Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Not every event warrants a big-budget, stadium-worthy setup. Keep these tips in mind to create a small stage with considerable impact.

1. Consider your audience size. “For a small stage and a large audience, make stage elements large, impactful, and easy to see and understand,” says Melissa Kirby of Event Creative. For a small stage and a small audience, “details are critical,” she says. “Propping makes a big difference.”

2. If you can’t go up, go wide. Hotel conference rooms often have low ceilings. “Make an impact by extending the set out to the sides,” Kirby says. “Or, bring in additional [decor] elements throughout the room to make the stage feel bigger than it is.”

3. Be conscious of space. Matt Stoelt of Stoelt Productions notes that even small stages can have a large footprint, due to backline support equipment. “Be sure to place the stage in a corner or against a wall if possible to reduce the amount of space [the entire setup] will take up,” he says.

4. Skip heavy lighting fixtures. “Using lightweight LED fixtures will help to create a large impact in a small space,” Stoelt says. “These fixtures are great for creating abstract looks and generally weigh a lot less than traditional luminaries, allowing them to be rigged to points in the venue rather than ­using an overhead truss.”

5. Raise the stage. To leave room for subwoofer cabinets, Stoelt advises raising small stages to at least 24 inches. Another audio tip: “Using smaller line array systems can typically save space by putting them directly on the downstage edge and off the floor,” he says.

6. Look for preexisting backdrops. Whenever possible, place a small stage in front of preexisting video walls or other visually rich elements within an event space. This can “save on costs while raising production value overall,” Stoelt says.

7. Cover it up. “Always cover the stage to match the venue design or theme of the event,” Stoelt says. “Rental decks are used often, so [they] are typically in poor condition. Low-pile carpet will give a fresh new look to any small stage, and Duvateen fabric can be stapled directly onto the decks.”

<p> Univision hosted its annual Hispanic 411 forum, an event that educates brand marketers and agencies on Hispanic trends and...

Univision hosted its annual Hispanic 411 forum, an event that educates brand marketers and agencies on Hispanic trends and culture, at the Epic Hotel in Miami in February. Produced by Production Resources Group and designed by Shiraz Events, the stage had to conform to the ballroom’s low ceiling height and sphere-shaped chandeliers, which were ultimately incorporated into the set.

Photo: Courtesy of Univision

<p> <a href="http://www.bizbash.com/shiraz-events/new-york/listing/780609">Shiraz Events</a> helped produce Oxygen’s upfront event in New York last year. At the colorful bash, held inside...

Shiraz Events helped produce Oxygen’s upfront event in New York last year. At the colorful bash, held inside the Penthouse at Dream, the centerpiece was a presentation platform topped with a 25-foot-wide, 14-foot-tall yellow arch embedded with marquee lights. The piece was modular, allowing the team to construct it and break it down in under an hour.

Photo: Jaka Vinsek

<p> In February, Teva Pharmaceutical hosted a three-day conference at the Fairmont Waterfront hotel in Vancouver. Playing off the event’s...
In February, Teva Pharmaceutical hosted a three-day conference at the Fairmont Waterfront hotel in Vancouver. Playing off the event’s 007 theme, AVW-Telav designed the opening session stage to look like the office of MI6 head “M,” with a faux fireplace, working light fixtures, and a red leather door. The presentation began with a James Bond-inspired video montage starring the company’s vice president, who eventually appeared on stage via a hidden opening in the set’s bookcase.

Photo: Darryl Matthews

<p> In April, a Fragrance Foundation award breakfast took place at New York’s <a href="http://www.bizbash.com/mandarin-oriental-new-york/new-york/listing/779915">Mandarin Oriental Hotel</a>. For the 20-...
In April, a Fragrance Foundation award breakfast took place at New York’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel. For the 20- by 12-foot stage, designers from Empire Entertainment created a floral backdrop that mimicked the blooms sprouting in Central Park, which the venue overlooks.

Photo: Jonathon Ziegler/patrickmcmullan.com

<p> Diffa’s Believe gala in Chicago last year had a garden-inspired setting. A small stage was used only for the...
Diffa’s Believe gala in Chicago last year had a garden-inspired setting. A small stage was used only for the DJ and announcements, but producers from Event Creative added a pergola to give the raised platform more presence and to incorporate it into the event’s overall look and vibe.

