Trade Show Game Ideas
(973) 575-9100Contact Us

Uncategorized

8 Tradeshow Pre-Show Planning Tips

Trade Show Marketing

Trade shows can bring your business a lot of benefits, including lead generation, brand recognition, and cost-effective advertising.

without trade show marketing leading up to the event, you won’t walk away with the results you wanted. And you need to get started long before the trade show date gets close.

Not sure where to begin?

Take a look at these pre-show marketing tips to help make your event successful.

Find Your “Why” and Set Goals

If you don’t set clear, attainable goals for your trade show, your marketing attempts-and the entire event-might not go as well as you’d hoped. How can you get the results you want if you don’t know what those are?

So the first step of trade show marketing is finding your “why” and setting goals.

Figure out exactly why you are exhibiting at this trade show. Exhibiting at a trade show is no small expense, especially at larger events. Think of the long term planning as well as the costs of the booth and space itself. Will it be worth the investment in the long run? Once you discover the reason for having your company represented at a trade show or convention, it’s time to set clear goals.

Make these goals specific.

For example, instead of saying you want to generate new leads, write down exactly how many you want, how you plan to get them, and how to follow up with them after the trade show.

This will direct your marketing efforts and set you up for success.

Design Your Message

You need to create a compelling and clear CTA before you set up your booth day-of. Otherwise, your potential leads might fall through the cracks. Even if they like your product, they won’t know how to contact you, how to buy it, or what else they should do.

Before you start marketing, design your trade show booth and message.

How will the attendees remember you? How will you stand out from the crowd? How will you represent your brand?

Answer these questions first. They might help narrow down your marketing strategy.

This, in turn, ensures your products are both valuable and different.

Start Planning Several Months in Advance

Give yourself plenty of time to plan and run marketing strategies before the trade show, especially given current supply chain and labor issues related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perhaps you’re part of a law firm planning to attend a legal exhibition or law conference in your area and are looking to impress potential clients. If so, there are plenty of awesome ideas for attorney business cards that you could utilize, and getting it all sorted with plenty of time to spare is a good idea for ensuring you’re as prepared as can be.

It’s a good idea to start planning 12 months in advance. But if you can’t make this timeline work for your business, give yourself at least six months to get ready before the trade show.

Don’t wait any longer than this. If you do, you’ll end up rushing through marketing techniques, run out of time to use them effectively, and not get the results you want.

Also, it is good to build in extra time in your planning timeline to account for any setbacks you may have. Being prepared for worst-case scenarios will cause less stress and less last minute decisions in the event something does happen.

Pick Your Marketing Methods

One marketing campaign isn’t enough to gain attention for your trade show. Instead, you should choose multiple different methods and use them all.

Why?

Different marketing strategies will allow you to reach different audiences on different platforms. Multiple marketing campaigns are always better than one, even if that one is seemingly perfect. Having multiple marketing strategies also allows you to hit your target audience multiple times, perhaps making you stand out and be more memorable.

Here are eight types of pre-trade show marketing techniques you should consider.

1. Build a List of Outreach Contacts

Start your marketing by creating a list of contacts for outreach. These contacts can consist of your current customers, known prospects, and other contacts.

Let these people know you’re going to be at the event. But don’t stop there. You should also build up the trade show itself. This can encourage people to go if they weren’t planning on it originally.

This will also ensure you have as many potential clients and customers there as possible.

You can also build a list of registered attendees. Since they’re already going to the trade show, let them know you’ll be there and where they can find you.

2. Promote on Social Media

Social Media Marketing

Nearly 80% of people in the United States have at least one social media profile. Many of them have several. Odds are that’s also where most of your audience is, so it’s the perfect place to promote the event.

There are a few different ways you can do this.

You can post about the trade show on your social media accounts. Let your audience know what it’s all about and that you’ll be going. Inform them where exactly they can find you on the trade show floor.

Also, if you have any incentives, giveaways, or games planned, be sure to note this in your posts as well. It can build up excitement and give attendees more of a reason to stop by and visit your booth.

You can also make short videos to catch their interest.

Videos are a more exciting and interactive way to deliver your message and will also be more memorable for your audience.

But don’t rely on your posts alone.

