To quote the famous 1980′s TV commercial, “Where’s the beef?” Or to quote the iconic 1990′s movie line, “Show me the money.” Or to be more specific, the question for this post is this: Can social media improve your trade show marketing results?
It seems to me that social media doesn’t have quite as much buzz any more. My friend who has some Facebook stock now calls the company “faceplant” instead of Facebook. And I can’t help noticing that I seem to hear less now about how trade show marketeers just absolutely MUST incorporate and build their trade show campaign and exhibiting plans around social media. For the last few years it seemed that almost every trade show booth graphic design I saw had a facebook page address and a twitter handle, but now I’m seeing less of that (though fortunately, almost everyone still has a website listed, which I do think is critical). I hear less about social media now, but I still hear a few diehard promoters of social media singing its praise. I was skeptical of social media in the past, and I still am a skeptic today. Yes, I admit I am “old school” and a bit of a trade show curmudgeon (some would even say luddite), but I have yet to see a case study of how social media really improved the outcome for an average-joe trade show exhibitor. I’m not saying social media in general isn’t huge, I’m just not convinced that it is commercially viable when it comes to trade show marketing. I see and hear a lot of personal use of social media. I see people glued to their smart phones texting and watching youtube videos instead of talking to the people around them, but it seems like social media is more used to talk about things like what ones kid did at school, or whether or not Kim Kardashian is really pregnant, and not for learning about some unknown company’s upcoming trade show exhibiting plans. An exhibitor has limited time and resources, so how much time should they put into creating a Facebook page, or tweeting every hour about their latest thought on what they might do at their upcoming show? Is anyone out there really listening, and does anyone care? [Read more →]
Every now and then I’ll see a great video and post it here. This is one of those times, and one of those posts. But in addition to posting the video, I’m raising a question… not about the video, but about marketing. As for the video, it’s called Sling Baby, and it is one of the five finalists for a contest to make a commercial for Doritos, with the winning video to be shown during the Super Bowl. As for the video, Sling Baby, it is the Best. Video. Ever. Or at least, the best video I’ve seen in a while. Of course I’m a sucker for cute babies and kids, but this video is great in so many ways. I ask you to take 30 seconds of your time and watch it, and then if you want, you can even vote for Sling Baby (and see the other four finalists videos), and we’ll see if Sling Baby wins! So without further ado… [Read more →]
I’m a big fan of “thinking outside the box”, especially when it comes to marketing, and trade show marketing in general. It seems that many trade show exhibitors just try to copy other exhibitors instead of coming up with a unique marketing strategy or message. Of course, it is one thing to say that you should think outside the box. It’s another thing to say what that really means or how one does it. And the point of this post isn’t explain how to think outside the trade show marketing box… this post is to discuss the problem that many people get so focused on thinking OUTSIDE of the box, that they forget about the BOX itself… [Read more →]
perseverance –noun 1. steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., especially in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
trade show perseverance – noun 1. a quality, trait, or attribute required for trade show marketing success. 2. a post by the trade show guru.
I ran across a fascinating story the other day about the Legend of the Leatherman, the dapper gentleman shown on the left [image removed], which is the inspiration for this post. The amazing thing to me was that the “legend” is actually a true story. It took place back east (Connecticut) in the 1800′s. [Read more →]
I LOVE Christmas! Maybe it’s because I have little kids (well, not that little anymore, but they still believe), but I just love Christmas and the Christmas season. I love putting up the outdoor (LED) Christmas lights (and it seems like a few more neighbors are following suit this year), and getting a Christmas tree (real, of course) and decorating it, and walking around the neighborhood one evening (even if it is pouring rain) with friends, ringing random doorbells and singing Christmas carols. Christmas is just a magical time here.
