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‘Jetson’-Age Tools Click with Big-Event Planners Trade Shows Expert Shares 3 Cutting-Edge New Technologies

jane-jetsonMost of us think about technology on a mostly two-dimensional plane as we flick our way from screen to screen on touch glass. But today’s tech includes applications that are far from flat, says major-events expert Ann Windham.

“What if you could control all primary aspects of major events like trade shows, big weddings and awards ceremonies through your iPad or smartphone; imagine shutting everything down at the end of a long and exhausting night by pushing one button on your phone – that’s just some of what’s possible with today’s software,” says Ann Windham, president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc. (imaginexhibits.com/events).

Lights, climate control, projectors and monitors, curtains, fountains and much more can be controlled with an app, and the data that you take away from trade shows can be used to quickly follow up on sales leads, says Windham, who will be showcasing this cutting-edge technology July 9 at Trade Show Technology Summit 2013, to be held at the Irving Convention Center at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas.

The summit will show attendees how to manage technology such as QR codes, mobile apps, virtual trade shows, social media, on-line asset management, interactive media and live stream video on electronic devices as simple as a mobile phone, she says.

“We’ll show planners the newest event management tools for efficiency and streamlining tasks before, during and after their event. We’ll also have hands-on, educational workshops to show them how to use management,” she says.

Windham shares three of her favorite new technologies:

• Pre-show – Event Management Software: This one-stop source for managing every detail about your event – from Fed Ex tracking numbers to vendor contact information to photos from the show – even allows you to manage multiple events from any location. “In the past, we carried all the details for each show in one huge binder. If you were at a show in Texas and someone called with a question about the show in Oregon, you wouldn’t have that information handy,” Windham says. Event management software relies on cloud storage, so members of your team can access it from their smart phone or iPad no matter where they are. Another benefit: You’ve got just one place to input all that data.

• During the show – Remote Sensors: Sensors built into the walls of an exhibit allow you to control all of the electronics from your smart phone or iPad. Not only does it save time, it’s an easy way to add valuable theatrics during a demonstration. “Say you’re standing at the back of the room and you realize the speaker can’t be heard, you just turn up the volume on his mic, right from your your iPad,” Windham says. “Or, if you want to create special effects using lighting and room temperature, you can dim the lighting and drop the temperature.” Her favorite feature? At the end of a long day, rather than walking from one device to the next, shutting off each, you press just one button and turn everything off while walking out the door.

• Post-show – Sales Leads Follow-up: Seventy percent of percent of exhibitors who capture sales leads at trade shows don’t collect qualifying information, according to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).Scanners collect only the most basic data from visitors to each booth – there’s no way of knowing whether they were a “hot” lead ready to buy, or someone who stopped by for the free T-shirt, Windham says. Now, however, event management software allows exhibitors to include qualifying information every time a visitor’s badge is scanned. “At the end of the event, you can quickly see who your hottest leads were and send them an email or postcard before you’ve even left the event,” Windham says.

For planners who’ve been hamstrung by personnel cutbacks in recent years, these new tools are lifesavers, she says.

“The days of ‘The Jetsons’ has arrived.”

About Ann Windham

Ann Windham is the president and CEO of Imagine Xhibits, Inc., a full-service trade show marketing company that offers custom design exhibits using modular components. Windham’s company offers customers more than 50 percent savings on operating expenses; expert face-to-face marketing consultants that will work to increase ROI with four-step marketing; quarterly seminars offering continuous education by certified trainers; in-house design services for custom structures, graphic design and brand development; turn-key services and exhibit management program for all logistical needs; and a one-stop shop for meeting planning, promotional products, collateral web-site and more.

 

 

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How To Create A Dynamic Trade Show Space And Attract New Customers

imagesTrade shows are an excellent way to boost your business. They give you the opportunity to meet new customers, make big sales, and connect with other companies with a shared vision. They also give a great chance to check out the competition and maybe pick up a few new marketing ideas. But going to a trade show costs money, so it is important to think of it as an investment. You need to pay for plane fair, hotel costs, and of course, the price of having a booth at the trade show. That makes it that much more important to get the best results out of your trade show booth. You want to make your booth dynamic and exciting so that it attracts new customers. If you are strategic and creative, your investment will pay off exponentially! Here are some ideas to get you started!

