This horror story happens – you are at the show, but your booth isn’t! Somehow it was lost or misplaced in transit. This post covers the basics of transporting your booth property to the show site. It is important to note, this is one area where you can experience savings by planning ahead.
Candy Adams, in her article on Exhibitor Online Lost in Transportation provided 12 questions you should ask regarding transportation to avoid any snafus. One question is, “where is your freight going?” Her response:
The quickest way to not get your shipment to a show is to provide inaccurate or incomplete shipping information. But there’s more to getting your freight from Point A to Point B than filling out a shipping label and affixing it to a box. Specifically, you need to tell your transportation carrier whether the shipment needs to go to the trade show’s advance warehouse, or direct to the show site. If you don’t make the distinction, you might be sitting in your booth space waiting for your freight to arrive from the advance warehouse, while it’s still en route direct to the show and set to arrive the following day. Not only will you not have your freight, but your setup costs will escalate as the installation laborers twiddle their thumbs until it arrives. What’s more, the additional day it takes the freight to travel direct to show site can result in late-delivery penalties if you miss your on-site targeted delivery deadline.
As Candy stated, you have choices on how you can ship your materials to the show. You can ship them to:
Advanced Warehouse by a certain date
Direct Deliveries to the Show Site on specific dates
Each show will have a designated shipping company for you to use and their information can be obtained in Exhibitor Kit supplied by show management. However, you may have a preferred carrier, one you use regularly.
Key Questions which Determine Freight Costs
As you are working with the transportation issues, these are key pieces of information which will determine the cost of freight:
- Number of Pieces
- Estimated Weight
- Estimated Size
- Addresses for Pickup/Delivery
Remember, items that arrive after the receiving deadlines can incur additional charges. Once again, you can save money by planning ahead!
An important note: make sure you have the address of the venue correct. Candy shares in her article:
“There can be confusion, especially in major cities, if a specific street address or hall designation isn’t provided. I’ve witnessed freight delivered to the wrong convention center in cities with multiple exhibition facilities, and to the wrong Marriott or Hilton since there can be multiple chain hotels in metropolitan areas. Unless you want your carrier to guess which venue is the correct destination, provide the full venue name and street address.”
Transportation Timing and Charges
The shorter the transit time, the higher the charges are for most deliveries. Here is a brief summary for your review.
- The lowest charges are usually common carriers, but unless you pay a large premium, you cannot designate the delivery date. This works mostly for advance receiving shipments, but does not work at all for direct to show site shipments.
- Next lowest is the 3-5 business day. Lots of flexibility in that the shipper can designate day and time to deliver as long as we have at least 3 business days. If they designate a time, or if the day is on the weekend or a holiday, there is an extra charge.
- 2nd Business day is still higher priced. The shipper can still designate date and time.
- Overnight is higher still.
- Same Day is the highest cost, and it will be delivered as quickly as possible.
Transportation companies designated by show management or those you have used in the past can be great resources for you. If you are new to this, ask questions. Typically, you will find great advice from them and if you plan ahead you can save money.
Transportation problems can be avoided by careful planning. This is an area where you want time to be on your side by advance scheduling.
The use of videos in marketing is increasing dramatically. A handful of clever exhibitors are using them as a part of the overall event marketing strategy. They are producing video prior to the show to solicit attendees to their booths, at the show for testimonials, demonstrations, etc., and after the show as part of their follow-up. In YouTube’s Creators Playbook they say:
“Online video is different than television and film because a video posted online has a long-tail. The weeks leading up to an event, ‘the pre-buzz’, is just as important as the date of the actual event, maybe more important.”
The trade show videos should have as much planning as your booth design. The marketing message conveyed via the video must be compelling and have a call to action. Relevant, meaningful content delivered with style is the key to success. As with most marketing tools (websites, headlines in ad copy, email subject lines, etc.) the first few seconds are crucial for engaging viewers.
Many shows are now encouraging exhibitors to have pre-show videos. In fact, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has a contest for the best pre-show video. The prize for winning the contest was a video spotlight on CESweb.org. And five exhibitors were chosen for that via online votes. Here is the link to see all videos.
Below is a Tweet from Rachel Wimberly, Editor- in- Chief of Trade Show News Network about the use of videos before the show.
