Marketing experiences, not architecture.

When was the last time you had an “experience” at an event? Where an exhibit – its brand and it’s personality, resonated with you beyond normalcy and tradition.  We tend to force the experience around an existing environment. We should be designing the experience first, leaving the architecture as complimentary. What’s the visitor experience and what’s being done to reinforce and extend it beyond the close of an event?Nothing in this business excites me more than the challenge of solving this question.

So when I say design is more than exhibits – panel counts, counters, kiosks, etc, I mean It’s about creating an experience that aligns your brand proposition to a specific event.  It homes in on your key business objectives and differentiates your brand from the competition.  It could be a promise of innovation, superior service or value.

In every case there is a challenge or questions that can only be answered by your product or service.  First we have to figure out what that it is and then develop a story that your targeted audience can relate to in a way that ultimately plants the seeds that can sprout into a or purchasing decision, media exposure or reference.  Then we need to figure out ways we can reinforce your brand throughout the event and extend the experience beyond its set duration.

What does experience marketing look like?

Continue reading →

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EXHIBITOR 2012 & Social Media: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

I’ve just returned from my annual trip to the EXHIBITOR conference in Las Vegas. One of my favorite conferences each year, this event almost always energizes me with a dose of great sessions and content, friendly faces and networking, and a chance to survey the trade show landscape to gauge current trends and the future of the industry.

The 2012 EXHIBITOR conference was no different. This being my first blog post in nearly 6 months is a testament to the fact that I’ve walked away with a few ideas, opinions and strategies I plan to utilize in the coming weeks and months. With social media being what I consider an important piece to all businesses, I noticed a few specific details at this year’s conference. For simplicity, I’ve broken them down as follows: Continue reading →

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Trade Show Success Strategies Part 2 ~ At the Show

Ok, you are prepared for the show and have addressed everything discussed in Trade Show Success Strategies ~ Pre-Show.  Opening day is just a few hours away and the question to ask is how do you make the most of your time on the floor?  How can we help insure that a desired ROI is obtainable?

It starts with YOU!

•80% of what a prospect remembers about a company is based on staff behavior and attitude
•YOU are one of the primary reasons why people will visit the booth
•64% of prospect’s impression is formed within 4 seconds
•YOU only get one shot at a first impression

Trade shows are unique sales environments in which everyone must be on top of their game. Continue reading →

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Boost Your Tradeshow Messaging with a Touch of Clarity

As an Apple fanboy, I’m immersed in the culture of the brand and pay special attention to not only HOW they effectively market, but its effect on their customers and the feelings that are evoked. Much of their success comes from being able to market an element of mystery. Was the iPhone 4 leak truly a “leak”? Either way, it undoubtedly increased the buzz and viral effect around a product that was nothing more than speculation at the time. Every since the launch, Apple hasn’t been able to keep the new  iPhone 4 on the shelf.

However, there’s a balance in which your message needs to be clear and established. The above image was something I captured while driving by a local fast food chain. Is this message clouded in mystery? Yes. It is clear and established? Absolutely not. It could be anything from a hoagie to that nasty peanut butter and Miracle Whip sandwich that my dad ate. The product has been lost in a vague message, and frankly, I’m just not that curious to find out. Continue reading →

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DMA Reports Email Open Rates Nearly 20 Percent

Average open rates for house email lists are nearly 20 percent, according to a recent findings of the Direct Marketing Association’s (DMA) 2010 Response Rate Trend Report.  That should come as encouraging news for all of you direct marketers out there.  The findings also found that conversion rates for house lists averaged 3.72 percent, which is considerably higher than prospect lists which average open rate was 1.38 percent.

The numbers don’t across as staggering at first but look at this way and this is just simple math.  Let’s say you email a list of 100,000.  In the time that it takes you to send the email you’ve made 20,000 impressions and if the numbers hold true, 1,000 new customers.

Of course, there is the right way to email marketing, which I don’t claim to know, but usually involves the help of a copy writer, design agency, etc. to ensure your message is on point.  And then there is the wrong way, which usually results in you just alienating yourself from a list of potential customers.  Below is a great visual of this (courtesy of Hubspot).

One final thought from the report, telemarketing is still king when it comes to response rates (6.16 percent), just another reminder that your sales team still has to get out there and pound the phones.

What do you think, are these numbers holding true for your company?  Is email marketing really that effective or do you think that the aging cold calling is still most effective?

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Industry Trends: What’s in Store for 2009 & Beyond?

