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7 Tips to Create Your 2018 Trade Show Budget

16 Jan

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Creating a trade show budget for 2018 is a skill that pays off in a better use of company resources. By following the tips below when making the budget for this crucial aspect of marketing your business, you’ll be able to develop a more accurate template of the necessary costs.

  1. Exhibit Space = 30 percent

Allocate about 30 percent of your trade show budget to the expense of the trade show itself. As the largest expense in the budget, this amount covers any fees associated with exhibiting at the event as well as extras for a prime location, if possible.

  1. Staffing and Travel = 20 percent

The second largest expense of your trade show budget will be for staffing and travel. Count expenses such as transportation, meals, and lodging for staff. If the staff needs additional training in order to work the trade show booth effectively, add those costs too.

  1. Logistics and Exhibit Services = 20 percent

About 20 percent of your budget should be allocated to those logistic and exhibit services that are necessary in order to present a polished and professional presence for your company. Some examples of services included in this category are the storage and warehousing of exhibit materials and their installation and breakdown during the event. Don’t forget to include the costs of labor for skilled workers like electricians, riggers, carpenters, and others.

  1. Booth Design = 10 percent

The visual representation of your company and your booth design will require about 10 percent of your overall trade show budget. During the planning phase, make a list of preferred features and price them when you consult with your designer.

  1. Transportation, shipping, and drayage = 10 percent

Obtaining an estimate for transportation and shipping tends to be pretty straightforward since it’s usually based on factors like the dimensions of your trade show booth. Drayage costs can be more difficult to pin down. A good rule of thumb is to plan to spend slightly more in drayage than you do for shipping.

  1. Marketing Materials = 5 percent

While your trade show booth is the biggest marketing tool at the event, you’ll need supporting materials to go along with your brand and your message. This category includes the cost of giveaways, company literature, and product demos.

  1. Miscellaneous = 5 percent

Set aside about five percent of your trade show budget for those expenses that are easily overlooked. Items such as daily housekeeping, WiFi, and lead gathering are necessary for the success of the trade show but are often forgotten when it comes time to make the budget.

By following the above steps, you can hammer out an effective and accurate trade show budget for 2018. What trade shows will your company be attending this year?

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5 Best Practices for Choosing the Right Trade Show Technologies

19 Dec

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Trade show marketing just isn’t what it used to be. It seems like just yesterday that trade shows depended on paper registration, hard copy promotional materials, and exhibit booths featuring static displays of data and graphics. Thankfully, times have changed…for the better.

These days, trade show marketers and exhibitors have countless cutting-edge technologies at their disposal. Applications and software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions improve everything from the initial registration experience to digital marketing, data analytics, lead retrieval, and real-time customer engagement. Once inside the event, technology extends to advanced audio-visual solutions like kiosks outfitted with touch screens, video walls, and high-definition 3-D displays. And for those looking to stay connected, venues and events are equipped with mobile device charging stations and mobile event apps. The technology is seemingly endless.

With so much technology readily available, ensuring a good ROI on your trade show technology investments can be a tricky process. Here are a few best practices to consider before making the leap:

1. Step outside your comfort zone.

It’s easy to stay on board with the technology solutions you’re familiar with. The trouble is, once you’re comfortable with a certain platform or application, it can be difficult to move on to something that might be more beneficial to your business.

Keep in mind that today’s event attendees have the most cutting-edge technologies available to them 24/7. By virtue of their smartphone and the mainstreaming of the wearable internet of things (IoT), consumers are constantly surrounded by innovation. Embracing new technologies is no longer an option—it’s a necessity for businesses that want to stay relevant both at trade show events and in their digital marketing plans. Consider incorporating high-definition LED video walls, high-top charging stations, and mobile event software to keep attendees interested and engaged. To get the most from your technology investments, leverage Big Data in the form of lead retrieval software and beacon software designed to extract value from behavioral data to further enhance the attendee experience.

2. Choose a reputable event technology solutions architect.

When selecting an event technology specialist, focus on finding a firm that offers solutions architects who will work with you to design and customize services that best suit your needs. Be sure the firm includes field technicians to provide initial installation support and training to ensure that you’re up-and-running well in advance of the event date. Lastly, confirm that the firm offers ongoing tech support should you need help during event hours.

3. Get social.

These days, the value of a prominent social media presence can’t be overstated.  Be sure your displays and exhibits have a social networking component that helps attendees share trade show news and information with their contacts.

Ultimately, social media sharing by attendees will help your business grow its social media following long after the event has wrapped up.

4. Go for the WOW factor.

Don’t be afraid to use technology to create excitement and reinforce your brand. Today’s beautiful 4K and LED displays can be linked up to create a video wall for storytelling, product or service highlights, special events, and key marketing messages. Consider offering interactive kiosks that showcase project videos, games, and contests while telling your brand’s story.

5. Make sense of the data.  

All the data in the world isn’t going to help your business if you can’t extract value from it. Explore machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) software-as-a-service (SAAS) to gain valuable insight into your trade show attendees. Not only will this allow you to gather leads and generate demographic data, it will help improve the customer experience at trade shows and in your business over the long haul.

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Tactical Tips to Maximize Your Trade Show Presence in 2018

12 Dec

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Trade show planning for 2018 is in full swing. With budgets and strategy considerations on the table, we’re offering our take on tips to maximize your trade show ROI for the upcoming year.

1.  Technology is (still) king.

It goes without question that technology is a major player when it comes to trade show success. In 2018, trade show technology will continue to try to out-perform itself from years past, as attendees expect information to be displayed in innovative, interactive, and increasingly engaging ways.

Visitors want to be impressed and involved when they visit your display—and you’ll want to continue the engagement long after the event closes its doors. Consider incorporating touch screens, Bluetooth beacons, and artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning Software as a Software (SaaS) to further enhance the customer experience while delivering your brand’s message both during and after the show.

