When to Set Trade Show Objectives and Who Should be Doing it - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Elijah Logan Longview Texas

It’s well established how to best set trade show objectives and why it’s important, but who should be doing it? And when? That depends on how compartmentalized the sales and marketing departments are within your organization.

If marketing and sales are clearly defined departments, align them by fostering communication between the two before and after each trade show.

Hugh MacFarlane of MathMarketing conducted a study that revealed that businesses whose sales and marketing departments are aligned close 38% more business than their non-aligned counterparts. Sometimes achieving alignment means overcoming a cultural rift that can develop between these two groups. That divide is usually based in a disagreement on just which department is the driving force behind customer acquisition.

Bridging this gap is important, especially when it comes to setting trade show objectives and goals. Including a sales liaison in exhibit planning meetings or surveying booth staff upon their return from trade shows are just a couple ways to foster communication that will ensure you’re establishing realistic goals. To see more ways to overcome this divide and how it applies to other areas in your business, check out Harvard Business Review’s End the War Between Sales and Marketing.

If your company does not have a formally established a marketing department, set your objectives when you coordinate your company’s annual trade show schedule.

For most small to medium-sized companies, managers and members of the sales team come up with promotional ideas and are most likely responsible for the planning and execution of the organization’s participation in trade shows. When this is the case, it can be tough to establish a trade show objective when you’re the individual responsible for meeting sales goals and coordinating the company’s participation in eight to ten trade shows a year.

If you wear several hats within your company, just keep your trade show hat on a little longer at the beginning of the year. The benefits of setting your trade show objectives at the same time you’re coordinating your company’s trade show schedule are:

Maximizing your trade show investment: The SMART method of goal-setting gives you a solid way to track and measure success, identify and refine best practices and ditch the elements that don’t contribute to revenue generation.

Ensuring you’ve purchased the right amount of booth space: If your objective in participating in a 2,000+ booth trade show is to gain exposure, you may not accomplish that with a standard 10′ x 10′ space. Conversely, if your goal is to build a database, reserve a 10′ x 10′ space and concentrate on creating a powerhouse contest or giveaway.
Establishing early-on what your booth space should accomplish in each show will ensure you never spend money on wasted space.

Cutting costs: Most trade shows partner with general service contractors who offer early-bird discounts on things like furnishings, carpet and other booth amenities. Getting organized early means taking advantage of these discounts in addition to knowing exactly which proprietary items you’ll need in the booth. This will help eliminate last-minute shipping, printing and production expenses.

Although some objectives may change slightly by the time the show actually takes place, it’s easier to make adjustments to your goal than to attempt to formulate it weeks before the show in the midst of show-related deadlines.

Other things to consider when setting your trade show objectives and goals are the format of the trade show, the focus of the show (largely educational vs. sales-oriented) and where that focus positions attendees in the purchasing process.
In the meantime, it’s your turn! Have you experienced trade show success that’s a result of setting goals? Share your story in the comments. Be sure to check out the blog at EliLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

Who is Elijah Logan?
Elijah Logan is a consultant and serial entrepreneur who partners with companies across the globe to effectively unlock relationships with clientele in numerous core industries. His expertise was developed through a series of B2B trade shows, effective content platforms, and automates sales and marketing adoptions.
He has developed, produced, and managed 1.4 million square feet of B2B trade show space, serving over 2600 exhibiting companies and attracting over 300,000 attendees from 42 states and 17 countries. These offering resulted in over 550 million dollars in community economic impact, and has generated over 16.4 billion dollars in revenue for his clients.
In the digital content market Elijah has developed over 300 digital properties delivering bleeding edge news, industry relevant communications, and educational marketplaces to facilitate client’s development of effective marketing strategies.

