Carole Lotito, Author at Metro Exhibits
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ippe trade show booth

IPPE 2020 Trade Show Recap

About the Show

The 2020 International Production & Processing Expo, otherwise known as IPPE, took place from January 28-30 at the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) in Atlanta.

IPPE, which is one of the 30 largest trade shows in the United States, is actually a conglomeration of three shows: The International Feed Expo, the International Meat Expo, and the International Poultry Expo.

It is branded as the “world’s largest annual poultry, meat, and feed industry event of its kind.” IPPE includes educational sessions and interactive exhibits that apply to everyone “from feed to fork” in the egg, poultry, and meat industries.

The show has experienced rapid growth in recent years, requiring expansion to three exhibit halls within the GWCC in 2019 and now four in 2020.

IPPE has four stated goals that the show is intended to focus on:

  • Innovation – Bringing together buyers and sellers of the latest technology in products and services to make the industry, and the businesses within it, successful.
  • Education – Learning from experts in free and paid educational programs on topics that cover industry interests. IPPE includes over 160 hours of education sessions, covering topics like food safety, plant operations, sustainability, and other relevant themes. Whether you’re an industry veteran or a newcomer, there is something to learn from these sessions.
  • Global Reach – Attracting more than 8,000 international visitors from 130 countries. IPPE offers services including buyer matchmaking and meeting prearrangements, in which translations are provided if necessary.
  • Networking – Meeting new people and rekindling old relationships with leaders across the sectors.

In an effort to stimulate business growth, IPPE gives back 100% of its revenues to the industry. Sponsoring organizations use the money to provide critical research, education, crisis management assistance, public relations, and regulatory assistance to help businesses.

The Exhibitors

The 2020 show brought in more than 1,300 exhibitors from all over the world, demonstrating their products and services in over 573,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Exhibitors showed off a variety of technology, equipment, supplies, and services used in the production and processing of eggs, meat, and poultry as well as feed manufacturing. The expo encompasses industry players at every step of the supply chain, from animal feed producers to human food distributors.

Some prominent industry segments that were represented at the show include feed milling, hatchery, live production, processing, marketing, and support activities.

Below are selected exhibit categories from IPPE:

  • Animal Health & Sanitation Products
  • Facility Design & Engineering
  • Feed & Pet Food Ingredients
  • Feed Manufacturing Equipment
  • Packaging Equipment & Supplies
  • Processing Equipment & Technology
  • Slaughtering Equipment
  • Transportation & Storage Services
  • Wastewater Treatment

Read on to learn more about the people who attended the show and the activities available to them.

The Visitors

Because the exhibitors covered a wide array of functions within the industry, it makes sense that the pool of attendees was just as diverse. Some 32,000 visitors graced the trade show floor; these people included operation and plant managers, purchasing agents, engineers, researchers, and consumers.

This show is known for producing a strong international showing. 8,063 visitors were registered as internationals, hailing from 129 different countries. The most well-represented region outside of the US was the Caribbean, Latin America, Mexico, and South America, which brought in a total of 3,334 visitors.

In addition to the traditional exhibits on the trade show floor, there were a variety of activities available to IPPE attendees. Show floor activities included a Hot Wing Eating Contest, as well as “Taste of IPPE,” where Atlanta chefs showed off top recipes featuring beef, pork, and poultry.

Our Clients

While there were many impressive displays among the 1,300-plus exhibitors at IPPE, we were particularly interested in nine of them. Why? Because there were nine booths at IPPE that Metro Exhibits designed and fabricated for our clients. These innovative brands are some of the market leaders in various production and processing industry sectors, such as animal health & nutrition, feed additives, processing equipment, soil fertilization, and biocidal technologies. Continue below for a summary of each client we worked with to create an innovative and inspirational booth at IPPE 2020.


island trade show exhibit

APC is the global leader in the manufacture and sales of blood-derived functional plasma proteins and red blood cell products. In other words, they help animals and plants thrive and maintain normal immune function. They pride themselves on sustainability, global reach (9+ countries where facilities operate and 58+ countries in which products are sold), and research and innovation.



10x20 trade show booth

Biochem is a family-owned German company that produces and sells feed additives for animals. They particularly focus on supporting gut health and optimizing nutrient utilization. Biochem sells its products to farmers and veterinarians to help them maintain and improve animal health. The company employs over 220 employees from 30 different countries, within Germany and abroad.


