If you’ve attended or been a part of a trade show or convention in the past, you’re no doubt aware of the importance of a variety of critical elements to your company’s success. Having an informative and interesting exhibit is only part of the battle. You also need to stay within a reasonable budget, manage the logistics effectively from setup to breakdown, and handle any hand-outs or incentive gifts appropriately. In order to ensure that your business maximizes the positive results of participating in these events, you have to choose and work with event marketing companies in Chicago that have the talent, experience and drive to help you succeed. But how do you determine which event marketing companies in Chicago can give you what you need?
What Are The Signs Of Successful Event Marketing Companies In Chicago?
As in any major city, you’ll quickly find that there are many event marketing companies in Chicago ready to work with you, but not all of them will have the skills necessary to help you create an unforgettable presence at industry events. Experience is extremely important, but you also need to consider whether they can capture your vision and voice and whether their creativity is a match for your business. There are four crucial elements to consider before you commit to any of the event marketing companies in Chicago that you speak with:
Longevity In The Industry
Sure, there are start-up event marketing companies in Chicago with incredible talent, but these firms can be here today and gone six months from now. They may still be “testing their legs” in the marketplace and aren’t yet established with suppliers, vendors or other needed business collaborators. They may not have found their artistic stride yet. Do you really want to be a “test” of what they can do? Working with a recognized company will give you some security, as they will already be established with the essential vendors and suppliers. TradeTec has been in the business of crafting unique trade show displays for years.
Recognition From Their Peers
While brand name recognition is important and desirable, the most important recognition should be from their industry peers. Award-winning event marketing companies in Chicago will proudly display their awards and credentials so that potential customers will know about their successes.
Attendees at conventions and trade shows are jaded these days. They’ve seen hundreds of not thousands of exhibits. It takes a lot to surprise them and even more to engage their interest. Seasoned event marketing companies in Chicago have to be innovators with cutting-edge designs and fresh perspectives that can draw crowds while conveying relevant information. Above all, they have to create a presentation that’s not only exciting, but that successfully conveys a message that proves your company’s value and relevance. Browse TradeTec’s online portfolio for examples of past projects that rocked their venues.
Pricing For Every Budget
No matter how exciting or relevant the marketing tools are, if you can’t afford them they won’t do you any good. That’s why it’s critical to work with event marketing companies in Chicago that have a variety of pricing structures that give you plenty of bang for your buck. Qualified event marketing companies in Chicago will be able to show you a variety of marketing elements from trade show booths to signage that fit into a variety of pricing packages as well as rental options.
Promotional products help you advertise your business, but you can’t expect to get satisfactory results from personalizing random items and simply setting them on your trade show exhibit. Whether you want to believe it or not, there are proper ways and improper ways to distribute your trade show promo items and your marketing efforts will suffer if you go about things the wrong way. You still have to work for attendees’ attention if you use promotional items, and it’s best to tailor your giveaways toward each specific audience. Always come up with a plan that will attract potential customers to your booth and then engage them in conversation before handing them one of your promotional products!
How do you maximize the effectiveness of your company’s promotional products at trade shows? First of all—before you even consider ordering any merchandise with your logo on it—conduct thorough research on the trade show you’re planning to attend. What is the primary audience of that particular trade show? What products do you think would interest that audience? Attendees at an antique car show will probably prefer a muscle cars calendar or a snazzy keychain over a pedometer, just like participants of a travel or tourism trade show will probably be more interested in luggage tags than they will be in a mouse pad. Educate yourself about your target audience before you spend the money on personalized products that could end up being a massive flop! Also, you should give people a reason (besides the appeal of “free stuff”) to want what you’re giving them; offer an exclusive discount or coupon along with your promotional products and double the chances that you’ll hear from those attendees after the show.
It’s also wise to come up with a way to gain attendees’ contact information instead of counting on them to call you on their own. To accomplish this, organize a drawing and offer bigger-ticket promotional products (like electronics, gift cards, or watches) as prizes in addition to your less expensive giveaway items. Require attendees to enter the drawing by writing their names, phone numbers, and/or email addresses on a slip of paper, and then you’ll have the means to contact them about doing business with your company after the show is over. Or, instead of the drawing, you can start an email newsletter with special offers and encourage attendees to sign up on the list to qualify for them.
