Tips When Attending Trade Shows

Trade shows can be an excellent opportunity for you and your business, whether you are an entrepreneur or you’re representing the company you work for. Thousands of people set up trade show booths and trade show displays across the country at a huge variety of industry events. However, many people don’t know how to take advantage of the opportunities a trade show offers. Some plan on simply attending, setting up their trade show booth, and then staying there all day hoping to attract new business.

Manning a trade show display is only part of the reason you should be attending a trade show. The other vendors at a trade show can provide you with a wealth of new information and contacts in your industry; all accessible in the same room on the same day—this is the unparalleled attraction of a trade show for your business.

If you plan to attend a trade show, make sure you are not the only person there representing your company, even if you are a small business owner with few employees or a sole proprietorship. You will need at least one person to staff your trade show booth, and another to walk the floor taking in the other trade show displays.

If necessary, get your spouse or a good friend to come with you and give them a crash course on how to handle your trade show booth while you check out the other vendors – and only do so when it is slow so you don’t miss important business opportunities. When you make reservations for the hotel you will stay at during the show, try to find a room as close as possible to the actual location—preferably within walking distance. That way, you won’t have to bring anything with you to the venue other than the materials for your trade show display.

Before you attend a trade show, go over the list of vendors who plan to put up trade show booths. Make lists of the vendors you must see, the vendors you would like to see, and those you can live without seeing. You may even be able to schedule appointments with your top priority vendors.

Research the companies and determine ahead of time what you would like to find out from each trade show display and what your goals are regarding each vendor: are they competition, or a potential contact? If they are a potential contact, how would they specifically benefit your company? Have questions ready to ask vendors to save yourself time walking the floor.

Another good time saving strategy is to obtain a map and a directory of the trade show when you arrive on location, before the show begins. Use the map to plan your route, and check your prioritized list of vendors against the directory to find out whether any vendors have been added or dropped out.

During the trade show, be active in your quest for information. Don’t feel bad about passing by trade show booths that don’t interest you. Like you, they are attending the trade show to generate new business, and they don’t want to waste time talking to someone who isn’t a potential customer.

Visit your targeted trade show displays, engage in a dialogue with the vendors, and ask questions. If the trade show booth offers handouts, samples or other materials, take only those you actually want to find out more about. It can be difficult to tote a loose stack of glossy brochures, catalogs, and bulky product samples around a busy trade show floor.

If possible, arm yourself with an empty briefcase or duffel bag to stow materials. Use your time wisely to gather intelligence on your competition and make new industry contacts that will benefit your company.

When the trade show ends, especially if it is a multiple-day event, take the time to make notes and organize the materials you gathered before you leave the event. If you need to mail reports, brochures or other materials to your colleagues, prepare the mailings right away while “who gets what” is still fresh in your mind.

Make sure to store your trade show display safely so nothing is damaged and you can find everything you need the following day. When you return from the trade show, remember to follow up with the contacts you have made—and start preparing for next year’s trade show!

Introduction to Trade Show Exhibits

When you are planning for your next trade show exhibit you should look back to when you were only browsing the many different booths, exhibits, and displays. Remember what type of exhibits got your attention. Your presentation should also draw the crowd.

Before you just rush out and purchase displays for your trade show exhibition you must take into consideration many different aspects of how you desire your presentation to look and feel. You know you want it to speak to the potential customers that are passing by and hopefully bring them over so you can speak with them. Your exhibit must get their attention so will they walk over, and then you can get their undivided attention.

You must first decide which type of exhibit will be the best to present your products, services and your company image. You should also consider your budget. No matter what your budget you can find the perfect trade show exhibits that will convey your message with the image that you want others to see.

The size of your trade show exhibit can either make or break you. If you have one to large, the exhibit will be overwhelming and if you choose one to small it will look overcrowded and cluttered. The most common sizes for trade show exhibits are 10 feet by 10 feet, 20 feet by 20 feet, and 10 feet by 20 feet. Within this size limitation, you must also choose from pop-up designs, panels or complete Truss trade show display booths.

In the 10 feet by 10 feet size, you can find some great displays in various styles and designs. With the Clever 10 foot panel, you can choose from Backlit Header, lights, the color that you prefer for the lower panel and a different one for the upper panel. The benefits of using these panels are that they are sturdy and durable but very lightweight and easy to transport. The average weight of these panels is around 130 pounds.  The Genius I 10 foot panel you can also choose whether you want lights, the counter base color, Counter Laminate Color, the color of the lower panel and the upper panel. The features of this type of panel is that it is a folding panel display system, has 6 upper hinged panels, 6 lower hinged panels, 1 backlit header and lights, 1 alcove counter top and 1 alcove counter base. This wonderful panel is very impressive for all types of displays and normally weighs around 200 pounds.

