Archive | January, 2010

Five New Rules for Trade Show Technology

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This the fourth and final part of our Trends for 2010 tips. Today, I’m focusing on five rules to help you leverage technology to add to your trade show success.

1. Online is not an add-on.

The virtual component must be integral to every step of your trade-show planning.  Select the best online communities to reach your customers. And maintain your brand voice and image in every message.

2. Accessibility is key.

Make sure your trade-show web page is optimized for all the browsers, including those on smart phones. The design that looked great on Internet Explorer may be unreadable on a Droid.

3. Make your message move and speak.

Use web video, still images, and podcasting as well as text. Multimedia approaches engage more of the user’s attention. Live feeds from your booth can extend your trade show message to customers around the world, and YouTube videos can make it accessible months or years after the event is over.

4. Update often.

Keep your customers coming back to check for more. Good content may be news and links, helpful tips, community-building, or just the sense of a warm, engaging person as the face of the company.

5. Listen as well as talk.

Twitter, Facebook, and blogs offer almost instantaneous feedback on what’s working and what’s not. If a member of your booth staff was rude to a customer, you can be sure the news will be all over Twitter in five minutes. Monitor the Internet and the Twitterverse with automatic searches, and respond instantly to any problems.


The 3 Types of Tradeshow Exhibitors

I was inspired to write this blog today after reading a chapter in Carmine Gallo’s book “Fire Them Up!.” In it he talks about three types of communicators, “the blah, the mediocre and the inspirational.”

The first thing that popped into my mind was how this was the exact way to describe exhibitors – blah, mediocre and inspirational. Of these three types of trade show exhibitors, only one of should represent your company on the trade show floor.

You’ve all seen the “blah” exhibitors who have zero drive and enthusiasm or energy to be in the booth.  They’re on their computer, or cell phone most of the day. They’re convinced that exhibiting is a total waste of their time, and they just want to go and do their “real job” – whatever that is.

The “mediocre” exhibitor is one step better than the “blah” exhibitor. They take care of being in the booth, but aren’t really clear about what to do, and they just wing it in robotic fashion.

Finally, there’s the “inspirational” exhibitor who is energizing, engaging and electric!

What makes the difference between the three types? In a nutshell, the inspirational exhibitor wants to be at the show, knows what he or she wants to accomplish, and enjoys interacting with visitors. This person is also proud to be a company ambassador at the show, and finds real meaning (and fun) in the role they play.

If your have blah or mediocre people representing you, consider finding substitutes – people should consider it a privilege to be a company representative at the show. Plus, make sure that you provide some trade show training, so they are well-prepared with the essential exhibiting skills before they step foot in your booth.

Remember, it’s your people who can make or break relationships on the show floor, so prepare them well!

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6 Questions to Ask to Integrate Social Media Apps into Exhibit Space

These days when you’re comparing trade shows, you have a new factor to consider: whether the show offers an integrated platform for social media. These platforms, such as GoExpo and ChirpE, help link exhibitors and attendees in a new and exciting dimension.

When you consider these platforms, ask yourself the following six important questions:

1. How does the software bring together attendees and exhibitors?
ChirpE works by  integrating familiar applications and services, such as Twitter, LinkedIn, and FacebookGoExpo is proprietary, but offers newsletter capabilities and maps of the floorplan so attendees can easily find your booth.

2. What’s the learning curve?

You may not have much time to learn to use the interface. A well-designed, intuitive system should make things much easier.

3. What usage metrics does the software offer, and when are the results available?

Measurable effectiveness is vital. Look for software that gives you clear, targeted reports in a reasonable amount of time.

4. What support is offered?

In the midst of a busy trade show, you need reliable service. Find out what kinds of support are available and what the downtime is.

5. How about data format and backups?

If the software allows you to gather names for your mailing list, you will need a way to save that data—and in a format that lets you use it later.

6. What is the privacy policy?

You may be entrusting important company data, from customer lists to passwords, to a third party. Make sure the information is secure.