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…

 

 

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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.

Show justification….wait what?

ROI or Leads...Chicken or Egg?

I cannot tell you how many times I have heard, trade shows are too expensive, we cannot justify the ROI, we won’t get any leads, etc. etc, etc.

So is it the chicken or the egg first? Are the leads and networks forming through online resources only, or is there some human interaction needed?

Shows are meant for interaction and you get what you put
into a show. If you are expecting the organizers to get customers there that you want to see, you are asking for the gypsy crystal ball method.

The organizers work with publishers sometimes or they have
their own lists, but only you know your customers or those hard to break into clients that you want to see.  Let the organizer know, send them a “SPECIAL” invitation, or let the organizers know you would like to see a speaker from that company, you would be surprised how effectively that request can be accommodated.

Now that you all are shaking your heads and saying, “oh no way, they are MY customers; I don’t want the competition to talk to them”.  Well I am here to tell you, if you are that fearful of the competition taking your customers, you need to check your product and your confidence level. Step-up to the plate and walk them around the show floor if they are your guest don’t just expect them to come in with their pass and find YOU, humm who was the guest again?

Have a meeting prior to taking them out on the show floor preparing them for what they are about to see; even if there is a new product release you were not expecting, do some due diligence when YOU get to the show. There is a high probability that the customers are already talking with your competitors.

Now for the leads,” new customers, we want new leads”!

When I have my trade show buying shoes on, I justify shows 3 ways – Lead Shows; Branding Shows; and Industry Shows.

Lead Shows – Generally the shows that are kind of
multi-industry/market segment where you have a show that has either heavy traffic and you know your organization has marketed to target companies to get them there or you are in cities that have a pretty good saturation of your customer-base.

Branding Shows – These shows are those shows that might have several of your competitors there, and market(s) you may want enter, this is an
excellent way to have a campaign or a new product release.

Industry Shows – These shows are important are often smaller
more niche shows that have a vertical audience but most importantly speakers from industry providing market intelligence to get the facts for short and long-term planning. It also does give the opportunity to discuss with peers, partners, and industry experts products/solutions.

ROI – Well you save money by having a captive audience of several elements for marketing, sales, and business development all in one
place.

Leads are not the only way to generate ROI, networking and
branding are critical to long-term revenue.

How many times have you said, yeah I talked to this person
at such and such show, or I saw them speak at such and such conference? Even at shows where I could roll a bowling ball down the aisles often I have contacts from the other exhibitors that are new to a company or have changed companies and I have been able to reach out to them at a later date because I met them there, ROI just paid off for the future partnerships/business.

Face-to-face events put contacts in memory much stronger and
longer than a phone call or even virtual event; you know that guy with the
crazy tie and thundering voice, or that woman with all the show crates, hanging off the edge of her booth, with a hammer in her mouth…ah yet another tale of the trade show gypsy to come.

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