If you prefer a larger size like the 20 feet by 20 feet, you should like at the features that are included with pop-up displays and Truss display booths. The best pop-up display of this size is the Trilogy 20′ x 20′ Island Pop up Trade Show Display. The features of this unique display are that it is in actuality three trade show booths in one. It has the 10-foot wide back-to-back exhibiting area that creates a triangular or star shape. If gives you the ability to present your products or different aspects of your company all the way around the display. You will also be able to choose the color and fabric that you desire along with a case to counter conversion kit and the colors and fabrics of this kit, lights, shelf package, Backlit Header Package and Reconfiguration Panels. 20 feet by 20 feet Truss booths come in a few unique styles such as the Cassiopeia, which features a steel construction; high shine silver color, 4 tabletops, and the ability to assemble with just four screwdrivers that are included. The Centaurus features the same quality steel construction, the high shine silver color, 24 silver spotlights, and the ability to add tabletops in either light wood or silver in color. The Neptune is sure to grab attention with features like a modular system that is quick and easy to assemble. The Jupiter is another modern and innovative display which gives you great features such as high shine silver color, quality steel construction, 6 tabletops in either light wood or silver, 8 silver spot lights, and easy to assemble with screw drivers that are included. The Vega is similar to other Truss booths but is an eye catching and appealing booth with options for tabletops, colors, and design.

The 10 feet by 20 feet size of displays gives you styles and designs to choose from such as pop-display’s, panels, and Truss booths. All of these also have many unique styles and designs that are sure to aid you in presenting your products, your company, or your services in a manner that is not only unique, stylish and original, but with prices within your budget.

Tips When Displaying at Trade Shows

Almost all products being sold in the market today have already been sold before by their competitors but what makes other products a hit despite their being new in the market? Most entrepreneurs say it is a matter of marketing your products to your target market.

Marketing can be done in various ways depending on the expertise of the marketer. However, one common way to market a new product is through participation in trade shows. Trade shows are held at any time of the year and they do attract buyers and prospective customers.

There are general trade shows but you can choose from niche trade shows depending on your area of business. Companies join trade shows not so much for actual selling but most importantly for showing off their products and for the possibility of getting bulk orders during the trade show.

A company or a sole proprietor planning to join a trade show should take note of the following:

1. Able personnel to man the trade show booth. A trade show is not just an ordinary selling venue but it is a venue where prospective clients abound so make sure that you send your best personnel to man the booth. Some companies take trade shows for granted and allow inept personnel to watch the booth. The people who are put in charge of your trade show booth can make or break your product. A good staff with public relations skill can attract more clients to your products. It is also important to instruct your booth personnel to dress properly depending on the venue of the trade show. Business attire will always be safe.

2. Invite visitors to your booth. The booth personnel must be trained and instructed to invite visitors to the booth. Most visitors walk away from trade show booth when they see the staff busy with their own thing. Tell your staff the main reason why they were assigned to the trade show and that is to get as many visitors to see your products. Booth personnel should be able to answer questions from the visitors because the visitors may already be potential customers. A booth demo will catch the attention of visitors especially if the demo is useful to them.

3. Prepare your brochures, leaflets and business cards and make sure you do not run out of them.  Always expect plenty of people to visit trade shows so never be caught without your marketing tools. Imagine if a potential client asks for your brochure or your card and then you cannot give him anything just because you did not prepare for an influx of people. It is better to have plenty of left over marketing materials after the show rather than miss the opportunity of showing off what you have to offer.

4. Keep a visitors’ book. Most companies who join trade shows require visitors who get their free marketing materials to sign up in a guestbook. However, only a few of these companies will communicate with the people who signed in their guestbook. Be creative and use the guestbook as a sourcebook for potential clients. The people who visited your booth and who got your materials are definitely interested in your products or else they will not even glance at your booth. Why not take advantage of their contact information?  Mail them a thank you letter along with more information about the product and where they can buy the products.

5. Promote your products but do not be too pushy. Visitors are often turned off by very eager booth personnel who call out to the visitors using their loudest voice. No one would want to visit your booth if your personnel are boisterous. Allow the visitors to go inside your booth and look at the items you have on display but always keep a welcoming smile. Entertain their questions and try to respond to them accordingly. Never shout your words of welcome to the visitors since they might feel defensive all of a sudden and decide against looking at your products.

Anatomy Of A Successful Trade Show Exhibit

A trade show, also known as a merchandise show or market week, is an exhibition or a business gathering organized by companies that showcase and demonstrate their new products and services and also their latest offerings. Trade shows also provide opportunities for companies to meet their customers, to learn new trends and to identify new prospects.

Trade shows are not open to the public and can only be attended by company representatives, members of the trade and members of the press. One advantage of holding a trade show is that it shortens the time it takes for companies to look for prospective customers. But the major disadvantage is that customers and prospects pay little attention to the many exhibitors and their products due to the many distractions and the busy atmosphere inherent in trade shows.

Exhibitors can make effective use of trade show displays in trade shows to direct visitors to their main display area. Trade show displays are used to give visitors a better understanding or appreciation of the products or services being marketed. Although exhibitors are only supposed to put their trade show displays within the confines of their designated trade show exhibit area, exhibitors also display items in strategic areas of the fair grounds. Trade show displays often used include banner stands, counters and cabinets, panel display etc. that clearly display the company logo, basic company information and company slogan.