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How to Build A Social Media Strategy - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Social Media Expert Elijah Logan

Ask Yourself These Questions
Stahl suggests that, in developing your social media strategy, you ask yourself the following:
1. WHAT formats are we going to use? (Blogs, video, charts.)
2. WHY does anyone care about what we’re doing?
3. WHY does this provide business value?
4. HOW are we going to deliver the message? (What are the best social media platforms for reaching your audience?)
5. HOW should we say it? (Tone of voice.)
6. WHERE will we get the content?
7. WHERE can we syndicate the content?
8. WHEN will content be published?
9. WHEN will it need to be updated (and how frequently)? Set expectations. (For example, Twitter: one to two tweets per week starting six months in advance of your event, and three to four tweets per week from two months out.)
10. WHO is responsible for the content? Assign content to the appropriate parties, and assign someone to oversee the efforts.
11. WHO will maintain it over time?
Where Will We Get the Content?
An integral part of your strategy will be in determining what content you are going to post and where your social media team will get the content. Stahl suggests these areas are among the most valuable content sources:
1. Editorial: Magazine and online news.
2. Marketing and public relations: Printed pieces, website, and industry and event news.
3. Educational/learning: Session tracks and speakers.
4. Show-logistics updates.
More Hands-On Tips
1. Tweet each new speaker you book, using the speaker’s or his/her company’s Twitter handle to alert them of the tweet; Encourage all speakers to retweet your announcement (most will anyway). Also, tag them on Facebook mentions and via other social media channels you use. This can significantly expand your reach and expose your speakers’ followers to your show.
2. Tweet every exhibitor and sponsor you sign on, using the company’s Twitter handle. Same idea as above.
3. Organize Facebook chats or Twitter chats with select speakers; promote them to your audience via social media and e-mail alerts. Ensure that the chats include information your audience will find valuable.
4. Conduct Q&As with select speakers, providing information and teasing (soft-sell) the upcoming session and event. Publish it online and promote it via social media channels.
5. Conduct Q&As with select exhibitors and sponsors about emerging products and trends among their clients. Be sure these are not sales pitches.
6. Encourage your speakers and vendors to use their social media channels to promote their participation in your events. Provide them with event hashtags (e.g., #growyourshow) and industry hashtags (e.g., #expochat), as well as the event URL. Tell them how to shorten links (or better yet, provide shortened links).
7. Determine the leading tweeters (or people on other platforms) and bloggers in your industry and invite them as guests to your show to tweet and/or blog about it.

What are your thoughts? Be sure to check out the blog at ElijahLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

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Determining the Value of Potential Advertising Channels Online - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Elijah Logan Longview Texas
@EliLoganTx

It’s important for any business to have an online advertising presence. Whether it’s Google AdWords, digital newsletters or industry websites, online visibility is a must in today’s business climate. It’s possible for any-sized business to gain online exposure without breaking the bank through properly evaluating advertising channels and a little Google Ad Words home work.

When you’re evaluating the quality of online advertising channels/ newsletters:

Get information on subscriber/ visitor demographics. In other words, who is visiting the website or receiving the online newsletter? Make sure the readership is in line with your customer base.
How many people visit the site each month? This number will help you determine your cost-per-contact. Just divide the amount you’re spending by the total readership.
Clicks and Click-through Rate: If you’re looking at buying banner space on an online newsletter or digital publication, getting clicks and click-through rate information will help you determine how engaged the readers are with that particular publication. What good is a monstrous readership number if most of them aren’t clicking on anything in the online newsletter?
Do you receive exclusive placement? Most banner ads are shared real estate, which means your ad will be one in a rotation. That effects the number of times your will be served to (or seen by) the readership. That will affect your cost-per-contact number.
Reevaluate cost.Take the total readership and divide it by the number of rotations the space will go through before your ad appears. For example, if your ad is one of ten ads sharing a single space and the website/ online newsletter has a readership of 10,000 your ad will be seen by 1,000 readers instead of the whole 10,000. That new number will dramatically affect your cost-per-contact.
So, what’s an acceptable cost-per-contact rate? It really depends. I know, I know; that answer seems like a cop-out. It’s not. If you’ve found a medium that effectively targets your customer base (especially if you have a product that serves a niche market) and if it reaches the people within that market that can make or influence purchasing decisions, a high cost-per-contact may be absolutely worth it. That’s why investing a little time in qualifying potential adverting channels is worth a try.
Next week’s post will cover information on Google AdWords and how to customize a campaign that delivers results and makes the most of your investment. To get a head-start, check out Google AdWords’ extremely helpful FAQ section at goo.gl/ZQyrO9
Be sure to check out the blog at ElijahLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

Brand Consistency At Trade Shows - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Longview Texas Based Elijah Logan

Corporations often need to exhibit at simultaneous trade shows in different locales and for different reasons. They often have two trade show exhibits in the same city at the same time. Going one step further, a company may even have two separate trade show exhibits at the same trade show.

