I don’t want to be here and really I don’t want to talk to you either! If they are dressed with the folds right out of the package and looking like a raisin they are unapproachable, they didn’t take the time to prepare and obviously don’t care either. The chances of wanting to stop and even ask about products is very low when seeing that type of attitude on the show floor. What generally happens with this type of presentation? Low traffic, therefore it will be reported, “ that the show sucked” pardon my term, but that is what will be said; when really it had nothing to do with show traffic.

Don’t be duped by your attendees, you want as many people as possible to stop at your booth. Granted you have those that may just want the promo item but that doesn’t mean they won’t talk about you if you are nice and give them the general overview of your products. I have found, though they might not be your technical contact or your client, they like to “talk”, and sometimes they are the voice that a real customer hears at the lunch table and the seed is planted and that is how they get to your booth.

Speaking from experience here, as a sales gypsy, it is often that look of disappointment that comes over the marketing person when I am walking up to sell them another show. Worse yet that condescending look by the sales/tech person that discounts my position (FYI-We are Peers we are both selling a product). Keep in mind that people like me meet people all over the planet in all market segments and media outlets. We have a huge network, and yes, “we like to talk too” and I enjoy making connections for companies that are respectful and professional!

Viral marketing starts with a conversation,  I do believe in giving credit where credit is due, and customer service can make or break a company.

So change things up, get a great look, put out your best representation in not only your booth but your attitudes. Generate show buzz by having the most welcoming staff, and creating that positive vibration that will attract attendees over to you. This will not only make your company memorable but will also set the stage for great ROI from your event.

Marketing/Sales/Social Reach?…Wait…What?

In the Blink of a Gypsy Eyelash!

In the Blink of a Gypsy Eyelash!

Yes dear gypsies, your marketing/sales/social reach for events! Internal or external events require that an events/tradeshow/conference manager is also in the marketing mix as far as branding and assuring that all the marketing and sales touch points are met.

With that said, some companies have individual marketer’s that manage each segment of this process or some use the Product Marketing team/manager  and sales to make those contacts. However, we are in the age of more with less and this task often falls to you, or it just falls!

We all know that having a certain marketing campaign needs to assure that all the pieces that are created have the same language, or that the PR efforts are coordinated with the right editors and media groups to keep the message flowing. However, what if there is nothing new, or a campaign is on the down side of fizzle.

Well, it is time for more gypsy magic to make something happen out of very little to nothing.  We are a clever bunch, so we generate SHOW BUZZ! That’s right, we create the buzz for shows so that we have something new to say to those few unaware customers, or maybe secondary customers, partnership alliances, and even suppliers. With social media venues and blogging we can generate a, Did you see? or Did you know? message in the blink of a gypsy eyelash! Thus planting the seed, assuring that readers are given just enough information to want to attend the show/event.

The ROI for shows and events is so mysterious that when we really get down to the numbers it is extremely difficult to pinpoint that actual touch point that linked the customer with the sale. To help our sales teams we try our best to add more oomph to each event. One way is to make sure we have another value-add quantifier. Keep track of these touch-points for sales –  partnership alliances, media, analysts, supplier relations, and dare I say it…the competitive analysis that goes on at shows with those mystery guests (engineers in plain clothing – no logo), that go around and gather intelligence. Find out at the end of the show what can be added to show reports that might be of value for either the next show you are participating in or the next year show. Try to keep the “gossip” to a dull roar, as show buzz is different from the latest acquisition speculations. Get those numbers as well to find out if you are getting this type of activity at your events, and if not, why? If so, why?

In the PR world of making companies have the best possible message, reputation, and product lines; there definitely needs to be a trail to information. Keep a timeline to make sure things flowing smoothly with “completely accurate” information. Integrity in your writing is essential to keep the company out of trouble with media and analysts that are just waiting for a “OOPs” quote. Keep things clear and direct, save the fluff for the promo items! Verify your information and make your announcements of participating in a certain event or show a big deal. If your announcement consists of, “come visit us in booth #…and win a …, well that is as much effort as your attendees will put. They will come by and get scanned to win the ….”. That is not a big deal, that is a lame hook and will garner many sucker fish!  If you want customer attendees or VIPs, send a limited release press release to those individuals you want to set meetings with, and make it a personal invitation to see/hear about ….. product/service, and get your teams to collaborate with due diligence as to why those people would want to meet with you, what are they doing in their organization that would warrant them coming to see you.