The trade show booth is an important component of the trade show display as it aims to enhance the brand and marketing experience for the visitor. It facilitates valuable direct face-to-face contact between the companies and their prospective customers. The whole booth set-up includes counters kiosks, lighting, flooring, literature racks, banner stands and high impact graphics, with the booth design, the staffing and the handouts the main factors to a successful trade show booth.

Many companies prefer to rent pre-owned trade show exhibits and displays rather than to buy or to create them from scratch to save on the trade show booth construction costs and also on the expense of warehousing the displays after the trade show is over.

Trade shows demand a lot of work and effort, and exhibitors have to plan well in advance so as to make the trade show a success. It is because any successful trade show offers exhibitors with a very valuable opportunity to build relationships face-to-face with their clients and to close lucrative business deals.

Vinexpo, the international exhibition for wine and spirits professionals, is gearing up enter the world’s largest wine-consuming market with its first U.S. trade show.

Scheduled March 5-6, 2018, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City, Vinexpo New York is expected to host 200 exhibitors from wine-producing regions throughout the globe, along with 3,000 attendees, including importers, distributors, retailers, brokers, e-commerce, on-trade buyers and sommeliers.

“We’re excited to combine forces with Vinexpo to bring the international world of wine and spirits to New York – the trade capital of the U.S.,” said Mary Larkin, executive vice president of Diversified Communications, which will be producing the show in partnership with Vinexpo.

To be held in the Javits’ 45,000 square foot River Pavilion, the new industry event will feature two days of business meetings, tastings, conferences, master classes and networking events, as well as an expo showcasing the newest wines and spirits for the U.S. market. 

Not only does Vinexpo New York plan to adapt its programming to suit the U.S. wine industry but will also focus on facilitating the entry of global wine and spirits businesses into the fast-evolving American market.

With wine consumption in the U.S. expected to rise almost 5 percent by 2020, according to a recent report by Vinexpo and research firm IWSR, there couldn’t be a better time to launch a trade show for the American wine market, according to Guillaume Deglise, CEO of Vinexpo, which has held biennial exhibitions in Bordeaux, France since 1981.

“The time is right to bring Vinexpo to the U.S. market, which leads the world in wine consumption and whose influence only continues to grow,” Deglise said.

He continued, “Vinexpo New York will present American buyers with an unmatched opportunity to experience, on their own turf, wines and spirits from international markets, including a number of products that have never before been available in the U.S. market.”

As a catalyst for international wine and spirits business, Vinexpo draws thousands of exhibitors and tens of thousands of buyers, importers, sommeliers, distributors, retailers and other qualified professionals to its biennial exhibitions in France and Asia.

Founded 36 years ago, Vinexpo’s flagship Bordeaux show is considered the world’s leading trade show for wine and spirits professionals as well as a partner for the global wine and spirits industry.

Set for June 18-21, the upcoming Vinexpo Bordeaux is expected to attract 2,300 exhibitors and 48,000 trade visitors from 151 countries to the city’s Parc des Expositions convention center.

In 1998, the event brand expanded into the Asian wine market with the launch of Vinexpo Hong Kong and Vinexpo Tokyo, held on even years so as not to conflict with Vinexpo Bordeaux, held on odd years.

Unlike its predecessors, Vinexpo New York will be an annual event.

Besides opening the door for international wine producers to reach more U.S. buyers and industry professionals, the show’s launch will also give Vinexpo bragging rights as the first wine trade show organizer to have a presence on three key global continents.

How Exhibitors Can Boost Their Trade Show Results

March 23, 2017
Kristin Hovde

Kristin Hovde is the Website Manager and Blogger for ]]>Smash Hit Displays]]>, an online trade show display company that has many booths, accessories, and flooring available.

Custom displays are not supposed to cost much. But that’s not what is reflected in the current market, where prices of many trade show displays are nearly equivalent to that of a house.

It still is possible to customize your trade show display without having to pay much. Here are some of the tips you can follow to avoid spending much money for your trade show displays.

You Will Need to Upgrade the Graphics

Trade show displays mostly use graphic panels that can be easily interchanged. This can allow you to promote various brands and services in between the events. For you to change your booth’s look for a specific audience’s target, it will be vital to purchase various sets of trade show booth graphics. This can make a big difference and is inexpensive.

Use a Banner Stand Wall

You will need to make a banner stand wall; this is very easy if you already have a banner stand. With as low as $250, you can easily get a retractable banner stand. You can then interchange the graphics to make it easy for the creation of a back wall from different banner displays. This display system is very budget friendly and will help your business to attract a new audience and grow positively.

Consider Adding Some Accessories

Many business people have successfully changed the look of their display booths by adding simple accessories. Lighting is paramount and can also be added. With good lighting system, products on the show display will be spotted easily, and even making the whole booth to glow. To keep your space more organized; you can also add other things like literature racks. Literature racks will help you place any pamphlets, brochures, business cards, or any promotional material that should be on display. Another thing that can be added are the counters for the creation of an area where laptops can be set up; orders can be placed or as an ideal place for having one-on-one conversations with attendees.

Search for Ways Of Reconfiguring Your Booth

This is a good idea, but only applicable to those who have a truss system or a twenty-foot island display. It is a great way of spending less and changing the general appearance of your booth. You can easily split a twenty-foot displays system into separate ten-foot displays. Truss systems are mainly created to allow exhibitors remove or add truss parts if they want.

