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Some Clever Ways to Shift Event Marketing Dollars

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Photo by Brigitte Tohm from Pexels

by Michael Premo, Content Strategist

Business life has changed quite a bit since March, especially for meetings, conferences, and events. Even though this isn’t a long-term trend, public safety measures will probably continue until late next year. Shifting those event marketing dollars toward digital is a solid play, but there are some more engaging and fun ways to connect with your clients.

A New Paradigm

Few marketing activities rival a good trade show. The value of each one is seen in the return, as well as the relationships made. How do we rise to the challenge of bringing people together without any safety concerns? This has become an entirely new paradigm for engagement, and it has created a lot of exciting opportunities.

Next-level personalization in giveaways will have the most impact. Make sure that you focus on your audience’s personal interests, or else the gifts may fall short. This means knowing who they are and what they like to do. A few minutes on social media should give you a good idea. Let’s take a look at some of these changes and how to create opportunities to engage in fun ways with those event dollars.

 

The Remote Employee

Companies transitioned their employees quickly and without much preparation. Some employees with flexible schedules already had insight into their new working conditions. Others struggled with turning a corner of their home into an office. Enough time has passed that everyone has settled into their new environments.

A swag kit for the remote employee is a great way to reach out and reconnect with your favorite trade show attendees. Some of the most popular items to include your kit are:

  • Wireless Ear Buds
  • Water Bottle
  • Tervis Tumbler
  • Amazon Gift Card
  • Coffee Mug
  • Fuzzy Socks
  • Inspirational Book
  • Pens and Notepads
  • Snacks

There are many more that you can choose from at affordable price points to stay on budget.

 

Active and Physically Fit

Many of us are struggling to stay active and keep in shape right now. You can be supportive of people’s goals by sending a swag kit that focuses on health and fitness:

  • Yoga Mat and Case
  • Fitbit Tracker
  • Water Bottle
  • Sport Towel
  • T-Shirt
  • Waist Pack (Belt and Pouch)

You can also send a motivational book or magazine subscription that will support and encourage your clients as they work toward their fitness goals.

 

The Eco-Friendly Gift

Looking for a more general option? The eco-friendly swag bag should be a welcomed gift for everyone on your list. These are practical, branded gifts that improve the at-home office and make life easier while staying green. It’s a classic win-win.

  • Reusable Straws
  • Market Tote
  • Water Bottles
  • Lunch Bag
  • Bamboo Kitchen Utensils
  • Washable Face Coverings
  • Seeds and Plants

Each of these is a great eco-alternatives, made from Earth-friendly or recycled materials.

The current business environment has given us more opportunities to grow our brands. This is the perfect time to increase engagement and secure loyalty. At Pinstripe, we are experts in building your brand identity. We are a trusted source for the latest in gifts and swag, here in the Tampa Bay region and beyond. We can help you build the perfect gift bags to connect with your audience. Contact us today to find out all of the great ideas we have in store for you.

Pinstripe Answers: Do We Need a Bigger Trade Show Booth?

by Michael Premo, Senior Content Manager

This is one of those questions that’s bigger than it seems. Much of it depends on a range of factors that you’ll need to drill down and figure out what matters. Anything you can do to raise your visibility in a unique and engaging way will have a greater impact on your audience.

The guiding force behind any appearance at a trade show should be setting specific goals well in advance:

  • Visibility
  • Networking
  • Engagement
  • Sales Leads
  • Strengthen Relationships

These are only a few that will guide your decision on whether or not you’ll need a bigger booth.

 

Going with the Standard – Inline 10’ x 10’ Booth

It’s ubiquitous, cost-effective, and still has the ability to make a statement. You can invest the money you save elsewhere, such as premium giveaways that are memorable, or staffing that attracts and follows through on potential leads. You can also invest more in impactful graphics and furniture, electrical outlets, or other perks. Plus, a standard-sized booth is a much more portable option for multiple shows.

The downside is that trade shows are designed for fitting as many standard-size booths together as possible, which leaves your booth squeezed in among everyone else. The result is less visibility and poor locations. Premium locations cost more and are typically reserved for larger booths. At smaller, secondary shows with fewer exhibitors and attendees, the standard size can still have a big impact. But, you may need to rethink your strategy when appearing at the larger shows.

