Is Your Brand Ready for the Big Show?

5 Dec


Although you have invested hours, days, or even weeks (not to mention your money) in planning your trade show booth, you have just seconds to engage potential customers and get them to remember your brand, products, and services.

Ask yourself a few questions, as you get prepare:

  • Are you ready? Have you put together a sales and marketing strategy?
  • Is your team ready? Do they know their roles at the trade show?
  • Does your booth represent your brand? Is it outdated?

Now consider these key points as you implement your plan to showcase your brand at your next trade show or event.

Marketing for trade show success.
Consider these exhibition industry facts*:

  • The average trade show attendee will visit approximately 26 exhibitors.
  • 76% of attendees arrive with an agenda of exhibitors they plan to visit.
  • Less than 20% of exhibitors utilize targeted pre-show marketing campaigns.

Put together a pre-show marketing campaign to reach out to prospects, customers, and journalists. This can include direct mail, email, and updates to your website. At the same time, have your post-show marketing ready. Don’t wait until after the show to finalize post-show messaging and offers.
ER Marketing Tip: Have a plan to help your brand grow from your trade show efforts.

Do you know your 3, 10, 15, 30-second pitch?
Trade shows and events are some of the best places to share your company’s story face to face. Practice your pitch and make sure you have a short version to grab an attendee’s short attention span.
ER Marketing Tip: Practice your pitch on employees before the show.

Be ready for industry journalists.
Industry journalists are key to getting your message out to the masses. Make this message creative and memorable. Summarize key points of your brand story that will make any journalist want to feature your company.
ER Marketing Tip: Have social media quotes in your press kit for journalists to use.

Dress for your brand’s success.
This is one of those exercises that you can practice with your team and see what responses come back. If your brand were to dress up and go to a meeting, what would that brand wear? Would it be in a suit and tie, would it be in branded golf shirts or would everyone be wearing branded fedoras?

ER Marketing Tip: Don’t be sloppy and unprofessional—dress for success.

Update your exhibit
Are your products and services ready for the modern world, but your exhibit is outdated in both appearance and messaging? Does your booth represent your brand? Is it updated?

It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to update your exhibit. There are many cost-effective options to make this happen. Take a look at this catalog for ideas to update and add new elements such as iPad stands, new lighting or a new graphic backdrop.

Screen Shot 2014-12-04 at 3.12.59 PM

ER Marketing Tip: Make your exhibit relevant to your brand.

Consider these key points when exhibiting your brand at a trade show. Having a well-thought-out strategy and an updated exhibit can drive more leads and revenue.


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What Trade Show Marketers Can Learn from Horror Movies (Part 3/3)

31 Oct

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Avoid Falling Victim to Horror Movie Clichés
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When planning your trade show exhibit, it’s easy to fall victim to habits that would make any good horror movie scream queen proud. We’ve discussed in Parts 1 & 2 of this series a few other horror movie clichés that marketers commonly fall victim to when planning a trade show experience.

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations – you might just make it out of this alive. But there are still two more trade show marketing survival tips to read before you can guarantee your spot in the sequel (no promises what happens after that).

Do You Think We Got Him?
Characters in horror movies always fall victim to the same mistake: they take one shot and assume the bad guy is dead. Similarly, many companies assume that interaction at the booth is enough to secure a lead, failing to put in place proper follow-up strategies to develop trade show leads into actual customers. Your lead nurturing campaign should be swift, thorough, and tailored to your audience. If your follow-up campaign doesn’t include anything past a single blast email, you didn’t “get him,” and he may just get back up like the walking dead and take his business somewhere else.

  • Utilize the double tap: Companies who send multiple follow-up emails receive double the results for a little extra work and money.
  • A whopping 45% of companies do not track trade show and event leads as they progress through the sales cycle, making it impossible to determine ROI.
  • Opt for variable data wherever and whenever possible, using your marketing automation platform to assign sales reps to specific contacts and create customized email senders.
  • Use lead scoring to assign lead rankings based on specific qualifying behaviors.