Get the basics right. Before you try to make a booth that stands out, make sure you are making a booth that works. Don’t forget the basic necessities for a good booth. Lighting, for example, should be great. A dark booth is not inviting! Keep the entry space to your booth accessible – don’t put a table in front of it. Make sure your sign is professional and polished and provides your company name, and if the name doesn’t make it obvious – what your company does. (“Rick’s Pickles” doesn’t need an explanation but “Services By Rick” does.)

Make your freebies creative, conceptual and convenient. When you walk out of a trade show with four new tote bags, ten new pens, and thirteen travel mugs, they all start to blend together. Many people just pass them along to friends, and the company sponsoring them gets none of the intended exposure.  So why stick with these boring old toss away items? Think more creatively. Keep the concept relevant, either to your company or something else – the physical location of the conference for example. And make sure that whatever you are giving away is easy to pick up and take with you. Going to a trade show in Hawaii? Whatever company you are, you could consider handing out chunks of pineapple on toothpicks – tasty, healthy, and memorable – just keep a little trash on the floor for the toothpicks.

Use social networking to bring people to your booth. Most conferences and trade shows these days use social networking to get the word out. Some have Facebook pages, others have Twitter accounts, and a lot have both. Create a hashtag for your booth and display it so people who pass by can search for it on Twitter. Tweet exciting promotions and use any conference hashtags that are being used. Take pictures of what is happening and what you are giving away, and share them on your accounts.

Be friendly and interesting but non-invasive. Customers walking through trade shows are bombarded by sights, sounds, and smells. Everywhere they look there is something being handed to them or somebody inviting them into a booth. Obviously you need to be friendly, too, but try a different, more creative strategy than the same old tired lines. “Hi, would you like to hear more about LASIK surgery?” is not creative. “What if I told you you would never have to wear your glasses again – would you like to hear more?” is a big improvement. But at the same time, you need to learn accept no as an answer. If somebody isn’t interested in your product, they won’t become more interested if you become pushy. In fact, it will probably have the opposite effect.

About the Author: Thomas has been an independent writer and business professional for over 20 years. Amongst his most often covered topics is NimlokOnline’s top trade show displays. When he isn’t writing, you can find him spending time at home with his family or honing his guitar skills.

 

 

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How YOU Can Attend 2013’s Hottest Trade Shows

0412_tradeshow_630x420Trade shows offer a unique opportunity to see what is happening in your industry. You get the chance to play with new gadgets, make connections and talk about what you have going on. Trade shows are not open to everyone, however. You need to know how to get into the hottest trade shows of 2013 to ensure you are there.

Getting Registered

To attend a trade show you have to be registered to do so. It is critical that you get registered as soon as possible to ensure a spot, a plane ticket if you need one and a hotel room close to where the show is being held. You need to be sure that you will attend before committing because many trade shows, such as SXSW, will not refund the registration fees.

If you remain undecided until the last minute, some shows that still have space will allow you to walk in during the show and get registered. This is not nearly as beneficial as planning far in advance though.

Go for a Speaking Gig

Those that attend the shows solely to speak almost always get out of paying an attendance fee. You will be able to talk and give some promotion to what you have to offer, as well as connect with those that could possibly help you out in the future. If you want to attend a trade show purely to network and get your name out there, speaking may be a great option for you.

Now, trade shows will not just let anyone walk in and speak. You will have to work on your speech well in advance, get it to the show organizers and wait for their verdict. To give yourself the best shot of getting a speaking spot you need to get a client that you can include in your presentation and do not focus solely on your company. This speech must be original, educational and something that people will remember.

Getting Your Ducks in a Row

You have to make sure that the stuff the show organizers need is in their hands as soon as possible. Forgetting a piece of paperwork could result in you not being able to attend. When you speak to the event coordinators, take a detailed list of everything they say that you will need. Keep this list with you and bring it to the show. You also want to jot down the names and contact information for everyone you speak too. People make mistakes, but you do not want to get burned by someone else’s mistake.