But one would have to be living under a rock to not know that the economy this past year wasn’t exactly stellar. And the trade show industry seems to have been particularly hard hit this year and last. Part of the hit makes good economic sense. Competition is good and it’s important to weed out inefficiencies and bad products and service. Business and the economy tends to cycle, overheating and then cooling. It’s always reasonable to focus on value, customer service, and return-on-investment (something that is sometimes forgotten during boom times). But the recent downturn has obviously been bigger than “normal”, and many in the trade show industry are wondering when (or if) things will get better. So I was happy to read a news article recently that talked about toilet paper (and trade shows). Perhaps the Herald Toilet Paper Roll is forecasting a better year next year for trade shows? [Read more →]
What are memorable trade show displays? Perhaps the answer seems obvious… a memorable trade show display is a trade show display that you remember, right? Well… no. It isn’t quite that simple. There are “good” memorable trade show displays and “bad” memorable trade show displays, and this post is going to cover the difference between them (which is very important to understand if you want to be successful at trade show marketing). And if you’re wondering what the picture of the sock-puppet monkey [image removed] has to do with this post, I’ll cover that too… [Read more →]
Tags:trade show displays
I’ve been to many a trade show and I’ve seen and collected many a trade show giveaway (also known as trade show swag, or just swag). The vast majority of trade show giveaways are the same things, year after year. I think we’ve all collected more than enough stress balls, frisbees, letter openers, and even pens. There is nothing wrong with these kinds of generic trade show giveaways, as long as you have your company name and contact information printed on them. I even wrote about the benefits of handing out trade show giveaway pens. But let’s face it, stress balls and frisbees aren’t very unique or memorable. So what is the best trade show giveaway idea ever? [Read more →]
Sometimes trade show exhibitors attempt to save money and try to get by with cheap trade show displays (and one can understand why in this economy). But usually in the big picture, cheap trade show displays end up costing an exhibitor a lot of money in the end than they save up front. The brutal truth is that trade show exhibiting is an expensive form of marketing. Often just renting the booth space can cost several thousand dollars (or tens of thousands of dollars), plus one has the travel costs of getting your trade show exhibit staff to the show, and the housing cost of putting them up in a hotel and feeding them. It costs money, big money, to exhibit at a trade show. [Read more →]
Tags:trade show displays
Just when you think you know everything there is to know about something, you find out there’s something you didn’t know.
I, your friendly neighborhood trade show guru, thought I knew everything there was to know about trade shows… well, at least I thought I was familiar with everything about trade shows. After all, I even know about trade show zombies! But last week I came across a trade show term I’d never heard of before, trade show outboarding.
Trade show outboarding does not mean strapping an outboard motor to your trade show boat, er… booth, nor does the phrase have anything at all to do with outboard motors or engines. Rather, trade show outboarding is done by trade show outboarders (also referred to as trade show parasites and not to be confused with the previously mentioned trade show zombies) and refers to companies that don’t pay for a trade show exhibit booth space, but instead rent a room in a nearby hotel and set up their “offsite” or “outboard” trade show booth in their hotel room or suite. I’m not sure how they manage to get traffic to their hotel room (do they wander around the trade show and hand out trade show giveaway pens with their hotel room number on the pens?), but apparently the “problem” (at least it is a problem to the trade show promoters that aren’t collecting the trade show exhibit space fees) is growing, and trade show organizers are asking the hotels to crack down on these trade show outboards.
As I said, I just don’t understand how the trade show outboarders would get much traffic to their hotel rooms, but apparently they do, or I don’t see why this would be an issue. I’m not sure where I stand on whether or not this tactic is “legitimate”… I support “guerilla marketing” but I also believe in “playing by the rules”. I’ve included a portion of the New York Times article below in which I first read about the practice of trade show outboarding. So what do you think? Would it work? Is it legitimate? [Read more →]
Some of my regular readers may have noticed that I’ve had a bit of a problem with my blogging regularity lately (translation – I haven’t posted in a while… a long while). No, I didn’t venture to the end of the world and fall off, nor was I abducted by trade show zombies. The Trade Show Guru blog isn’t obsolete… at least not yet. I’ve just been busy with other things – mainly work, but also spending time with my family over the holidays and watching an occasional movie (though I haven’t seen Avatar lately – I’m not that wealthy, at least not yet). But I know I need to make a blog post every now and then to keep this blog at least on life support, so what better topic than tradeshow booth babes. [Read more →]
Tags:trade show booths