Oracle is an example of a company exhibiting at two trade shows at the same time in the same city. Why does this happen?

Quite simply, each trade show appearance had a different objective. One trade show exhibit concentrated on new lead generation, while the other trade show display’s focus was on new product launches. Even though these trade shows differed, Oracle’s message needed to be consistent in presenting their corporate brand. Trade show visitors may have a different agenda for attending each trade show, but the corporate message must remain consistent and easily identified with the corporate DNA.

Every aspect of trade show exhibit presence also must match up with company promotional materials, advertising, public relations, online marketing, website and direct mail. Companies lose identity when they dilute their image with mixed messages. Marketing pros say the golden rule is to stay true to your corporate message, reinforce the brand, and let everything else follow suit.

Event Marketer Magazine advises corporate marketers to be wary of delegating trade show activities to their product development staff. Product teams understandably tend to focus on products rather than the corporate message. This can seriously undermine the corporate image agenda.

So, in order to avoid mixed messages, pre show briefings with all the trade show staff team are essential. Then be sure to keep communication channels open and ongoing. Be on guard for any off the wall, wacky surprises that could distort your presentation. Also, have company monitors drop in at the trade show booths on the trade show exhibit hall to assure that the discipline of your corporate exhibiting goals is maintained.

As an example, Event Marketer Magazine sites the experience of DaimlerChrysler. With some 60 national auto shows, DaimlerChrysler works with its eight business units to develop trade show programs for these multi-market trade shows. They then send staffers from zone offices to check on the execution at the trade show. «Although we all have the objective of moving the metal, we also have to maintain the brand consistency,» says director of global event marketing Don Schmid. «That doesn’t always fit into what the dealers want to do.»

The DaimlerChrysler zone staffers leave a show after a few days, and dealers are often tempted to add additional makes and models to the exhibit space. «They might try and move in 15 percent more vehicles, which makes the space look like a parking lot,» says Schmid. «We have to be ready at all times to play sheriff.»

When exhibiting at a trade show, here are a few things to remember about corporate image reinforcement and brand consistency:

Understand the basic objectives of the design your corporate look.

Adhere to the parameters of the corporate image guidebook. All visuals must meet specific guidelines. Be aware not only of the physical specifications of visuals but also how to incorporate them for trade shows with multiple audiences and products. Stay true to your corporate colors and fonts and be conscious of how the name of the company is used.

Be consistent in your brand «mindset» –whether it be upscale, sophisticated, young or old. Not only with the way your trade show exhibit looks, but also with the dress style and comportment of your trade show booth staff.

Be sure everyone who represents your company is knowledgeable about all communication aspects of the company. Be able to articulate the brand in trade show booth graphics, sales pitches, promotional hand outs, email and web messages, even on business cards.

Many brands such as Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, Apple Computer Inc. in Cupertino, eBay in San Jose, Google in Mountain View, Hewlett-Packard in Palo Alto, Oracle in Redwood City, and Sun Microsystems of Santa Clara have distinctive logos and have a certain «personality» and feel about them.

Although they are all in the high tech industry, each of the brands is noted for their individual character. All have colorful and consistent images. Their brands are distinctive and successful, and their representatives have learned to speak with one voice.

Your company’s brand image will have a much great return on investment if you enforce these
basic disciplines.

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Getting The Most From Attending A Trade Show - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

An Attendee Guide by Elijah Logan Longview Texas

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 timesaving 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, catalogues, 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!

For more trade show and marketing tips visit blog.ElijahLogan.com and connect @EliLoganTx

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Freebies Arent Free - How to Turn a Trade Show Expense into a Profit Center - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Elijah Logan Longview Texas
@EliLoganTx

Freebies. Promotional items. Tchotchkes. Whatever the handle, they’re a hotly contested subject in the trade show industry.

Freebies that are truly free to anyone walking the floor can cost exhibitors a lot of money and provide little return. That’s why, as trade show organizers and producers, we have a policy in place to discourage attendees from trick-or-treating. But for other trade shows and conferences that don’t have something similar in place, use the tips below to turn what can be a waste of money into a tool to gather more business cards and build your customer base:

Invest in giveaway items that have staying power (pens, jump drives or anything that’s particularly useful for your target customer base).

