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.

In 2014, San Diego Convention Center diverted 60 percent of all event waste, approximately 1,120 tons, from local landfills, setting a new record. The effort is part of the City of San Diego’s initiative to reach 75 percent diversion by 2020 and zero waste by 2040.

“We are proud of our ongoing success minimizing the environmental impact of meetings in our facility and our team is committed to building on our strong record.” said Carol Wallace, president & CEO of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation.

Initial recycling efforts at the convention center began in 1990 with the placement of clearly marked bins to help to make it effortless for attendees to keep recyclables out of the waste stream. In 2011, the convention center achieved LEED-EBOM Silver Certification for the successful efforts by the Corporation and its staff to reduce waste, conserve water and improve energy efficiency at the 2.6 million square foot facility.

The recycled materials include paper, plastic, aluminum, glass, used batteries, printer ink cartridges, lightbulbs, tires, baled cardboard, wooden pallets, copper wire, carpet and cooking oil.

Other green efforts include 100 percent fluorescent lights for energy efficiency as well as water conservation, with 81,061 gallons of water saved with low-flow automatic sinks and toilets throughout facility, drip irrigation and an energy efficient dishwasher in the main on-site kitchen.

Fruits vegetables, olive oils and seafood are purchased from local farms and suppliers that are within a 100 mile radius, as supply and season allows. All food scraps are composted, eliminating the need for garbage disposals in our kitchen.

Environmentally responsible cleaning products are purchased for carpets, floors, kitchens and bathrooms.

Recently the Corporation has been considering Phase III expansion to increase the capacity of the convention center by 33 percent, adding 200,000 – 225,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, 100,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, and an 80,000 sq. ft. ballroom. 

However, the efforts have been put on hold pending a financial and economic feasibility study and an evaluation of expanding the current facility into continuous exhibit space, as well as an expansion of exhibit and meeting space near the current facility for a campus-like environment. The study is expected to be completed by mid-summer 2015.

My Compliance Wizard: A New Medical Meetings Tool That Makes Compliance Research Easy

April 23, 2015
Traci Browne

Owner, Red Cedar Marketing, auhor of "The Social Trade Show: Leveraging Social Media and Virtual Events"

Keeping up with constantly changing compliance rules and regulations for 196 countries across the globe is an almost impossible task for medical meeting professionals. Even so, it still is a critical one.  

Pat Schaumann, author of  “Breaking the Code to Healthcare Compliance” 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Editions said, “Last year the U.S. government collected $8 billion in fines and violations from manufacturers for misreporting and false reporting.”

A new tool created by a joint venture between Schaumann and BusyEvent Mobile called My Compliance Wizard will help alleviate much of the compliance research burden for medical meeting professionals.

My Compliance Wizard is a hybrid app. It is based on latest version of HTML 5, which is responsive web meaning any device that can connect to the Internet will be able to interact with the content.

This new online resource is designed specifically for global healthcare meeting professionals, compliance officers and financial teams at pharmaceutical, medical device and healthcare companies.

The mobile-ready tool will be used to access the laws and codes that govern geographic areas so that meetings professionals may plan efficiently and remain in compliance across all event segments and for all attending participants.

David Schenberg, chief evangelist of BusyEvent Mobile, said that My Compliance Wizard will not only contain compliance rules for countries that already have them, but they will monitor countries that don’t have published rules yet.

When those countries do go online, My Compliance Wizard customers will be among the first to know about them.

An example that Schenberg gave was a recent Swedish rule change that prevents pharmaceutical companies from paying participants’ travel and accommodation for an event. Nor can attendees be offered a fee (honoraria) for participation in an event.

“Imagine if you’re a planner that has a delegation coming in and the rules change before your event happens. Having the ability to reach out to their customers letting them know of that change as soon as it happens is a critical component of ease of use that you won’t find in any other tool.” Schenberg said.

He added, “Someone needs to be watching out for planners who have a multitude of other tasks when planning events.”

My Compliance Wizard intends to be that “someone” looking out for the planner.