On Joyce McKee’s website, Let’s Talk Trade Shows she shared Tweets from #ExpoChat regarding trade show videos. Her blog post was titled, The Growing Trend of Video Use at Trade Shows. A few Tweets from the chat:
You can use the pre-show videos to reach not only the potential show attendees, but your entire sphere of prospects. Think about leveraging your show message via the videos to all who might be interested in your products/services. You can have these short, succinct digital assets on your website, video sharing sites, in email campaigns, etc.
Onsite Video Creation and Sharing
All elements are in place for some great footage to be shot on the show floor. All the correct personnel, equipment against the backdrop of your booth allows you to capture quality content which can be used in many ways. You might want to consider having a live stream from your booth for a portion of the show time.
It is extremely important to consider lighting and sound when shooting your video. The viewing audience will be tolerant of a non-professional video if it tells a short story and has the proper sound and lighting. A trade show floor can be quite noisy so be prepared.
Be sure to upload your videos during the show to YouTube and other video sharing sites so the audience who is not there can “be there” from a far.
If you have a blog, make sure you highlight the onsite video. Depending on how active you are on Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. these are other places to place your video.
Post Show Videos
As a wrap up from the show, send highlight videos to your audience. You might have links to additional, in-depth videos for their viewing.
As we stated in the beginning of this post, video consumption will continue to grow. In a recent statistic from comScore Video Metrix service shows that” an all-time high of 188 million U.S. Internet users watched 37.7 billion online content videos in August, while video ad views totaled 9.5 billion.” Are your trade show videos among these statistics? If not, we would suggest that this should be considered as a future offer to distinguish you from the competition.
Understanding the business concerns, issues and problems of your prospects and customers is paramount in crafting a marketing message. This message is a critical component of your trade show plan, as well as your business marketing plan as a whole. However, it is not easy to tap into their minds. This process requires market research to effectively derive their characteristics for purchasing. During the last few years, the buying patterns have changed and possibly your customer persona has evolved into a totally different person. Keeping up with the shifts and changes can be difficult.
One way to tune into the mindset of a customer base is using focus groups. They can be quite effective in uncovering the thought processes and preferences of any audience. If you are not familiar with this research form, let me provide some additional information.
What are Focus Groups?
Focus Groups are great at capturing the attitudes and opinions of a “selected” group(s) of individuals. The moderator poses questions to the group affording the participants the opportunity to share their views. It is important to remember that these groups are qualitative in nature and sometimes would need to be followed up with a quantitative research project to ensure statistical reliability.
However, the catalytic nature of focus groups can provide direction as to what the next steps should be in the evolution of the idea being tested.
In essence – you are testing ideas or communication messages to determine if they are on target or not. Customer and prospect language or what they “hear” can be TOTALLY different from what you are communicating. Being in tune with your audience can spell s-u-c-c-e-s-s.
Using Online Research to Probe the Minds of Your Customer
Rather than in-person focus groups, participants are recruited for the online experience. Typically, 12 – 15 are secured and they commit to the process.
- A research moderator posts questions over the course of several days as the conversation evolves and probes respondents for details and clarifications when needed.
- Respondents can log in and answer each days’ questions whenever it’s convenient for them – some folks are online at the crack of dawn, some like to login and take a break during work hours and others login after dinner is done and the kids are in bed. Being convenient means that respondents can take time to think about the questions and provide thoughtful answers.
- Clients are able to login and observer the discussion and leave private messages for the moderator regarding comments they would like clarified or suggestions for new topics.
- They last over a three day period which allows for reflection on questions answered and possible modifications to the moderator’s script.
The participants interact with each other and the moderator as they provide their valuable insights to questions posed. In the process all sorts of light bulbs are illuminated and most often a new, enhanced direction is revealed.
Mike Courtney from Aperio Insights shares these insights when considering online focus groups to determine your trade show messages.
Most likely there is a current marketing communications campaign going on within your company. Does your audience really understand the campaign or is there some confusion on the message you are attempt to convey?
Or you can assess whether your prospects deem you as a trustworthy resource. Or do they trust your competition more than you?
Have the prospect or customer “explain” your services or products to the moderator of the online focus group. Are they accurately defining your offering? Note: this question can be quite revealing as to how far off the mark your audience is to what your product does or what your marketing message is.
One other word of note – research can begets research. The more you uncover - additional questions will surface.
As you research and make your trade show marketing plan, consider taking the pulse of your customers. If you can translate their heartbeat (the business issues) into your marketing message, a match is made and most likely they will have a new customer.