 

Inline 10’ x 20’ – Increased Visibility

As with any real estate deal, location matters. Larger booths are typically in better locations. If this fits your goals, then a bigger booth will be perfect.

People tend to gather in the aisles, which becomes a problem for smaller booths. A larger booth, plus its location, will overcome a lack of access and visibility in congested areas.

With the premium location and added space, you’ll have improved visibility, more personal interactions and qualify more leads. There’s more space for furniture, digital signage, and other highly attractive and inviting features. With all of these, you’ll have a greater impact on your audience and a higher return on your investment.

A 10′ x 20′ is a midsized booth, and they aren’t always in the best locations. If the one you’re looking at is not in a better location; for example, if it’s at the end of a row and away from the traffic, then your booth becomes a billboard, not a destination. Even if this is being offered at a discounted price, you should avoid it.

 

The Peninsula and The Island

The peninsula is an exhibit area that is at least 20’ x 20’ or larger and is open to aisles on three sides. Located at the end of an aisle, the peninsula improves visibility and accessibility. These also provide room for custom features that will make you stand out from the competition. That’s the point with this size of a booth—to show your company as a leader. Plus, it offers the space needed to exhibit new products and several areas for real-time and digital demonstrations. The peninsula exhibit booth is probably the second most popular booth next to the island.

trade show booth island style booth

This island booth demonstrates the major impact a booth of this size has. It’s basically a temporary storefront for this business. Photo courtesy of ADM Two Exhibits & Displays.

 

The island is exposed to an aisle on all four sides and is almost always 20′ x 20′ or larger.  The island booths typically have the least amount of restrictions, so graphics can be extended to the ceiling. Typical island height maximum is sixteen feet, and hanging displays are often allowed within these areas. This is the booth most attendees will want to see, and it’s the most costly.

 

Let’s Review

Here’s a quick and dirty list of advantages for all of the booth sizes we’ve discussed.

  • Inline 10’ x 10’ – Budget-conscious, yet can still yield a good return if designed with a professional backdrop and other unique features. Portable and reliable design that translates well with smaller shows.
  • Inline 10’ x 20’ – Better location and visibility for congested aisles. More room for premium features that make you stand out from the competition. Modular designs make this more portable and functional in smaller shows.
  • The Peninsula – Premium location and greater visibility. More opportunities to interact with the attendees and space for premium features within your booth. This booth means that you want to have a lasting impact on your audience.
  • The Island – Premium location and most possible visibility. Fewer restrictions on displays and signage. This is the best way to show that you’re a leader in your industry.

 

Pinstripe has helped local and nationally-based businesses with their trade show needs. We specialize in discovering their traits—their corporate character—and putting them on display. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the trade show booth you envision.

Keys to Trade Show Follow Through

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Guest blog by Susan Canonico, CEO of ADM Two.
The show is over. Everything is in storage, ready for the next event, and you’re back at the office. Now, it’s time to get your return on investment. You’ll need a good trade show follow through plan. Start with organizing all of the contacts and personal information, or notes taken during the show. These may have already been entered into your CRM. If you don’t have a database, then use a spreadsheet. Either way, it’s time to get in touch with these folks.

Here are eight steps to follow through with all of your contacts and leads.

  • Bring everyone together: Each team member has information, too. It’s time to pool together their information. This is where you can assign order of importance for each lead. Timing is important, so don’t let those hot leads cool off.
  • Divvy up the work: A team meeting will get everyone on the same page and make the load manageable.
  • Practice your pitch: The sales pitch after a show should be easy to remember, quickly delivered and friendly. It also needs to be passed on and rehearsed.
  • Continue the conversation: Give them a call and try to reconnect, using the personal and professional notes from the show.
  • Connect on social media: Connections with show attendees grows your market reach and provides new-quality leads.
  • Marketing activities: One way to grab attention is to send e-newsletters with interesting content. This may include statistics on the trade show, who was in attendance, and anything that happened while there. You can sneak in a product announcement in there, as well.
  • Be respectful. There are ways to make negative impressions, such as being pushy and rude. Stay positive and maintain a respectful approach to garnering attention. Be respectful and be persistent, not aggressive.
  • Debriefing meeting: Sharing the success, shortcomings, and failures is a great way to improve for the next show. The only way to do this is to be honest and mission focused, leaving personal issues aside for the sake of the bigger picture.