My Compliance Wizard will be available in May at an annual subscription rate of  $149. My Compliance Wizard includes current compliance regulations, codes, and laws for 196 countries and 50 U.S. states, details on travel & expense rules with access to real-time data, and meal limits and currency conversion rates.

It also includes time, weather, holiday and other cultural data important to planners.

Nearly 3,000 Attend ASAE’s Springtime Expo in D.C.

April 22, 2015

Nearly 3,000 meeting and industry professionals recently gathered to attend two American Society of Association Executives events: Springtime Expo, April 8-9 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., and ASAE Foundation’s Annual Springtime DC Golf & Tennis Invitational April 10 at Lansdowne Resort.

The Springtime Expo’s total number of participants included 1,500 attendees and 1,370 exhibiting personnel with 348 companies occupying 468 booths on the showfloor. The Buyer/Seller ratio was 52 percent buyers to 48 percent sellers.

 A highlight of this year’s event was the use of beacon technology.  Attendees who downloaded the ASAE Events app and opted-in were able to download a personalized report showing which education sessions they attended, education credits earned and booths visited. Exhibitors received a complimentary report with real-time booth analytics.

New this year, ASAE held a one-day pre-conference program called “Building a High Performance Team and Winning Culture,” led by John Spence.

The session focused on how to create and sustain a high performance team within an organization. Attendees took a customized Team Effectiveness Audit and analyzed the gap between the “current” and “desired” state of a high performance team.

Attendees also participated in Learning Labs that provided an opportunity for meeting professionals and exhibitors to share challenges, ideas and successes around a variety of topics including: meeting redesign, integrated marketing campaigns, technology and proving ROI for your meeting. 

During the general session, Spence provided attendees with advice on what’s required to be a highly effective leader. He focused on skills, characteristics, attitudes, and behaviors that are key success factor, and why these traits attract willing followers. 

“The education sessions this year provided attendees with insight on new ideas and strategies they can execute into their organization,” said ASAE President & CEO John H. Graham, IV, FASAE, CAE.

He added, “The Expo floor was packed with engaging conversations, and the exhibitors benefited from meeting with all the buyers.”

The ASAE Foundation hosted its 33nd Annual Springtime DC Golf & Tennis Invitational, a green event for Corporate Social Responsibility, at Lansdowne Resort.

ASAE Foundation had nearly 300 participants who took part in golfing, wine tours, spa, and golf clinic events.

 Next year’s date for ASAE’s Springtime Expo is April 28, and the Annual Springtime DC Invitational Golf and Tennis Tournament is April 29.

2015 SISO CEO Summit: What’s Keeping For-profit Trade Show CEOS Up at Night?

April 21, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

At the 2015 Society of Independent Show Organizers’ 25th anniversary meeting, held April 13-16 at The Sanctuary on Kiawah, Island, S.C., the sessions tackled several heady subjects, including what keeps the CEOs of these for-profit trade show companies up at night?

That question was the part of the first session that kicked off the annual event, which was led by Tarsus Group Managing Director Douglas Emslie and included Britton Jones, president and CEO of Business Journals, Inc.; Sally Shankland, CEO of UBM Americas; and Russell Wilcox, CEO of Clarion Group.

In the room filled with not only the CEOs, but also industry suppliers, association leaders and guests, the discussion centered on topics such as increased industry competition in the fashion sector, how to market to attendees more effectively and the ever-increasing price private equity was paying for companies.

“Maintaining an edge is so critical in the fashion industry,” Jones said. “Our space is incredibly competitive. It keeps you on your toes, and that’s a good thing.”

Wilcox said one of the things that kept him up at night was that his company was underrepresented in the U.S., “so that is an opportunity.” He added that in the “age of digital bombardment” face to face stands out even more.

Shankland said a key goal at UBM Americas was to “create more value based on information provided to have more targeted marketing.” In other words, collect and use meaningful data that can help cater more uniquely to an attendee’s needs.