The fall season is typically a time for budget and planning for the New Year. It is fortunate for us to have a new report issued from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) on this topic. On Expo Magazine’s website they provide information from this study. Their article is titled, CEIR: Exhibitors Spend $24B Annually on Events.
“The data in this report is a much needed resource for exhibiting companies to plan and budget the cost of their participation in events,” Doug Ducate, president and CEO of CEIR, says in a release. “It also provides a guide for organizers and service provider on the many different cost centers that comprise the overall cost of exhibiting.”
According to the report, 99 percent of trade show exhibitors find unique value delivered by business-to-business exhibitions, which other marketing channels cannot provide. These exhibitors assign top ranking to the value of face-to-face interactions at exhibitions, which they assign high value to when it comes to achieving priorities with marketing and sales.
How the Trade Show Exhibit Dollar is Spent
Attendees and exhibitors rank exhibitions and sales calls highest in terms of the value of face-to-face interactions, according to a separate report released by CEIR late last month, “Use and Value of Face-to-Face.” For trade show exhibitors, exhibitions (43 percent) and in-person sales calls (44 percent) are statistically tied for first ranking, with no other option ranking close.
While 47 percent of trade show exhibitors say the Great Recession has prompted decreases in exhibiting budgets, 40 percent have reduced the number of exhibitions and 44 percent note the number or budget for private travel has decreased, according to the “Use and Value” report. Looking to the next two years, however, CEIR finds that 54 percent of trade show exhibitors will maintain the same number of exhibitions while 24 percent plan to add events to their schedule.
Determining Objectives to Achieve at the Trade Show
A variety of show objectives need to be identified for any show attended. Normally, the top one is to generate leads for the sales pipeline. Below is a list of other objectives which might be considered in your planning process.
- Meetings with current customers to build better relationships and possibly cross sell
- Regain lost customers
- Announce a new product and/or service
- Demonstrate new usage of products and/or services
- Extend brand awareness
- Develop new markets or territories
- Build press relations
- Recruit new staff
- Network with other industry professionals
- Market research and gather competitive intelligence
- Community awareness initiatives
It is important to set a measurable figure with each objective. For example, you might want to obtain 100 hot leads at the show, or have certain press exposure in 10 publications. By establishing a numeric benchmark you will be able to report to management the results of the show objectives.
Augmenting Your Marketing Message
Remember that the trade show function is a tool to reinforce the overall marketing message. What message do you want to deliver via the show? What are the 1, 2 or 3 most important thoughts you want your visitors to remember after they leave your exhibit?
Proper planning and execution should fill your sales pipeline full of qualified leads and have the industry abuzz about your products and services.
Go forth and plan! Share your objectives and insights below, and/or contact us to see how we can help you with your plans for next year's exhibiting budget!
Swag is a part of the DNA of every trade show booth. Some items have been worth their weight in gold, due to the attendee’s reaction to them, while some were a waste of money. Will the promotional product make it home or will it be left in the hotel room? There are many questions which should be posed and answered as you consider the worthiness of this endeavor.
The ultimate question is: does that Tchotchke really matter, and will it move the person along the sales funnel? Depending on your target market and what they expect, answers can vary. Below are some questions to consider when reviewing the options for your giveaways.
Questions, Ideas to Consider When Choosing a Tchotchke
- How useful is it? Is this item something you would truly use after the show is over?
- How does this piece relate to your company and its brand? Will it reinforce your brand image?
- How can this swag be tie to the overall booth theme?
- Will this item be kept at the recipient’s office? Or is it a fun item that will be given to someone at home, like a child?
- Is there a way that this item can share your unique sales proposition?
- Can this item easily go through security at the airport?
- What types of conversations can the booth staff build around this item as it is being given away?
All of these questions should be reviewed to determine what to choose or pick out. Unfortunately, due to the hurried nature of getting ready for a show, the selection of the "right" promotional product is at the bottom of the list of tasks to accomplish.
Kathleen Hanover has written a post titled: Trade Show Marketing Tip: How To Choose Smart Swag where she presents a great idea:
“Let’s say your company sells a breakthrough solar panel that is 27% more cost-efficient than anyone else’s. Why not give away a small, solar-powered calculator? And what if that calculator had a formula printed on it that the recipient could use to calculate her cost savings over your competition? (Needless to say, it would also have your logo, tagline, and other pertinent details.) The possibilities are endless.”
