The Top 5 Trade Show Marketing Predictions for 2014

Fresh startGiven that we’ve started a brand new year, now is the perfect time to make a fresh start and plan a strategy for your 2014  trade show marketing campaign.
What’s 2014 going to bring and how well will we do are often questions we wish we could have answered at the beginning of the year, rather than at the end, when opportunities may well have passed us by. Going through many of the business marketing predictions for 2014, here are the top five trade show marketing predictions I foresee as serious possibilities that could impact your trade show marketing:

Prediction #1: Video
Video is gaining momentum to the point that pundits believe it’s a vital component of any marketing, no matter what size your organization or what you sell. YouTube ranks second in people’s searches for information. Since video shows up in 70 percent of the top 100 search results listings, and viewers are 64-85% more inclined to buy after seeing a product video – you’d be crazy to overlook this powerful marketing tool.

How can you integrate video into your 2014 trade show marketing strategy?

Prediction #2: Webinars
Webinars have become one of the best ways to generate numerous interested prospects for your sales team. Done properly, they allow you to educate your target audience, providing content that helps solve problems, which in turn drives awareness to your products/services. This helps to establish you as a trusted partner, not just a vendor pushing your wares.

How can you integrate webinars into your 2014 trade show marketing strategy?

Prediction #3: Niche marketing
Niche marketing is fast becoming the best way to communicate with your target market. Because of the incredible noise and plethora of information in today’s marketplace, people are looking for more specific ways to find the facts they are most interested in.

How can you integrate niche marketing into your 2014 trade show marketing strategy?

Prediction #4: Content marketing

Content marketing will continue to excel as a key information sharing medium for companies to speak to their target audience. “Content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.” Joe Pulizzi, Founder, Content Marketing Institute.

Currently 9 in 10 organizations market content; over 27 million pieces of content are shared daily; every month 329 million people read blogs. Resource: Social Media Today

How can you integrate content marketing into your 2014 trade show marketing strategy?

Prediction #5: Mobile
Mobile usage is growing daily. The following statistics speak for themselves:
• 91% of all people on earth have a mobile phone
• 56% of people own a smart phone
• 50% of mobile phone users, use mobile as their primary Internet source
• 80% of time on mobile is spent inside apps
• 72% of tablet owners purchase online from their tablets each week
Resource: Super Monitoring

How can you integrate mobile marketing into your 2014 trade show marketing strategy?

Imagine if you truly embrace and add just one of these powerful trade show marketing predictions into your 2014 trade show marketing plan, how much more effective might your exhibiting results be?

What’s your 2014 trade show marketing prediction? Please add your comments below.

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Trade Show Giveaways: 5 Ways to Check If You’re a Grinch Or a Giver

Do trade show giveaways, and holiday gift-giving have something in common?

The calendar tells us it’s time yet again to feel pressured into playing the gift-giving game. The question is whether you believe you want to, or you have to take part?

Gift giving has long been a favorite subject on human behavior for psychologists, anthropologists, economists and marketers.  They’ve established that giving gifts is a surprisingly multifaceted, and significant part of human interaction, helping to define relationships, and strengthen bonds with family and friends. Psychologists say it is often the giver, rather than the receiver, who gets the biggest psychological benefit from a gift.

At every trade show you participate in, you’ll find the show floor littered with giveaways, tchotchkes, or swag, which according to the dictionary, are usually decorative, worthless and disposable knick-knacks with little or no purpose, or if they are useful, chances are they’ll break easily.

So what do holiday gift-giving and tchotchke-giving have in common, and if you choose to participate, does it come from your heart, or out of a sense of obligation?

Let’s look at five ways to tell whether you’re a grinch or a giver:

1. You’re a giver if: You spend time deciding on the right gift for the recipient. You picture the person using and enjoying it.

You’re a grinch if: You don’t question why you’re giving the gift, but rather you do it because you feel you have do, and then you find something that’s cheap, and useless just to get the job done.

2. You’re a giver if: You give the gift as a token of your appreciation to show that you care.

You’re a grinch if: You leave stuff lying out in your booth so people can help just themselves.

3. You’re a giver if: You feel good about giving the gift. The act gives you enormous pleasure and satisfaction.

You’re a grinch if: You hand your swag out to passers by just so that you can get rid of it, and not have to ship it back to your office.

4. You’re a giver if: You view your gift as a way to partner, show interest or strengthen a bond with the recipient.

You’re a grinch if: You really don’t care about your tchotchke, and don’t realize that it can help promote your company.

5. You’re a giver if: You give from the heart, with no feeling, or pressure of reciprocity.

You’re a grinch if: You give with a sense of self-serving, to get something back from the receiver, such as a contact, referral, or best of all, their business.

Whatever the reason you give a gift, be it for the holidays, a birthday, or to reward behavior, remember that when you give sincerely from the heart, you’ll get far more pleasure, than a sense of obligation.

And, for your next trade show, think about the giveaway you want others to receive. Make it useful, educational, or business related, and one that you’re proud to give. In fact, use yourself as a litmus test. Ask yourself if this item is something you’d like to receive if someone were to give it to you.

Happy holidays and happy gift giving!

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Confuse or Lose: 3 Keys to Avoid Trade Show Confusion

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In a recent coaching session, my client started telling me all about the different products he was going to be showing at the trade show he was preparing for. I listened patiently and then asked “which is the most important one?” “They all are” was my client’s response.

Over the years I’ve seen this mistake played over and over again at various shows.  Booths stuffed full of stuff, different stations and activities that makes it look like a three-ring circus. Presented with this jumble, the visitor may or may not try to figure out whether the exhibitor has something of interest to offer.

According to psychological research, when the brain is presented with too much information to absorb, it easily becomes confused. And at a trade show, a befuddled mind often takes the easy way out, and together with the body, moves on to the next booth.

The message I get from these types of exhibitors is three-fold – ill-prepared, lazy, and selfish. They are ill-prepared and lazy because they haven’t taken the time to focus on one specific product or message for their target audience, and selfish because it’s all about them and not about their prospects and customers.

To avoid buyer confusion at your next show, here are three important keys:

1.    Take time to plan and crystallize your exhibiting goals and objectives.  The purpose of your booth is to attract the right buyers so that you can have a meaningful conversation about their needs and wants.

2.    Have one clear message and focus for your booth.  Remember that according to trade show research, over 76% of visitors go to shows to see “what’s new.”  With this in mind, present something new, exciting and different.

3.    Keep your booth open and welcoming.
a.    Get rid of chairs to avoid the sitting temptation.
b.    Keep tables at the sides or at the back of the booth (tables at the front act as a barrier).
c.    Make sure your booth isn’t overflowing with your own staff who stand around chitchatting with each other when the show is slow.

Finally, as you prepare for your next show, remember to keep focused on what’s most important to your target audience – not you!

Susan Friedmann, CSP, The Tradeshow Coach, internationally recognized exhibit marketing expert working with companies to increase their profitability at trade shows. Author: “Riches in Niches: How to Make it BIG in a small Market,” “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Target Marketing,” “Meeting & Event Planning for Dummies”and many other titles. For more great information on trade show marketing strategies that work, and for a complimentary copy of “Exhibiting Success,” visit http://www.thetradeshowcoach.com. Click to download the “Riches in Niches” app.

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