Second of all—after you’ve successfully analyzed the expected attendees and their interests—figure out how you’ll draw prospective customers to your booth by using your promotional products. As previously mentioned, it’s not a good idea to just spread your items on a table and watch attendees from a distance as they come up and take them. Don’t stand back and wait for people to come to you! The key chains or t-shirts you’re giving away might be the best that money can buy, but you have to interact with people if you want them to remember you; otherwise, they’ll get your promo item home and forget all about who you are and what you do (if they even knew that in the first place). Try this: stand front-and-center in your booth, make eye contact with passersby, greet them, briefly tell them how you can help them, and THEN hand them one of the items you personalized. That way, attendees will walk away with a positive impression and they’ll remember that impression every time they use the giveaway item you distributed! Also, this strategy makes it more difficult for freebie-hoarding attendees to snatch up all of your merchandise before you can actually use it to promote yourself to interested clients.
Third of all—and very importantly—don’t think your work is done once you’ve analyzed, customized, and socialized your way through a successful trade show. What does that mean? It means that you need to follow up! If you managed to collect a hefty stack of potential customer names and phone numbers or email addresses, then use them to express your gratitude. A brief “thank you” phone call or email a week or two after the trade show will reinforce your company’s image, remind people that you’re committed to assisting them with their needs, and make that colorful stress ball or tote bag you gave them THAT much more effective.
The recently formed Exhibit Industry Council released the first section of what its leaders say will be a complete Best Practices Guide on the sidelines of Exhibitor, held May 14-18 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
The document, titled “Full Disclosure and Control of Exhibitor Costs: Best Practice Guide,” according to Jim Wurm, EIC spokesman and executive director of the Exhibitor Appointed Contractor Assn., should create new exhibition industry standards that include cost transparency and controls, while increasing exhibitor value and promoting improved customer service at tradeshows.
“This is a … guide on how every tradeshow industry stakeholder shares in the responsibility to control exhibitor’s tradeshow costs,” Wurm said.
The Exhibit Industry Council is a coalition of exhibitor-focused associations formed last fall to address issues of interest to tradeshow exhibitors. Its founding member associations are the Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Assn., Trade Show Exhibitors Assn., Corporate Event Marketing Assn., Exhibit Designers & Producers Assn. and EACA.
Speaking on behalf of the associations during Exhibitor, Wurm said exhibitors are frustrated with inconsistent and rising costs and want change. The EIC intends for the Best Practices Guide to be its blueprint to transform what Wurm called an outdated business model not supportive enough of exhibitor success.
“These are recommendations,” Wurm said. “We’re not a legislative body, we can’t force anybody to do anything, but we are encouraging everybody to work together to make the environment more effective for the exhibitor.”
Topics addressed in the document include bundling, material handling surcharges, undisclosed discounts between general service contractors and organizers, forced shipments, exclusives and general service contractor conduct, along with suggested best practices for each issue.
The alliance and best practices document is in response to long-standing frustrations that appear to have reached a fever pitch during the recent economic downturn, Wurm said.
“The economic downturn has exposed a number of business practices that have been in our industry for years, even decades,” he added.
According to Wurm, EIC will make the guide available to the industry and promote it through its Website, exhibitor advocacy committees, webinars and presentations at industry events. He said the next step will be to invite the collaboration of other industry interests, including show organizers, facilities, general service contractors and unions.
Out on the Exhibitor showfloor, many participants of the show that focuses on tradeshow exhibiting were enthusiastic about the group’s suggestions.
Jamia Harris, director of U.S. operations of Opus 3 Creative, said she especially hoped rising labor and drayage rates would be addressed.
“When you quote labor rates in Chicago that are double Las Vegas, that are double Orlando, that’s crazy,” Harris said. “There needs to be some sort of consideration of exhibitors and attendees because, ultimately, the price gets passed down from exhibitor to customer to attendee.”
John Driscoll, president of Showcraft, said the tradeshow business model that was set up 30 or 40 years ago is outdated and no longer works for the overall good of the industry.
“I think we’re going to be in a phase probably for the next year where there’s going to be a challenging and a questioning of best practices to evolve a model that is more conducive to global competition,” Driscoll said. “Getting everybody in the same room and locking the door is probably the best thing until we come up with some answers.”
Wurm warned that if costs continue to rise unchecked, exhibiting companies will abandon more shows, events will become less compelling and attendees will stop coming, creating what he described as a “death spiral.”