By Jenny Berg for BizBash

7 Tips for Small Stages With Big Impact #events

Not every event warrants a big-budget, stadium-worthy setup. Keep these tips in mind to create a small stage with considerable impact. 1....

Friday, March 18, 2016

In today’s busy technological world, almost everyone has a smart phone connected to at least one social channel. For these people, it’s unlikely a day will go by when they don’t check their Facebook, emails, Instagram account and Twitter. Whether they’re on their lunch break or commute to and from work, it’s not unusual to see people with their heads buried in their phone, oblivious to the world around them.
If you’re an employer, this social engagement can be really beneficial for your company and the event you’re planning. It’s likely that people will be active on social media or checking their smartphones from your event. So instead of having a strict policy or ignoring the members of your audience tapping away at their screens, why not encourage social sharing and engagement and make sure that your event and business is at the centre of the conversation?
Unsure of the best way to utilise your employees’ powerful social network to create a buzz around your event? The team at Absolute Venues Worldwide have put together their 3 top tips…

Create a check-in location 

Make sure people have checked in at your event, so that anyone following their posts will know where they’re interacting from. Create a Facebook check-in which is easy to remember – such as the name of your company and the event – and share this with your employees throughout the event to remind them to join in.
It’s important you create and publicise an official location, as it can be very easy for people to check into the wrong place, or just tag the venue without including your specific event. Consider sharing the check-in on your Facebook and Twitter page and emailing attendees beforehand with the information. Alternatively, you could include the check-in location on any print outs you provide. Ensuring your employees are checked into the right location means that you can keep your eye on their activities and comments throughout the event.

Use a dedicated hashtag 

On Twitter, you can create an event hashtag (#) which will serve a similar purpose to the Facebook check-in tool. Create a hashtag which is easy for users to remember and relevant to the company (e.g. ‘conferencename2015’) then you can monitor its usage and see what people are saying about your event.
Once you’ve decided on the hashtag you’ll be using, make use of it on all of the social content you post. Ensure you’ve advertised the correct hashtag wherever possible- on social media, screens at the event location, any printed materials used, or on the name badges handed to the delegates.
Create an incentive for attendees to tag themselves to your event by holding fun, flash giveaways throughout the day. Enter anyone who uses the Twitter hashtag into prize-draws throughout the day and announce winners during breaks or before sessions commence. Make sure you publicise well the fact that these prize-draws will be taking place (perhaps announce it at the beginning of the event). Not only will this add a lighthearted, personal touch to the day, it will encourage other attendees to get involved with your brand on social too.

Provide live coverage

If you want others to use social media at your event, set the precedent by making sure the company is using it too. Bring a staff member along whose job is to populate and monitor the company social feeds for the duration, so that you can ensure you’re providing a live, up-to-the-minute commentary on your event.
As key events take place- such as guest speakers taking to the stage or new company plans/strategies being unveiled, announce these on your social feeds. Don’t forget to use your hashtag on Twitter, and feel free to interact with others using it by replying to their comments or sharing their insights on your own page. Create a network of engaged attendees through the content you publish, and engage in conversations and debates.
So don’t underestimate the power of social media, and try integrating it into your next corporate event. Not only will live-sharing guarantee the engagement of your employees, it will also ensure that anyone missing the event can keep up-to-date with important information. Using social, you can build a picture of key takeaways and give an insightful overview of events as they happen, with much more impact than a reflective meeting or email would have on your employees.
We understand how stressful organising an event can be, and we’re here to take the stress of planning an event out of the equation. Whether you’re looking for the perfect conference venue or suitable speakers, we’ll strive to understand your businesses requirements to help your event to run as smoothly as possible.Get in touch today, we’ll be happy to help!

Making the most of Social Sharing at your Business Event

In today’s busy technological world, almost everyone has a smart phone connected to at least one social channel. For these people, it’s u...

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Planners and photographers share a goal: After an event, they want to have an attractive, high-quality, and comprehensive set of images. But sometimes event and meeting organizers make aesthetic and logistical choices that serve a live event space at the expense of photography. To help avoid potential conflicts, photographers offered feedback on choices that can make their jobs more difficult and hinder their shots.