Think about two different types of giveaways. Use a less expensive, but effective, giveaway for the freebie vultures for those people that come by your booth looking for the free giveaway. Don’t totally discount these people because they may actually just be trying to get your information and the giveaway will cause them to think of you whenever they use it. The second giveaway should be something a little nicer. It is a reward and thank you for a visitor stopping and engaging in genuine interested conversation regarding your product. You definitely want to give them a reason to remember you.
Consider a Charitable Gift Rather than Swag
Depending on the audience at the show, a contribution to charitable cause might gain more recognition for your firm than a giveaway. The show might have a cause they are supporting, like a food bank or a local animal shelter. You could co-ordinate your efforts with the show to add your contribution along with theirs. Let the press know what you are doing in lieu of spending money on giveaways and you might be able to gain positive exposure for your efforts. The press would be seen by show attendees and those who are not there.
Choosing the appropriate gift is often on a trial and error basis. Consult with a promotional products expert to discuss the wide range of options at your disposal. They can guide you in selecting the right item which will meet and possibly exceed your goals. Walk the show aisles to see what other exhibitors are using. You might see something which can be used for another show.
The good news is you have many options to choose from which can allow you flexibility in meeting budgetary considerations. We would like to hear what has been a great giveaway for you in the past. Please share that with us and we will post your responses.
What size booth you should have at your next trade show is constantly under scrutiny. Your show footprint determines many other variables, especially booth staffing. Choosing the correct size of booth space has become a bit easier with the help of a toolkit created by Exhibit Surveys. The toolkit has two components, one for pre-show planning and the other one for post show ROI. In today’s blog post, we will examine the pre-show aspect.
This free exhibitor tool is called: ROI Toolkit. It was designed “to assist exhibitors in planning for an exhibition and to measure performance in delivering a return-on-investment (ROI) from trade show exhibiting. Funded by a grant from the PCMA Education Foundation to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research, this web-site was developed by Exhibit Surveys, Inc. in conjunction with the ROI Task Force of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events.”
In order to access this tool, you need to establish an account, which is free, just click here.
The Pre-Event module answers:
- How many staff is needed to engage our potential audience?
- How much space is required to attract and accommodate our potential audience?
The first step in assessing the potential booth space and associated staffing is to fill in the form shown below:
Those fields with a red asterisk must be filled in so that the toolkit can calculate the booth space. Let’s go over each one. Note these definitions are directly from the toolkit.
Net Attendance: Net Attendance is the total attendance to the show minus exhibitor personnel, press, students, show staff, family members and other ancillary attendees. In some cases, you may choose to include exhibitor personnel (or a portion of them) if your company sells to other exhibiting companies and if exhibitor personnel (or a portion of them) have job titles/functions to whom you typically sell.
It is critical that you get accurate attendance figures from the tradeshow organizer or the calculators in this tool will produce unrealistic results. When requesting attendance figures, ask for EEIAC third party audited attendance figures and request a copy of the full audit. If an audit is unavailable, ask for “verified” attendance figures. Verified attendance figures exclude advance show registrants who did not attend the show. “No-shows” can be substantial for some shows and very few for others.
Target Audience: Target Audience is the percentage of the Net Attendance that fits the profile of your Target Audience. This number is usually based on the demographic profile data for the net attendance (e.g. type business, job title/function, professional role, etc.) and will vary considerably by individual shows and industry. This profile is usually available from the show organizer and is based on the questions they ask on the attendee registration form, and/or may come from the results of an attendee survey. Ask for EEIAC third-party audited demographic data or data based on “verified” attendance that excludes advance show registrants who did not attend.
Product/Service Interest: Product/Service Interest is the percentage of the Net Attendance interested in seeing one or more of your types of products or services at the show. Research by Exhibit Surveys, Inc. indicates that the level of interest in seeing your category(s) of products or services is the best prediction of your potential for success in the show. This percentage along with the Target Audience percentage will be applied to the Net Attendance to give a realistic estimate of the Potential Audience you can reach at the trade show.
Product/Service Interest data is not always available from the organizer. When unavailable you can estimate product interest based on the following ranges:
Single Product Category - 10% to 20%
Two or Three Categories - 21% to 35%
Four or Five Categories - 36% to 50%
Six or More Categories - 51% to 75%
The more mainstream your product/service category is in the market the show serves, the higher in the appropriate range you should select. Remember, this percentage is used to give you a realistic estimate of the Potential Audience you can expect to reach. It is not critical that the Product/Service Interest percentage be precise to use this tool.