She added that something that kept her awake was, “I think there is a lack of gender, race and age diversity in our industry.”

Talk of high multiples that have recently been paid (in the double digits) for trade show companies sparked a lively discussion in the room. Some said the prices had gotten too high, and there would be ‘some casualties’ in the next few years as a result.

With Clarion recently being bought by PE firm Providence Equity, Wilcox added, “If you find the right partners, it should be a shared, long-term marriage to build value in the products.”

Other sessions the first day included “Citywides and Spinoffs: How do they happen, why, what keeps them interesting and how do you attract new attendance?” that was led by Mark Sullivan, president of Formula 4 Media, and focused on how his company successfully spun off their popular annual event into a ‘sister’ event.

Also, IMEX CEO Carina Bauer gave a detailed presentation on how hosted buyer programs, such as IMEX Frankfurt, work and how their use of technology and creativity has improved the effectiveness of the show for both buyers and exhibitors

The sessions broke for the SISO Annual Business Lunch during which it was unveiled by SISO Chair Charlie McCurdy that David Audrain, CEO of Exposition Development Company (ExpoDevCo), would be SISO’s new executive director, replacing Lew Shomer, who will be stepping down at the end of the year.

“I’ve been humbled … I’ve been very lucky these last couple of years to have the support of SISO,” Audrain said.

He added, “… From an industry perspective, SISO provides the very best gathering for leadership to have networking and business opportunities.”

Also during the lunch, Robert Harar, chairman of National Trade Productions, was awarded the Robert L. Krakoff Leadership Award.

“It is awarded to an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the face-to-face industry over the years,” said UBM/Advanstar’s Tony Calanca.

McCurdy gave a ‘state of the industry’ on SISO and said that now there were 177 member organizations, “Almost double the number when (Shomer) and his group started seven years ago.” He added that the finances also were very sound.

Shomer said more than 250 delegates, sponsors and guests attended this year’s event.

“We hope that our attendees walked away with insights into the industry’s future, the opportunities and pitfalls of global expansion and best of all, they created new networks and had a lot of fun,” he added.

Afternoon sessions focused on “Beyond the Booth: What are organizers doing to beef up their product offerings and making their exhibitors feel like part of a community?” during which show organizers such as Al Kikovitz, president and CEO, Cottage Life Media, talked about his company focusing on not just creating a show, but an entire brand like owning its own TV channel to selling “Cottage” apparel through their website.

The last session of the first full day was provocatively titled “Point –Counterpoint: Is the industry as we know it OVER? Or are we just on the brink of greater OPPORTUNITY?”, definitely created another stir in the room, with panelist Francis Friedman, president, Time and Place Strategies, saying, “We are in a 10-year foot race with exhibitors … who is going to control the customer experience?”

Denzil Rankine, executive chairman, AMR International, added, “The whole industry has been on the drug of space sales,” adding that the real challenge is “putting marketing and data analytics at the heart of the organization.”

Friedman also said, “We are no longer in the exhibitor business, we are in the attendee business … with no attendees, there are no shows. We need to meet attendee’s needs and desires.”

In the audience, Britton Jones added, “We need to offer them something they aren’t already offered in real life.”

Sands Expo’s Eric Bello didn’t agree with the panelists that the industry as we know it is over, adding, “It is the most effective way to see the most exhibitors at one place at one time.”

After a night of networking at an outside BBQ at Mingo Point, followed by scotch and cigars back at the resort, the next day kicked off bright and early with a session led by Steve Monnington, managing director, Mayfield Media Strategies, on global mergers and acquisitions.

Leading the M&A pack the past few years were the U.S. and the U.K., but, especially with all of the activity in China, Monnington said of the country that it was “one of the interesting places … that is not really pulling its weight.”

One of the global markets he focused on was Turkey, which has had 16 joint venture deals between international investors and local organizations in the past five years. “Most businesses have performed well,” he added.

As to what markets are still left to invest in, Monnington said second-tier cities in China, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Mexico, among others, were all of interest.