Create some targeted social media ads as well. These ads can get clicks from a much larger audience. With targeted social media ads, such as on Facebook, you can choose the demographics, age, gender, work, education, etc. of who you want to reach with your posts.

This ensures that you are reaching exactly who you need to with your messaging.

3. Launch an Email Campaign

Launching an email campaign is a quick, cheap, and effective way to market for an upcoming trade show.

It also gives you a way to track how much engagement your emails are getting. By looking at click-through rates and open rates, you can get a good idea of how many people are interested in the event.

Your email campaign should consist of several different emails. To begin with, you should send an introductory email about the trade show to let people know that you’ll be attending.

Depending on who you are targeting with these emails, there is a chance they may not be knowledgeable about the event. Provide them with a brief summary and information about what they can expect from your company if they attend.

After that, you’ll have to send follow up emails to remind them (we’ll touch more on that below).

4. Harness the Power of SEO

seo optimization

Don’t forget to use the power of SEO in whichever marketing strategy you choose.

For example, create a sharable blog post on your website announcing that you will be exhibiting at the trade show. Be sure to find the right keyword density, write attention-grabbing headers, and use appropriate images. Also, make sure the page is SEO optimized in terms of titles, length, linking, etc.

When using Google Ads, they won’t be very effective if you don’t know what type of trade show keywords people are searching for.

Do your research.

Find out what it is people are searching for, and make sure your ads and campaigns are all SEO optimized to meet the needs of what your audience is searching for.

5. Send Direct Mail

While direct mail marketing may not be as common as email marketing, it’s far from dead. In fact, sending direct mail to your contacts can be an effective way to make them aware of your event. Saying this though, if you have a number of contacts across various platforms and you know it will take a long time to send an email to each person, using programs that provide a contact syncing feature can make this a whole lot easier.

Here’s how.

By sending something like a postcard-especially one in an interesting shape, you put the trade show on people’s minds long before it happens. But not only that, the postcard stays in their house. That means, depending on where they keep it, they’ll see it every day.

This not only reminds them of the event, but it can also build excitement.

While this is a good strategy for anyone, it works best for people you already know will be attending the event. So find that list you made of the trade show register attendees and send them some direct mail.

6. Use Targeted Marketing Methods

There are a few, more targeted marketing methods you can also use when it comes to trade shows.

For example, you can work with the trade show managers to get discounted registration fees or free passes. You can then offer these to your customers to help encourage them to show up.

Save these for people you know will be high-potential visitors. Then, if you can, set up appointments for these people during the trade show. You can even set up a smaller event for your customers during the trade show itself.

Let yourself get creative with targeted marketing approaches.

7. Build a Landing Page

You may want to consider building a trade show landing page. Make sure this page includes your CTA and more information about the event. You may also want to include extra resources your customers might find helpful.

Most importantly, like in any email marketing you may do, state where your trade show booth will be located at the event. This makes it easy for those who are interested to find you during the show. You want to make it easy as possible for potential clients to find you, or they won’t bother to go out of their way at all.

If you do choose to create a landing page, don’t forget to make the landing page mobile-friendly.

After all, almost 55% of all internet searches come from mobile phones. If your content isn’t responsive, you might lose a potential client.

8. Follow up with People

Remember when we said you would have to follow up with people as part of your marketing campaign? Don’t forget this step! Otherwise, people who were planning to go might forget and not make it.

So here’s what you need to do.

  • Three Months Before the Trade Show

Email your contacts a “save the date” notice. Make sure you include your booth number and any incentives in this email.

  • One Month Before the Trade Show

Create some social media posts that have the date and your booth number. If you’ll be using any hashtags during the event, include these in the posts as well.

  • Three Weeks Before the Trade Show

Send out another email with all the information your guests will need to know. This includes things like your booth number, promotional giveaways, CTAs, and more.

  • One Week Before the Trade Show

Make several social media posts about the trade show to keep people updated. You can post about your booth number, other highlights about the show, information about the surrounding area, trade show tips, and giveaways.

  • The Last Days Before the Trade Show

Use your social media to post pictures of you traveling to the event. Take pictures of you setting up your booth, and create “almost time” pictures to share.

Set a Marketing Budget

Before you get carried away with these pre-trade show marketing strategies, make sure you set a marketing budget. If you don’t, the costs can add up fast.