Don’t leave them at the front of your booth where they can be swiped by anyone. If the person grabbing twenty pens from your booth space isn’t a qualified prospect, you’re throwing money allocated to your trade show budget down the drain.

The next time an unqualified prospect takes handfuls of giveaways, visualize that amount as improvements to your display, more money towards entertaining customers or a larger trade show advertising budget.

«Good point. I moved them to the back of my booth. Now what?»
They’re already drawing attendees into your space where you can ask questions, identify their needs and qualify their purchasing authority. Continue to make those items work for you. If you have a potential customer in your booth, ask them to do something in order to receive a freebie; watch a product demo, fill out a short survey, anything that provides insight into how you can communicate with and develop that customer.

Do you have any giveaway items that are popular with a target customer base? Or additional ideas on how to use promotional items to gain an audience with a potential customer? Leave your suggestions in the comments.Be sure to check out the blog at ElijahLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

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How to Build A Social Media Strategy - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Social Media Expert Elijah Logan

Ask Yourself These Questions
Stahl suggests that, in developing your social media strategy, you ask yourself the following:
1. WHAT formats are we going to use? (Blogs, video, charts.)
2. WHY does anyone care about what we’re doing?
3. WHY does this provide business value?
4. HOW are we going to deliver the message? (What are the best social media platforms for reaching your audience?)
5. HOW should we say it? (Tone of voice.)
6. WHERE will we get the content?
7. WHERE can we syndicate the content?
8. WHEN will content be published?
9. WHEN will it need to be updated (and how frequently)? Set expectations. (For example, Twitter: one to two tweets per week starting six months in advance of your event, and three to four tweets per week from two months out.)
10. WHO is responsible for the content? Assign content to the appropriate parties, and assign someone to oversee the efforts.
11. WHO will maintain it over time?
Where Will We Get the Content?
An integral part of your strategy will be in determining what content you are going to post and where your social media team will get the content. Stahl suggests these areas are among the most valuable content sources:
1. Editorial: Magazine and online news.
2. Marketing and public relations: Printed pieces, website, and industry and event news.
3. Educational/learning: Session tracks and speakers.
4. Show-logistics updates.
More Hands-On Tips
1. Tweet each new speaker you book, using the speaker’s or his/her company’s Twitter handle to alert them of the tweet; Encourage all speakers to retweet your announcement (most will anyway). Also, tag them on Facebook mentions and via other social media channels you use. This can significantly expand your reach and expose your speakers’ followers to your show.
2. Tweet every exhibitor and sponsor you sign on, using the company’s Twitter handle. Same idea as above.
3. Organize Facebook chats or Twitter chats with select speakers; promote them to your audience via social media and e-mail alerts. Ensure that the chats include information your audience will find valuable.
4. Conduct Q&As with select speakers, providing information and teasing (soft-sell) the upcoming session and event. Publish it online and promote it via social media channels.
5. Conduct Q&As with select exhibitors and sponsors about emerging products and trends among their clients. Be sure these are not sales pitches.
6. Encourage your speakers and vendors to use their social media channels to promote their participation in your events. Provide them with event hashtags (e.g., #growyourshow) and industry hashtags (e.g., #expochat), as well as the event URL. Tell them how to shorten links (or better yet, provide shortened links).
7. Determine the leading tweeters (or people on other platforms) and bloggers in your industry and invite them as guests to your show to tweet and/or blog about it.

What are your thoughts? Be sure to check out the blog at ElijahLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

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If You Invite Them They Will Come - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Elijah Logan Longview Texas

It’s undeniable that exhibitors who notify their potential customers of their presence at trade shows experience greater success. Not only is their booth crowded with pre-qualified buyers, exhibitors are able to build on previous sales efforts in an environment that is conducive to deal-making:
Neutral turf:That’s one of the most under-recognized benefits of a trade show space; that it’s neutral territory where both parties can speak and deal openly and comfortably.

An exciting atmosphere: Don’t squander the excitement of the trade show atmosphere by performing the introduction during the show. Make the introduction long before the show begins and let the electric atmosphere of the trade show floor lend itself to closing to the deal instead.
Face-to-face relationship building: While it’s definitely possible to make a sale using the «Send» key, it’s more likely that you’ll begin building a relationship with a hand shake. Meaningful professional relationships create success for those who nurture them. Referrals, repeat business or recommendations are all invaluable assets of maintaining and developing meaningful professional relationships. How better to kick one off than with a hand shake and a personal introduction?

