Social Media and Exhibit Marketing

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 18, 2012

The results of the EXHIBITOR Magazine’s 2012 Social-Media Marketing Survey were announced recently.  New data shows that the percentage of marketers using social media in their trade show exhibit program increased by nearly 90%.
Eight out of ten marketers say their companies are currently using social media for a variety of purposes, including exhibit marketing (58 percent), event marketing (36 percent), and other general marketing purposes (67 percent).
Those tapping into the marketing potential of social-media applications claim increased brand awareness, enriched relationships with clients and prospects, increased booth traffic and event attendance, additional press coverage, and increased sales as direct results of their campaigns. Yet fewer marketers are proactively setting measurable objectives to track the success or failure of their online efforts.
The use of social media as a marketing tool has exploded over the past two years. Most respondents agree that social media is a powerful tool for face-to-face marketers. 
Comprehensive results of the 2012 Social-Media Marketing Survey will be published in the June issue of EXHIBITOR magazine.


Add Video to Trade Show Exhibits

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 11, 2012

Trade show attendees expect more from the trade show experience these days. Advances in technology, design and lightweight materials have turned trade show displays into a very powerful marketing tool.
Incorporating strong video elements into your trade show exhibit is a good way of connecting with your customers – an eye-catching video is more accessible than a marketing brochure and transmits your message more effectively.
In an increasingly competitive marketplace, trade show exhibitors can no longer afford to ignore the powerful benefits of video presentations.
What type of video should you use in your trade show display?
Trade show display videos offer a unique opportunity to show off products and services to potential customers. For maximum impact, use a variety of testimonials, interviews, product displays and adverts.
You can use video to promote newly launched services and also can field video product demos without the cost of employing a demonstrator for the show.  Contact your customers and ask them to give you a video testimonial to use in your display. They will probably thank you for the free publicity.
Remember that your display is a gateway to your business. It is worthwhile preparing a good quality presentation.
Using a smartphone to capture video gives a powerful immediacy to your display. Imagine the impact of recording customer testimonials at the trade show and immediately streaming it through your monitors, or being able to present a live product display.

The viral effect of social media shares means you will reach far more people this way.
By using video in your trade show booth you will have clients at the show engaged with your business.  Once your trade show exhibit is compatible with video and technology, the possibilities for awareness and exposure are endless.

The Exhibit Source is a leader in cutting edge event technology. Contact us.

Lead Generation Ideas for Trade Shows

Joseph Coupal - Monday, June 04, 2012

With the right ideas, B2B marketers can leverage trade show attendance to refill their sales funnel, bring in new customers and boost sales revenue.

The #1 objective for trade show attendance is lead generation.

How you approach trade shows depends on your overall strategy.  Once you have a solid strategy in place, knowing which tactics to employ becomes easier.

We broke down the ideas into 5 broad areas, which are ideal for B2B marketers planning their trade show marketing:

1. Show Selection – Just because you’ve been to a show before does not mean that you should keep returning.  And you might want to consider other shows you haven’t attended.  Some of the best ideas that apply to B2B marketers include:

Go to fewer trade shows, but put more effort into the trade show booth staff preparation and promotions for each remaining show.

Track leads to determine and expand in the shows with the best ROI.

2. Trade Show Exhibit Design – Don’t think of your trade show exhibit as just a booth, but rather as a communications medium in and of itself.  At trade shows, there are many distinctive exhibits. However, there are often also exhibits so similar to one another that they are essentially invisible. Some exhibit design ideas from the list:

Design your exhibit to more boldly, and clearly say why attendees will benefit from working with you.

Put fewer elements on your trade show display, but make the remaining images and messages bigger and more concise.

3. Pre-show Promotions – If you don’t start driving traffic to your site before the show, you’re at a disadvantage from the beginning.

Use social media to reach more attendees.

Send half of something of value to attendees before the show, and promise to give the other half in your booth.

4. At-show Promotions and Activities – It’s easier to stand out at a trade show than you think!

Run presentations or video loops on large video monitors.

Get someone from your company to be a speaker at the show.

5. Booth Staffing – An investment of time and money in training your booth personnel may pay the largest dividends. Two more ideas:

Hold a contest to reward the staffers who take the highest quantity of qualified leads.

Prepare your booth staffers with several good engaging questions.

And to the author’s excellent 100 ideas I add just one more:  follow up after the show!

To create the best trade show exhibit at the show, contact The Exhibit Source.