Picking the Best Trade Show Marketing Tips

If you don’t take the time to do some pre-show marketing before your event, you won’t get the results you want. Trade show marketing is one of the most important parts of your event, so don’t forget to start early!

Need some help getting ready for your trade show?

We can help! Click here to take a look at some of our trade show services.

Continue Reading

10 Trade Show Booth Design Tips To Make The Most Of Your Exhibition

 

Picture the scene: You set up your little trade show booth counter, add a plate of (wrapped) cookies and feel ready for the show. But right next to you, a huge corporation sets up a glorious display that puts your humble booth to shame.

Why do these business giants put in so much effort? According to stats, 80% of visitors said they would buy a product or service that they interacted with at a trade show.

Yes, making your trade show booth a success can get you a lot of new customers. And that’s what makes them worth the investment.

But you don’t have to feel intimated by those huge company exhibitors (in fact, they are likely to increase passerby traffic to your site). The key is to create an awesome trade show booth design that will make YOUR brand stand out in the crowd and invite engagement.

How can you make it a success? Read on for some of the the best trade show booth tips we’ve seen–and give those company giants a run for their money.

1. Stay On-Brand

Trade show booth

Pukka

Of all the trade show booth design best practices, this is something you should never forget. Stay on-brand!

Forbes said this about branding, “Brands are psychology and science brought together as a promise mark. Products have life cycles. Brands outlive products.”

Your branding defines your company and should run throughout every aspect of it. From your business card to your trade show booth backwall to your website, your branding should be visible. It’s the key to successful marketing.

You could incorporate all the best display ideas on this planet. But there is nothing worse than a trade show booth design that is irrelevant or outdated. It may even cause confusion among visitors.

Keep your branding clear and consistent throughout the entire booth area. From your banners to the promotional items you’re giving out to interactive experiences and “Slim Jims,” make sure you stick to your theme.

2. Master Your First Impression

According to research, you only have 30 seconds to make a good first impression. But with so much competition at trade shows, you’ve probably got a shorter window. If you want your brand to stand out from the rest, you need to create a visually engaging booth.

Bright colors can help you to stand out, but only if they are matching your brand. Having bold designs, large signage with simple messaging (sometimes just your logo is enough), as well as interactive displays that are drawing a crowd can catch the eyes of your most desirable passersby.

Huge props can also draw attention. For example, if your company has a connection to vehicles, bring in a car to display. Make it part of the booth design, or use it as part of an experience.

A really cool way to create a visually engaging booth is to set a scene.

3. Set the Scene

Create an entire scene that has its own vibe. Think about it for a second. If your trade show booth was a place, where would it be?

For example, if you’re in the tourism field you could create a vacation destination scene. Start off with a tropical looking backdrop and include deck chairs, inflatable pool toys and more. Complete it with a vacation themed photo booth with props and you’ll have customers lining up to join in the fun.

Even if your company doesn’t have as much scope, you can still create a fun experience. For example, a tech-based company could create a coffee shop scene where attendees try out products while they sip on a free brew (and don’t forget to brand the take-away cups–they’ll be your mini-billboards throughout the show).

If the visual effects don’t attract customers, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee will!

4. Professional Presentation

But while you’re creating your trade show booth design, don’t forget the basics. You may get carried away with all the bells and whistles, but a trade show booth is nothing without a grand presentation area.

This is especially important if you are giving a speech, showing a presentation or demonstrating a product. To make your presentation area stand out, you will need:

  • A small stage with a spotlight
  • A podium (for your notes)
  • A large screen to show a digital presentation
  • High-quality mic and speakers
  • A good internet connection (best practice: have an offline digital copy to present in case the wi-fi isn’t what you hoped for; at large shows, it can sometimes be a challenge).

Once you’ve got the right set-up, you’ll be ready for a grand presentation.

5. On-Booth Activities

Many trade show booths follow the same pattern and can cause attendees eyes to glaze right over your booth. Give visitors something they can play with and enjoy.

Some products are easier to turn into games than others. For instance, anyone selling video games or consoles can set up a gaming area. If it’s not so clear how to turn your product into a game, you may need to get creative.

If you’re selling beauty products, have a guessing game where the winner wins a free makeover. Try a golfing putt experience to win a prize. Or simply roll a huge dice to win a competition.