Another session on the final day was “Game Changing … Dynamic models that deliver knock out attendance” with David Kieselstein, CEO, Penton; Joe Loggia, CEO, UBM / Advanstar; Mike Rusbridge, executive chairman, Reed Exhibitions as panelists and Charles McCurdy, board of directors, 5Net4 Productions moderating.

“Today’s exhibitors want both quantity and quality. We need to be able to deliver new potential customers, as well as the buying power and industry influencers,” Loggia said.

To get people who are considered ‘influencers’ to Advanstar shows, there are teams at the company that specifically work on scoring attendees based on things such as their titles and their social media and press presence.

Other tactics utilized by the panel included a behavioral suite of tools that would create personalized marketing messages for attendees and employing data scientists who are experts in programs such as Salesforce to create custom campaigns based on specific data.

The last session of the summit featured a video of two Las Vegas-based comedians visiting five shows and taking a comedic, yet informative look, on what the exhibitors really thought of their experiences moving in, moving out, booth location and paying for all of those extras. 

Smart Ways to Leverage the Second Screen at Your Next Event Sponsorship

April 19, 2015
David Saef

David Saef, the executive vice president of MarketWorks and strategy at GES, a global event marketing company with a long history of connecting people through live events and trade shows.

Look around at any trade show or conference, and you’ll see attendees with their heads down and their eyes locked on their phones. This isn’t surprising considering that Americans spend 162 minutes on their mobile devices every day. What is surprising is just how many brands are missing out on this opportunity to engage their target audience during event sponsorships.

Creating a second-screen experience is a noninvasive but highly effective way to take your sponsorship to the next level. In preparation for the American Music Awards of 2013, for instance, Coca-Cola leveraged its sponsorship by allowing teens to help create the official track of the Coca-Cola Red Carpet LIVE! digital pre-show. The contest was a fun way for teens to collaborate, vote, and anticipate the show. More importantly, it connected teens to the Coca-Cola brand.

The more you can engage your target audience at an event, the greater ROI you’ll see from your sponsorship. And what better way to reach your audience than on their mobile devices?

Any Brand Can Take Advantage of the Second Screen

You don’t have to be a powerhouse like Coca-Cola to stand out at an event. A little bit of planning beforehand can help you create the same event buzz in your niche.

If you aren’t the title sponsor, you probably won’t get the same amount of airtime, and that’s OK. A mobile experience through an app can help you connect with attendees and push relevant content their way before, during, and after the event.

Social media contests are another great way to use the second screen. Have attendees upload pictures with your hashtag or in front of a backdrop with your logo. Any opportunity that encourages attendees to mention you on social media is great. This creates the fear of missing out among friends who weren’t there and gets your brand in front of an even larger audience.

How to Make the Second Screen Work for You

Like most marketing activities, creativity is the name of the game when it comes to using the second screen in a fun and entertaining way. It also takes time and thoughtful planning to organize this experience. Here are a few steps to guide you through the process:

1. Define your goals. Do you want to attract a new audience? Engage more deeply with an old one? Or is the second-screen experience all about converting customers and increasing revenue? These goals must be clear from the beginning because they’ll drive the rest of the process.

2. Determine key metrics. Considering the time and resources that go into an event sponsorship, you can’t afford to wing it when measuring results. Decide in advance which metrics will feed into the goals you defined and what quantifiable results you wish to see.

3. Audit available resources. Before you delve into planning your event, it’s important to determine who will be managing the whole project. What resources do you need to achieve the best results? Determining these things up front will save you from some nasty surprises once you’re in deep.

4.  Determine audience needs. Trade shows and conferences are already busy places, with lots of things competing for attendees’ attention. Get into your audience’s mindset to understand and target their specific desires. Do they like contests and free giveaways? Would they value meeting speakers in person? Make your offering attractive, and you’ll be the busiest sponsor there.

5. Explore all potential content. There are a million ways to offer more content to engage attendees. You could offer an interview, supplemental information, a video, a Q&A, the opportunity to provide live comments and feedback — the list is endless. Spend some time considering each option, and focus on the ones that fit your audience best.