Total Show Duration: Total Show Duration is simply the total number of hours the exhibit floor is open to the attendees for all days of the show. It is used to calculate the number of exhibit staff needed.
Number of Visitors Handled per Hour: # Visitors Handled Hourly/Staff is the average number of visitors each of your exhibit staff should be able to reasonably engage on a per hour basis. It is used in the exhibit staff calculation. Keep in mind that staff are often talking to more than one visitor at a time. The average trade show exhibit staff rate based on Exhibit Surveys, Inc. measurement rate is 10 visitors per staff person per hour and this rate is a reasonable rate to use as a start.
However, you may want to adjust this rate based on the complexity of your product or service. For example, a rate of 5 to 7 may be more reasonable for complex or very technical products/services. Rates of 15 or higher may be more reasonable for less complex products/services or where exhibit personnel are using demos or other types of “one-on-many” exhibit techniques to engage visitors.
Occupied Exhibit Space: Occupied Exhibit Space is defined as the amount of space required for all inanimate objects in the exhibit (exhibiting, pedestals, information counters, etc.) plus any space that is not open or working space available for staff and visitors to engage (e.g. storage space). The calculator will estimate how much open/working space is needed to engage with visitors. The occupied exhibit space figure gets added to the open or working space to give you total exhibit space. Note: if you want to wait and enter this figure after seeing how much open or working space is required, enter 0.
Once you have these numbers filled in, press “calculate” and the toolkit performs an analysis and provides this for you:
Flexibility is built into the toolkit, meaning that you can change or adjust your numbers and assess a new outcome. This “what if’ capability can make this a very powerful instrument for you.
Once you have size determined, you can start the planning process for all the other critical components of a successful trade show.
Take a look at the other half of the toolkit: ROI analysis - see its capabilities. With this free toolkit you are armed to become a star within your organization. We will talk about the ROI aspect in another blog post in the near future. Now that you have this tool, let the calculations begin!
Keep in mind, that just as important as what size booth, is where -
for a free report, click here:
Swarms of attendees are in the aisles, but who will come into your booth? Is one of the attendees your next big prospect? They could be…
The bestselling book, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell, informs us: “A person watching a silent two-second video clip of a teacher he or she has never met will reach conclusions about how good that teacher is that are very similar to those of a student who has sat in the teacher’s class for an entire semester. That’s the power of our adaptive unconscious.”
Considering the implications of this in trade show terms, here are some items to be aware of in working with buyers and prospects in your exhibit and creating the best possible impression.
The snap judgments derived in those seconds will determine whether someone perceives you worthy of their time. And whether they will move towards any type of engagement.
When you are creating your booth property you must remember that it will be placed in a sea of other sights and sounds. How do you create a physical structure that is welcoming and delivers your core marketing message to the trade show audience? Not an easy task.
Can your booth live up to its marketing potential? Here are a few questions your team should consider as you prepare for the show.
- Will a person who is unfamiliar with our company know who we are and what we do via our graphics?
- Do we clearly communicate our solution message in our booth in images and text?
- Is your booth open and inviting so that someone is drawn into it?
- How can you tactfully interrupt someone who is walking the aisle and engage them with video, music, graphics, a demonstration, etc.?
We know that most attendees come to the show with an agenda, and use the time to evaluate vendors before making a final decision. When a buyer is in the information gathering mode, as is generally the case at an event, there is a relatively small window of opportunity to grab their attention. What happens is they use this time to count in and leave out suppliers based upon their experience in the booth with them.
Starting the Conversation with a Prospect
Let’s assume that your booth has caught the attention of someone walking the aisle. The first step in any engagement process is a conversation. It is conversation which is focused on the attendee, not you.
Do not start the conversation with, “Can I help you?” This is an immediate turn off! Use open- ended questions to probe if this person is a prospect at all.
The best booth personnel don’t sell, instead they “gather” the information on what type of prospect they are engaging. Gathering information is the opposite of selling.
Start the conversation with a “pick up line” that will solicit a thoughtful reply, like one of these:
- What conference session has been the best one, thus far?
- Wasn’t the [keynote speakers name] funny, entertaining, etc. What did you think of him/her?
- What booth on the floor has been the most compelling for you?
- What’s the best thing you’ve seen at the show?