Choose the Right Event

If you are a foodie, then the American Food Fair is where you want to be. If you love film and music, SXSW is the coveted trade show. To get the best opportunities to network, you have to be at the right show. Throughout the year there are often many different shows for the same industry. For example, there are car trade shows everywhere throughout the year. You need to do your research do determine which one is best for you to attend and not all trade shows are created equal. Once you figure out the right show, do research on places to stay, how to get registered and what you can expect once you are there.

About the Author: Thomas has been writing about trade show topics online for companies like nimloktradeshowdisplays.com for the past 10 years. When not writing or attending shows, he can be found at home with his family or out at the gym practicing his boxing.

 

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How To Use Facebook To Draw Excitement For Your Upcoming Trade Show

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Trade shows are an exciting time when industry leading companies and experts come together under one roof to promote their offerings. Yet, they can be challenging to market to prospects who may be interested in the information as many trade shows are advertised in limited groups. Trade shows can be expensive and time consuming to market because they are oftentimes huge events involving large groups of vendors all competing for business.

However, social media tools such as Facebook have become a cost effective and useful method to invite others who are not directly related to trade show publications. This makes Facebook a great way to draw attention to upcoming trade shows, months in advance, across multiple online networks. Here’s how to start using Facebook for trade show marketing.

Create a branded, group Facebook page for the trade show network.

Your very first step as a social media marketer is to develop an actual group page on Facebook that displays the trade show information in all its blazing glory. You’ll want to develop a nice header image and a logo that tells others in an instance what your trade show is about and how it can benefit attendees. The idea is to stand out from other trade show producers by developing an online brand that captures the essence of your industry and your expertise as a trade show manager.

Integrate the Facebook page with other advertising methods.

Once you have your Facebook group page established, you can then start sharing it with all of your networks. A good way to do this is to add a Facebook button to all your other marketing materials, like your website, your print promotional items, and even letters you send out to potential vendors. If you run radio or television ads, make sure to mention you are on Facebook and to follow you for exclusive updates.

Schedule vendor events prior to the trade show date.

Facebook is an ideal platform for creating trade show events and inviting others to learn more. Take the time to plan events months in advance with a monthly vendor webinar to explain the benefits and opportunities at the trade show. Offer special deals that are exclusive for participants, such as reduced table fees and marketing premiums. Create a buzz around upcoming trade show events and ask your social followers to share with those who may be interested in being part of your network.

Use the Facebook page to share trade show information and images.

In addition to the other methods you use to advertise your trade show events, your Facebook page is the ideal place to share lots of exclusive information, imagery, and offers to your followers. Post at least daily about your trade shows, how successful they are, what vendors are attending, and your focus on building quality events for businesses to launch their offerings. Get in front of your market through strategic posts by region and industry.

Any trade show can benefit from exposure on Facebook as well as other forms of social media promotions. Take the time to develop a brand across all your marketing methods, but be sure that you share your Facebook account to draw the right people to your events.

About the Author: Thomas has been writing about trade show topics for companies like Nimlok Online for more than a decade. When not writing, you can find Paul at home with his family or training at the gym for his next triathlon.

 

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What Kind of Booth Should You Have?

 

In order to get the most effective use out of your trade show booth, a few techniques should be incorporated into your marketing for exhibitions and trade shows. There are a few techniques that are tried and true that you can use at any exhibition and come out on top.

One. Make sure you know the layout before you get there.

Just as if you are mapping exits for a fire drill, you want to have the layout of the floor plan before you get to the exhibition. You can usually call the organizers and get the floorplan well before the convention begins.

The reason that you want the floorplan is to map out a second and third place that you can be if your first choice does not work out. Many times, conventions end up moving a tradeshow booth because it is too big or there is some last-minute change with the venue. You want to make sure to be as flexible as possible, and that includes helping the venue masters choose another place for you in case the first one does not work out.