If games aren’t appropriate to your brand, try a unique experience instead.

For example, Charity Water created an experience their visitors will never forget. They invited attendees to walk with two large jugs of water to give them the same experience as villagers in developing nations. This experience, no doubt, touched the heart of many booth visitors and encouraged them to donate.

Of course, whatever experience you come up with, it must match with your brand. Relevance is key!

6. Go Digital

Creating a digital experience can attract people to your booth. If it’s exciting enough it may draw in crowds.

But, not all brands are as simple to display as others. You’ll have to think outside the box to make your brand interactive.

Touch screens are one of the best pieces of tech to incorporate into your trade show booth design. They can display almost anywhere, in even the smallest booth.

Another unique idea is to create a virtual reality experience. Online live streamings and video walls are also great techniques to create an interactive experience that will draw in the crowds to your exhibit.

7. Create Walking Ads

You and your team should wear promotional merchandise as you walk around the event. But it’s not only your team that can do advertising for you. Handing out wearable, unique swag to trade show visitors will turn each wearer into a walking advertisement.  We all know the benefit of providing totebags, but how about those nylon backpacks that visitors can use to store the swag they’ve collected from other booths? Those attendees really become your mobile billboards.

It’s always beneficial to give out swag that actually serves a purpose and is very high quality. Be someone’s favorite t-shirt, pen or cellphone holder and your name will be in front of them constantly. And remember that with airline luggage weight restrictions, “junky” giveaways are likely to end up in the hotel room trash.

Some great merchandise ideas include:

  • Powerbanks
  • Children’s items (one less stop at the airport on the way home)
  • Desk items
  • Wearables (t-shirts, rubber bracelets, hats)
  • Water bottles

Make sure your trade show booth displays your swag so that it’s visible to the crowd but draws them into the booth.  The aim should be to have a chance to at least greet them, not to have them pick up freebies and walk on by.

8. Be an Oasis

Along with swag and branded merchandise, another trade show booth design trick is to offer a place to take a brief rest and recharge.

For example, have a relaxing area with comfortable chairs with a back. Give out free beverages, such as tea, coffee or even bottles of water. When the customer feels “at home” and relaxed, they may be more inclined to chat about your products.

If you’re in the food industry, giving out free samples should be a major part of your trade show strategy. You could even combine this with a demonstration of how to make one of your delights, or how to use it in a recipe.  Note that with COVID restrictions, open samples may be prohibited from the trade show floor, so food will need to be individually wrapped.

9. Take Advantage of the Vertical Space

 

Double decker trade show booth from Beacon Building Products at International Roofing Expo IRE 2021 in Las Vegas Nevada

Beacon Building Products at IRE 2021 Las Vegas NE

 

Whether your booth is small or large, make the most of the space you have. Some trade show locations are tight for space, but the ceilings are high. Every exhibit hall has regulations that must be part of the initial booth plan, but if you can, why not build up to use every square foot to your advantage.

You could use very tall vertical banners or tie huge floating balloons. Or you could even build an upstairs section to your booth (a “double-decker”). Smart exhibitors use a small part of that space as a staffroom, and the rest for client meetings.

10. What’s in a Name?

Your branding is vitally important when creating your trade show booth design. But if your branding isn’t well known, some customers may not know who you represent. It’s important to display your name EVERYWHERE you possibly can, consistently.

Even globally famous brands, like Samsung, don’t take their recognizable brands for granted. They always feature their name somewhere.

Make sure your name is on your:

  • Products
  • Booth
  • Banners and signs
  • Freebies
  • Team Uniform

Having your name and well-designed logo plastered everywhere will help potential customers know exactly who you are and what you represent.

Steal the Show with Your Booth Design

It’s clear to see that when planning your booth design, you need to think outside the box. Unique experiences, stunning displays, and a welcoming environment can make your booth steal the show.

Now you’ve filled your head with grand ideas, what’s next? You surely can’t create an awesome booth yourself. Contact us today for the best trade show booth designs.

Are you ready? Let’s bring your idea to life!