Devenish is a global agri-technology company, based in the UK, that specializes in animal nutrition. They start with research and development in areas such as nutritional solutions to diseases, improving feed conversion rates, and gut health. Their diverse range of products and services apply to the swine, poultry, and ruminant sectors of the industry. Devenish has its global headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and exports products to over 25 countries worldwide.


trade show exhibit for ippe

ICC Brazil provides health and animal nutrition solutions. Specializing in innovative products, many of which are made with yeast, ICC strives to add value to the nutrition chain on an international level. They are esteemed in the industry for their developments in increased productivity, biosafety, and animal welfare. While based in Brazil, ICC provides logistics and production to serve over 55 countries.


innovad trade show display

Innovad is a Belgian company that develops products to create a safer, more sustainable, and more productive livestock industry. Their animal health solutions target animal stress control, intestinal health, feed attractants, and antibacterial digestive aid, among other issues. These solutions are specialized for many different animal categories, including cows, pigs, poultry, seafood, and house pets. Innovad’s products are distributed in over 70 international markets.


knecht trade show booth with hanging sign

Knecht is a manufacturer of sharpening equipment for all kinds of knives used in the food industry. They produce a wide variety of grinding and polishing machines – both automatic and manual. Knecht also specializes in cutter knife systems that are intended to make handling as easy and safe as possible. They also offer custom machine development to suit specific client needs. Knecht offers consultation services in over 30 countries worldwide.


trade show display ippe

Liptosa is a family-run company that specializes in animal nutrition and disease prevention. They offer feeding additives designed to enhance animal health and development while combating a variety of illnesses. Their products offer solutions for a wide range of animal feed types, including poultry, swine, cattle, bees, fish, and pets. The company is based in Madrid, Spain, and is present in over 56 countries across five continents.

OCP Group

ippe trade show exhibit

OCP is a Moroccan-based company that specializes in soil fertilization. They strive to bolster plant growth and increase crop yields to sustainably feed the world population. OCP, which has been operating for almost 100 years, claims 31 percent of the global market share of phosphate in all its forms. The company operates worldwide, with locations in North and South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.


trade show exhibits

Virkon, a brand under German chemicals company LANXESS, is a range of biocidal technologies used to produce disinfectant solutions for commercial livestock producers, veterinary hospitals, and farmers. These disinfectants are engineered to promote animal health. Virkon’s products help to inoculate a wide variety of animals from diseases, including horses, pigs, poultry, pets, and even first responders in the midst of an emergency disease outbreak.


All things considered, IPPE 2020 was a great success. Key industry players gathered to network, teach, and learn, all for the benefit of the production and processing industries. Here at Metro Exhibits, we’re proud of the work we did to help several great companies show off their products and services in a unique and engaging way on the trade show floor.

Looking ahead, IPPE 2021 will be held from January 26 to January 28, once again at the GWCC. We’re eager to see what exciting new activities and educational sessions will be announced leading up to the show.

It’s never too early to start planning for a big trade show, so if you want to exhibit at IPPE 2021 (or any other upcoming show), check out our custom design and rental exhibits here. If you have any questions or ideas you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

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The Best Trade Show Giveaway Ideas of 2020

Trade Show Giveaways 2020

What makes the best promotional items?

There are many unique giveaway ideas that the consumer will find compelling at first, but ultimately end up in the trash on the way out of the exhibit hall. The goal is to find a trade show giveaway that is cost-effective, branded, and useful for the intended audience., and will be kept longer after the show is over.

A study done by PPAI Research claims that 81% of consumers keep promotional products for more than a year. The opportunity to remind your target audience of your brand in a pleasant and useful way can’t be overstated, and should be considered in your trade show budgeting. Depending on your choice of item, it can be a daily or even hourly touchpoint reminding visitors of your B2C or B2B brand.

Trade show giveaways attract visitors much like the overall quality of your exhibit design, but after that, it’s up to the exhibitor to make those visitors count.

Best trade show giveaways

Don’t leave it up to giveaways. Make sure your exhibit design catches the attention of everyone at the trade show, speaks your brand and show messaging, and invites engagement.

Giveaways, on the other hand, are a great way to get someone’s information so that your sales team can follow up with them after the show, and to be remembered after your visitor has returned home.

Ask your visitors questions and hand them their giveaway for a small piece of information, such as email addresses. Get to know their company name and create an experience that helps them associate their brand with yours. Now, what promotional products should you actually give them?

