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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Guest Blog: 7 Keys to Designing the Perfect Exhibit Display

Creating a lasting impression on people through your exhibit display is becoming increasingly vital in the ever competitive world of trade shows and exhibitions. First impressions do count massively when attracting people to your exhibit display, even if your company has superior products/services. Initial negative impressions from a poor exhibit display might detract potential customers – but not to worry! These seven key ingredients can help you design an eye catching exhibit display that will inundate you with visitors:

1)    Marketing aims and/or exhibiting goals
First of all, it is worth considering what kind of message you wish to communicate through your display, as well as your reasons for exhibiting at the show. Make sure you hang on to these reasons throughout the whole process! Even the most perfect exhibit display might fall at the last hurdle if it doesn’t efficiently convey your aims, image or brand values. Consider what kind of image you want your design to convey – is your company cutting-edge, functional, silly?

2)    Target audience
Make sure to keep your target audience in mind when designing your exhibit display. You need to steer your concept towards what your customer base wants – there’s no use creating a display that attracts the wrong prospects.

3)    Maximizing space
Exhibit displays ought to take full advantage of your allocated space, so ensure that you find out the dimensions from the organizers before entering the design process. Show shows will allow you to build exhibit displays up to 20 feet in height, so make sure to capitalize on such allocations so as to outdo your competitors. Flaunt your logo across the hall by creating signage with a high arch, or by having your brand featured on a central tower or on a top truss. To assist with the flow of your exhibit display, make sure there are no obstructions blocking your visitors from seeing your brand, and try to keep meeting areas to the back.

4)    Text
When it comes to text on an exhibit display, less is most certainly more. Stay as brief and succinct as possible, remembering that you don’t need to use full paragraphs or sentences when a few words will do. Use fonts large and legible enough to be seen from a distance, making sure that they are in line with your brand image. Place any text high up so as to avoid it being blocked by people visiting your booth.

5)    Graphics
The phrase ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ couldn’t be more appropriate when it comes to exhibit displays. The correct use of images can help to convey complex ideas quickly and effectively without the need for text. Large scale images can be particularly successful – bear in mind that your target audience will use your company logo and images to confirm your business’ identity. As with text, remember to consider image placement in order to ensure that they can be seen from a distance without being obscured.

6)    Lighting
Adding lighting to your display is a key requirement for increasing traffic and ensuring that your message is clear. On a standard level, lighting allows potential customers to clearly read your display and its message. On a deeper level, however, it can convey a mood or atmosphere, and even highlight a particular area of an exhibit display, such as a new service or product.
You could for example use angled light boxes at the entrance to your display, or even adapt colored lighting to create a particular mood you’re after.

7)    Materials
Using the right material will help reinforce your brand, creating a dazzling design that can attract your target audience to your display. For innovative and forward thinking companies, try using brushed aluminum panels or silver and chrome details to create a contemporary look. For more traditional and corporate businesses, you should opt for richer wood tones. It’s also worth considering the use of fabric, i.e. fabric dividers which are perfect for separating specific areas apart.

Incorporate these tips into your design and you should be set to create an effective, attractive, and perfect exhibit display!

Guest article by Amy Henderson, writer on marketing businesses through trade shows, display stands and exhibition stands for Marler Haley.
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Is the New iPad a Good Trade Show Giveaway?

Is the new iPad a good trade show giveaway?

A resounding “yes” if you are Apple or are an Apple supplier. If you’re anyone else, “definitely not.”

Why am I so against this new and exciting addition to the hi-tech market? It’s definitely not because I have anything against the iPad, in fact, quite the opposite.  I’m not sure who wants one more, my husband, or myself!

I’m against this type of high-end giveaway for the simple reason that it attracts all the wrong people to your booth.  It’s magnetic effect lures attendees who, for the most part, are only interested in being a winner, and are often not at all interested in what product or service you have to offer – if they even know what it is.

I’ve just returned from a small, yet highly prestigious show in a niche market, where three out of forty exhibitors were giving away an iPad.  Two of the biggest names in that industry where side-by-side on the show floor, (guess what) giving away the same exact thing. I watched as most of the attendees diligently filled out a card with their key information, and dropped it into a fish bowl saying a little prayer that theirs will be the lucky one.  What did the booth staff do? They just watched, and once in a while, had a brief interaction with the visitor. Not the best scenario!

If you want to do something else, how can you make the best use of giveaways, and what’s the best one for you?

Here are five guidelines for you to follow:

If you want to do something else, how can you make the best use of giveaways, and what’s the best one for you?
Here are five guidelines for you to follow:

1.    Understand the purpose of a giveaway item
The purpose of a giveaway item is to increase your prospect’s memorability of your product or service long after the show is over.  It’s a token of appreciation, a way to thank your prospect for visiting your booth.  It’s like a souvenir you have from a fun vacation. Every time you look at it or use it, you conjure up memories – hopefully good ones!

2.    Fit your giveaway into your exhibiting objective
There are so many quality logo products to consider. However, which one will best suit your purpose?  To select the right item, you need to decide on your objective.  Do you want it to enhance a theme; convey a specific message, create brand awareness, or educate your target audience?   A clear purpose helps make your selection process easier.  Consult a promotional specialist to help you choose an effective solution. Having a clear objective for your premium item makes deciding who receives it, easier. Consider different gifts for different types of visitors – quality gifts for your key customers, and prospects, and something else, if necessary, for general passers by.

3.    Give visitors something to do to qualify for a gift
There are several ways to use your premium effectively.  For example, as a reward for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or contest; as a token of your appreciation when visitors give you qualifying information about their specific needs; as a thank you for stopping at the booth.  However, avoid leaving items out for the masses because this lowers the perceived value, and lacks the “all important” memorability factor.

4.    Use the giveaway as a traffic builder
A sufficiently novel or useful giveaway can actively help to draw prospects to your booth.  Make sure your prospects know about it beforehand.  Send a “tickler” invitation, add it to your Facebook page, tweet about it, or use any other social media so that the right people know about it, and will make a point of coming to see you at the show.  Remember to include your booth number.

5.    Measure the effectiveness of your premium
Develop a tracking system to measure the success of your giveaway.  If it’s a redemption item, code it so that you know it resulted from the show.  Post-show follow-up with your booth visitors could include a question about the premium – did they remember receiving it, and how useful was the item.  Critique your giveaway with your exhibit team: Did it draw the right (quality) prospects to the booth? Did your customers find it useful?  Did it project the right corporate image? Remember that your company image is reflected in whatever you choose to give away, so make sure that it’s quality!
What’s the right giveaway that’ll attract qualify prospects?  Anything that’s related to your products or services that will educate, or help your target audience in a positive way!

So, forget the iPad unless you’re Apple!

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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