8th Annual 2017 TSNN Awards Will Collocate with Connect Expo Aug. 21-23 in New Orleans

March 23, 2017

Trade Show News Network will collocate its 8th Annual 2017 TSNN Awards: Celebrating Success with Connect Expo, which is a part of Connect Marketplace, Aug. 21-23 in New Orleans.

As the premiere awards program in the trade show industry celebrating fastest-growing shows, more than 50 show organizers will be feted during the three-day event (]]>]]>).

“We are very excited to do something a little different this year and collocate the 8th Annual TSNN Awards with Connect Expo,” said TSNN President Rachel Wimberly.

She added, “Connect Expo is a perfect fit for the TSNN Awards, with each drawing the best of the best in the trade show industry to an exciting three-day event. We can’t wait to celebrate the more than 50 top show organizers to New Orleans!”

Connect Expo is a hosted-buyer, reverse-style trade show for the exhibition and trade show industry that is expected to draw more than 150 trade show organizers.

The event connects the most active trade show organizers, suppliers and experts in the industry for three days of general sessions with exciting keynotes, professional development, pre-set one-on-one appointments and quality networking. 

The hosted-buyer profile includes for-profit trade show organizers and association trade show organizers looking for unique destinations with exhibition halls or convention centers. 

The appointment-only trade show is the business marketplace where RFPs are placed and relationships are developed for future business.

Last year’s event Connect Marketplace drew 4,000-plus attendees to Grapevine, Texas, and featured dynamic speakers, including Rob Lowe, Shaquille O’Neal and former president, George W. Bush.

“We are excited to host the 2017 TSNN Awards in partnership with this year’s Connect show in New Orleans,” said Connect President Chris Collinson.

He added, “The addition of Connect Expo to our show aligns perfectly with what TSNN represents. We look forward to putting the spotlight on this year’s award attendees.”

The 2017 TSNN Awards will kick off with an opening night reception, followed by a day filled with dynamic keynotes and education sessions focused on the trade show industry.

That evening, the 2017 TSNN Awards gala will be held during which the top fastest-growing shows for attendance and net square footage will be named, the “Best of Show” will be revealed and the “Industry Icon” will be honored.

The TSNN Awards’ founding sponsor, The Expo Group, also will honor five show organizers from different-sized events for the Show Manager of the Year (SMOTY) Awards.

“Celebrating is a key to success, and the TSNN Awards continues to lift up our industry by bringing leaders together for this hallmark event,” said Randy Pekowski, president and COO of The Expo Group.

He added, “We are proud to be the Founding Sponsor of this event, and I’m personally looking forward to congratulating everyone in New Orleans this summer.”

The three-day celebration, which celebrates the top 50 fastest-growing shows in the U.S., is where the best and the brightest in the business gather to network, connect and celebrate working in an industry like no other – and acknowledging and embracing the success they have mutually achieved.

TSNN is proud to have several new and returning sponsors for the 2017 TSNN Awards, including Event Sponsor: Connect; Founding Sponsor: The Expo Group; Presenting Sponsors: Wyndham Jade and Ungerboeck Software International; Gold Sponsors: ASP, Experient, Shepard Exposition Services, a2z, Inc., Convention Data Services, Feathr; Silver Sponsors: Expocad, Core-Apps, ExpoLogic, Eventsphere; Photography: The Photo Group.

For more information on the sponsors, visit ]]>HERE]]>.

For sponsorship information, please contact John Rice, (617) 207-7088.

For information about the TSNN Awards, please visit ]]>]]>.

2017 International Roofing Expo Scores Largest Show in 62-year History

March 22, 2017
Lisa Plummer Savas

Lisa Plummer Savas is Content & Marketing Editor for TSNN. 

Positive vibes, robust attendance and a bustling, sold-out trade show floor added up to a record-breaking year for the International Roofing Expo, held March 1-3 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Owned and operated by Informa Exhibitions, the annual tradeshow and conference for the roofing industry drew 11,273 commercial and residential roofing construction professionals and 476 exhibitors spanning a 131,700 square foot showfloor.

“This was an amazing show to find leading-edge products, high-level education and numerous networking opportunities,” said Tracy Garcia, IRE show director.

She continued, “The show floor square footage was up 9 percent over last year, exhibiting companies were up 3 percent and total attendance was up 19 percent, making this our largest, most attended show in the 62-year history.”

First-time registrants comprised 43 percent of IRE’s U.S. attendees, with the largest number of international participants hailing from Canada, Mexico, Japan, Belgium, South Korea and Australia.

Exhibitors were not only pleased with the amount of quality of leads and inquiries they generated during the show, but also with the high attendance and buoyant energy that pervaded the expo, according to show officials,

Of the 476 exhibiting companies present at the show, 88 were first-timers.

“The show flow at the IRE was filled with tremendous energy this year,” said Reid Ribble, CEO of National Roofing Contractors Association, the show’s official sponsor that boasted a 2,000-sq. ft. booth at the event and hosted its NRCA Annual Convention in conjunction with IRE.

