It Takes A Village…Wait…Where?

Village Road-Warriors!

Village Road-Warriors!

The world of shows has taken off! There are more shows than ever, as the streamlining of the “one-size-fits-all” type of show has branched out into many different market segments and technologies with their own events. The changes have set organizations into, ‘It’s Go Time!’ This requires a village of company teams to manage a show schedule effectively.

No matter what area of industry people are working in, from Medical to Wearable Technology products; shows and events have changed and added several new elements to the “just exhibiting at a show”! (Which those words are an understatement, in the word “Just”…way more to it than implied).

Technology has quite a bit to do with how shows and events have changed, because marketing has had a redesign, at least 500 times over in the past 10 years! Technology has driven the need of having many touch points to make an impact. Having immediate posting and video during real-time live events, with the availability to carry information at literally “warp” speed; companies have had to extend their physical reach to accommodate the competitive aspects of technology’s fast-paced immediate access. Watching the competition is just as important, to what is being said, or not said, to get the competitive edge. During shows this is immediate!

Making your mark in shows means an all-out blast of participation to maximize your return-of-investment. This can certainly be a strain on your resources and physical hours in a day!  Especially if your village consists of only you and family members and friends you can talk into helping you as a startup! Sometimes you just need an extra set of hands, someone who can tweet while you speak at an event, someone who can take pictures of your booth with customers in it to post in your tweets, take care of logistics and vendors, numerous how-to’s and do’s. Maybe you can use a little consulting or contracting help, ask TSG!

Extra effort in larger companies to make sure everyone is tweeting, blogging, posting and speaking done with little incentives can help. Generating show buzz and visibility where you are during events can bring in attendees you may miss with an email.

With all of this going on, getting a booth on the show floor brings it all together. This is where your home base is going to payoff. This is where your customers can see and experience your product/service, where you provide your differentiator and your value, where you make that face-to-face contact that you need to make the deal! This is where you can get media to get the in-depth view of what you are doing to get into articles/blogs in your industry with post-show ROI. The sales aspect is where your team takes on the competition and makes the “pitch” for your products/services with real-time information. This is where sales can shine instead of looking for the nearest chair! Energy matters! Put your feet in the attendees’ shoes, ooowiee! So make them want to stop and maybe have a place for them to take a load off for a few minutes, NO CAMPING!

Deciding on what sponsorship options may get the most visibility and attention is a huge decision. Many groups say, “whatever” pick something. This can pay off if you take the time to look at your option and find out if the napkins at the reception are really a big deal or if having a banner hanging from the stairs is the best option. This all depends on the show size and what kind of graphic you use to garner attention.

Tip: Getting the little cocktail napkins with your logo at the reception? Why not add more than your logo on the printing. Like a Notes List with numbers and lines on the napkin. Instead of all of them going in the waste bin, many will walk off with your logo/website and business notes. Add fun pens to the tables (Note: make sure your pens write on your napkin! Do a Test run.)

Hanging Banner – Get more than your Logo on it! Visual learners make up 65% of the population! Create visual graphics that people remember. How many banner signs do your remember? What did they have on them? What would you remember? I know many corporations have certain limitations to meet corporate guidelines, but if you are investing thousands of dollars on a sign, make it something ROI worthy! Get it going on Social Media by making it interesting enough to get pictures taken with or of it, and then it goes viral! Extra ROI with more marketing reach.

I cannot stress enough that it takes a village to make your money off of a show. Gathering leads and cards is not your show value; lead gen is web focused and financially tied to revenue generation. So the village needs to reach out with, pre-during-post promotion! Your organizers have a general view of attendee base, but your group has the direct line to who they want to see and who they want to see them! Send invites – notices – save the dates – meet-ups! Get a giveaway-raffle going, or special gift for people who come in with a code or an invite. Gather the invites that came in and get an automated thank you set up for after the show. Every touch-point counts.

All of the details of events can be overlooked and the results come back that the “show sucked”! Exact words I have heard, and said myself. But in retrospect of course, you get what you put effort into. Granted one person has only so many options, but knowing how to maximize what you have and what the options are can really make a big difference.

So gypsies, you are doing a phenomenal job and your businesses are working hard to keep up with the changes. See you out on the road – be happy, healthy, and remember something’s are out of our control (shipping) and we are the willow…we will bend not break! Watch out for that forklift!

Look out for what is happening here at Tradeshowgypsy (TSG)! The Business…

 

 

Advertisements

Wait…what? Making a FIRM Decision…I’ll get back to you on that…

decisionDecisions are often difficult in uncertain economic times. The catch-22 of; we all know we have to work, and the “what if” projections make business struggle, even the smallest firm decisions become difficult.  The plans that many organizations may have in January often shifts, by March and so on and so forth quarterly throughout the year. Therefore, creating a plan that is financially sound which will still meet the needs of the shifting budgets and marketing efforts is more challenging than ever.

We hear all of this on a daily basis. The rhetoric makes me crazy, because I am one of those gypsies that believes in self-fulfilling prophecies. You say it, hear it, write it enough and WHAP! you are dumbfounded as to why it happens! Well, I say enough is enough, time to get down to real business sense here and make smart decisions that will keep companies not only in business but visibly active and not sitting on the fence waiting for the next rock to make contact.

In order to be smart about things, decisions and show selections have to be done early enough so that you can plan and if absolutely needed cancel.  Where in the past sometimes the dates for such things could slide, they often cannot now because of the “the bird-in-the hand” financial commitments that are done for everything involved with shows/events.  Some insurance that can be used is to check into what opportunities for early marketing exist with the show/event so that if there is a penalty you can capitalize and still get marketing out of your deposit before the event or after cancellation.  Ask, if non-exhibiting sponsorships are a possibility that you can apply your deposits/exhibiting fee to, should anything occur. There are many ways to work your gypsy magic, make sure you ask the questions before sending in your application and get the options  in writing.

Getting a firm decision seems to have evaded many management teams and they are waiting until the last possible moment to make that commitment or are in hopes that things will pass and just go away. Meanwhile, the cow is in the next pasture and could very well end up on someone else’s table!

Early commitments do save money and can bring great benefits if you are vigilant and keep up-to-date with those emails that might get thrown out before they get read. Get in on the social media marketing extensions and PR opportunities to begin marketing immediately, upon sign-up.  Consider how much is spent in social media/network lead generation and that will take some of the burden off of your event costs/ROI and this information may also help to bring insight for your management teams.

Well it is, very true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and I always have my wagon squeak free! I do not like being a pesky gypsy, so I work to make/get commitments done early so that the persistence does not get overwhelming. I do this straight from the heart to assure I have done the best I can do and so that fellow gypsies will continue to do business at shows and events. I am in hopes that management teams become champions once again and kick the indecisiveness to the curb and help the staff keep their organizations healthy and growing.

My wagon is hitched up to attend a show in Anaheim next week…(Spring Break)…always fun to see the mayhem of hotel guests that need to work the next day and those that are vacationing.  I tend to make the spring break shows an adventure and make sure I allow myself enough time for everything, that way there is no frustration and I can enjoy my work and travel!

Happy Decision-making and Safe travels gypsies!