As mobile usage explodes, people are only going to spend more time on their phones. And with a little strategy and prep work, your team can turn those mobile minutes into another opportunity to create a personalized experience for attendees and get them engaged with your brand.

CEIR, SISO Unveil 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study

April 18, 2015

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR) has teamed again with the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO) to produce its latest publication, “2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study”.  

CEIR has conducted research with young professional attendees since 2009. With funding from SISO, this first-ever initiative offers insights on young exhibitor attitudes and preferences about business-to-business exhibitions.

“SISO is pleased to entrust this important exhibition industry research to CEIR with financial underwriting. Young exhibitors today are the brand marketers of the future who will make the decisions to exhibit,” said SISO Executive Director Lew Shomer.


He added, “Understanding what they think about the channel and what they value most is essential to our industry’s ability to respond to their preferences and assure a prosperous future. We are pleased that CEIR has done such a great job with our grant to provide this important attitudinal survey about our younger exhibitor personnel.”

Here are five key findings:

·  Nearly all (98 percent) of young exhibitors find that exhibitions deliver unique value that cannot be fulfilled by other marketing or sales channels. The most popular aspects speak to the ROI, the ability to achieve multiple sales and marketing objectives in a compressed time period, with engaging face-to-face with customers and prospects top-ranked.

·  For young exhibitors, exhibitions mean business: More than seven out of 10 young exhibitors view the exhibition channel as a medium to accomplish multiple important marketing and sales objectives.

·  For young exhibitors, at the core of the in-booth experience is the product itself and attendee interaction with product and exhibit booth staff. Young exhibitors find tactics which feature the product (71 percent) give attendees opportunities to interact with product (67 percent) and provide settings that enable booth staff to engage with attendees (66 percent) as the most effective ways to interact with attendees. A majority also find various digital interactive elements, giveaways and prizes as effective attendee engagement techniques.

·  It is all about face-to-face engagement and interactions: One-on-one conversations with exhibit personnel, with and without a product demonstration are the number one face-to-face settings of choice.

·  Keep it friendly and inviting! Emphasis on the importance of exuding a ‘friendly and outgoing’ approach is uniquely Millennial, and at 77 percent, it is a top-ranked trait young exhibitors look for in booth staff.

CEIR President and CEO Brian Casey, CEM, said, “We thank SISO for funding this study. Through partnerships like these, CEIR is able to deepen the value of its research, offering insights on the hottest topic areas that enable organizers and other players in the industry to keep current of trends and respond for competitive advantage. This particular study suggests the future of the industry is bright; though it also points out young exhibitors have unique preferences. Organizers need to pay attention and adjust content and marketing approaches to remain relevant and positioned for growth.”

The “2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study” provides a comprehensive overview of young exhibitor attitudes, preferences and habits relating to the exhibition channel. It profiles career attitudes, how they impact attitudes regarding exhibitions and metrics assessing affinity to the channel. The report also takes a look at all facets of exhibiting – from importance placed on achieving marketing and sales objectives, reasons for avoiding exhibiting, as well as effective exhibiting tactics. Specific tactic preferences evaluated include booth offerings, face-to-face setting preferences, exhibit booth staff characteristics, and participation in a range of exhibition organizer offerings made available at each stage of an event. Communication preferences with organizers after signing up to exhibit are also evaluated.

In addition, the “2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study” examines significant differences by subgroups including job role, frequency of exhibiting, role in decision to exhibit and other key demographics.

This is the second generational study sponsored by SISO. In 2014, the organization funded theYoung Professional Attendee Needs and Preferences Study.

Click here to download the 2015 Young Professional Exhibitor Needs and Preferences Study.

4 Tips to Connecting With Your Trade Show Audience

April 17, 2015
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.

We’ve all been to trade shows where exhibitors try to outdo each with the biggest booth and the most state-of-the-art gadgets to draw in a crowd. As much attention as these display systems receive, sometimes it is smaller, more intimate and personal settings that attendees will remember over how many trinkets and brochures they collected.