He added, “NRCA was able to engage with an unbelievable amount of roofing professionals, and all were extremely positive not only about the success of this year’s show but (also) about the overall future of the roofing industry.”

In addition to the busy expo, IRE’s well-attended educational conference featured 44 sessions geared to help industry professionals stay on top of market directions, trends and cutting-edge technology.

Education also was available on the showfloor through The Roofing Institute, the GAF Education Center and Exhibitor-Presented Seminars.

Special events included a keynote address by Retired U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Rob “Waldo” Waldman; an opening night Welcome Party at LIGHT Nightclub; the National Women in Roofing Reception, and outdoor experiences including the SRS Extreme Tailgate, a Trailer Crane Demo by Lifting Equipment Solutions and a booth by Roser.

In an effort to give back to the Las Vegas community, the show held a pre-show Community Service Day on Feb. 28, during which 45 attendees and exhibitors volunteered to renovate the homes of two families in need.

“The IRE was by far the most attended and exciting, good-vibe show I have ever attended,” said Attendee Michelle Draucker, sales administrator for Las Vegas-based Commercial Roofers, Inc.

She added, “The sessions were educational, surprising and entertaining. The expo floor was filled with great energy. This was the best IRE show to date.”  

The 2018 International Roofing Expo will be held Feb. 6-8 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans.

Fresh Innovations in Attendee Engagement & Experiential Marketing Flourished at EXHIBITORLive 2017

March 21, 2017
Anna Huddleston

Las Vegas Contributor.

Decked out with spring flowers, EXHIBITORLive 2017 offered a fresh take on attendee engagement and experiential marketing, blending ingenious design with seamless technology and thoughtful giveaways.

The 29th annual conference and expo drew approximately 6,000 trade show and event marketing professionals March 12-16 to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas.

Among the show’s more than 200 exhibitors, the showfloor sparkled with ideas, including a wide range of innovative engagement experiences.

Czarnowski celebrated its 70th anniversary with a “Dinner Party” in an exhibit modeled after a mid-20th-century house, complete with a bike rack and a kid’s wagon.

“We wanted this to feel like a casual dinner with friends,” said Kaylee Goldhammer, Czarnowski content marketing manager.

Attendees started off with a glass of sparkling wine or berry water before moving to the dinner table set with plates representing different industries.

Move a plate for “healthcare,” and a RFID chip triggered the placemat to turn into a video screen showcasing projects in that field.

Looking into the future, attendees could see 3D-printed parts used for anchoring fabric elements and chat with Alexa about tradeshows, the term Czarnowski recently registered with Amazon.

Seamless technology played a big role in the exhibit of mg, formerly known as MG Design.

“We used to do complex engagements but this year we’re focusing on single-source simplicity,” explained Ben Olson, vice president of marketing for mg.

The technology behind the experience was complex.

As part of the pre-show campaign, VIP attendees received a code that they could enter into a touch screen when they got to mg’s booth, after which a LED screen would light up with their photo and a personalized greeting.

Attendees could also get a glimpse of digital solutions behind the exhibit, such as Scanalytics tiles that track traffic around an exhibit and provide actionable data for designing future experiences.

Ubiquitous tech made it easy to experience the creative journey at the Freeman exhibit, where attendees were invited to participate in every stage of the design process.

From a discovery session and sketch pads, then to 3D and finally to virtual reality, an exhibit or environment came alive right in front of their eyes.

“With virtual reality, clients can literally walk through their exhibit, determine what needs to be rearranged and make those adjustments before we ever start building,” said John Santangelo, director of design technology for FreemanXP.  

The tool is now used for large builds as well as for product demos for items such as fighter jets.

A spa-like environment welcomed attendees at the GES exhibit.

“Relax. Refocus. We’ve got this” was the message at this tranquil space lined with birch trees and greenery.

Attendees enjoyed a vitamin drink and walked away with a care package complete with essential oils and tea.

“At EXHIBITORLive, we’re helping marketers take a moment for themselves – to relax and unwind,” said Vin Saia, GES executive vice president of corporate accounts.

He added, “With the help of our strategists, we will help booth visitors refocus on their program’s most pressing needs.”

First-time exhibitor Highway 85 Creative banked on a “let’s roll” concept, as its staffers floated around the showfloor on decked-out skateboards.

“We decided not to bring the sales staff and instead brought the creative team,” said Guy Zwick, Highway 85 Creative CCO.

He continued, “People ask them about the boards, and it’s an icebreaker.”

Attendees who gathered four business cards from the team could take home a longboard, a simple marketing idea that turned out to be very effective in driving traffic to the far corner of the exhibit hall.

 A different take on the hands-on approach helped attendees reconnect with their inner child at the Impact XM exhibit where they could pick from a “buffet” of Lego pieces and create their own “mini-me.”

“We help customers drive traffic, so we wanted to visually demonstrate that,” said Impact XM CCO Steve Mapes, pointing to a conveyer belt of tiny characters as the key piece of the exhibit.

The company recently did a series of “bio-interactive” engagements that “connect the body with gamification.”

