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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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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