Having fancy giveaways and booths do not necessarily mean you will stand out to potential buyers, it just shows you spent more money. Attendees love knowing that they are listened to, that their space is respected, and that they will not be pressured to buy anything. Creating an environment like this for your audience is actually very simple with these ideas.

Think Small

Large trade show displays that are bigger than some houses can actually be pretty overwhelming to attendees, especially when the trade show aisles are lined with exhibits just like this one. It’s easy for anxiety to kick in when surrounded by over-the-top booths like these, so opt for a smaller, more intimate booth instead. Give it a  homey feel by adding a table or two with some chairs where you can comfortably sit down with your potential customers and have a conversation with them.

Give Them Their Space

Attendees are like deer; one sudden movement and they will disappear faster than you can say “Is there something I can help you with?” Watch for body language cues that show the attendee wants to be left alone, such as avoiding eye contact and turning their backs to you as they view your booth. Also, be cautious with attendees who have one foot in  your booth and one outside of it because these people could be ready to bolt at any given moment. Give these people space and when they are ready to talk to you, they will.

Tell a Story

The most memorable booths are not those that have flashy, yet random graphics scattered throughout the exhibit, but those that have images, literature, and other marketing materials that tell a story. If your company is family-owned, you could let your audience know where your company started, how much it has grown, and what you and your employees have done for the community. Let potential customers know who you are through the use of story-telling, which will create a more personal relationship with your audience.

Include Giveaways That Matter

Pens, stress balls, and t-shirts have been handed out so often at trade shows, they have lost their appeal. Hand out items that would matter to your audience, such as signed books by an industry leader or another product that would mean something to your audience and can’t be thrown away. If your company creates cookware, consider handing out a set of branded spatulas, timers, or anything else they may find useful in the kitchen.

Exhibiting isn’t always about being the biggest and best, but is more about making meaningful relationships and connections with attendees that they will remember long after the trade show has ended. 

Meetings and Events Industry Leaders Team up for First Annual North American Meetings Industry Day

April 16, 2015

Meetings Mean Business (MMB) and other industry leaders brought together thousands at approximately 65 events April 16 for the first annual North American Meetings Industry Day (NAMID). This nationwide day of advocacy spotlighted the substantial value derived from meetings, conferences, conventions, incentive travel, trade shows and exhibitions.

NAMID is an expansion of the successful efforts in Canada who have for 20 years held the annual Canadian National Meetings Industry Day.

The MMB coalition members, in addition to industry leaders across in Canada and Mexico, hosted events in communities all across their respective countries.

Michael Dominguez, MMB’s co-chair and senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International, said, “We are excited to be involved in such a meaningful day that unites our industry not only across the United States, but also across Canada and Mexico, communicating the critical role in connecting people and driving positive business results through face-to-face interaction. Across the continent we are demonstrating how meetings build personal relationships, drive positive outcomes and support strong communities.”

Here are just a few of the events held today:

·         In Nevada, Caesars Entertainment worked with the other major players in the meetings and events industry to bring awareness of NAMID through a press rally in Las Vegas. The rally will included a proclamation by the Clark County Commissioner officially declaring today North American Meetings Industry Day.

·         In Wisconsin, Meetings & Incentives Worldwide joined forces with local partners, clients, and associates to host an educational session for industry leaders in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors. Earlier this month, M&IW petitioned Scott Walker, governor of the state of Wisconsin, and Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee to issue proclamations in support NAMID – both of which were approved. 

·         In New York, NYC & Company took to social media and issued a new video on why face-to-face meetings are so critical. The company also has placed a new ad to promote NAMID in the heart of the city – Times Square. Later today, American Express Meetings & Events will host an “Educate to Elevate” event, including a series of continuing education and enrichment sessions.