Best Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Key Chain Light – The key light is a concept so simple and yet so useful. The LED promo key light can attach directly to your car keys. Being one of the most cost-effective promo items to date, this giveaway is a great idea. Imagine having your product name on someone’s keys, in front of their eyes almost every day. You cannot go wrong there. Here are some trade show key chain lights

light up key chain for trade show giveaway

  • Power BanksPower banks are great at events because your prospects can now recharge their essential electronics while on the move. This makes it extremely useful. The major concern with technology innovation is convenience and providing your target audience with the ability to prevent themselves from being “device-less” while simultaneously having your brand name involved in their daily lives is like hitting the giveaway jackpot.
  • USB Flash Drive – With so much technology in today’s world there seems to be always a need for a USB flash drive. What better time for a brand to be visible than when you really need a USB? Sitting at my computer now, I have two different thumb drives; giveaways that I received at the International Franchise Expo. Every business is guaranteed to have a moment like this, which is why this trade show giveaway’s a hit wherever you take it.

usb flash drive trade show giveaway

Unique Trade Show Giveaways Items

The best giveaways are useful, retained, and memorable. Even better is something so new and exciting that your recipients talk about it throughout the show, bringing new visitors (including qualified leads) to your booth–and after! Try something like a coaster or phone stand with “5D” Tridelix technology–the image or logo appears 5″ deep, but is only 1/8″ –thinner than your tablet. Light but sturdy, and easy to transport, something unique like this is almost guaranteed not to end up in a hotel trashcan. Plus, the imagery is laser sharp, so it’s a great way to showcase your product.

Tridelix Steelers coaster with beer

5D Tridelix images look 5″ deep but are only 1/8″ –thinner than your tablet.

Time-Tested Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Pens Pens are a time-tested, giveaway classic that, despite not being very showy, pack a big promotional punch. According to a study done by the ASI (Advertising Specialty Institute), Most Popular Promo Products by Category, Writing Instruments were the most commonly received promotional product by far. This is because they follow the three rules of an effective giveaway item:
    • Cost-effective
    • Easy to brand
    • Useful to the majority of trade show attendees.

brown ball point pen

  • Stainless Steel Sports BottlesAlthough slightly more expensive than branded water bottles, stainless steel sports bottles have a much longer life-cycle. These are great because they not only provide a large print area, but they also come in a multitude of colors, so it is easy to match your brand’s colors to those of your giveaway. Additionally, these items serve as an eco-friendly item and help reduce plastic waste. Finally, they are available with a custom print logo for easy brand recognition.

 3 aluminum water bottles

  • Drawstring Bag– This cost-efficient trade show item is another perfectly useful and significant event giveaway that can be used right away. Drawstring bags will be continually used for everyday things, keeping your company’s identity front (or back) and center. Let the traffic to your exhibit walk away with an item that reflects the utility your company truly reflects. They are also light and easy to transport (your visitors may even use them on their way to the airport!). Drawstrings bags are perfect for this reason.

trade show giveaway drawstring bag

  • Reusable Bag or Tote With reusable bags/totes being as popular a giveaway item as they are, you would be surprised as to how few exhibitors receive these at any given trade show. Not only will your attendees and prospective clients use them at the trade show for toting around their other materials, but they will almost always make it home. Beyond the trade show floor, clients will use these for bagging groceries, shopping, and much more. In addition to these substantial benefits, they provide the largest print area of any trade show giveaway item on our list. You can also get Eco-Friendly bags if “going green” is part of your image. Tip: give a higher quality bag with wider handles or straps (for comfort) and a large gusset (the panel at the bottom) that will really hold groceries, toys, laundry, books, etc. to ensure your bag becomes the “favorite” of your intended targets.

best trade show giveaways

Bonus Trade Show Giveaway Ideas:

  • Padfolios and Notebooks What’s more relevant at a trade show than a padfolio and notebook? It’s a perfect giveaway for an event or conference where you have to take notes. This gift will be used often, especially in industries that require a lot of travel. Additionally, these items tend to have a high use rate than most other giveaways. Overall, this is another useful, and one of the best promo ideas. Here are some trade show padfolios

notepad trade show swag

  • Stainless Steel TumblersMuch like the water bottles, coffee is something a lot of people drink daily. This means more opportunities for your brand to be top-of-mind with a stainless steel coffee tumbler. In the book, “Contagious” by Jonah Berger, Kit Kat used coffee as a way to keep their brand top of mind with consumers. “Have a Kit Kat with your coffee break” was a slogan that increased sales tremendously, by simply increasing top of mind awareness. Associating yourselves with something done more often increases top-of-mind awareness. Here are some trade show tumblers