“We need to find ways to improve the process for exhibitors so they feel like a welcome part of the community and get the kind of service that’s commensurate with the investment they made,” he added. “When we work together to make sure our exhibitors succeed, we all win.”
Just a few reasons why your company should continue exhibiting and the value of your trade show display.
To Sell Product?
Clearly both, but do not forget Network OPPORTUNITY!
Trade Shows are chalked full of opportunities to meet with potential & current customers as well as finding out where your competitors are focusing their time & energy.
This is the big picture of network marketing opportunity, building solid relationships face to face and meeting the people your products and services will help in their day to day lives.
Working with customers at trade shows gives you the insight of what solutions you can be providing to them. Find out what it is about your product and services that helps them along in their daily routines, using that for your future marketing efforts.
Find out from your current customers if there is something specific about your product or services that could be enhanced or improved. Look to your customers to be part of your research and development team.
Engaging potential customers in conversation regarding their “pain” points will also provide valuable information to you giving your company a better insight of how you can elevate that pain.
The value of your trade show display comes down to grabbing the attention of your prospects. Use your trade show display to your advantage with colorful graphics and pictures that will draw attention and help bring in visitors.
Bold exhibit graphics speak clearly and can convey a simple message. By giving a visual description of what it is your company does and incorporating how you can help them, they become more relaxed and in turn gives you a better opportunity to network.
People in general want to make their lives easier, when graphics are used to help convey these messages, people picture themselves in that graphic and an emotional response takes over.
A trade show presenter is a tactician who understands communication and uses their skills to acquire the largest number of attendees in front of your trade show booth. Many businesses attend trade shows but do not have a person qualified to be the trade show presenter and need to ascertain an individual skilled in the art of presenting information in front of an audience.
Understanding how your company will relay its message to a trade show audience establishes the basic criteria you will need in selecting a trade show presenter. Will your criteria be scripting, podium presentation, using audiovisual technology, gimmicks, over the top presentations, or the presenter’s ability to communicate? Successful business know that each trade show has its own budget constraints, booth size and marketing objectives and not all trade show presenters are suited for every show.
The basic goal of every trade booth is to generate leads and to educate the attendee about your company’s service or product. You can accomplish this by utilizing the trade show presenter as a Vaudeville attraction or as a Broadway stage presentation.
The sideshow attraction works best in small exhibits and allows education, entertaining, and lead generation to happen when the trade show presenter networks with the attendee and inquisitively seek out essential information to assess their need level. The greater the need level, the faster the trade show presenter turns the customer over to knowledgeable sales personal.
A Broadway presentation informs customers on products and services requirements using attention-getting tactics and typically used larger booth space. High tech screens and actors are there to dazzle the audience into staying and watching the show with trade show jargon, sales presentation and information all rolled up into a 10-minute show. These typically occur 3-4 times an hour. Lead generation occurs when the trade show presenter asks the audience to enter into a drawing to qualify them for an instant discount for participating in the shows presentation.
The return on investment is what a company seeks for when hiring a trade show presenter. Accomplishing this is by knowing the companies’ specific needs and understanding what the presenter can deliver. Once the issues are address, selection of a professional trade show presenter is simple. Dale Obrochta is a professional trade show presenter who uses promotional balloon entertainment to generate tradeshow booth traffic. He is a leading entertainer in the balloon entertainment industry who consistently works trade shows and corporate events.
Magical Balloon-dude Dale is balloon entertainment at its best!
We still believe that trades shows are a viable market for getting face to face exposure with qualified buyers and decision makers. Bringing people into your trade show booth is the ultimate goal, and giving prospects solutions to their problems is how you will make that relationship last.
Start with a solid pre-show advertising campaign, your participation well in advance with your prospects will keep your name and booth # fresh in their minds, keeping them up to date with glimpse’s of product announcements and teasers is a good way to peek their interest.
If you are having a new product launch, you can even offer a raffle for that product or service – what a better way to stand behind your new offerings.
If you plan on having entertainment in your trade show booth, have it set for a planned time. where you can invite your prospects, and not continuously throughout the day. You could even have your raffle drawing at the end of the entertainment, so that you know you will get a chance to talk to your prospects.
I am wondering if there has been any research done on how often you should change your trade show booth style/graphics/etc?
I have not run across any research done on the specifics of changing up your trade show booth. Many companies change for new products, niche markets and various messages that they would like to send to their specific audience. Another major reason for changing your trade show booth style or graphics is if your company brand changes.