Business 2 Community

More Leads with Your Trade Show Exhibit

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Most businesses that regularly attend trade shows believe that they are a good investment. However, there are methods and strategies to get more leads with your trade show exhibit design:

  1. Get a bigger booth
  2. Get a booth space closer to the hub of traffic, or by a bigger competitor
  3. Get a corner booth space
  4. Backlight your trade show display graphics
  5. Design your exhibit to more boldly, and clearly say why attendees will benefit from working with you
  6. Put fewer elements on your exhibit, but make the remaining images and messages bigger and more concise
  7. Use graphics with images and benefits that appeal more directly to attendees at your vertical market shows
  8. Put benefit statements on your trade show exhibit graphics
  9. Replace your tired old display with a new trade show exhibit
  10. Make your exhibit architecture more inviting to enter
  11. Pick more exciting colors on your exhibit
  12. Bring fewer products, such as only your most popular products, to minimize clutter
  13. Get a taller exhibit
  14. Add more lighting
  15. Put messages on your flooring
  16. Avoid an exhibit that looks like everyone else
  17. Keep your booth neat and clean throughout the show
  18. Move interesting equipment and technology to the outside of the booth
  19. Use a theme that gets attention and memorably ties into your competitive advantage or offering
  20. Match your exhibit message to your other marketing materials

For assistance in creating your trade show display, contact The Exhibit Source.


Steps to Trade Show Success

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 21, 2012

With the right planning, B2B marketers can use trade shows to speed up the sales cycle, reduce the cost of sales, and reach customers and prospects.

Many feel that exhibit marketing is the most cost-effective means of reaching customers and prospects; it reduces the buying cycle; it allows you to reach hidden buyers.  Most important, though, is that it can reduce the cost of a sale by as much as 75%.

However, to attain those kinds of results, planning is essential.  And that’s where many trade show exhibitors fall short.

71% of all exhibitors have no measurable goals or objectives or even a written marketing plan.

Here is a 12-step planning process that can be very helpful for B2B companies who are actively marketing or considering marketing at trade shows.

  1. Define the Situation – Who is your company? What is your product and its real benefit? Who are your competitors?
  2. Identify Your Target Audience – This needs to go beyond just the procurement people. Think about the end users and those who influences the buying decision.  You probably have multiple, distinct audiences.
  3. Pre-show Research – Not all trade shows are a good investment of your time and money.  
  4. Set Goals and Measurable Objectives – Sales goals are not a realistic metric given the long sales cycles for most B2B sales, but other goals should be set and measured such as contact and qualified leads.
  5. Have Management Support and Input – To be effective, management needs to perceive trade show marketing as a cost rather than an investment.  Don’t exhibit if you can’t get management support and input.
  6. Strategies and Tactics – This contains the specifics of how to achieve the goals and objectives from #4 above.  Unfortunately, many exhibitors skip #’s 1-5 and start here.
  7. Include Current Advertising and Corporate Communications – Your trade show message needs to be consistent with all other corporate brand touch points.
  8. Pre-Show/At-Show Promotion – After you’ve determined who you really need to see at the show, develop a promotion beforehand targeting that group to drive them to you.
  9. Design a trade show Exhibit to Support Steps 1-8 – Take the perspective of the visitor whose mindset is “what’s in it for me?”
  10. Plan the Follow-Up Plan – According to some experts, 80% of exhibitors don’t follow up on leads. By developing a follow-up program beforehand, this problem can be eliminated.
  11. Involve and Train Your Staff – One of the biggest challenges is getting staff to listen to visitors before jumping into a presentation.
  12. Measure Results and Make Money – This involves getting back to management, comparing results to objectives and determining if a return to that show is in order.

Business to Community

Join The Exhibit Source for Boston Biz Lab 2012 and After Hours Cocktail Party

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Boston Biz Lab is a new type of event that combines a “test kitchen” for early stage business and consumer products, services and ideas with showcasing best of breed established products to hip, cool, networked business professionals.

After Hours Boston Networking Club Cocktail Party

Sponsored by The Exhibit Source

Hynes Convention Center Lounge Space # 210 from 6pm – 10pm on 5/16

Click Here for more information

What Else Can you Use Your Trade Show Exhibit For?

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 14, 2012

Trade show exhibits are an investment and when you invest in having one created, you most certainly want to do it right. Obviously, getting the most out of your investment in key to justifying the investment, and ROI is the point of the show, right?

But there is another way to make use of your trade show display to expand your brand after the event is over that can further help their ROI. How? Use your trade show exhibit to recruit at job fairs and college campuses.

When your organization participates in regional job fairs or recruits at college campuses your trade show display will prominently display your logo, brand, and top products or services to help you recruit the top talent.
Rather than the traditional marketing materials your HR department can create specific recruiting material to hand out along with business cards and product information.