1. Arrivals issues

At red carpet events, most of the photography that ends up in the media happens on the arrivals line, so the step-and-repeat area should adhere to certain best practices. “As a photographer, you never want lights at the bottom of a step-and-repeat,” says BFA co-founder and photographer David Prutting. “That’s annoying and hurts the full-length shots—not to mention, people trip on them.” He also says that vinyl backdrops look bad when they reflect light from camera flashes and suggests avoiding them in favor of a matte-finish fabric, board, hedging, or other backdrop. Prutting also advises that lighting shouldn’t be so intense that guests squint in images. And in his opinion, all step-and-repeats should be wider than eight feet. “Nothing worse than a group shot where the group can't fit within the backdrop.”

2. Lighting that looks bad on camera

“Red and blue are both colors that digital doesn't respond well to,” says Tony Brown ofImijination Photography—who allows that these colors may not be avoidable if, for instance, they’re the company hues, or it’s an Independence Day event. Additionally, he urges event pros to avoid doing a color wash on food stations if they want to get appetizing catering shots.
Elizabeth Renfrow of Ra-haus Fotografie characterizes colored lighting as “almost impossible to retouch. If you are going to use colored lights, use them as a highlight, but stick to white light or candlelight” for the venue’s main lighting, she suggests.

3. A dark room

Renfrow also says that bringing lighting levels up overall can improve shots. “If you want something moody, don't make it so dark that you can barely see. I like to use the available light to keep the mood of the scene rather than use a flash that flattens everything out and instantly gives an entirely different feel,” she says. “Mood is absolutely beautiful but we need enough light to capture people's faces. So if you want to be moody and magical, do [stringer] lights or paper lanterns, and make sure to have candles to fill in darker areas closer to people's faces.”

4. A cluttered space

Brown says that extraneous details—even ones that may look great in person—can read as sloppy in event photos. “Generally, confetti on tables never ends up looking good,” he says. “Most of the time it makes things look messy.”

5. Not enough time to shoot

Photographers are likelier to shoot their best work when they have a bit of time to capture images. “One of the smartest caterers I've worked for who wanted room shots told her staff everything had to be ready by 6:30 when in fact the event started at 7 p.m. Thirty glorious minutes of uninterrupted room and detail shots,” he says. “A little down time before the event for [staff] and a free room for photographers [is a win-win].”
Keith Sirchio agrees. “Occasionally photographers are only given a really short window to cover all of the details of a big event before press gets the boot,” he says. “You're told everything is in place, but you have to make your way around quickly. Just when you think you have it covered, they flick the switch on the final lighting design with only minutes to spare and you realize everything you just shot is useless as the environment looks completely different. With only minutes to spare, you have to double back and reshoot.”

6. Redundant photographers

To get shots swiftly and without extraneous people in the frame, Wire Images and Getty Images photographer George Pimentel says he finds it helpful to be the only person designated to the role. He says it can be problematic “when you are at an event and you are hired as the house photographer, but there are other photographers assigned to get coverage of the event as well. You line up a photo opportunity and the other photographers are shooting over your shoulder.”

7. Smoke and fog machines

Diffuse fog or smoke can simply kill still photos, Renfrow says. “Unless the smoke sticks to the ground areas, you end up getting photos that feel like you have serious cataracts. The camera can't penetrate the smoke and it's just milky white filters on everything.”
Source: BizBash

7 Things That Annoy Event Photographers—And Screw Up Their Shots

Planners and photographers share a goal: After an event, they want to have an attractive, high-quality, and comprehensive set of images. ...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

When I was a much younger parent, my five daughters loved watching animated Disney films. The girls would watch them over and over, until they had every line memorized. In fact, they overworked our copy of "The Little Mermaid" VHS cassettes to the point that it eventually puked its guts out, and we had to throw it away. (Very '80s, I know). Almost suicidal over the prospect of going even one day without watching the movie for the 385th time, the girls sent me out to the closest Blockbuster video store (remember those?) to buy a replacement. 

To my shock and horror, there wasn't a VHS (or even Betamax) copy to be found – anywhere in town!