The Economy: It’s an all too familiar term. One that laments the rolling of eyes as it grows seemingly like a trend. There’s no doubt we’re in the midst of worldwide financial turmoil and it has certainly has not spared the tradeshow industry. According to Tradeshow Week, consumer shows have dropped 1.3 percent from 2008. Many shows have collocated including the International Housewares Show & Travel Goods Show, not to mention the recent merging of GES & ExhibitGroup/Giltspur, which will combine resources in their own effort to fight the decline. But despite the doom & gloom, there are statistics that speak a deeper contrary to the obvious sentiments.
Take a look at these statistics from Exhibit Surveys, which detail the recent exhibit attraction values from the past year. In essence, attendees are becoming more in tune with the exhibitors they visit with an increase of product awareness, demonstrations, exhibit design and graphics, pre and post show promotion and exhibit size. Continue reading →

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Tradeshow Insight – Now iPad Formatted

As we continue to observe the increasing trend in mobile applications to the world of business and the trade show world, we’re happy to announce today that Tradeshow Insight has released an advanced web-app version, formatted for the iPhone, iPad and other mobile platforms. Powered by WPTouch Pro, this “hybrid” between an app and mobile website optimizes our blog and articles in a format that is fitting for the mobile environment and its ever changing landscape.

Some features included in this update:

  • Web-App Enabled – Bookmark and use from your home screen. Enjoy a “browser-less” experience, with the latest HTML5 & Javascript technologies.
  • Native iPad Use – Touch, scroll and swipe as you would a normal app. You already know how to use it!
  • Support for future Tablets – As the “tablet war” grows, Tradeshow Insight will continue to adapt to the newest and brightest of the pack.
  • Commenting – Fly in comments make reading and creating discussions a breeze – and fun!
  • Real Time – Built on AJAX technology, comments are show immediately after posting.
  • App Menu Popups – Browse pages, recent & popular articles along with tags and categories.
  • Flickr Integration – Peek at recent photos from the trade show world from within a menu popup – Without leaving your article.
  • Smartphone Support – Download the web-app for your iPhone and get the same features – on the go!
  • Wide Platform Support – Tradeshow Insight Mobile now supports Android, Blackberry, Palm OS and Samsung touch mobile visitors.

To use a mobile formatted version of this site, simple visit tradeshowinsight.com and follow the on screen instructions to enable the web-app! Then, come back and tell us what you think!!

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Social Media: Do you still need convincing?

Amongst the statistics, there are a number that stand out to me:

  • In 2009, traditional advertising has seen a steep decline:
    • Newspaper: -18.7%
    • TV: -10.1%
    • Radio: -11.7%
    • Magazine: -14.8%
  • Consequently, digital advertising has seen an equal incline:
    • Mobile: +18.1%
    • Web: +9.2%
  • More video was uploaded to YouTube in the past 2 months than if CBS, NBC & ABC had been airing new content 24/7/365 since 1948
  • In February ‘08, John McCain raised $11 million for his presidential campaign. The same month, with no fundraisers, Barack Obama raised $55 million using social networking
  • in 2020, mobile devices with be the primary internet connection tool
  • Dell has sold $3,000,000 worth of computers on Twitter
  • 25% of Ford’s marketing is spent on Digital/Social Media

Included, is the claim that Gary Vaynerchuk credits social media for the growth of his family business from $4 million to $50 million. Even further, Vaynerchuk found:

$15,000 in Direct Mail = 200 new customers

$7,500 in Billboard advertising = 3o0 new customers

$0 in Twitter = 1,800 new customers

While there’s little question in the low investment vs high return in proper Social Media marketing, the most important question is “What is the cost of doing NOTHING?”

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Convention Crashing or Smart Business

A couple weeks ago I came across an interesting article in the NY Times about outboarding, or more commonly referred as convention crashing.  This is basically where companies take advantage of the traffic generated by trade shows by marketing themselves in a nearby hotel or meeting space.  By doing so they avoid the costly expense of purchasing floor space, exhibit properties, show services, etc.  Most of the people interviewed in the NY Times article made no effort to conceal their nasty feelings about outboarders (Please note that my intention with this blog isn’t to endorse any particular belief over another).

Why I find this subject so interesting is because of the timing.  I recently got back from a trip to Barcelona for Mobile World Congress, where one of the biggest players in mobile technology, Nokia, shifted its trade show strategy and hosted its own private event in a facility that was a few blocks from the convention center.  Before you go forming opinions about this understand that Nokia was at the show just not in the traditional sense of that many were accustomed to, with a presence in Halls 6 and 8.  You can read how they addressed this issue in a February 14 post to Nokia Conversations, its official blog site. There is also a great video below where its event manager explains that Nokia’s shift was in response to its needs outgrowing the ability of the convention center. Continue reading →

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