Show BUZZ – don’t forget to get into every speaking opportunity you can get your hands on, these are critical to being a “real” player in the industry you are in, and you reach that critical social media touch-point by having someone film the session for a webcast/YouTube video and future marketing activities. Having this option is always left for the 11th hour when someone thinks of it, and I know you gypsies have your hands full of daggers as it is, and adding one more to the mix may take someone out! YIPES! But do consider it, and make it an option to find a college intern to help you out in the city you are in, however make sure to get clearance from your legal departments or corporate marketing to assure there will be no issues with making this video or hiring an outside contractor.

Sponsoring a meeting space on the show floor can be extremely valuable to you and your partners by splitting the cost and having that VIP status meeting space. It looks professional and certainly is convenient to have several meetings in one day with the right people. But make sure you do not neglect to have a booth as well if you have products/services to show.  Having the booth gives your VIP the value that you have in your products/services by either having a booth space large enough to have a meeting space in your booth and it gives the impression of having invested money into your product promotion because you have a great product/service.

Ok, my gypsies I am out on the road again this week, off to Viva Las Vegas for Interop! Always interesting to feel the vibration of shows in Vegas.  They can be off the charts or way down…I have an intuition this one is going to be OFF THE CHARTS!  I can hear the wheel spinning already!

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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.

Lessons on love, joy and the power of dreaming from the world’s oldest CEO

I have not done this in the past, but I really liked this and would like for more people to see this article. This is an exceptional way of doing business … success comes to those who love what they are doing!

Pam Grout

“Behold infinity every day and all that you see shall be given you.”—Glenda Green

I’m writing a story this week about Denver’s Rockmount Ranch Wear. It’s a six-decade business that was started by “Papa” Jack Weil who joyously ran the company until he was 107. He showed up every day, sat at his little wooden desk in the front of the store and was widely regarded as the world’s oldest CEO.

He wasn’t, as far as I know, a student of metaphysics, but the reason his business was so successful and that his snap-button Western shirts are the go-to shirt for everyone from Eric Clapton and Tom Hanks to Robert Redford and Paul McCartney (he wore not one, but two different Rockmount shirts the night he hosted Saturday Night Live) is because Papa Jack believed the following things:

“It’s not who you are that matters. It’s what your dreams are.”

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Making Friends along the way!…Wait …Who?

First things first… Shout Out to the new gypsies I met this week and the inspiration for this post… Gabriela, Kristina, Kristine and  RN…:)

Friends2
Tradeshow Gypsy Friends ROCK!

Gypsies unite! You are unique, qualified, capable, and extremely necessary to any company!

There is nothing like a friendly face that is enjoying the same work that you do; and sometimes suffering the same agonizing or annoying issues that occur. Everyone who is working in events/shows/conferences knows that the nuances that can happen are often extremely stressful and completely unrecognized by your own internal teams. Rarely is this career path understood for the amount of work it takes to do a great job with shows and events. You have to love routine and chaos in order to do this job well!

A show gypsy is a special kind of person that can manage everything from VIP communications to a creative X-Acto Knife. Tradeshow Gypsies have to be gregarious, flexible, patient, organized, tenacious, mechanical, and clever in order to survive the road and internal teams! We are immediate decision-makers and have the make-it-happen attitude (preferably without any bleeding involved; especially yours)!

Event managers are usually a part of the marketing team; and often cast off as the one who has the easy-party job, because you get to travel; you are deemed the “booth babe/boy”- non-technical; the “person” that fields the attendees that come for the swag, etc. etc., etc. When often what really happens is; you are the sales representative, the first contact in company communications which is often technical, the critically important approachable individual at that helm of shows making important decisions; and you are missing holidays, weekends, and home activities. However, if you love this career, those things don’t matter; you make the exceptions to do what you love, you thrive in this environment.

Great show/event managers have mastered this whole process so that it appears a seamless operation with often a complete disregard for the amount of stress that is associated with assuring the most professional appearance despite the uncontrollable issues that occur, all the while working to keep costs down and generating revenue while you are at it!

Take heart dear gypsies, you are not ALONE! This is why it is extremely important to be meet your peers out on the road and make friends and support each other. Gypsies need that support system so that if anything goes wrong you have help or if you have time to have a cup of coffee or put up your feet with a glass of wine after hours, you can pal up! (I’d say go out and party, but we all know we are too dang tired to do that, and all we really want is a foot rub and sleep!)

I love sharing and talking with other Gypsies and helping out where I can, I have lifelong friends from all over the world and we have worked/known each other for 15 years. All of us have exchanged helping each other from scissors to setup and even rescue from illness. Your internal teams can of course be life savers too, but sometimes they are not there when the initial/after work is going on for the main event.

So gypsies, now that I wrote a book…errr sorry about that…take the time while you are on that show floor to definitely meet your booth neighbors and as many other gypsies as you can! We love our job, but it does get lonely if you do a lot of shows and you can burn out on a job you really like if you don’t make friends along the way!

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