branded custom trade show giveaway ideas


When it all comes down to it, the absolute best giveaway at a conference, expo, trade show, or other event is one that is relevant and useful. Mix your brand in the scenario and you can’t go wrong. Take your time choosing a promotional item that is either relevant to your business or to an event scenario and you can create a branding experience that will last. Trying to be unique when offering an item is a slippery slope. When handing over something that is free, make sure it happens to be useful to whomever you are giving it to. Otherwise, the trash bin that’s closest to your exhibition space will most likely be full of your giveaways. Keep this in mind and you will do fine. Happy shopping!

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The Best Trade Show Game Ideas

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

The very best trade show games are those that are different and persistent. You need ideas for games that will help your business stand out and get noticed at a convention, consumer show or trade show. Some of the best marketers know how powerful games can be at expos.

Jonah Berger, in his study of what makes something likely to be shared acknowledges “gamification” as a known catalyst for word of mouth marketing.

In a very real sense, most of us are hardwired to notice games and are excited to participate or watch- and more importantly, share their experience with others. Also, notice the keyword, “excited” in that last sentence. You are attending a trade show to get people’s attention and get them excited about buying your products or services.

This is why incorporating game ideas for trade shows could be a fantastic way to create some buzz, other than of course your trade show booth. Trade show booth rentals are a great option for this reason- so that you can keep your brand image up to date without the added expense, or, for maximum impact that is exactly to your specifications, consider a custom trade show booth. 

Now that you understand the strategy behind trade show games, here are a few ideas for your next event. Also you should know, as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases- but our goal is to simply give you ideas for the best in trade show game options, and at the end of the day you choose the best game idea for yourself.

The Prize Putt

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

The prize putt is a great game that doesn’t take too much skill if you buy the right style. Ones that are more luck than skill tend to get a lot more people to play. Give it a shot, this trade show game gets a lot of booth traffic. If done right, it may just get you some leads too.

Check out Prize Putt on Amazon

Matching Contest

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits - Matching Trade Show Game Ideas

One of the more unique ideas that we’ve seen is the Matching Contest. This game works by offering stickers to wear on the front of their clothing. These stickers would be printed with a number, symbol, or the like, of which two of every variation of stickers would match. So the contest would require attendees to find their match at the show and come back together to your exhibit to win a prize (say something nice like big screen TV).

Of course with the stickers also showcasing your logo, it’s huge brand visibility play. It’s an opportunity for attendees to ask, “Hey, what’s that sticker you have that everyone is wearing?”

Can people see others associating themselves with your product or service? If you get enough people to play the game, you extend the visibility of your brand to various parts of the show.

Social Media – Twitter Prize Draw

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

Companies are taking a tactical look at using Social Media channels for trade shows. Some are considering Nitreo for Instagram to boost their numbers before a big show, but there are other ways you can bring it in. Why not mix it into your gaming strategy?

One customer of ours used a large flat screen to show all the latest Tweets with specific hashtags on Twitter. Next, they had attendees tweet at them using that hashtag (#companyxcontest), selecting 1 lucky user every hour the show floor was open to collect a prize.

The company would then tweet back notifying the attendee of the win. #Score.

As some know, all tweets that include your specified hashtag gets its own folder in Twitter, where all of those tweets can be viewed in one place. This way, you can measure you marketing efforts quantitatively.

Gaming Consoles

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

There are a few people who may be at a conference because their boss told them to go and they are just looking for a fun time. They might not be the best people to do business with but they could help you attract people to your exhibit.

What better way to attract visitors than to have some attendees having fun at your booth? More social gaming consoles like Nintendo’s Wii can create a buzz for attendees walking the trade show floor. You could consider Gamecube Roms too, but keep in mind the atmosphere of the show you’ll be appearing at.

Choose a fun game that will be universally appreciated by both genders, and keep track of the high score of that game. If someone beats the high score offer a prize and update the score.

Again, the more social the game the better. The more people that can play at one time- the more buzz you will generate.

The Prize Wheel

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

Some companies integrate a prize wheel into their display area. Does this work? Yes, a prize wheel works because it is eye-catching and well known. Another reason that a prize wheel works is people think, “Hey, free stuff.”