“North America Meetings Industry Day is a true testament to the strength of not only the industry’s leadership but also its grassroots supporters. Across North America thousands who work in the industry and know firsthand its value and strength are standing up to make sure that elected officials, business leaders and other decision makers understand the important role face-to-face meetings play in generating business success, creating jobs and driving economic growth,” said David Peckinpaugh, fellow MMB co-chair and president of Maritz Travel.

At the Las Vegas event, Commissioner Weekly presented Chris Brown, executive vice president of conventions and business operations of National Association of Broadcasters, with the Key to the Las Vegas Strip during a press event at The LINQ.  

NAB Show, which just wrapped up at the Las Vegas Convention Center bringing an estimated 100,000 attendees, is just one of the more than 22,000 meetings, conventions and trade shows that happen in Las Vegas every year.  

“Tourism is the economic engine that drives this town and the meeting industry plays a significant role,” said Clark County Commissioner Lawrence Weekly, chairman of the LVCVA Board of Directors.  “The 5 million-plus people who come to Las Vegas every year for a meeting, convention or trade show, help fill hotel rooms during mid-week, they support jobs and they significantly contribute to the local economy.”

Visit NAMID at to learn more about local events planned across the United States, Canada and Mexico today. Follow and participate in the digital conversations at @MeetingsMeanBiz on Twitter and by using the hashtags #MMBusiness with #NAMID. Download the MMB app, available on iPhones and Android devices, to access industry resources and to stay updated on NAMID activity as it develops over the course of the day.  

David Audrain Takes the Torch from Lew Shomer as New SISO Executive Director

April 14, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

At the annual business meeting lunch during the Society of Independent Show Organizer’s CEO Summit, held April 13-16 on Kiawah Island, S.C., the association’s chair, Charlie McCurdy, revealed that Exposition Development Company (ExpoDevCo) was named SISO’s new management company and David Audrain, CEO of ExpoDevCo, as new executive director.  

“I’ve been humbled … I’ve been very lucky these last couple of years to have the support of SISO,” Audrain said.

He added, “ … From an industry perspective, SISO provides the very best gathering for leadership to have networking and business opportunities.”

The appointment will take effect on Jan. 1 when Lew Shomer and Shomex complete their seven years of leadership service to SISO.

“SISO is in great shape with a very diverse and robust membership that spans the globe – it’s a great organization with lots of upside still to come,” McCurdy said.

He added that the board “wanted to thank Shomex Productions and Lew Shomer for their success in bringing SISO to the level it has reached as the premier organization serving the for- profit show organizer”.

Shomer said of the appointment, “I am thrilled that the board has chosen David to be the executive director when I step down.”

He added, “David and I have known each other for more than 10 years, and I was proud to serve under his leadership when he was chair of SISO. His unique entrepreneurial drive, mixed with his managerial style for organizing and producing shows all over the world will help SISO maintain the many relationships we have developed which make SISO such an integral part of the overall global Industry”.

Exposition Development Company is a three-year-old Atlanta-based service company specializing in the organization and management of Trade Shows and Conferences in North America that include owned events, licensed shows and show management contracts.  

Audrain founded ExpoDevCo with Stephanie Everett; the partners have worked together for more than 9 years, producing both US and International events. David is President & Co-owner of ExpoDevCo.

At the launch of ExpoDevCo, Audrain also served as president and CEO of Clarion Events North America, a joint venture between Clarion Events Limited and Audrain/ExpoDevCo.

Previously, he was president and CEO of Messe Frankfurt North America, where for more than six years he produced a portfolio of 10 events in the USA, Mexico and Canada, which included six launches, and managed exhibitor sales and attendee promotion to the North American markets of more than 100 worldwide shows.

In addition, Audrain served as COO of ConvExx from 2001 through 2005, where they managed the world-renown SEMA Show. He also held senior management positions with:  Advanstar, where he managed the MAGIC apparel shows; Hanley Wood Exhibitions, where he was responsible for the Surfaces and NACE shows; and Miller Freeman, where he was responsible for the Sewn Products & Decorated Apparel Group which included nine trade shows and 4 monthly trade publications.