2. Human interaction is critical to success.

While it is true that trade show tech is necessary for ultimate event success, human engagement is just as important, if not more so. There is no better way to reach your customers than through a good old-fashioned dialogue that allows them to communicate their pain points—to which you respond with your compelling solution. By properly staffing your exhibit with compassionate professionals who are well-versed in your brand story, you’ll facilitate the kinds of relationships that no amount of artificial intelligence can compete with.

The key here is to use technology to augment—not replace—you professional, human presence.

3. Incorporate the sentiment behind your unique selling proposition in your exhibit.

We all want to stand apart from the competition. Your customers have made the trek to the trade show and your exhibit likely because they are looking for a solution to a particular problem, or perhaps they’re looking for your business in particular. By focusing on consistency in your unique selling proposition (USP)—for example, creating a custom exhibit based on your brand’s unique voice and culture along with the environment you want to cultivate—you’ll have a chance to resonate with your customers at a level that increases their engagement, inspires brand loyalty, and encourages them to stay connected long after the event wraps up.

4. Keep your brand consistent across all business environments.

Consumers these days are bombarded with product information nearly everywhere they turn—and much of that information is regarded by the embattled consumer as outright noise.  By focusing on refining your brand messaging for consistency across all spaces, you’ll cultivate a rapport with your customer that allows them to feel comfortable and familiar with your solution. Think in terms of providing a cohesive brand experience by way of incorporating a recognizable color palette, familiar logos, and consistent graphics.

When your business—and thus your brand—is “on the road,” you’ll want to rely even more heavily on familiar visuals to reinforce your presence in an unfamiliar place. After all, a trade show exhibit is a mini-representation of your business as a whole—and you want your customers to feel at home regardless of the venue.

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6 Trade Shows Building Products Manufactures Must Attend

4 May

 

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Trade shows are an optimal platform from which to introduce a captive audience to the latest innovative product or service you have to offer. The following trade shows are ones that should be on your short list for 2017 and ones to keep on your radar for 2018.  

 1 . National Hardware Show

Held each year in Las Vegas, Nevada, the National Hardware Show will run from May 9-11 in 2017. This annual trade show brings resellers and manufacturers from housing after-market sectors such as repair, remodeling and maintenance together. With attendance projected to top 35,000 over the course of its three-day run, 83 percent of people who have visited the trade show previously noted that they did so to look at new products. 

 2 . ENR FutureTech

San Francisco, California is the site of this year’s ENR FutureTech trade show. Hosted by Engineering News Record from May 30 until June 1 2017 , the show focuses on technology and its continuously-expanding role in construction, engineering and architecture. Combining intimate networking opportunities and interactive workshop sessions provides the opportunity for attendees to learn how technology applications can drive performance, profits and project delivery. 

 3. Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE

Remodeling Show | DeckExpo | JLC LIVE – often shortened to R|D|J for brevity – is a three-day event that combines exhibit hall activities with workshops and other conference programs to provide training, education and networking for those in the residential construction industry. Held at the Baltimore Convention Center, R|D|J  2017 is slated to run from October 25-27. 

 4. Greenbuild

Hosted by the US Green Building Council from November 8-10 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts, Greenbuild boasts 20,000 registered attendees. Focusing on the premise that not only is green building an innovation that is shaping the current landscape of the industry, it is a concept that will continue to grow in the future, Greenbuild is dedicated to providing a forum for experts, professionals and industry leaders to connect. As the biggest conference dedicated to sustainable building in the world, Greenbuild generates a “Legacy Project” each year that is designed to deliver real-world solutions for the community whose outcomes will last for years to come. 

 5. Design & Construction Week

From January 9-11, 2018, Orlando will be the host city of Design & Construction Week. Expect more than 80,000 construction and design professionals to converge on the city to learn, talk and network at an event that is a combination of the talents of the NAHB International Builders Show (IBS) and the NKBA’s Kitchen and Bath Show (KBS). 

 6. AIA Conference on Architecture

New York City will be the home of the American Institute of Architects 2018’s National Convention. Set to go June 21st – 23rd the convention will feature intensive half-day and full-day workshops, seminars by leading architects and firms on emerging industry trends, tours of city architecture, events, and experiences covering the topic of the ever-changing world of architecture. The conference aims to create a space where a collection of talented and visionary individuals who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for all people in all communities come together.

 

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Trade shows: What’s the real ROI?

20 Oct

People at an Exhibition

On the way home from the Remodeling Show and Deck Expo earlier this month, I found myself wondering if trade shows still matter. Let’s face it: Trade shows are expensive.

  • You build booths
  • Create collateral
  • Give away tchotchkes
  • Travel
  • Entertain clients

But the trade show budget spreadsheet doesn’t tell the whole story.

Trade shows are a rare opportunity for marketers to talk first-hand with customers – those actually using your product or service. It’s also a chance to meet in-person with your sales team and talk face-to-face about their stumbling blocks and opportunities:

  • What keeps your clients up at night?
  • Does your three-step installation process matter to clients?
  • Does the sales team really need new collateral?
  • What messages resonate with prospects?

Sometimes these responses are hard to hear. But they’re often the reality check we need to show where we should really spend our 40+ hours each week.

ERM clients attend trade shows worldwide. And most would likely put their trade show ROI on the high side.

Why?

They understand the value of candid customer feedback, seeing the sales process up close and learning about new products.

The real trade show ROI is the stuff that never makes it on the budget spreadsheet. It’s intangible and hard to assign a number.

It’s the knowledge you gain, the people you meet and the qualitative learnings that shape how your business moves forward.

For trade show tips and tricks, check out this ERM whitepaper.

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