During my desperate search, one sympathetic assistant manager informed me that Disney had pulled all the copies and put them into the "Disney Vault" to be locked away until a re-release would be scheduled.

My next exchange with my daughters went something like this:

Daughters: Dad, can we watch "The Little Mermaid?"
Dad: I'm sorry, but they no longer sell "The Little Mermaid."
Daughters: What!?!? Aaaugghh!!!
Dad: But you girls have every line memorized. Can't you just pretend to watch it?
Daughters: Dad, you're such a dork!!

This single exchange convinced me to immediately buy multiple copies of every Disney movie the moment it was available for sale.

With that decision firmly made, the exchange changed drastically to this:
Daughters: Dad, can we watch "The Little Mermaid?"
Dad: Of course, but this is the fourth time today, you know.
Daughters: Dad, you're such a dork!!

What the marketers at Disney understood, was the power of "scarcity." If "The Little Mermaid" had been readily available anytime anywhere, the demand would have been far lower. But by making their products somewhat unavailable, it created an explosive demand not just for "The Little Mermaid," but for every Disney movie, every time it was scheduled for re-release.

How can we, as trade show marketers, take advantage of this principle? The answer is simple and subtle. Pull your stuff back – just a little. The majority of exhibitors feel the strong need to "push" their products out toward visitors, bombarding them in the aisles with their strongest pitch. After all, you should lead with your best, in order to compete for attendees' attention, right?

While that might be true in many cases, consider an alternative. Instead of focusing on how to "push" your products to attendees, try focusing (like Disney does) on how to "pull" attendees toward your products instead. 

First, move your product away from the aisle. This forces visitors to take a couple more steps into your space in order to see it up close. One of the advantages to doing this is taking advantage of the visual cues and non-verbal body language your visitors will unknowingly send you.

Here are some examples of how the "pull" approach can work for you:
► Instead of using your product to engage visitors, use the "problem/solution" instead. For example, ask visitors if they're experiencing delays in production or cost overruns due to inefficient equipment. If so, explain that your company has a solution.
► You can visually see how visitors react to your engagement invitation, and that reaction can help you to quickly and efficiently distinguish between serious prospects and uninterested attendees.
► Observe booth visitors' next actions. Are they willing to step into your space? This is a strong indicator of interest, and one you will likely miss if you're "pushing."
► You can create a subtle obstacle to gauge interest simply by choosing a contrasting carpet color. This creates a tiny but unmistakable "invisible force field" that only those with real interest will cross.
► The added control will allow you and your team to focus time and energies on the visitors with the strongest demonstrated interest. Instead of wasting time qualifying the unqualified, this approach allows them to subtly self-qualify, giving you and your team the chance to focus less on running them through a litany of qualifying questions and more on drawing them into a meaningful discussion about their needs and how your product can benefit them.
► When you "push," you can't filter as effectively. When you "pull," you filter immediately.

Bottom line, you just might see the same effect the Disney marketers witnessed and learned from decades ago – that scarcity creates demand. By taking a few simple steps that say "I'm not sure we're right for you, or you may not be right for us," your visitors are more likely to contrarily claim "Yes, I am" – and you're that much closer to closing the sale.

But don't get your hopes up too much. Your daughters will still think you're a "dork" until they turn about 25. 

Source: Trade Show Bob for Exhibitor Online

Using the Disney way to Pull Customers at your Trade Show

When I was a much younger parent, my five daughters loved watching animated Disney films. The girls would watch them over and over, un...

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

What do you do when you have less than a month to prepare for a new trade show? Exhibit-marketing experts offer this seven-step guide to last-minute planning, along with a detailed timeline to help walk you through the process. By Linda Armstrong

According to EXHIBITOR Magazine's 2016 Reader Survey, the majority of marketers begin planning for a trade show 10 to 12 months in advance. But that kind of lead time isn't always available. Whether an exhibiting opportunity pops onto your radar at the last minute, new products or acquisitions push you to consider a trade show outside your typical marketing calendar, or internal stakeholders simply drag their feet, sometimes exhibit managers need to whip up a face-to-face marketing campaign in 30 days or less.