Free stuff is always a good reason to stop at a booth. The prize wheel could serve as the simplest and effective icebreakers all the event game ideas.

Making a game out of getting free stuff should incorporate some competition. If you give the opportunity to win small and big prizes, it turns into a competition. Not only are you getting something free, but you want to try and win big.

Prospects can spin the wheel if they give you a business card. You can then give them promotional giveaways or even coupons. If you use this trade show game idea, make sure it is accessible. A friendly staff member should stand in front of it and invite people to participate.

Far more people will participate if someone asks them to spin the wheel. It’s common nature to be on the edge of wanting to participate in a game, and sometimes you just need that extra push.

Browse Prize Wheels on Amazon

Role Doubles, Get a Prize

Trade Show Game - Dice

Prize games are the best, as long as it’s a great prize. Rolling doubles is an easy concept and quick. People would be interested in this because it won’t waste a lot of time, but it’s a great conversation starter and you can grab their contact info in the process. Make sure you offer a great prize, like an Echo Dot, a Fire Stick, or a Tile Key Finder.

Browse Large Dice on Amazon

Trivia Games

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

This is one of the more common ideas used at trade shows, although it can be very effective. It gives people the opportunity to show off their knowledge in front of their colleagues.

If you first focus on giving that person a moment of glory, they usually then give you the courtesy of some attention to what you and your company provide.

Placing the convention attendees’ interests first can always open the conversation up in a way that’s less aggressive. If they answer a tough question correct, and then get rewarded with a prize… you may have just made their day. That is then associated with your brand.

Browse Trivia Games on Amazon

General Drawings

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

Get give us your information, get a prize. We’ve all seen this before. Using idea is as simple as getting trade show attendees to drop their business cards into a fishbowl and then draw prizes. This approach may be simple but it can also be highly effective for getting attendee information!

If the event is filled to the brim with your target audience, your goal should be to get as many attendee information as possible. This trade show game strategy could be the one for you.

Browse Ticket Raffles on Amazon

Counting Games

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

Another game idea is to have a container with a certain number of objects, like candy or marbles. The person who comes closest to guessing the amount gets a prize or a discount.

Like other games, it can serve as an ice-breaker that can foster communication between your representatives and trade show attendees. It’s a great way to get their information as well so that you can contact them if they won at the end of the show.

This is yet another example of a simple and effective way to get information from your target audience.


Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

Ah, yes of course! Plinko is a classic game that always brings a nostalgic fun to the trade show floor. Have someone fill out a contact form for a chance to win a prize. Make the prizes something fun- but useful.

Browse Plinko Games on Amazon

Bean Bag Toss Games

Best Trade Show Games - Metro Exhibits

This is something that people are familiar with and would have an easy time stepping up to give it a shot. The best games for any expo are ones that people actually play. Give it a whirl!

Browse Bean Bag Games on Amazon

Games Don’t Make or Break Success

Using one or a combination of these ideas will help you gather information in a way that’s fun for the visitor. However, the success of the game is not all up to the game itself.

Games attract people who walk right past your booth. You cannot do this without a good first impression.

As always, make sure your booth is naturally eye-catching and has a great design to get the attention of attendees that are far away from your booth. Your game is not the first impression someone has of your brand- your display and your brand imagery is what catches their eye and attracts them to your booth.

We see a lot of exhibitors believe their game choice was the problem when in reality their booth was not a good representation of their brand, which in turn affects their booth traffic.

Remember the most important thing you can do at a trade show is attract visitors, meet people, collect their information, and cultivate a positive relationship. Good luck with your game choice and always remember to cater your trade show booth’s marketing strategy to your audience. Create a goal that can be measured (ex: number of booth visitors to the number of visitors who’s information was gathered) to determine your game’s success.

Metro Exhibits: Your Complete Trade Show Resource

Whether this is your first rodeo or your hundredth, Metro Exhibits is your trade show partner, designing, fabricating and renting the industry’s premier trade show booths and providing a full array of wrap-around tradeshow services. Contact us for more information!

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Trade Show ROI – Measuring Your Return on Investment

people meeting at trade show

The Irreplaceable Value of Trade Shows

There is no question that trade shows are an investment of time, energy and money. But the returns can be incredible.

Trade show newcomers and veterans alike know that nothing replaces actual in-person marketing to launch new products and services, demonstrate exciting technology, meet new contacts, renew relationships, showcase product lines, minimize churn, develop partnerships, rebrand or launch your brand in a new industry, recruit distributors and talent, observe the competition and magnify your brand to your best audience at the precise time when they’ve come, ready to engage, learn–and buy.