For example, cardiologists could participate in an on-screen race powered by their heart rates and neurologists could manipulate with EEG sensors.

When asked what’s changing in the engagement world, Mapes said, “What’s not changing is the importance of knowing your customers’ customers, putting yourself in the shoes of your attendees and knowing what’s on their minds.”

EXHIBITORLive will return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center Feb. 25-March 1.

Chris Yochim Named Co-chair of the PHL Life Sciences’ Advisory Board

March 19, 2017

Chris Yochim, founding member and chairman of the Board of the Delaware Bioscience Association, has been appointed co-chair of the PHL Life Sciences’ advisory board.

PHL Life Sciences, a division of the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), works to increase Greater Philadelphia’s recognition as a leader in the life sciences and a world-class destination for the industry’s meetings, conventions and business opportunities.

Yochim will co-chair the board alongside Dr. Margaret Foti, president and CEO of the American Association for Cancer Research, who was appointed to the position in September 2016.

Yochim replaces Dr. Frederic Bertley who is stepping down after accepting a CEO position at the Center for Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio.

With Philadelphia consistently recognized as a top city for life sciences, the industry accounts for more than 50 percent of the bookings at the Pennsylvania Convention Center. In 2016, 245 life sciences related meetings generated $295 million in economic impact for Greater Philadelphia.

“Chris Yochim truly understands that meetings mean business, and he has a long history as an advocate for Philadelphia as a life sciences meetings destination,” said Bonnie Grant, executive director of PHL Life Sciences.

He added, “He brings experience from all aspects of the industry, specifically Delaware, a state that specializes in all four bioscience subsectors: agriculture, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and research. We are excited to have Chris at the helm of our advisory board.”

 Boasting decades of career success in the healthcare industry, Yochim spent 35 years at AstraZeneca, overseeing external relations and establishing AstraZeneca as a Preferred Partner within the biotechnology sector, venture capital and academic community.

He has served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) and in 2014 was honored as the first life sciences industry recipient of the AUTM Presidents Award.

Locally, Chris has spent 8 years on the Board of Directors of Pennsylvania Bio and the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia, as well as led the Academic Industry Sub-Committee for BIO 1996, 2005, and 2015 in Philadelphia.

“Chris’s commitment to bringing life sciences meetings and events to Philadelphia has spanned the length of his impressive career,” said Margaret Foti, Ph.D., MD (hc), AACR CEO and PHL Life Sciences Advisory Board Co-Chair. “We look forward to the contributions he will make as we further enhance Philadelphia’s appeal as a life sciences meeting destination.”

 For more information on PHL Life Sciences visit ]]>]]>.

How Healthy are Your Event Technology Vendors?

March 18, 2017
Jay Tokosch

Jay Tokosch, CEO of ]]>]]>

Just like any other check-up, understanding the health of your vendors matters because you rely on them to support and execute important aspects of your business. Your event technology vendors are no exception, since the health of their company or platform does impact your entire event ecosystem.

The event technology space has been rife with layoffs, mergers and acquisitions and sun-setting of products that are currently in use by event organizers. These business decisions are not unusual, but do have an impact on your team’s strategy and goals.

So how can you protect yourself from getting involved with a vendor or product that has an uncertain future?

Check out our Top 5 Tips to consider before signing that next contract, to ensure you’re not scrambling to find a new solution when the news breaks that your vendor is failing.

1. Product Innovation is Stagnant

A constant in any healthy event technology business is product innovation. If your event technology partner isn’t promoting new products and has the same stale offerings they did two years ago, that can be a sign that there’s trouble. They may have frozen product development because they’re in the process of getting acquired or worse, they just don’t have the budget to invest in the future of their platform. A good way to get an idea is to ask your sales rep what’s on their product road map. If they don’t have a good answer, that’s most likely a red flag. Core-apps has invested in three powerful new features this year, as an example of how often your event technology partner should be rolling out updates and new products.

2. Follow the News

Has there been buzz recently about massive layoffs by your event technology vendor? Or was it announced that your event technology vendor got acquired recently and core products that you use are going away? If you find yourself in this position, you probably realize now that tracking these types of news stories gives you the knowledge you need to make decisions for the future. And if you think you’re not impacted by layoffs and acquisitions, think again. These can be tell-tale signs that over-leveraged companies are facing deeper problems and you can assume that your next event using their technology is not top of mind for teams facing layoffs or an uncertain future for their products. Consider setting up a Google Alert for your vendors so you can stay in the know, especially before signing your next contract.

3. Create Your Own Vendor Scorecard

Consider putting together a quick list of performance criteria that can help you and your team evaluate your event technology vendors. It doesn’t have to be crazy in-depth. Things to consider include age of the company, expertise of the founders, size of the team, quality assurance systems and customer reviews.

And remember, when it comes to venture capital investors, they come first, not customers. If your event technology vendors are beholden to investors, their company leadership will do everything possible to make them happy, not you. The impact is inconsistent pricing and poor tech support when they make cuts in the work force to keep investors happy.

4. Word-of-Mouth Matters

Want to know if you should move forward with that event technology vendor with the cool booth at that last show? Don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Ask your colleagues about their experience with event technology vendors you’re considering before you sign a contract. And don’t be afraid to ask your sales person for references too.