Below are a few tips that can help you create your own effective invites:

Email: Do not put your subject line in ALL CAPS. It’s part of a long list of spam filter magnets.

Direct Mail: Sounds simple, but always address your invite to a specific person. It always helps to follow up by phone right before the show to remind them that you’ll be there and potentially set-up an appointment to speak during the show or at an ancillary event.

Social Media: Connect with your invitees prior to the show and post information about products or services you’ll be featuring in your booth. Your posts will continuously show up in their feed (which gives you top of the mind awareness) and you’ll create excitement about your booth and the show itself.

What’s the best trade-show invite you’ve ever received from an exhibitor or sent as an exhibitor? Share it in the comments! Be sure to check out the blog at ElijahLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

Hosted Buyer Event Strategies - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Hosted Buyer Event Strategies

1. Stand-alone: Create a new hosted/appointment-based event held in a unique destination environment.
2. In-show event: Create structured buyer-seller interaction in dedicated meeting spaces at your existing event, and generate additional revenue.
3. Co-located: Target a unique audience demographic by holding your hosted event at the same time and in the same city as another event. This can create crossover attendance and sponsorship opportunities.
Appointment-Based Hosted Buyer Model: A Different Value Proposition
Hosted-buyer events vary in a number of ways from traditional exhibitions:
1. Unique audience model: At a hosted-buyer event, the audience is prequalified and, typically, hosted (paid for) fully or partially.
2. Unique «supplier» model: «Supplier» vs. exhibitor. Suppliers are prequalified.
3. Unique business model: Event staff sells appointments versus booths.
4. Eliminate traditional uncertainty: A hosted-buyer event has a known quantity and quality of attendees. No «hoping» the best buyers will show up.
5. Go straight to desired result: Buyers networking face-to-face with high-quality vendors.
How to Get Participants
Because these events are usually smaller (with a limited number of buyers and sellers) than traditional shows, marketing must be done differently. Here are best practices for bringing the best buyers and sellers together:
1. Network one-to-one: Work one-on-one in a service fashion, developing relationships and learning about the specific business-development requirements of targeted attendees (buyers), and help identify solutions that your clients (sellers) can provide.
2. Use multiple contact methods: Contact individuals directly via phone and e-mail. Do not mass market.
3. Engage individuals online: Social media marketing can be used to generate brand engagement and produce additional leads.

Be sure to check out the blog at EliLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

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Freebies Arent Free - How to Turn a Trade Show Expense into a Profit Center - Elijah Logan Longview Texas

Elijah Logan Longview Texas
@EliLoganTx

Freebies. Promotional items. Tchotchkes. Whatever the handle, they’re a hotly contested subject in the trade show industry.

Freebies that are truly free to anyone walking the floor can cost exhibitors a lot of money and provide little return. That’s why, as trade show organizers and producers, we have a policy in place to discourage attendees from trick-or-treating. But for other trade shows and conferences that don’t have something similar in place, use the tips below to turn what can be a waste of money into a tool to gather more business cards and build your customer base:

Invest in giveaway items that have staying power (pens, jump drives or anything that’s particularly useful for your target customer base).

Don’t leave them at the front of your booth where they can be swiped by anyone. If the person grabbing twenty pens from your booth space isn’t a qualified prospect, you’re throwing money allocated to your trade show budget down the drain.

The next time an unqualified prospect takes handfuls of giveaways, visualize that amount as improvements to your display, more money towards entertaining customers or a larger trade show advertising budget.

«Good point. I moved them to the back of my booth. Now what?»
They’re already drawing attendees into your space where you can ask questions, identify their needs and qualify their purchasing authority. Continue to make those items work for you. If you have a potential customer in your booth, ask them to do something in order to receive a freebie; watch a product demo, fill out a short survey, anything that provides insight into how you can communicate with and develop that customer.

Do you have any giveaway items that are popular with a target customer base? Or additional ideas on how to use promotional items to gain an audience with a potential customer? Leave your suggestions in the comments.Be sure to check out the blog at ElijahLogan.com, and connect at @EliLoganTx

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