trade show checklist

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For every dollar spent on a tradeshow or major event, companies can statistically calculate a $5.00 return. Customer engagement and interaction has the potential to increase that return, provided attendees feel they are recieving additional value. In a mobile, social, and digitally driven society, today's customers expect more. Are you armed as a interactive business for your next major event or tradeshow?

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  • COMMUNICATIONS PLANTrade Shows & Events Leveraging Interactive Business in Planning and Preparation

    Trade shows come at us around the same time each year. Due to a heavy workload, there is often limited time to plan for these shows, especially when the technology landscape changes as rapidly as it does today. Rather than just pull out last year's plan and adjust it, a holistic strategy may help drive advanced planning and lead to a more productive show. Not every show is the same, yet there are some pre-show, at-show and post-show activities that can create impact and leave a lasting impression for attendees. This communications plan acts as a blueprint strategy in planning and preparation for trade shows or major events.

    STRATEGY

    First came the paper era. Years ago, youd attend conferences or trade shows armed only with a pad of paper and a pen. Youd collect business cards, gather receipts, and carry around a briefcase full of exhibitor booth sell sheets and sticky notes; only to arrive home with enough reams of paper to put together your very own book.

    Then, we heralded in the laptop era. Amidst those still transcribing notes on paper, a few forward-thinkers emerged with their laptops. Wi-Fi was still uncommon, but word processing programs had the ability to save notes for later review. As more people leveraged laptops, technology made its way into the arena and outlets became conference campfires.

    Enter the year 2014. Welcome to the. Now you likely come armed with a tablet and a smartphone to make the most of your conference or trade show experience. You take notes, grab pictures, and record videos. You connect, engage, interact, and follow up.

    Interactive is changing the landscape of trade shows and major events - fast. People want to interact. They want to engage. They dont want to talk to a salesperson, grab a brochure, and walk away in the fashion they used to. They want and expect new ways of engagement thanks to a fundamental shift in the way people gather and digest information. As expectations shift, companies who host events, man booths at trade shows, and hope to expand and monetize a prospect and customer base must provide an integrated, compelling, and interconnected experience.

    by ENVANO, INC.

    for Interactive Business Strategists

    PAGE ! 1

  • THE BASICS

    The role of Interactive at trade shows:

    Excite. Connect. Engage.

    One way to add consistency and uniformity to your trade show store front is to develop a list of questions designed to identify any shifts in logistics, audience, budgets and messaging. This list of questions can be provided to a business unit and other key internal teams, then the feedback consolidated and incorporated into the plan for the show. The following basic questions help to strategically prepare for live and digital experiences.

    What is the feeling we want visitors to leave with?

    What is the Trade Show or Event? And When?

    Who is our Primary Audience?

    Is the event Indoors or Outdoors?

    Who else will be there? How do they compare to us?

    What is the goal/objective of the booth?

    What is the experience visitors will have?

    Is there opportunity to take a new approach, do something out of the box or innovative?

    What is our budget?

    What is the space/booth like? And who else is around?

    Are there any special needs that well have to implement our plan? (extra power, devices, etc.)

    PAGE ! 2

  • Social - There is no better time to generate pre show buzz or to let your customers know you are making an appearance at a particular event. Using social media channels, use attendees as a mouthpiece. Encourage them to share details of the event early by offering incentives for spreading the word, particularly via their social networks as they decide to attend. Polls, contests, group chats, and event advice allow you to begin building relationships with people attending the show while maintaining the interest of those who cant make it. Consider using your fans and followers to help plan the booth. Ask them what they want to see, make it into a contest.

    PRE SHOW

    Your interactive trade show booth must create a welcoming environment, something that will draw people in for a closer look.Here are some general guidelines and high level ideas for making booths interactive and engaging.

    Email - Email blasts to customers in your current contact lists are also key to driving event attendance. In certain situations, attendee feedback prior to the start of the show or event can help craft the event experiences, ensuring a positive response yielding a similar ROI. Design and create a string of email blasts to current customer and prospect lists, relevant to the show. Use these emails to: tell people you have a booth, encourage feedback and ideas, provide an incentive for attending and visiting.

    Text and Mobile - Without going to great lengths, you can use mobile SMS messages and polling to

    conduct simple alerts and polls before the event. Text communications are particularly valuable

    when you will reveal something at the event having to do with mobile - apps, mobile sites, games,

    etc. Use SMS and MMS messages to reach people who have subscribed via mobile phone or short code.

    Like social, text polls are a great way to gauge the perspective of the audience regarding what is

    valuable for them come show time.

    Bloggers - Bloggers have been part of events and trade shows for a few years now, typically used

    to create content from an event released across social media, the events own microsite, and that

    bloggers loyal followers. As with all things - this too is evolving. Consider using industry bloggers

    not only to create content that promotes your presence at a trade show but to qualify your content,

    lending credibility to the brand and encouraging show attendance.

    Social Currency - A top term for 2014 as event marketers start to put a monetary value on having

    event attendees link their social media networks to live brand experiences. Consider product cost

    savings or discounts, or offering giveaways in exchange for tweets, posts or mentions. You can also

    give exclusive access to certain area of the booth or content for LinkedIn posts about your company at

    the trade show.

    Microsites - Identify different types of attendees and market to each segment differently with

    specific microsites. These sites allow attendees to interact with the event or trade show and you

    before, during and after the actual event starts and ends.

    PAGE ! 3

  • AT SHOW

    Promotional Giveaways and Raffles: An ideal way to get your contact information out to the public

    is to place it on promotional giveaway items like pens and coffee mugs, which the recipient can

    use frequently. But instead of sticking with traditional items like those above, consider sharing

    something unique with booth visitors. A small, branded part from an old product is unique, shows a

    longstanding company history, and is a great conversation piece. Also, its a good idea to encourage

    visitors to enter their contact information in a drawing for bigger prize, like a cost savings or branded

    iPad with the latest company apps.

    Demonstrations: One of the best ways to promote your product at a show is through a hands-on

    demonstration. As mentioned before, appealing to the senses is a key to success. Find ways to

    have visitors feel, taste, smell, and listen to the product. You need to engage the audience as

    much as possible and encourage volunteers to join in. The person who does your demonstration

    needs to be charming, well spoken, outgoing, animated, and quick-witted. Strut your (new) stuff -

    whether its a new product or an addition to the fleet of apps, showing something new to your

    customer is an easy way to succeed at a trade show. Model replicas are always a hit.

    Games: Everybody loves a good game. The key here is for your booth to provide games that are

    not only engaging and fun but also provides information on your product. Develop a trivia game

    both about company history and products and reward participants with branded prizes. Also, any

    type of social or mobile app game can encourage networking among visitors and improve their

    experience at your booth.

    Appeal to the Senses: Memories are strongly linked to the senses, especially the sense of smell

    (which is why many companies use food or other recognizable scents to attract booth visitors). If

    you are able to appeal to the five senses, you stand a more likely chance of being remembered.

    Invite customers and prospects to fully experience your products - allow visitors to manipulate or sit on

    machines, use vivid displays and demonstrations, and catchy music to help entice visitors. You may

    even consider trying to appeal to the nose with the scent of grass, dirt, concrete etc.

    Mobile -Social media is a great tool for generating buzz and engagement, but the opportunity to foster business value at events is often realized through mobile initiatives. Elevate the functionality and experience of your trade show booth with an interactive iPad app, de