“While it may be true that the best advertising is word-of-mouth, never lose sight of the fact it also can be the worst advertising.”

5. Send Your Top Picks a Survey

Want some quick answers about which event app company to use? Send your top picks the same survey and evaluate the responses. Be bold with your questions. Get to the point by asking things like, “do you plan to shut down the product I’m currently using”, or “how will your staff layoffs impact my event”, for example. A survey to your top choices can be a barometer on which company is the best fit for your long-term goals.

Ultimately, you’re responsible to your leadership about the event technology vendors you and your team select. Ensure you’re doing your homework, by properly vetting the health of your event technology vendors, before you sign your next contract.

Attendees Came Early and Often to Natural Products Expo West

March 16, 2017
Lisa Apolinski

Lisa Apolinski is a professional speaker, blogger, and digital strategist. With her company,]]>]]>, she works with event managers to get their message to attendees, particularly through digital channels, on and off the show floor.

Natural Products Expo West was held once again, drawing more than 80,000 attendees to nearly 500,000 square feet of exhibit floor space, March 8-12 at the Anaheim Convention Center. 

While there was great activity on the main floor, approximately 20 percent of the show’s exhibitors, found in the Marriott and Hilton, opened a day ahead.

Many attendees took the advantage of this staggered floor opening by coming early to the show and packing into these areas to see new exhibitors and new products.

And pack in they did – in many instances, the aisle traffic made moving a tricky endeavor but the exhibits made it well worth fighting the crowd density.

“We have seen so many entrepreneurial companies and young companies who are bringing truly sophisticated products,” said Adam Andersen, managing director of New Hope Network, which owns and operates the show.

He continued, “There are several great new products at the show this year. Because we opened different exhibit spaces in stages again this year, we also wanted to have some events early on to provide additional engagement early in the show. Something we moved earlier in the program was the Business School, helping new brands learn how to engage and find success in their organizations. We sold out this year, so moving the session early clearly worked for our attendees and exhibitors.”

Networking and exploring the new industry trends were on the minds of many attendees, including first-time attendee Dante Vargas of General Mills.

“I came early to the show to learn about new trends in natural products and am so glad to be attending,” Vargas said.

He added, “There are so many new products and it has been great to speak to both exhibitors and fellow attendees on these new products.” 

The 500 new exhibitors in the hotel spaces also were happy with the traffic and engagement.

“We had heard of all the great engagement happening at Natural Products Expo West, so we decided to have a booth,” said Iris Kim, marketing and sales director at Nuts About You.

She continued, “The traffic and feedback we have gotten has been amazing, and we are only on day one. We are getting great contacts, meeting with distributors and retailers on our products, and receiving excellent feedback from attendees and distributors. I am confident we will see even more traffic as the show progresses.”

Many exhibitors used the hotel option to launch new products.

Christy Hierholzer, CEO and Founder of Nat-A-Tat-2, wanted to use Natural Products Expo West as the conference for the official launch of their tattoo care line.

“We have exhibited at Natural Products Expo East for four years, and we decided to exhibit at Expo West for this product launch,” she said.

Hierholzer added, “It has been such a great experience and the reception and activity we have gotten in our booth has been exceptional. We cannot wait to see how the traffic picks up once the main exhibit floor has opened.”

Several exhibitors wanted to use Natural Products Expo West to get feedback on their new products as well as find contacts for exploring growth potential. 

This was the case for Meli’s Monster Cookies, and co-owner Melissa Blue knew Expo West was the place to be.

“For our products, we knew we wanted to show here but were not sure how the attendee traffic and response would be to our product,” Blue explained.

She added, “We have been almost overwhelmed with the response we have gotten and the number of attendees that are talking to us. It has far exceeded what we thought possible. This was the right choice for us.”

There were several macro trends that were on display with the new products: a focus on trust and transparency, which has become more prevalent with the millennial influence, makes sure product ingredients are defined, including their source; flavor profiles are now bringing in fresh ingredients such as coconut, and global flavor fusion is inspiring unique combinations of flavor palettes.

“The macro trends have been great to see with the new products, and have brought such interesting product launches to the show floor, and we have seen an uptick in the entries for the new product showcase,” Andersen said.

He added, “This great array of new trends has helped our attendees see what is on the horizon for natural products.”

Andersen said he also is excited for next year and the additional floor space for the show.

“With our growth rates, the convention center expansion has come at a great time for our show,” he said. “We are thrilled to have additional space for our exhibitors, attendees, and show events in Anaheim.”

The 2018 Natural Products Expo West will return March 9-11 to the newly expanded Anaheim Convention Center. 

CONEXPO-CON/AGG & IFPE Make Giving Back Part of Their Culture

March 16, 2017
Lisa Plummer Savas

Lisa Plummer Savas is Content & Marketing Editor for TSNN. 

The trade show industry is no stranger to teaming up with charities and demonstrating its commitment to social responsibility, and one recent Las Vegas-based trade show went out of its way to exemplify that dedication to helping those in need.