Continue Reading

14 Trade Show Marketing Ideas & Strategies

Trade Show Marketing

1. Make Your Trade Show Booth Inviting

Think of the places in your life that catch your attention and make you feel that you just can’t pass them by. Now imagine hundreds of places close to each other all vying for your attention. Reduced to its basics, that’s what a trade show is all about. That’s why the most important thing you can do is get a custom booth artfully designed by experts in attracting attention in meaningful ways. The experts at Metro Exhibits design and build custom booths to your specifications. They’re experts in what works. Remember, you’re at the show to generate leads. If you don’t capture attention, you won’t capture leads.

2. Make Your Trade Show Booth Informative

Exhibiting at a trade show is a marketing activity. Every company that exhibits has an event marketing strategy. That marketing strategy includes a position statement and product or services descriptions. Display your messages with clarity and prominence. Reinforce who you are. Make clear what new, enticing offering you’ve come to the trade show to announce. Make them feel they just can’t pass by your booth without finding out more. Font size, color, signage dimensions, placement all come into play.

3. Calculate Trade Show ROI

Watch your expenses. Is it better to purchase or rent a booth? Is it sometimes better to do one or the other, depending on the distance of the trade show from your nearest office? What about storage options for your booth that can eliminate shipping costs? International exhibitors in trade shows in the U.S. can avoid customs and other costs by storing their booths inside the country. Be smart about travel expenses for your show staff. Keep the staff as lean as you can. Be sure to take advantage of room blocks set aside by the exhibit in a timely fashion. It’s always best to book rooms early since they can always be canceled, and to book flights as early as it’s known who will attend as flight costs can go up dramatically over time.

4. Location, Location, Location

Learn how the organization holding the trade show allots floor space to exhibitors. If you have exhibited before, lobby for a better position than the one you had last year. Make it part of your negotiation. Study the show agenda. If there are breakout sessions, find out when and where they will be on the show floor. Try to position your booth where attendees will congregate for refreshments or lunch. If you do not know the venue, ask to see the layout. Find out where the educational sessions will be held and try your best to position your booth in a location that attendees will need to pass repeatedly. Ask Metro Exhibits for help. There isn’t a venue or a show where we have not done work, or do not know intimately. Every trade show has a landscape and you want to find yourself in the optimum location in that landscape.

5. Size Matters

It’s important that your booth not be much smaller than those of your competitors. But size is certainly not the only thing that matters. In fact, a large vacuous booth that is not interesting or does not make the kind of statement you are trying to use to attract and retain customers will backfire. Evaluate your options and costs. Learn as much as you can about your competitors. Study the developing Exhibitor List. Ask for it if it isn’t posted on the website. Decide what size you can afford and then consult experts in designing and building booths that make an interesting, meaningful statement.

6. Be Timely with All Your Materials

Don’t miss deadlines. Nothing looks as bad as your company or product description on a loose sheet of paper slipped into the Exhibit Guide. It makes it seem as if your attendance at the show is an afterthought, or worse, that meeting deadlines is an issue at your company which may very likely surface when you deliver the product or service you are offering to customers. You will want to be stocked up on materials to ensure that every last detail of information regarding your exhibit is displayed in a professional and attractive manor. You might also be interested in merchandising and other promotional materials to help sell your business to attendees. It is all about how you present yourself. Store your descriptions in a place where you can go right to them. You want to know how your description appeared in last year’s Guide, and make changes if changes apply. Preparing for a trade show appearance requires project management. We can help. Ask about the Metro Exhibits Trade Show Checklist. We’ll send it to you.

7. Ask for the Attendee List

You know the profile of your prospective customers. You should also know your existing customers. If an updated attendee list is not available on the Exhibition’s website, ask for it. Know who is coming to the show. This is an occasion to reconnect with your existing customers. If there is an issue with any of the existing customers planning to be present, your staff at the booth should know about it. However large your company may be, don’t make it seem so large that you don’t pay attention to your customers. The prospects on the attendee list are the main reason you have invested in the trade show. You should know their names, what they look like, their positions at the company, how long they have been in those positions, the size and location of their companies, plus any other relevant details you can gather. From LinkedIn and company websites alone, there is just too much information easily accessible that you should not know as much as possible in advance about the prospects you hope to draw into your booth.

