AND SOME FREE–ASSOCIATION
By Paul Bridson
SELECTING THE right trade show to attend can make a big difference in the results in terms of measurable success: qualified leads and sales versus money, time and energy spent.
1. Ask Questions
The first questions you should be asking are "who do you want to reach at the show?" and "what do you want to have happen?"
2. Identify shows
There are two groups of shows you should be evaluating: the shows you are presently attending, and the shows you want to consider for future participation. Who is your target market and which shows do they attend?
3. Match your objectives
Selecting the right shows means matching your show exhibiting objectives with the right target audiences, the right timing to meet buyers' purchasing patterns and the ability to show and demonstrate your products/services.
4. Do your homework
When evaluating a shows potential, gather as much information as possible show statistics/demographics and review lists of previous participants. Verify information provided by show management. Speak to past exhibitors and attendees.
5. Visit the Show
Whenever possible, personally visit the show prior to exhibiting to assess its value. Evaluate the supporting events and/or educational seminars around the show.
6. Consider location
When evaluating a shows potential, take geographical location into consideration. Usually 40-60% of attendees come from a 200-mile radius of the show location. Consider your distribution area and target audience.
7. Consider timing
What other events are scheduled for the same time as the show and will they impact attendance?
8. Evaluate opportunities
What other marketing possibilities could the show offer? Are there opportunities for sponsorship, showcasing new offerings or participation in the educational seminars?
9. Play it safe
Be cautious about participating in a first time show. Promotional material may be extremely persuasive, but a show without prior history is a risky venture.
10. Choose your space wisely
Every trade show is unique and there are many variables affecting direction, volume and quality of traffic past your display. Be familiar with the floor plan and how your trade show booth fits. Consider how close you want to be to the main attractions, industry leaders, competitors, restrooms, food stations, entrances, exits, escalators/elevators/lifts, windows or seminar sites. Avoid obstructing columns, low ceilings, dead-end aisles, loading docks and freight doors, dark/poorly lit spaces, ceiling water pipes, late set-up areas or "black spots" on the floor plan
By Paul Bridson
ACCORDING to trade show research, live presentations are the third most important reason people remember a trade show display, after display size and product interest. Any form of live presentation, for example, astaged product demonstration, theatrical skit, magician, game show, choreography, video, audio, robots or singers, can attract a throng of visitors to your stand. The key to success is using this powerful promotional tool as an integral part of your marketing plan to appropriately communicate your company or product message.
1. Consider your show objectives
Use your presentation to help achieve your objectives and to enhance your message or show theme. Find the most attractive benefit your product or service has to offer from the buyer's perspective and flaunt it.
2. Project the right image
Decide what image you want to project and the best way to convey your company and product message with your trade show display. Consider conveying your message through bold graphics.
3. Think about your audience
Always think about the audience you want to attract and what you want them to get from experiencing the presentation. Be careful not to get carried away with a great idea and lose sight of the objective.
4. Have a realistic budget
Your budget is going to be a primary determining factor as to the type of presentation your company could consider. Be realistic. Know when it's appropriate to be modest and when it's okay to be a little more extravagant.
5. Be professional
Whatever form of presentation you choose, always be professional. Your corporate image is being scrutinized by everyone. Seriously consider hiring a professional company to help with the conceptual ideas and implementation.
6. Grab attention and encourage action
Having a powerful and compelling pre and at show promotional strategy will help attract your target audience. Consider the best ways to promote your presentation--a special mailing, advertising or the Internet. Give visitors an incentive to attend your booth, such as a gift, discount or a special demonstration.
7. Focus your staff
Communicate and involve your staff. Let them know exactly what you expect of them before, during and after each presentation. Make sure they can do what you expect of them. Decide whether you want to use your own staff or hire outside talent. Consider motivating your team with a contest for rewarding the most prospects.
8. Monitor and capture leads
Design a simple and easy-to-use lead form to capture pertinent information from your prospects. Determine who should complete the card--visitors or staff--and train your exhibit/booth staff accordingly.
9. Deal with logistical issues
Major issues to consider are how much space you want the presentation to fill, if it should be in an open or closed area, how visitors will come into and leave the area; will they sit or stand during the presentation, how many presentations should be conducted every day, and how long each presentation will be? Ensure that the presentation does not interfere with fellow exhibitors and respects the adjoining space.
10. Evaluate success
Plan prior to the show how you will measure the success of the presentation: will it be based on the number of people attending, or the number of leads collected?
How does a big project go right?
By Paul Bridson
DIAMOND V had designs on the table from a competitor of ours who hadn’t shown them anything impressive from a design aesthetic point of view. Brainstorm’s vast design library served as a springboard for everyone’s creativity, and we soon settled on a general configuration to begin with. Kudos to the Diamond V design staff for their clear directions... and kudos to Brainstorm’s designers for their color 3-D renderings! The finished display - 20 x 30 footprint includes tower with personnel door and storage, 8 x 18 conference room with locking doors, cool fabric graphics complemented by maple laminate, 2 workstations with locking storage - low ship weight and easy setup, all for under $45,000, ALL INCLUSIVE.
So why did this project go so right? First of all, the client had put serious thought into their likes / dislikes / needs / wants and goals. Here’s what I (display designer) got at the first meeting:
• A list of things that they felt were wrong with the previous booth.
• Photos of displays from a recent show they had attended depicting some elements they found interesting.
• A laundry list of “must haves” such as how much storage, literature and counter space.
• Some ideas of future needs. in Diamond V’s case we knew that at some point we’ll need to add a big screen to the tower, and I’ve designed that expectation in already.
• Goals. In their case, the goal was to look modern, clean and cutting edge, to reduce cost of ownership, and to keep the cost of refreshing graphics to a minimum.
• A budget. A booth designer needs to know a realistic budget up front if he’s going to work efficiently. Try not to think of an exhibit as a commodity, where low price rules. Find a designer/builder that you feel you can trust and give them the information they need to succeed. Look at past projects they’ve done, interview their customers and visit their offices. Shop for competence, not price, and require them to stick to your budget – you’ll do much better!
When a client puts this kind of thought and preparation into the purchase, two things always happen: they get a better exhibit, and they spend less money. Diamond V gave me such a clear picture of what constituted success to them, that it was far simpler for my team to put it all together.
Paul Bridson and Kelly Sargent
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