What are the qualifying questions that let YOU determine if they are a prospect for you? If you get these questions answered, then you know where to take it from there!
Once you have the conversation started, then you can ask other open-ended questions which can help you qualify them. Here are some examples for you:
- What’s your biggest challenge this year?
- What did you hope to find at the show?
Now that you have their attention…are they someone you want to talk to? Ask a question about THEIR responsibility at the company. Like:
- “Are you responsible for _________”
If no…ask “who is?”
- “Are you involved with _________”
They may be a source of information about potential projects. If they are not the right person, don’t waste another second with this person while potential “hot” prospects are walking by the booth. Escort this person out of the booth quickly and politely so you can engage with the right prospect.
Now if you find a decision-maker for your target company-type…take it a step further and find out if a project is on the horizon by asking:
- “Is your company planning a __________?”
- “Have you chosen a vendor?”
- “When will you make that decision?”
- “What are the criteria for ______?”
- “What is the budget for ______?”
The questions you are asking should match the lead gathering device the booth personnel have. You could be using a lead card, an electronic device, or a handheld smart phone to capture relevant information. Make sure all members of your booth team know what pieces of information you want gathered and someone is monitoring for quality.
By gathering as much information and recording it on the show floor, it will make the follow- up process more robust. In a future post we will discuss several proven follow-up activities that can separate you from the competition and move the prospect along the sales funnel.
It is an age old question – should we exhibit? This question surfaces on a regular basis in all marketing departments. There are certain shows, based upon their great performance in the past, that are no-brainers. But there can be others which you may not know much about.
Ask Customers and Prospects about the Trade Shows They Attend
The first point is to simply ask others about the trade shows that they like and attend. Make it a habit to ask customers and prospects alike “which trade shows do you attend?”
- Which is the “best” one for finding new products?
- How are the shows different and what makes them different?
- If they often attend more than one – which one is most important?
- Which one would they skip if they had to choose?
- Which show(s) have caught their attention, but haven’t yet made a priority?
You might consider conducting a short survey that can be sent out to your prospects and customers to solicit their responses. There are many free survey tools available to use, like Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, and others.
Talk with the Trade Show Organizer
The show organizer's job is to be an expert on who attends their events. Typically they have concrete, measurable registration surveys and audits for you to view. Initially you can review their prospectus; then, if it looks like a fit for you, call them directly. They know that a successful show is predicated on the right buyers finding the right vendors. Consequently, they make a science out of profiling their customers, and you should too.
To begin profiling your customer, start with these questions: Who do you want to attract to your exhibit booth? Who are the ideal customers for your product and/or service and what is important to them? Depending on whether your market is business to consumer, or business to business, the criteria will be different. Regardless of the specific terms you will need to define your customer, the broad range of data categories are: demographics (who is my customer), psychographics (what do they do), behavioral (how do they do it) and causation (why they do what they do). According to Barry Siskind in an article called The Right Place to Exhibit – A Strategic Approach, “causation is the sum total of all the demographic, psychographic and behavioral data you have accumulated. It matches up your features and benefits with your customers’ perception of their importance.”
As you profile your target audience, you can ask questions to find out where they are and the best way to reach them. Given that shows have various geographic focuses (regional, national or international), you will want to choose those ideally suited to both you and the audience you serve. Ultimately, you have plenty of choices, though finding the right trade show can be challenging. “The right show is a blend of audience, cost and logistics. Good event selection is a solid base upon which the rest of your exhibit program is built,” Siskind reminds us.
Resources for Locating Trade Shows
If you need to look up a show, here are several online resources for you.
Events in America: www.eventsinamerica.com
Trade Show News Network: www.tsnn.com
The Trade Show Calendar: www.thetradeshowcalendar.com
Selecting the right trade show is just the beginning of the process. In future posts we will provide you with a full range of marketing tips and ideas to make it the best show ever!
For more info on whether we'd be the right company to partner with once you've determined where you'd like to exhibit, check out our Top 10 Reasons to Switch to Alexis and put our experience and resources to work for you!
There are ins and outs and pros and cons to all the various types of trade show booth layouts, and determining which layout will deliver the best results for your company can be a difficult task. Evaluating your company’s needs and objectives will be your first step in determining which exhibit floor plans will work best for you.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the more popular tradeshow exhibit layouts and the pros and cons of each to make that decision easier. Keep in mind, however, that variables exist between each layout type. Exhibitors can change each layout’s components, size, and positioning and mix and match layouts and elements to suit different situations.