Two. Bring the most flexible trade show booth that you can.

There are many different kinds of foods that you can bring to an exhibition, some more flexible than others. These days, you want to bring a fully collapsible tradeshow booth that can be built and taken down in pieces. The reason for this is in case you do not get all of the space that you were promised on the floor plan, you can adjust without having to create a huge mess.

Also, the more modern tradeshow booths are well equipped for flight and build, as well as takedown. There is no reason that you should not be able to fit your entire tradeshow booth inside your luggage these days. You should also be able to build it up and take it down very quickly. There are many different kinds of booth designs that fit this exact description. Make sure that you get one of them in order to stay on the cutting edge of the convention.

Three. Get a three-dimensional display.

You want to be tall, wide, and out. Get in the way of the customer. People should see your booth before they see the booth of your competition. You want your banners high and visible. It doesn’t matter if you protrude a little bit more into the walking area than your competitors do. Remember, you are here to sell, and it is better to apologize and take down a piece of your booth rather than tell yourself know before you even show up, and lose out on any customers that may have been looking for you because you were too shy to do something different.

Four. Video and interactivity is King.

The uses of the Nintendo Wii in an exhibition are endless. If you have not thought of any, make sure that you read some website articles on that. You also want to have interactive video if you can. Invest in a downloadable app. All of this will help make your booth the top of the exhibition.

This post is brought to you by Sarah Thomas, a small business owner. When it comes to sound event marketing service she recommends http://www.northernproductions.com/. She has depended them for the last 3 years to deliver quality trade show display designs for her business’ conference events.

 

 

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5 Top Tips for International Exhibitions

As well as the plethora of local exhibitions and trade shows, it is important to spread the word about your company internationally. Before making the transition to foreign tradeshows, you need to make sure you’re fully prepared:

1) International Etiquette

First of all, don’t assume that everyone speaks English. Make an effort to learn the language, or at least some basic words and phrases that will prove beneficial. This looks polite more than anything and international peers will respect your effort.

Take your time to learn international greetings. In the USA and UK we shake hands but in other countries such as Asia, body contact should be completely avoided. This will help you come across as respectful and culturally aware. First impressions are key.

2) Understand the Significance of Colours and Numbers

This follows on from learning about a country’s etiquette. Many colours and numbers hold varying significance for different cultures. For instance in China the colour green should be avoided on packaging. It has negative connotations of adultery.

The Chinese also associate the number ‘4’ with death. Avoid this on your packaging and displays. For Japan and other Eastern cultures, white is associated with death so do your research.  Where possible ensure that goods are packaged in different amounts to avoid causing offence.

3) Go Portable

There are now many quality exhibition stands that are both durable and portable. You want a stand that is easy to assemble and clear away so you can move from one venue to another efficiently.

Portable displays are also much easier to transport than large, fixed displays. This will reduce and hopefully prevent damage in transit. Any damage caused can easily be removed from the display to keep you looking tidy and professional.

4) Manage and Maintain Your Marketing

Even international exhibitions will require a certain amount of preview marketing. Target the appropriate social media platforms and maintain your posts. Where possible live blog and live Tweet your event using the appropriate ‘hash tags’ and key words.

It is also a good idea to research what marketing methods hold the most authority in that specific country. For instance, some places may limit social networking so you will need to revert to more traditional methods.

Make sure any printed marketing such as business cards and flyers are printed in two languages. That way your international peers and potential clients will be able to see exactly what you have on offer. Just make sure any translations are accurate as this could end up in mis-communicated messages or offence.

5) Network

As you would on home soil, keep up with your networking. Your business may be new to the host country and it may take a few visits before you achieve what you have set out to. Use social media and the Internet to keep in touch with fellow exhibitors or clients you have met abroad.

Preparation is key with any exhibition, both here in the UK and abroad. Make sure you have done all of the background research and leg work to ensure a smooth transition and an effective exhibition.

If you’re looking for an exhibition stand design that will help your business stand out abroad, look no further than RB Displays. Contact them today to transform your next exhibition.

 

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