Audrain started his career in the U.S. with the Texas Restaurant Association, and prior to his move to the U.S., he owned a software development company in Europe, creating high-end multi-currency accounting and investment management software.

Audrain has served on the board and the executive committee of SISO and as chairman in 2013-2014. He also was a past chairman of the International Association for Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), and currently serves on the board of directors of the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).

Shomex and Shomer took over the reins of SISO in October 2008 at the beginning of the recession and, even though the first year was tough and the Industry contracted, SISO has been able to grow and significantly increase the number of international members, which now make up about 25 percent of the overall membership.

“This has just been the most wonderful experience I could have imagined when I took over the position at SISO,” Shomer said.

He added, “With the help of my wife, Clare, Anna Osnower and Gillian Campbell, I believe we will leave SISO in an excellent position with a great and robust membership, loyal and wonderful sponsors and money in the bank. More importantly, so many of these people I have had the opportunity to interact with from all over the world have become my friends.”

SISO has grown from 95 to 177 member companies in the past 7 years, and their members organize more than 3,500 shows annually.

When asked what he would miss most, Shomer said, “I will miss the people who have become friends from all over the world, but I am sure I will stay in touch.”

After he steps down, he will be busy working on the Abilities Expos, which are in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Houston, Boston and San Jose, Calif.

“We have developed a transition program that will make the passing of the leadership virtually seamless, ensuring our members and sponsors will continue to receive the very best service that they have come to expect,” McCurdy said.

He added, “We are confident that David will continue to lead SISO at the forefront of the Industry as we concentrate on member benefits and continuing education to schools, universities and our member organizations. I would specifically like to thank Tony Calanca, who headed up the search committee that found David, and the entire executive committee that worked tirelessly to achieve our goal.”

Trade Show Industry Grows by Modest 1.8 Percent in 2014

April 14, 2015
Rachel Wimberly

Rachel Wimberly is president and editor-in-chief of Trade Show News Network. Follow her on Twitter – TSNN_Rachel.

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research released its full-year 2014 Index Report indicating that the trade show industry grew by a modest 1.8 percent last year, which was slightly less than the 2 percent originally predicted.

The growth in 2014 also was 1 percentage point higher than 2013’s total growth.

“We are optimistic for the performance of the industry overall this year. Economic and job growth should continue to drive expansion in exhibitions,” said CEIR Economist Allen Shaw, Ph.D., chief economist for Global Economic Consulting Associates.

The overall CEIR index is forecast to grow this year a full percentage point higher than the 2014 rate.


Over 2016 and 2017, CEIR expects the overall exhibition industry to continue to grow even more, although at a slower pace. The current projection shows growth at 2.4 percent in 2016 and 2.0 percent in 2017.


The overall performance of the CEIR Index represents the fastest sustained growth in the history of the research being compiled. By 2017, the total index of the overall exhibition industry is expected to reach about 1.0 percent below its previous peak in 2007.


According to CEIR’s president and CEO Brian Casey, “the best performing sectors in 2014 were the Financial, Legal and Real Estate (FN) and Building, Construction, Home and Repair (HM) sectors, which respectively gained 5.2 percent and 5.1 percent.”

He added, “Alternately, the weakest exhibition sector was Education (ED), where the index declined by 3.0 percent.”

After its initial release, a forecast update of the CEIR Indexwill be presented at the CEIR Predict conference Sept. 16-17 in Chicago.
“This year’s Predict will delve deeper than ever before into the relationship between the overall U.S. economy and how the exhibition industry plays into it,” said 2015 CEIR Chairman Britton Jones, President & CEO of Business Journals, Inc. “Attendees will learn about innovative approaches to adapting their business models, marketing and strategic plans to maximize the forecast for the next three years.”

Exhibition organizers who contributed data to the Index will receive the report with the Introduction and Methodology, the Macro Economy and Overall Exhibition Industry, and the sector report in which their event(s) fall. 

Click here for information on how to purchase the complete CEIR Index Report. For more information about contributing to the Index or about the Predict conference, visit