8. Send Personal Messages in Advance of the Show.

If the attendee list available to you does not include email addresses, do your best to find them out. Send out a meaningful, personal email saying something about what you will be showing and how much you are looking forward to a booth visit. The more your email message looks like a mass email sent at the last minute, the less effective it will be. Remember, every action you take is a marketing action that creates an impression. Every marketing action should be aimed at achieving your sales goal. This is the reason you have invested in the trade show.

9. Be an Active Listener on the Trade Show Floor

When a prospect enters the sphere of your booth, deliver your message for sure, but also listen actively to what the prospect says. Take notes on the back of the prospect’s business card, or on an iPad after the conversation ends. Write down questions you were asked or trace where the conversation led, even in non-business directions. These details will be useful in your follow-up. In your email or telephone follow-up, you may have to remind the prospect that you met. It’s easier to do that with specific details. Answering real questions is your first delivery on your company’s offering. Make it work.

10. Get the Post-Show Attendee List

This list will include late sign-ups and walk-ins. Find out how long it will take to get this list. Don’t wait for the list to do your follow-ups. You already have the last published attendee list before the show. Most of the names will be on that list. When you do get the post-show list you can always compare and do the same follow up to this smaller list of additions.

11. You Must Follow Up

The attendees at the show fall into two groups: those who stopped by your booth and those who did not stop by. Both groups include your existing clients and prospects. Usually, different people at the company are responsible for clients and prospects. Let’s focus on the prospects. Send them personalized emails including details about your conversation. If you were asked a question, answer it. The goal here is to get an exchange going. Because emails can be sent out quicker than phone calls can be made, send emails first and follow up with phone calls. Rate your prospects from top to bottom. If you cannot get to all of them in a timely fashion, contact the most promising first. You should, however, get to them all, because when a lead turns into a sale is not always dependent on your offering. It often depends on the prospect’s timing, which is not always apparent. Remember, the entire reason you have invested in the trade show is to generate leads. Eventually, someone will compare the cost of the show to how much business was generated. If you don’t follow up effectively, you are throwing away your investment.

12. Learn from the Session Descriptions

Take back to your office more than one copy of the Exhibit Guide, and read through the session descriptions. Give additional copies of the Guide to other members of your company. Although this information is also probably listed online, the book itself is a good reminder to read about the sessions. If you were lucky enough to have a representative who gave a session, find out who attended and what questions were asked. Find out what companies were in the audience and match these companies to your prospect list. The sessions are a guide to what is considered important in your industry at the current time. If there are session topics about which your company is unaware, bring them to management’s attention. Learn from them.

13. A Trade Show is Like an Open Book

Actually, it is more like a magazine or television show, in which the attendees are like readers or viewers, the exhibitors like advertisers, and the educational sessions like the editorial in the magazine or the content of the TV show. The attendees come for the content, and they come across the exhibitors on the way to that content. Your job is to lure them into your space with the excellence of your booth design, the intelligence and relevance of your messaging, the product demo or conversational exchange, or both, that you conduct.

14. The Importance of Leads

All the work you do to prepare for the show, and however well you perform at the show, can only be measured by the leads you generate and the disciplined way you follow up those leads. Contact us. Metro Exhibits will evaluate your trade show needs and make recommendations. We design, build, and print all signage for your trade show booth, along with purchase and rental options. After all that, we ship, store and install booths, and we will advise you on the best way to manage your trade show expenses. Our goal is to make your trade show experience a success.

Continue Reading

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.

tracking-event-investment-performance

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.

Conclusion

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.

Continue Reading

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.”

Drones

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.

Sources:
Sorrells, Mitra. “2016 Preview: Tech Trends for the Coming Year.” BizBash. BizBash, 22 Dec. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

“Tesco Petrol Stations Use Face-scan Tech to Target Ads – BBC News.” BBC News. BBC News, 4 Nov. 2013. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Marshall, Jack. “How Has Advertising Lived Up to ‘Minority Report’? – Digiday.” Digiday. DigiDay, 06 Feb. 2014. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Chen, Angela. “Why Marketers Are Embracing Oculus and Virtual Reality.”CMO Today RSS. WSJ, 4 Mar. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Leung, Sarah. “Trade Show Trends: How Trade Shows Are Evolving.” Trade Show Trends How Trade Shows Are Evolving Comments. Handshake, 22 Apr. 2015. Web. 06 Jan. 2016.

Continue Reading