What do you do if you're charged with this do-or-die scenario? What's your first step – and your second, third, and fourth? EXHIBITOR asked five veteran marketers these very questions. Their answers, along with myriad tips, tactics, and considerations, will help you survive and thrive despite last-minute marketing mayhem.

STEP 1: Analyze the show and potential costs.
Your first step is to launch a rapid fact-finding mission and present a worst-case scenario to management, says Dana Tilghman, CTSM, CMP, senior trade show and events planner at Minitab Inc. "Even if your company's CEO is the one telling you to add a new show to your calendar, push back a little and do your homework," she says. "After all, if the show is a horrible fit for your company, or rush charges and unexpected costs trash your return on investment, it's your neck on the chopping block in the end." 

Begin with a call to show management to make sure the exhibit hall isn't sold out. "You'll actually tackle space selection in step two," Tilghman says. "But right now you simply need to know if anything is available – you need not know where it is, how big it is, or how much it costs."
"During this call, ask for all attendee and show data, such as attendee demographics, attendance figures, products/services typically exhibited, location of exhibiting competitors, show audits, number of attendees versus exhibitors, media attendance, etc.," Tilghman says. Then analyze this information to determine if the show attracts your target audience, and if there are enough of these prospects to warrant exhibiting in the first place.

"If your target market is absent," Tilghman says, "immediately present your findings to company stakeholders to make sure they still want to forge ahead. But if your target market is present, your next step is to determine if it's cost effective to attend." To do so, you can use whatever ROI or budgeting comparisons you prefer, but Tilghman suggests you compare your average cost per lead to the projected cost per lead at the new show. To figure your existing cost per lead, divide past shows' budgets by the number of leads collected at them. And for the new show, use past show metrics to estimate a budget and the number of leads you can likely expect to gather.

But it's important to be realistic when estimating the new show's budget. "When your planning starts late in the game, you've likely missed all of the early discounted deadlines," Tilghman says. "Plus, you'll incur late or rush charges for graphics or promotions production, so pad your budget estimate accordingly. And since you're a new player at the show in question, you likely won't score your average number of leads straight out of the gate." In addition, lead counts could be dragged down by any number of variables, such as a smaller-than-normal booth, a poor space location, etc. As such, sources suggest that you lowball lead estimates, perhaps knocking 25 to 30 percent off your regular averages.

Finally, prepare a worst-case report for management featuring a comparison of your average cost per lead and the projected cost per lead at the new show. Also include your show research, existing budget/lead information, etc., and discuss the variables that could affect your outcomes.
"For example, explain that you might have to rent a booth if your existing structure is out at another show, you may need to hire temporary staffers if your regular team is busy, and your presence might be limited by a less-than-ideal space in the hall," Tilghman says. "Plus, discuss the added costs of promotions and sponsorships necessary to generate awareness with a new audience and any other extra expenses you might incur. The purpose of this report is to make management aware of the last-minute costs, potentially limited outcomes, and possible pitfalls – and to get stakeholders to commit, in writing, to taking the next steps."

STEP 2: Secure a booth space and negotiate discounts.
The next step is to find a booth space. When you contact show management, you're likely to find yourself in one of two scenarios: 1) Space is limited, which means you'll be paying through the nose or stuck at the back of the hall, or 2) space is plentiful, which gives you bargaining power. 

"If space is at a premium, take the best spot you can get and ask to be put on a waiting list for cancellations," says Kolleen Whitley, CTSM, CMP, former senior event and trade show manager for Heartland Payment Systems Inc. "Just remember that if you change locations at the last minute, you may also need to alter any collateral or promotions that feature your booth number."
Another option is to partner up. "If your company has business relationships with other large exhibitors, see if you can pay to play in their space," says Judy Volker, marketing director at Iatric Systems Inc. "Granted, some shows don't allow co-exhibiting, but they may change their tune if no other spaces are available." In addition, sources suggest renting a smaller-than-normal space, thereby decreasing typical space-rental fees. You can then reallocate leftover funds into top-notch sponsorships and promotions to generate awareness.

The aforementioned tactics apply to space-shortage situations. But if the show has a space surplus, the ball is in your court, as show-management will be itching to offload empty spaces – even if it means granting favors or issuing discounts. "First ask for a discount off space costs," Tilghman says. "If that's not an option, inquire about discounts on show services, drayage, etc., or see if you can receive early bird discounts across the board."