Running Upstairs
While it may be comical to watch a character in a horror movie run upstairs to escape a murderous villain, it’s not that funny when you do the same thing with your trade show exhibit. If your booth has fallen victim to most of these horror movie clichés, it might not be in your best interest to continue what isn’t working. Rather than “running upstairs” and getting yourself into even more trouble, it might be time to completely reevaluate your strategy.

  • Sometimes it’s not enough to make small, measured; you may need to throw out your entire booth and start from scratch.
  • For many B2B companies, securing even a couple high-quality trade show leads who become customers pays dividends.
  • Working with a B2B marketing firm that can look at your business differently gives you a greater chance of creating a fun, unique, and memorable experience that will make an impact on potential leads.

With these tips in hand, you have what you need to escape bad trade show marketing—something that kills sales every time. To learn more, download our free e-book: “Killer Booths: The Horror (Trade) Show Survival Guide.”

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What Trade Show Marketers Can Learn from Horror Movies (Part 2/3)

30 Oct

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Avoid Falling Victim to Horror Movie Clichés
Download the E-Book Today!

As introduced in the first post of this series, there are many mistakes made at trade shows comparable to terrifying elements of a horror show. In our last post, we emphasized the importance of communicating with your team and understanding where to place displays for the best visibility. Continuing on in our spooky trilogy, where we only kill off bad trade show habits, here are two more tips that will help your trade show survive and thrive.

No Signal
People are more terrified of being without their smart phones than being abandoned by the side of the road late at night. During trade shows, smart phones and technology can now be used to create a better experience for potential customers. Using technology in a purposeful way will aid in making your booth more unique and memorable.

  • Know how to troubleshoot any technical difficulties.
  • Give the audience content they can take with them on their smart phones or tablets.
  • Have fun with it! Incorporating technology into your booth can range from staging a photo booth that highlights products to holding a hashtag contest to gain more social media followers.

Fooling Around in the Dark
Whether it is a creaky staircase leading to a pitch-black basement, or a dimly lit trade show booth, people will do what they can to avoid dark spaces. Lighting up your trade show booth can prove to be very beneficial. To make them run in your direction, remember these tips:

  • Draw attention to key messages and items you want to have the most impact.
  • While many disregard lighting as an extra expense, using lights to highlight your booth’s elements is an easy way to attract attendees.
  • New lighting technology, such as LED, has helped to eliminate the concern of overheating an event space.
  • Uplighting from the floor or utilizing moving lights are also proven to increase visitors.

This knowledge will help you make it to the next installment of our survival tips, coming tomorrow.

Can’t wait until then? Become the expert today by downloading our free e-book: “Killer Booths: The Horror (Trade) Show Survival Guide”.

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What Trade Show Marketers Can Learn from Horror Movies (Part 1/3)

29 Oct


Avoid Falling Victim to Horror Movie Clichés
Download the E-Book Today!

It seems like characters in horror movies are always making the same mistakes, inevitably getting themselves in worse situations than they were originally. As it turns out, they aren’t the only ones; trade show marketers, too, make the same mistakes when it comes to their booths.

The good news is that these mistakes are easily fixable. This post will kick off our 3-part series, giving you the tips you need to improve your trade show marketing and make sure it doesn’t fall victim to horror movie clichés.

Let’s Split Up
It is not uncommon to hear product teams insist that all product images be shown on the booth; on the other hand, it’s not unusual to hear a salesperson say the appearance of the booth doesn’t matter at all. When sales, marketing, and product teams “split up” like this, remember these tips to prevent your company’s trade show experience from falling victim to splitting into multiple directions:

  • Consider your message, using only the highest quality images and information for clarity.
  • Don’t “split up” from prospects either—ensure that your exhibit’s singular message is one that is conducive to customer interaction.
  • Marketing teams should make sure to communicate proper storage, training, and setup techniques to the sales team in order to avoid creases, folds, and weathering of an expensive investment.

