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.

2013 – The Race is ON!…wait…What?

running gypsyJanuary 2013 is here!! Yippee, whahoo, can’t wait to get started, last year was so stressful!

ZZZZIPPPP…did you hear that?  Yup, that was that beautiful new rug that was underneath those ready to dance feet that was just snatched away and packed back into the cart!  There seems to be new challenges for the gypsy coming into play; the addition of figuring out where the cuts have taken place and in which market segments (all is not as it appears); tighter venue schedules, switching staff, and the latest electronic shuffle game is in play! Yes, those dreaded nuts out there shifting from it’s a good thing to it’s a bad thing; the speculators of the world economy and outlook! This makes for a fast year of switching from show to show and making the most out of one gypsy!

So, here we go! This year is going to require that a gypsy have magic at the ready because things can change in a flash.  Make sure to commit early and save money in all early-bird cases, this is critical and so is extending those dollars to include extra marketing initiatives. Get those executives or technical specialists to speak and keep involved in their respective industries, too many changes occur and this is one way to make sure everyone has the same information.  Get the best communicators out on the road and that includes some of the R&D and engineering folks as well; if they are going to survive the uncertainty they need to support the company by getting in on the “what’s really happening” conversations so they know what to develop and how fast!  Times like this call for smart/creative “LEADERS”, people that have the vision and guts to take on the world and say, “not only are we going to try we are going to succeed; we are smart and innovative and we are going to work together and make it happen!”

As a gypsy, sometimes the feeling is that this type of issue is for the upper management teams to decide, but if you are a keen gypsy you know that you can not only help get things done, but put out into the world at large the innovation taking place in your company with exuberance and confidence. Make the dollars count so that there is enough to get as many events in as you can and make sure you are not going because you have been doing an event for years, expand and review other events that may have come into the market/industry.  Don’t shy away from suggesting that you hold your own event, and get the industry together to have an “innovator’s day” or and internal “success meeting”.  This takes you gypsy to plant the seeds and nurture them to make sure you have a great garden come the end of the year, of well spent dollars, excellent customer service, and new business growth.

The 2013 kick-off show for this gypsy is next week and this show always gives me a gauge as to how the year through at least mid-summer will go.  Last year true-to-form people were anxious and wanted to know more, more, more as if they could not get enough information because time was running out, the squirrels had found the nuts and were hoarding for a long year. Watch your audience and feel their energy, find out what they are thinking and if it is not what you want at your show or event, make the necessary adjustments and get it going in the right direction, make it more personal, talk to people, make appointments, get the right people together and set press appointments. COMMUNICATE!

All gypsies on deck, and make sure you are ready to move quickly and that all of your equipment/show collateral is in order, organized, and packed extra careful (shipping/receiving will be extra aggressive to keep up), this show year is going to be a fast paced race to the finish! Make sure you stay in good health and keep your wits about you when that shuffle game appears; you have the magic, use it!

 

 

Wait…When? Dog Days of Summer- Get Ready for Fall Shows NOW!

Catch! There is a show out there!

Yes, this summer has been quite hectic for this gypsy with my physical move to the land of the lizards, but I do love it out here. The mayhem of the move is over and this gypsy is ready to gear up for the fall show season. Right now this very second, if you have not filled in all of your show kits…get on it! Don’t miss those early-bird rates! For some of the early fall shows those dates have expired and you will be paying more, but get in there and get that part done!Registrations are the same way for staff that is “thinking” about attending this or that show, get your justification in and make sure to include the fact that if you sign up at the early bird rates you will be saving $$.

Hotel rates for shows, get the show hotels and save the rental car!  The way shows are going now, organizers are being held to the penny with hotel room allocations.  With the squeeze going down the line, the organizers are limiting their room commitments, so don’t miss out on a great rate and the convenience of being co-located or close to the show.  Nothing like a great hotel and great rate that sometimes extends a few days prior or after the show should you have more business or want to add in some R&R time.  (My favorite hotel in the world is the W in San Francisco).