Tina Kruse, global exhibitions and events manager at FMC Technologies Inc., suggests that your last-minute space contract could foster long-term discounts. "Try negotiating a multiyear contract for booth space. It might result in a significant discount," she says. "Show management may be more willing to offer a price break this year if they know they're going to get repeat business down the road."

Finally, collect all show-service forms and pose any related questions to show management. Crossing every "T" and dotting every "I" on the forms probably isn't necessary until step five, but start the form-completion process now so you can head off any issues immediately.

STEP 3: Identify staff and train to suit the audience.
"If there aren't enough people available to staff your booth, or if the right staffers aren't available, then all other planning steps are moot," Volker says. So immediately after you have a space, determine the following: what information attendees need from your staff, which employees can best deliver this information, whether these employees are available, and who you might get to replace them if necessary. Any replacements could include employees in other divisions or temporary staffers trained for this scenario. 

Jeff Dodge, marketing project manager of trade shows at CSA America Inc., recommends making travel arrangements as soon as you finalize your staff roster. "Flights are usually more expensive at the last minute, and the longer you wait, the fewer economical hotel options will be available," he says. "Start making reservations as soon as possible, but try to secure tickets and reservations that can be cancelled without penalty in case management pulls the plug."

Finally, once you know who's going to the show, you need to train them on the special nuances of this audience. Enlist the help of salespeople to suss out attendees' pain points and information needs and pass this information on to your staff. "For example, staffers should know what products or services attendees find most interesting, and perhaps what pricing models best fit this sector," Dodge says. "And consider the competition and how your product or service stacks up. Competitors will likely put a negative twist on your newcomer status. Staffers need to be ready to react with something like, 'Indeed, this is our first time at this show, but we've been in this industry for 45 years.'"

STEP 4: Configure and/or rent exhibitry.
Lucky exhibitors will already have a booth that perfectly fits the space they've selected. But if you're not that fortunate, it's time to rent other structures or reconfigure what you've got. "Given the high quality of rental structures, you can almost certainly rent everything," Whitley says. "And if you choose rental vendors in the show city, you can also eliminate shipping costs."

If you end up with a mammoth booth space, Whitley suggests you look for partners to share the costs, instead of assuming you have to fill it with exhibitry yourself. "Seek out business partners or even divisions of your company near the show locale and offer them space within your exhibit for a minimal cost," she says.

On the other hand, if you must reconfigure or downsize your typical exhibit footprint, Kruse says you should analyze the value of each component. "Prioritize all of the exhibitry you usually use and keep only those elements that directly support your marketing goals at this particular show, along with one key attention getter that quickly communicates who you are and what you do," she says. "Everything else is ancillary." Kruse also suggests analyzing the alignment of your booth within your space and rotating the structure to take advantage of your new show's traffic patterns and hall-access points.
While securing the proper exhibitry is paramount to your presence, ensuring that your message and delivery mediums fit attendee preferences is even more important. "You can't assume that the same old messages and graphics will work with every audience," Dodge says. "Work with your sales team to assess the audience's preferences, communication styles, technological prowess, etc. and then adjust everything from graphics to traffic builders to best meet attendees' needs."

STEP 5: Assess labor, show services, and transportation.
Unless you're trying something radically different for this new show, your last-minute exhibit should have basically the same labor, show services, and transportation requirements as your existing booth. The only real difference is that some services may not be available at the new show – or they may cost you an arm and a leg. So to help your company sidestep some of these last-minute service snafus, consider the following cost-cutting strategies.

Contact service providers to secure ballpark estimates and availability, and adjust your plans as necessary. "For example, rigging might be incredibly expensive in the new venue, causing you to forgo the hanging sign you had planned," Tilghman says.
Also compare prices for exhibitor-appointed contractors versus the general service contractor. Unique venue, labor-union, or city regulations may make one option more cost effective than another, Volker says. "Similarly, consider all transportation options as opposed to just what you normally use," she says. "Given the show's locale and the timing involved, a previously inviable option may be your best bet in this situation."