If you’re looking to start, grow or maintain your B2B business, especially after more than a year of virtual-only contact, trade shows are a necessity.  And doing it the right way begins and ends with accurate and consistent ROI planning and reporting.

Getting the Highest Trade Show ROI Begins with Knowing Why You’re Going

The way to achieve the highest ROI (return on investment) on your trade show investment–whether you are exhibiting or attending–is to begin with a clear measurable goal (e.g., gain 25 qualified leads, or demonstrate a new technology to 100 attendees), and then a strong, thoughtful strategy to achieve that goal (e.g., focus on a new or improved product use or have the company’s lead scientist present during the show).

Every element of your booth design, script, giveaways, presentations, planned meetings–indeed every tactic–must ladder up to that strategy as a means of achieving that goal. Those tactics then help determine your KPIs.

Measuring Your Trade Show Investment with KPIs

In your trade show pre-planning phase, you, your team and your leadership should decide which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) will demonstrate a successful conference or exhibition.

Typically, trade show KPIs are a combination of any of these metrics:

  • exhibition booth visitors
  • newsletter subscriptions
  • conversations
  • contact information
  • demonstrations
  • badge scans
  • purchases
  • appointments set
  • surveys completed
  • in-booth meeting attendees
  • presentation audiences
  • samples distributed
  • show offer/coupon redemptions
  • full conversions
  • marketing collateral distributed
  • press releases posted/published
  • social media posts, engagements, actions
  • show attendance

These performance indicators are measurable actions that should also be used as part of your analysis for future event planning. This trade show data will be instrumental in determining which shows and approaches work best for you.

Using Technology to Measure ROI

Technology makes it easy to collect critical data for measuring your trade show ROI. With digital badge scanning and platforms such as tablets and kiosks, getting information about your target audience is quick and accurate.


Increasing KPI Success with Engagement Tactics

Now how do you get those visitors to supply their personal information at those kiosks? Games, giveaways, and contests are effective in getting conference and show attendees to provide their contact information. Whether it’s a grand prize winner, a fun game, or the show’s most popular give away, these trade show engagement tactics will return a larger group of leads who will need to be qualified post-show.

Beyond the KPIs

Keep in mind that beyond immediate data, there are soft, more subjective wins, such as the information you garner from current or potential client questions and feedback, on-booth surveys, observing what your competitors are doing, recruiting the perfect candidate, gaining brand awareness, or even gathering great ideas for your next trade show booth.

Winning the Attribution Game

Experiential marketing leaves impressions on attendees that can go unmeasured. With so many points of entry, attribution–knowing exactly how and where a visitor became a lead–is a challenge for marketers. A simple way to uncover this important information is to ask it on onsite contact forms (where did you first hear about us?), or asking your sales reps to ask the question, especially when leads call in or send direct emails.


Start with at least one clear goal, then a strategy to achieve that goal. Then, develop the tactics to support the strategy. For instance:

  • Goal: Meet with 10 qualified overseas decision makers to demonstrate new technology
  • Strategy: Be mindful of foreign traveler time and language challenges
  • Tactic: Send invitations to potential leads in advance of the show; use simple graphics (vs text) booth signage; distribute SlimJims or business cards and small “American” giveaways at the show to minimize visitors’ luggage weight, then follow up by mailing full marketing collateral and larger gift as an additional touchpoint; design tradeshow booth with a safe, comfortable conference room that minimizes outside noise
  • KPIs: Number, length and quality of on-booth meetings, contact information, meeting follow-up appointments

Showing your leadership (and yourself) the value of your tradeshow efforts will increase success at future shows and make the most of your investment–every time.

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New Year, New Technology at Trade Shows

In 2016, technology will once again play a key role in how consumers will experience brands at trade shows. Last year was no different which saw live streaming applications such as Periscrope and Meerkat, change how consumers interact online/offline with brands at trade shows. Frank Supovitz, former Vice President of Events for the National Football League (NFL) has seen how technology at events has been advancing. “There are so many ways to engage with guests using exciting new apps, social media and streaming before, during and after events.” If you want your consumers to be engaged with your exhibits at an event, your brand needs to evolve as technology continues to grow.