As the world’s largest trade show and conference for the construction industry, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE showed its solidarity with U.S. military veterans by hosting several fundraising events during its most recent event, held March 7-11 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Hosted charity events included a benefit concert, as well as a live and an online auction dedicated to helping The Call of Duty Endowment, a non-profit organization that helps veterans secure high-quality jobs after their service.

With many veterans working in the construction and manufacturing industries, joining forces with the Endowment not only made sense for the show but also enabled its audience to help combat the high unemployment rate among post-9/11 veterans, reported to be 2.6 times greater than the national average.

“While our industry has given to numerous worthwhile causes over the years, in 2015 we collaborated with The Call of Duty Endowment for the International Construction and Utility Equipment Exposition Benefit Auction, raising more than $29,000 to help connect military veterans with quality jobs,” explained Sara Truesdale Mooney, CONEXPO show director and vice president of exhibitions and business development for the Association of Equipment Manufacturers, which owns and operates the show.

She continued, “Because many veterans work in the construction and manufacturing industries and the skill set they bring is a great fit for the many opportunities in our industry, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE teamed up again with the Endowment as the official charitable partner for the 2017 event.”

About 2,000 show participants harnessed their spending power for good by flocking to see legendary rock band Foreigner perform at the Brooklyn Bowl on the Las Vegas Strip, while many also participated in the live and silent auctions, helping to collectively raised more than $100,000 for the Endowment.

“These new benefit events offered the opportunity for CONEXPO-CON/AGG participants to not only network and have fun but also rally together as a construction industry community to raise funds to support military veterans,” Mooney said.

Many attendees expressed their enthusiasm for supporting a charity dedicated to transforming the lives of people who have sacrificed so much for their country, according to AEM officials.

The association already is considering another partnership with the Endowment, this time at the upcoming ICUEE Demo Expo, set for Oct 3-5 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

“We’re so grateful for CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE’s remarkable support of our veterans,” said Dan Goldenberg, executive director of The Call of Duty Endowment

He added, “Every dollar received by the Endowment will go directly towards the most effective and efficient veteran job counseling services in America. These will be dollars well-spent.” 

Six Ways to Millennial-Proof Your Brand Experience with Event Technology

March 15, 2017
Katherine Zimoulis

As Vice President of Content Marketing for Freeman, Katherine Zimoulis helps tell the stories of the incredible work being accomplished at Freeman and shares the deep insights and thought leadership found within the organization. 

Most marketers know that ]]>digital and event technology]]> is a must-have for events and brand experiences. But did you know that it’s mission-critical for organizations looking to engage Millennials and Gen Z?

In fact, ]]>53% would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology]]>. With the digital stakes so seemingly high when it comes to younger audiences, how can marketers incorporate the right mix into their events and brand experiences?

Here’s a short list of event technology best practices for marketers looking to engage Millennials – while ensuring they retain all five senses!

Authenticity, always

Younger audiences can sniff out a fake (see what we did there?) faster than you can say, “Let’s take a selfie!” So, your digital actions need to be just as authentic as your ]]>face-to-face interactions]]>. If, for example, Snapchat isn’t a fit culturally for your organization, don’t force it – you may end up turning off Millennial influencers rather than engaging them. Always start with a sound strategy that works for your brand to ensure the best possible results. 

The Google guru

Word-of-mouth, particularly when online, is a big deal for today’s youth. Millennials will invest time researching your organization and event and reading reviews online before they invest in the resources to attend. Make sure they can easily find the info they seek when they Google your event. It’s particularly powerful when the information comes from a third-party influencer, such as someone who has attended in the past and shares his or her positive experiences. 

Insta, snap, face – oh my!

It should be no surprise that social media is a key digital integration to utilize for this audience. Consider YouTube and Instagram as the cornerstones for your social media strategy if you want to reach Millennials and Gen Z, as they’re driven by beautiful and thought-provoking content that they see online. Instagram offers a less-commercialized, visually driven network while YouTube attracts these groups with entertainment, education and more. 

Mobile app overload

These digitally native generations will flock to your ]]>event mobile app]]>. Is it geared for this group? Make sure the app comes fully loaded with all the personalized bells and whistles this audience expects. They also crave reciprocal, one-stop application, so you get bonus points for making the components interactive. Take it beyond schedule customization and networking by incorporating cool tech like second screen and beacon-enabled notifications as well as gamification activities. 

Make the jaws drop

Want to really turn your tech up a notch? Millennials are motivated by brag-worthy moments they can capture and share, so give them a unique digital experience they can only find at your event. Consider selfie-worthy activations such as ]]>virtual reality]]>, holograms, ]]>Pokémon]]> Go-style augmented reality, and stunning projection mapping or LED walls.

Netflix-style education

Do you offer a virtual component to your program? This could be a great entry-level offering for younger generations not ready or able to invest in your full experience. Just make sure it delivers against what they expect for online media and on-the-go content: seamless streaming, customization and Netflix-style recommendations.

By embracing the digital age and experimenting with ]]>new technology]]>, you can reap the reward of engaged audiences of all generations. As for Millennials and Gen Z, when they see, smell, hear, feel, and touch your efforts, they’ll be even quicker to embrace your brand and share the experience you provided.