Working with engineering and product planning teams should be going on as well to find out what level of campaign will be taking place in the fall. Find out if there are other opportunities at the events that offer speaking opportunities or involvement of internal PR groups. Start sending out tidbits and help to generate show BUZZ. Nothing like engaged exhibit companies to create a buzz for a show; that is what makes a show successful and generates attendee participation.

Social media is a great platform, but people still have to READ and SEE your post, so nothing works like a personal viral type of promotion with personal recommendations or invitations.  So get the word out there, tell people where you will be and if you are going to have something special to show them or talk to them about to peak their interest.

It is not quite time to break out the sweaters (here I sit in 108 degree weather)…especially with the heat wave all over the map…but maybe a few new “trade show shirts” should be added to the budget and ordered for the staff for fall! Inventory your giveaway products and maybe check out those graphics and booths to make sure nothing has been smashed or is missing.  Also a check to make sure products are still applicable to your shows on your signage is always a good idea.

Gypsies, on a side note;  All I can say is … I really do not like election years, it throws people into a tizzy over the various “issues” and the show industry gets over-taken by budget cuts in anticipation of the election or worse the “wait and see’s” that will kill a show because organizers cannot wait to book, and the 11th hour sign-ups might have missed the boat and sunk the ship in the process.  So, get your bats out (or maybe the dog in the post) and fight for your budget, products, business and MARKETING, the low numbers at the end of the year will not help anyone, no matter how the election goes, so let’s get ready to rumble!

Is that CANDY I see?…wait…Where?

So many choices!!!

That’s it, that sound you hear when the doors open to the show floor! The chatter and rustling of show guides or maps to see where exhibitors are on the show floor, getting the lay-of-the-land so to speak. Then there are the others that just begin to wander on the visual plan-of-action, looking up at the hanging signs with the names they recognize. As the groups begin to form as to what booth to go to next, after visiting the most prominent next to the entrance, the sound escalates with presentations being given, coffee bars buzzing, and excited staff and attendees making that connection.  AAAAH! Life is Good! People are going about their BUSINESS! A tradeshowgypsy’s dream~ 🙂

Most general attendees see the exhibits that are the big companies with the sensory plan in place; being coaxed in with the shiny new whizbang product or service and smiling model hired to get attendees into presentations. Mesmerizing these crafty gypsies are…

The method to the madness of shows is different for everyone, how they strategize their navigation around the show floor; how the masterful organizers have segmented the various business segments; and then the “kids in the candy store” that just want to see everything! There are those that say, oh you have to have a plan “meat and potatoes”, don’t waste time! In some cases I can see this, as some shows are huge and there is no way to get to everyone in the amount of time you may be limited to, however, there is something to be said for the candy store method as well, discovering those start-ups or mid-size organizations that have new releases or services that may be extremely beneficial to your organization.

Following the organizational segmentations can be helpful and that is the kind of mid-range way of defining who you will visit on the show floor.  Large shows with several show floors can be extremely difficult to navigate without the “plan” method in place, so take the time before you get to the show to go on the website and see if you can get a walking plan in place.  Just from a physical stand point, show floor walking can be exhausting and frustrating if you are seeking that one booth that may be in building A, rows 1045-1060, booth 1058; when it is clearly noted in the program building A, booth 1058!  Not to be confused with Building A of the West Conference Center rather than Building A of the East Conference Center.  It gets even better when you do large shows internationally!

For medium to smaller shows, your “plan” can still be effective but if you have the time, do a little candy store shopping and find out what new companies are coming in that might just take a bite out of your bottom-line (Ouch!); or might add a few dollars to your revenue!

The other point I’d like to make about candy shopping are those valuable connections! People change companies, like socks sometimes and usually not by their choice these days, so don’t neglect that possible really great connection that may have changed companies and might just be in that new role that may be of significant interest to you.

This gypsy likes to send out emails or social network announcements to contacts before the show to see if there is a possibility to meet at some point; or just to let everyone know that I will be attending; I often get questions or requests about a show such as; let me know if you see the whatcheehoozit from whatchamacallit company; or if you see Point A person tell them that I Point B person said hello and to call me!  Or the best one…I knew nothing about that show, let me see what I can do to get there!

So, get out there gypsies, the candy store is open and you are going shopping!