The Exhibit Source designs customized trade show displays that help businesses in any industry get noticed at any trade show. Looking for visually impacting trade show booths? Contact The Exhibit Source.

Common Sense Trade Show Exhibit Tips that Are Not So Common

Joseph Coupal - Monday, May 07, 2012

In designing your trade show exhibit the use of graphics is always important and necessary. But it is the type of graphic that catches the eye first that is most important. In creating graphics be sure to do this first and foremost: Quickly and easily show who you are, and what you do.

This seems like common sense. It is so basic and it is so important in your trade show display, but you would be so surprised at how many people don’t do this.

Remember that you have no more than 5 seconds to catch that potential client’s attention with your trade show exhibit.  Potential customers need to see immediately who you are and what your company does. If they don’t then you have a slim chance at attracting their interest.

You have been to a trade show; you know that there are just too many other marketing messages competing for the attention of attendees. No one has the time to try and figure out what you can provide.

Be sure to concisely state what you do.  Show what problems you solve, solutions you offer and what sets you apart.  Show potential clients that your company can meet their needs.  This also saves your staff time and energy. It helps you qualify the visitors that stop at your trade show booth.

Adding visual graphics help too. Use bullet points, color images or testimonials to encourage people to stop at your booth. Ensure too that your staff knows your product, service and business in order to help increase your trade show ROI.

For help designing your trade show display, contact The Exhibit Source in Newton.

The Right Way to Attend a Trade Show

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 30, 2012

Trade shows are your company’s chance to debut a new product, find better vendors and suppliers, reach out to potential clients and find new talent to bring in to your company. But if you want to grab people’s attention at a trade show, then you will need to make and follow a plan and use some good trade show techniques. The company that is prepared to maximize the opportunities at a trade show is the company that will walk away feeling like the investment in the event was worth it.

Marketing Materials

One of the biggest mistakes companies make when they prepare for a trade show is a mediocre trade show display and deciding to use the existing marketing materials they have on hand. In order to make a big impact at a trade show, you need to give people something that will make your products stand out. You need to have new marketing materials and pop up trade show displays made up for the products and services you will be featuring at the show.

Make and Follow a Plan

Your company is investing a lot of money into being on a trade show floor. Do not go into the show without having a plan. Your trade show booth may look impressive, but if you do not have a message for attendees that they can understand, then you will not draw traffic.

If you want to release new products at this trade show, then develop your approach around those products. If you are going to use this trade show to try and attract new distributors for your products, then you will need a presentation more geared towards the benefits of doing business with your company as opposed to just product benefits.

Have the Right Team

If you are focusing on product sales at the show, then you will need sales people and you will need product engineers to answer detailed questions. If your presence at the show is designed to attract vendors or distributors, then you will want members of the logistics team, marketing department and executive team on hand to make a good impression.

The Giveaway

Too many companies underestimate the power of the free giveaway at trade shows. Giving away toys or notepads with your company logo on them is nice, but if you give people something they can use word will travel fast among the crowds.

When you have a good plan for a trade show, then you can maximize your investment in show resources. Take the time to plan your presence in advance so that you can attract more visitors and collect more useful information.


How You Should Think About ROI in Trade Shows

Joseph Coupal - Monday, April 23, 2012

It’s time to change the conversation about trade shows. Stop thinking about monetary ROI from trade shows and move on to more urgent and practical matters.

What do you want to get from trade show spend?

There is a simple answer: Leads and sales.

Exhibit marketing isn’t like the other popular B2B marketing tactics. B2B marketing needs personal selling.

Websites, Webinars, SEO, paid search, e-mail, PR, print advertising, direct mail and social media are all one or more steps removed from personal selling.

Executives demand need evidence of ROI in the above, because they can readily suck up time and money without clearly driving sales.

But exhibit marketing is different.

It’s so closely tied to personal selling that you shouldn’t demand elaborate proof of ROI in it. You can’t demand that sales people prove their ROI with charts and graphs of phone calls, travel, hospitality and gifts.

Judge a trade show, like a salesperson is judged.

In assessing trade show performance, this is what executives want to know:

  • Does the show help our company communicate effectively?
  • Does it help us establish industry leadership?
  • Does it let us identify promising accounts?
  • Does it help us educate and develop buyers?
  • Does it create valuable relationships?
  • And does it, when all’s said and done, produce sales?

To accomplish the above, send the right people and have the right trade show display. For a captivating trade show exhibit, contact The Exhibit Source.

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