Look Behind You!
Do potential leads have to strain their necks to see your exhibit? Looking back in a horror movie usually doesn’t end well, and it doesn’t work for people visiting your booth, either. Consider the placement and layout of your booth along with text and images—it’s one of the most important and yet often-overlooked aspects of any tradeshow exhibit. Keep these simple guidelines in mind to prevent your prospects from running in the other direction:

  • Text height should be a minimum of 4′ tall. Make your text 1′ high for every 3′ you step back. Too complicated? Just show one large image, visible at 30.’
  • Keep the most important text at eye level—approximately 5′ from the floor.
  • Stick to basic, easy to read fonts (think serif or sans-serif) and only two styles per graphic.
  • Does your booth look like a murder scene with colors splattered everywhere? If so, there’s a good chance it’s time to simplify.

Stay tuned for more horror (trade) show survival tips coming tomorrow!

Can’t wait to read more? Download our e-book “Killer Booths: The Horror (Trade) Show Survival Guide” for more information and immediate insights.

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The 5 Most Common Trade Show Mistakes (Part 2/2)

3 Oct


And What You Can Do to Avoid Them

In last week’s post, we discussed two important trade show mistakes to avoid. It’s common to overlook the significance of your trade show presence and how it can impact your business. But in today’s competitive markets, it’s vital that your trade show strategy makes a lasting impression on potential customers.

To generate good, qualified leads, you need to make sure that you’re telling a cohesive brand story—one that gets to the heart of what it is you really do, while at the same time, putting on your best face to prospects. You only have a few seconds to make your first impression. Are you making the right one?

Avoid these final three trade show marketing mistakes to ensure true sales success for your company:

        1. “Sales reps don’t care how pretty our exhibit looks.” Not so fast. Many companies who exhibit at smaller events send their sales representatives, and yet it is not uncommon to see exhibits with creases, cracks, and coffee stains. These things happen, but companies would do well to remember that for many sales representatives, these exhibits are representations of your company, brand, and style of delivery—even if only on an unconscious level. Make sure your traveling brand stays neat and clean.Helpful tips:
          • If they are running the booth, train all the sales reps to properly setup and pack the booth
          • Have them take a picture of the booth at each event for you to see to ensure quality
          • Schedule yearly booth cleaning and maintenance
          • Work with a reputable company to take care of your exhibit investment
        2. “Knees have eyeballs, right?” Not really. While there is hopefully no need for an anatomy lesson here, it’s important to remember where you are placing important information and images. It’s a common mistake for many companies not to plan how their exhibits actually function; make sure that yours is considering and using its space wisely for human interaction.Useful insight:
          • Stop putting text and key images at knee-level on your exhibit.
          • Keep the most important text at eye level—approximately 5 feet from the floor; help people focus with one clear message or image
          • Not every inch of your exhibit needs to be covered in text or random images
          • Develop an exhibit strategy and messaging goals that extend beyond the backdrop
        3. “If they can’t read our exhibit, they’ll just come closer.” Or they will avoid it altogether and go to the next guy’s booth. It’s not enough to have good content at a trade show event; you need to make it clearly visible, memorable, and easy to understand—and you must do all of this at a glance. This is not the place to showcase the 100 features of your 45 products.Key information:
          • Text height should be a minimum of 4 feet tall. Make your text 1 foot high for every 3 feet you step back. Thus, if you want people to read it from 20 feet away, then your text should be 6.5 feet high
          • Fonts: Use serif or san serif styles and only two fonts per graphic— clean and simple wins every time at a trade show
          • When it comes to colors, you don’t want your exhibit to look like you got in a paintball shootout 15 minutes before the event
          • Images are more powerful than words and stand the test of time; text should not take more then 3-5 seconds to read, and it certainly shouldn’t look like an eye chart

No matter the industry, these tips will help you tighten up your brand message, refine your trade show experience, and make a lasting impact on customers that will generate more sales.

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