Mobile is Everywhere

Did you know that the majority of Google searches are now on mobile? So, if an attendee visiting a trade show searches for you on a mobile device, would you be prepared? If you are not prepared that means the digital components of your event experience are not mobile ready which is not okay since mobile is how people are exploring today’s digital universe.

A commonality between people at events is that they are always looking at their mobile devices so the ability to design experiences to pull people away from the screen and experience your booth is key. John Woo of Global Experience Specialists agrees that the question in 2016 for brands presenting at a trade show is:

“How do we tie technology through their mobile device back to what’s happening as a real experience on the show floor or in a common area?”

Understanding the User

Your brand’s space at an event should incorporate various technology such as beacons, apps and digital signage with the goal of connecting with the user. As Internet of Things (IOT) continues to advance, more brands will be able to have their technology work together to connect to the consumer and remove redundancy. The ability to have your technology work together to understand their consumer will be changing as Internet of Things continues to evolve. Kirstin Tunbull of Mosaic enjoys when brands get rid of redundancy and simplifies the engagement because it “turns an attendee into an active participant.”

Facial Recognition

In 2002, the movie Minority Report staring Tom Cruise brought attention of facial recognition to the masses. While the technology is in its infancy in the trade show industry, it’s gaining popularity as a way to see what dwell times are, when they are coming in, how many times they have come back. Movement tracking can help determine where to relocate a brand’s staff to ensure that the staff is acquiring all leads and where to place products and literature for the highest impact on attendee.

Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

CES 2016 has seen the launch of augmented/virtual reality for the consumer market but can brands take advantage of this technology for consumers visiting their event space. Mo Twine of MKG believes that this technology has the potential to boost consumer interactivity and the overall experience consumers have with the brand by having more physical elements in the virtual reality activation space, longer experiences and integration of more sensors to create a more complex virtual world. There are even hopes of developing virtual reality into the adult content world on websites like hdpornvideo sooner rather than later. It is widely considered that virtual reality is the future of the sex industry which is a pretty remarkable statement to be making. Who would have thought we would be saying that ten years ago? To understand how virtual reality has influenced the sex industry we need to look at the history. To change the way sex machines are going to work is a pretty incredible feat.

Tourism and retail companies, are two industries that have been taking the technology to trade conferences, where they show off videos and other immersive “experiences” to impress those who can help drive their businesses.

Take a journey through a virtual reality world:

360 Degrees

After YouTube and Facebook began supporting 360 videos, more and more brands are adopting this technology to provide a unique experience for their consumer. Event professionals like Jamie Barlow of Sparks believes there is strong potential for this technology at trade shows such as:

“Having a 360 rig in the middle of a sports event or a trade show hall, a consumer could look around from a particular vantage point and visually explore the environment on their own.”

Gesture Technology

Imagine you are in your favorite brands’ exhibit space and a simple wave of hello allows you to interact with the brand. Digital architecture has given brands the opportunity to develop environments that are reacting to people that are at your space.

Personalization Technology

Technology has grown from the one size fits all approach to personal content interaction within an exhibit space. The technology within the exhibit space has the ability to change dynamically based on the data received from the participant’s preferences and prior interactions with the brand.

LED Displays

Jim Kelley, VP of Production Resource group has seen significant advantages of LED Displays through an event space. “By using some of these newer technologies that can overcome the ambient light of meeting space, it allows you to have a brighter learning environments…which has been proven to keep people’s attention and it’s much more conducive to adult learning.”


Advancements in drone technology is a hot topic at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show. The technology has advanced to the point that brands are using it to engage their consumer by simply mounting cameras to live-stream video, analyze foot traffic or to provide unique experiences to attendees.

Data + Data = Remarketing

Looking at the numbers behind consumers engagement to your brand during a show is key for future success. As technology continues to evolve it has allowed us more opportunities to see how engaged consumers are with your brand during an event. The data collected allows brands to gather meaningful insights, and the brand will be able to figure out a Return on Investment (R.O.I).

Technology has the opportunity to tell stories and stories are what draws consumers to a brand. Adrienne Johnson of Spell Bound states: “While there seems to be new apps and technology almost daily that makes events more creative, unique, and highly stylized, the concern is that the story behind it at times gets lost to the spectacle. So the challenge then is to create an event engaging enough to have guest get out from behind their mobile screen, be in the moment and discover the story.” Technology in your booth during a show can have many benefits but make sure you are using the technology for the right reason in order to be engaging to your consumer. This technology allows most exhibitors to benefit from better leads and tailor the experience for the attendees.

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