Monday, October 31, 2011

Making Your Exhibit Memorable

Part 3 of 6
Whether you are working with a large, corporate budget or are putting the display together with more limited funds, there are quite a few things you need to remember.

  • Make sure your company sign has big, readable letters. This is the first way you will grab people’s attention. It should be color coordinated to match your company’s logo or brand colors. If you set up the sign on top of the display or at eye-level of those passing by, it will be easily seen.

  • Have a plethora of marketing material such as business cards, brochures and flyers readily available on the table.

  • Does your company have a video or PowerPoint presentation it uses to show potential clients or one that is posted on your website? Why not set up a laptop computer in your display with the video or presentation running continuously?

  • Offer a door prize or incentive for stopping by your exhibit. Have a big bowl or container available to capture a business card from the visitor in order to enter them in the drawing for the prize. The card will have their name, address, telephone and email address on it. This information is golden as follow-up for future sales calls, adding to your emailing database, inviting them to connect with you on LinkedIn or Facebook, or if you particularly enjoyed speaking with that person, setting up a future meeting to get better acquainted.

  • Make sure that the person(s) you have staffing your booth know your product inside and out. Friends are great to enlist as helpers, but they will be useless to you if they can’t answer the questions they will be asked by visitors.

  • You generally find promotional items, such as pens and post-it notes, as give-away items, preferably ones that have your company name or logo on them. Ideally, these “tchotchkes” would be related to your business in some way. For example, a computer repair company may offer screen cleaners that attach to a PC computer monitor. The user would have a functional item that has the name of your company in front of him daily. Who will be the first person he or she thinks of if they need some computer work done?

Next Post: More tips on setting up a display at a trade show or business expo.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Know Why You Are Exhibiting at the Trade Show

Part 2 of 6
Before you commit the time and expense to be a vendor at the trade show, first and foremost, you need to define why you are exhibiting and what you hope to accomplish. Are you there to get leads? To sell your product or service? To get noticed? All of the above?

You will need to determine which type of trade show best serves your purpose. There are two kinds of trade shows. One is a vertical exhibitor show in which the majority of the participants focus their products or services toward a single market, function or industry. The second kind is a horizontal exhibitor show that contains a broad mix of companies that exhibit products or services from many different industries.

It doesn’t matter which of the two kinds of shows you choose, the main attraction for participating in any expo is that it is the best way to get in front of a mass of people in a very short period of time. I’m rather sure that you will see more people there in one day than you could from making sales calls over several months.

Some other compelling reasons for participating are:

  • You never know who will be at the show. Your product or service may be seen by distributors, franchisees, potential business partners, etc., or even catch the interest of the media

  • Using the opportunity as a way to test your marketing material

  • Using it to introduce or test new products or ideas for service

  • Creating an industry or community presence

  • Collecting leads for potential customers

  • Meeting and greeting people who might otherwise be unavailable to you

  • To support the organization holding the event

    Next post: How can you make your exhibit at a trade show memorable and effective?
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    To Exhibit...Or Not to Exhibit? An Answer to the Trade Show Dilemma

    Part 1 of 6
    Business trade shows and expos provide wonderful exposure for you to promote your service or product. Almost all Chamber of Commerce and other networking organizations sponsor these marketing opportunities to their members. There is always a cost to exhibit at these events, and sometimes it can be a hefty fee.

    Frequently at an event I notice that over a third of the exhibitors don’t capitalize on the opportunity and frankly, I wonder why they spent the money to even be there.

    The most memorable space I saw was at a two-day Chamber of Commerce event this past August, held in conjunction with an outdoor summer festival, which guaranteed high traffic for the exhibitors. I wandered up to a table that had a fish bowl to drop cards in to win a door prize, and the really nice item, an oversized space heater, sitting on the table. That was it. The gentleman behind the table encouraged me to fill out a little pre-printed form for the drawing. It simply asked for my name and phone number.

    I asked him the name of his company, as there were no brochures, flyers or even business cards to identify the company or their product or service. He told me it was on the sign. The sign he was referring to was hanging in front of the table and was on an erasable message board that was smudged beyond recognition, as everyone who came up to the table leaned against it and blocked it from the view of people passing by.

    He animatedly started to go through his schpeil. I stopped him mid-sentence and told him that I was visiting all the other booths too and at his table, there was nothing to help me to remember the product he was so excited about. I explained that without something to take away from his exhibit, he missed the whole point of being there. But most obviously, the company didn’t put much thought into the display at all. . . . . or being remembered.

    Next post: Why are you going to be an exhibitor at a business expo in the first place?

    A New Chapter for M3 Blog & Two Floors Down Productions

    It’s rather obvious that my audio blog is still on hiatus. Larry Henry, owner of Two Floors Down Productions and producer of the audio portion of this blog, has moved on to bigger and better projects. This past spring, he got busy traveling as the radio announcer for the American LeMans Racing Series, in addition to his work with Ford Racing and Indy Racing. And now, as the ALMS racing season winds down, he decided to move with his family to Indiana.

    I wish him the best in his new adventures and thank him profusely for creating the Maurer Marketing Minutes. You probably don’t know that this blog was Larry’s idea. It started out as an exercise to assist me into easing back into my business life after taking a year off to regroup and recover from a personal crisis. It gave me focus and a mission and I will be forever grateful for his friendship. And, I’m happy to report, he did get some rather good business out of the deal as well!

    Larry will be hard to replace. But, until I find a new producer for recording the audio segments, I’ll share my thoughts (and enlist some guest bloggers) on self-promotion and marketing advice in the blog . . . . . and ssshhhhh …… maybe in an upcoming book.