Consists of a large, central structure with a series of independent elements (kiosks, demo stations, graphics, product displays) surrounding it.
Pros: This layout offers a strong visual presence, and its simplicity and lack of walls helps draw in visitors. Also works well for displaying multiple small products.
Cons: The layout’s central structure blocks view across the booth and offers only one spot for a single, high-impact statement or slogan. As far as traffic, this layout requires careful staffing to encourage visitors to explore the whole booth.
Typically used when one message or product needs to be featured; all other elements are directed toward one main focal point.
Pros: This layout offers easy access to focal point of booth and offers great impact for main marketing message or slogan. Allows easy access to main focus of booth.
Cons: This layout type offers little flexibility over time and single focus makes it hard to hold attendees’ interest for very long. Central focus of exhibit can attract so much traffic to cause congestion.
The underlying purpose of this layout is to show some form of a presentation. Rather than walls, it uses dividers along the sides and demo stations or kiosks along the back.
Pros: Layout drives all attention toward presentation and openness encourages visitors who shun enclosed presentations. Allows strong medium for message delivery and partitions can display smaller, tangent messages.
Cons: Singular focus prevents highlighting multiple products. Offers no capture effect and quick exits after presentations difficult to prevent.
Also referred to as a closed exhibit, this layout type uses some type of material to create a fully or semi-enclosed environment within the booth space.
Pros: Interior offers quiet off-floor environment and exterior walls can attract attention and deliver messaging. Allows complete control over entry and exit of visitors. Exhibit walls offer lots of space for graphics.
Cons: Attendees can’t see main focus until they step inside and limited entrances discourage walk-up traffic. Main entrance clogs easily and confusion can result from too many messages.
This layout deconstructs formal floor plans in an effort to look unique and consists of an arbitrary arrangement of shapes, activities and elements.
Pros: Allows use of multiple products and presentation media. Permits many levels of messaging.
Cons: Prevents highlighting one central focus and multiple messages can cause chaos that work against proper message delivery. Confusing layout can be difficult to navigate and traffic can clog at focal point.
All large structures are pushed to the aisles to create an open, inviting environment in the center for casual conversation and product displays.
Pros: Offers open and inviting interior space that allows all elements to be seen at once. Openness encourages attendees to wander and explore; visitors are free to leave as easily as they enter. Allows placement of large graphic displays.
Cons: Doesn’t offer one main focal point. Central elements can draw too much traffic, causing congestion.
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With the U.S. economy still climbing its way out of the doldrums of recession, many organizations are increasingly thinking global, looking to expand their businesses into emerging foreign markets. Exhibiting overseas is one of the fastest and most cost effective ways to identify the best foreign markets for your company’s products and services.
Exhibiting internationally introduces many new challenges for organizations and requires thorough research to determine which ones will attract your target market. A good starting point is the U.S. Foreign Commercial Service (FSC), part of the International Trade Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
If you’re the person put in charge of exhibit management at your company, you need to do your research to make sure your company’s significant investment into international trade shows isn’t a waste of time and money. Tactics that have proven successful in trade show exhibiting in the U.S. might fall flat in another country.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when exhibiting internationally:
Hire a translator. Probably the most important step is to hire an expert (preferably native-born) translator who not only understands the language but the culture of the country and its people. This person will prove instrumental in helping fine-tune your company’s marketing message, slogans and marketing collateral to assure that your message is effectively delivered to this new audience.
Hire a designer. It might also be a good idea to hire a local designer who understands how this foreign market will interpret the colors, design, symbols, logo, and look of your exhibit. For example, one color might be considered lucky or prosperous in one country, yet might symbolize something completely different or have a negative connotation in another.
Check on technical and safely standards. Before you commit to a foreign show, make sure your products comply with international technical and safety standards, which may vary slightly from those in the U.S. Another important consideration is power requirements. When exhibiting overseas, your electrical equipment might need to be adapted to different power voltage outlets.
When in Rome… Things are done differently in other countries. Be sensitive to how business is conducted and how decisions are made in the host country. Read up on proper business etiquette, how the sales process typically works, and the nuances of relationship building there. In Japan, for example, a handshake at the end of a business meeting is as good as a signed contract.
Exhibiting at an international trade show can bring big benefits and open up an entirely new market for your company’s products or services. A savvy planner, however, must do their homework well in advance.
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