If costs seem prohibitive, look outside the box for service-related solutions. "For example, identify partners that plan to be at the show and see if they'll add you to their existing service orders," Whitley says. "Obviously, you'll have to pay for the added costs, but you might be able to take advantage of their early bird discounts."

Similarly, Tilghman suggests you double up shipments. "Ask your carrier if it has any other cargo going to the show from your area," she says. "If so, try to get your exhibit on the same truck and secure a pricing discount. And don't hesitate to call service providers and plead your case," Tilghman says. "You'll be surprised at what discounts people are willing to grant you if you merely ask."

STEP 6: Plan promotions.
More likely than not, if you're exhibiting in a new show, attendees are only minimally aware of your company and its offerings. As such, promotional tactics are critical to ensure you make an impact and attract attendees – particularly if you're stuck with a less-than-ideal space on the show floor. 
Sources offered a bevy of promotional ideas, such as creating messaging and tactics that poke fun at a poor booth location (thereby drawing attention to your firm), enlisting salespeople to call local customers and prospects, developing a sizeable social-media campaign (which can be particularly effective given the medium's immediacy), and employing digital promotional tactics (which are usually easy to deploy at the last minute), such as hotel promotional channels, in-taxi promotions, and electronic reader boards and show directories. Also consider any sponsorships still available from show management as well as inventive ideas of your own that you can pitch to management reps.

Tilghman, however, offers a few additional options. "Rather than trying to secure new prospects on your own," she says, "offer an incentive – maybe free swag or a pricing discount – to existing customers that bring new prospects to your booth. Or, send customers some of your existing swag, such as hats or T-shirts, prior to the show. Then ask them to wear the items and visit your booth for a special gift. This way, customers spread awareness on your behalf." 

"Another option involves your corporate partners," Tilghman says. "Maybe you could create a promotion whereby they funnel attendees to your booth, and you do the same for them. Or if partners or customers are offering educational sessions, see if you can put your literature on attendees' chairs before each session."

When it comes to purchasing last-minute promotional items, sources recommend that you look internally first and then negotiate long-term discounts. "Before you whip out your credit card to buy a whole bunch of tchotchkes, assess your inventory to see what you've already got," Volker says. "If existing items don't have a booth number on them, they're perfect for this last-minute situation."
"If you simply must buy something new, consider merging this last-minute order with an upcoming order," Whitley says. For example, if you're going to order 100 pens for a show that is three months down the road, why not order 200 now and secure a quantity-based price break, which could offset any last-minute rush charges.

STEP 7: Circle back to management and review plans. 
Once you have all of your program components in motion and have developed a much better understanding of what this late-term endeavor is going to cost, Volker suggests you prepare a new exhibiting brief for final management sign-off. 

"Bring your final figures to management, along with news of any new problems that arose during the last three weeks," Volker says. "Then ask for their blessings to continue. This is their last chance to step away from the open airplane door before you all jump and pull the ripcord." If costs are exorbitant, some stakeholders will back away at this stage in the game – even if it means losing deposits and partial payments. Give them one more chance to commit to or reject your plans.

Assuming that all of your internal stakeholders are still on the same page, use the last week before the new show to tie up any loose ends and to double and triple check all of your plans. "It's easy to make mistakes when you're rushing through what would otherwise be a very methodical process," Dodge says. "Ramp up your attention to detail. Use a fine-tooth comb to go over all text, such as that on graphics, literature, and any promotional pieces, looking for any incorrect information, typos, messaging inconsistencies, etc. Then review all of your deadlines and schedules to make sure everything and everyone is headed to the right place at the right time, and that all labor crews, transportation providers, and the like have been scheduled, and any related deposits or other associated fees have been paid."

Finally, sit back, relax, take a deep breath, and pat yourself on the back. After a seriously busy month of juggling so many time-sensitive elements, you'll likely have a killer migraine. But if you followed these seven steps, you should also have a killer marketing strategy that will make you and your stakeholders proud – and just in the nick of time. 

Source : ExhibitorOnline

LAST-MINUTE EXHIBITING A Seven-Step Survival Guide

What do you do when you have less than a month to prepare for a new trade show? Exhibit-marketing experts offer this seven-step guide ...


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