One of the goals for every show is making it a positive experience for visitors to your booth, as well as your employees working there. Maybe it’s time to try something new, like technology and interactivity, to add to your experience. Some of the things on your list after your trade show follow through may take several months, such as additions to the booth or redesign. Plan your next show well in advance and you’ll be able to capitalize on the things you learned.

ADM Two staff are experts on display design and fabrication, so give us a call at (813) 887-1960 and one of our knowledgeable staff can assist you with your display, no matter where your event takes place. Also, check out some of our other articles to get more information on trade show booth layouttrade show graphics, and etiquette.

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Trade Shows: To Participate or Not … that’s the Last Question

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At some point, you may hear of a trade show for your industry and entertain the notion of attending. The immediate question is whether such an excursion would be a worthwhile investment of time, effort and money.  Reaching that determination will require carefully considered answers to several other questions, first.

Begin by asking yourself what do you want to accomplish? There are a number of excellent reasons why business owners and managers attend trade shows. These include:

  • Learning about new trends, products or services within your industry
  • Networking with vendors or noncompeting businesspeople with whom you can establish mutually beneficial relationships
  • Getting leads on potential new customers
  • Taking a look at what your competitors are doing
  • Participating in educational sessions led by industry thought-leaders
  • Getting away from the office/store/shop and having a little fun

Taken separately, any of these objectives might seem to justify a trade show excursion for you (or perhaps a few of your deserving employees). But that still doesn’t necessarily mean you should attend. Here are three additional lines of inquiry are worth tackling:

  • What is the opportunity cost of attendance?
    • When you or members of your staff are at a trade show, someone’s regular duties will either go unexercised or must be undertaken by adding to the workload of other staff members. Are you raising the morale of some employees by lowering it for others?
    • Is there a chance that some customer service needs might not be met while staff is away? You don’t want to lose current clients for the mere potential of gaining new ones somewhere down the road.
    • Could the money budgeted for the trade show be better spent somewhere else? For example: going to a trade show vs. purchasing some new tool to improve individual productivity.

With careful forethought (and budgeting) these concerns could be allayed, but they should be given their due consideration.

  • Could the benefits of attending the trade show be gained in a more cost-effective, alternative manner?
    • For example: Do you really need to network with people from all over the country, when 95% of your business is local, or would a membership with a hometown civic or business organization work better?
    • Could a subscription to an industry publication or two be just as effective as walking around a trade show floor for a few hours a year?
    • Would an office party, or off-site team-building event do a better job of raising spirits within your company?

Once again, we don’t mean to diminish the value of trade shows or dissuade participation, but rather to encourage thoughtful comparative analysis.

  • Can you evaluate the return on your investment?

Whatever motivates you to attend a trade show, once you’ve made the decision to attend, be sure you have a plan and a process to get all the value from that event that you can. As you look over the list of things you expect to accomplish by attending a trade show, you should be able to foresee ways to measure success. Work through this question to gain impetus for tracking the contacts you meet, and for recording the things you learn with an idea of how to implement the new ideas. Conversely, if you can’t really see any way to quantify your trade show attendance, perhaps you want to rethink going.

One important consideration that absolutely shouldn’t be discounted, is that you may simply enjoy the spectacle, energy and camaraderie of trade shows. We’ve written this piece for people who are on the fence. If you’re a business owner who looks forward to trade shows, and if you’re in a position to attend, that’s really all that matters. Your instincts have served you well in the past and will likely so in this decision as well.

Here are a few other online articles about trade shows that you may want to check out:

Trade Show Marketing

13 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Trade Shows

Trade Show Check List

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Marketing as a New Year’s Resolution

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Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to grow your business? To do more marketing? To be more strategic? To work smarter, not harder? You’re not alone! Each year, our phones start ringing on January 2nd with clients ready to start off strong.

If you need support to refresh your brand, launch that new web site, generate new content, shoot new videos, design new marketing collateral, build relationships with the media, or just to keep you on track – we’re here for you. Let’s set up a meeting and discuss your resolutions!

Be More Awesome in 2016!