Here's a great video at ExhibitorOnline that shows a variety of nifty small exhibit tips from the National Stationery Show.
Here's a great video at ExhibitorOnline that shows a variety of nifty small exhibit tips from the National Stationery Show.
What is forced freight?
If you have materials that need to be shipped from your exhibit space after the show, and they are not removed by the time the General Service Contractor (GSC) has to have the floor cleared they will "force your freight" which typically means have it moved to their warehouse. The fees for this can be steep. And most forced freight is not due to negligence on the part of exhibitors, but rather on miscommunication. From an exhibitor's standpoint, freight is often forced because the necessary paperwork is not complete or turned in to the GSC desk. If you have hired a freight carrier to handle these details, as Sandra says below, assure that they understand the requirements for the show.
Learn more about trade show shipping in the Now What eGuide's Module F - Prepare for Exhibit Installation.
Thanks to Sandra Launsbach, Account Executive~Specializing in Trade Show Logistics at The Shaker Group, Inc. for sharing this information with the Exhibitor LinkedIn Group.
Just make sure your freight carrier knows their way around the "Exhibitor Manual". It will save you time and money on "Waiting Time" charges and getting your booth to the show on time. The exhiibitor does not have the time or knowledge to worry about the "real" check in time, the address to the marshaling yard (which you typically still have to check into when going Direct to Show). If you do not use a Carrier that specializes in Tradeshow Shipping, here is a quick guide on what your freight carrier NEEDS to know:
I'll start with her last point first, since this is what you most likely want to know....
1. What is the Description of your shipment?
Provide an accurate piece count of the items being shipped, including weight, dimensions and type of freight (crates, cases, pallets, cartons, etc.) Your exhibit supplier should provide this for you. But if you don't have it computerized yet you can get a free worksheet for creating that list here: Checklist F13 Exhibit Inventory
2. What is the Exhibitor Name, Booth # & Show Name? Tradeshows have specific labeling requirements.
3. Will your freight require any Special Equipment? Confirm any special requirements for loading or handling your freight.
4. Do you require any additional Insurance?
5. When does your freight need to arrive?
6. Where will the driver be picking up the freight?
7. Shipping to the advanced warehouse or direct to show?
One of the most critical pieces of information is whether your freight is shipping to an Advanced Warehouse or Direct-To-Show. We'll also need to know if the venue provided you with an address for, or directions to, the Marshaling Yard. This information is located in the Exhibitor's Manual. Please keep in mind, if you ship "Direct to Show" do not expect your freight to be at your booth at your "Targeted Move-In Time". It is best to order labor the following day. Your freight is only guaranteed to be at the booth at the "Targeted Move-In Time" if you ship it ahead of time to the Advanced Warehouse.
8. What is the Deadline for Shipping to the Advanced Warehouse & Direct to Show?
9. Who is the Decorator or GSC (General Services Contractor)?
The show's Decorator or GSC manages the advance warehouse, marshaling yard, and shipping docks. For the most part, we are at their mercy! But it helps to know who the Decorator is (Freeman, GES, etc), and acknowledge them on the BOL (bill of lading) in case there is more than one show at a venue.
10. What is the full name of the trade show venue? To avoid confusion, especially in major cities where there may be multiple exhibition facilities, we'll need the full name of the venue or hotel, address and any pertinent, dock, hall, room, or floor information.
11. What is the full show name, exhibitor name, and booth number? We need to make sure the Bill of Lading has all of this information, and each matches the show's exhibitor list and directory. Be sure to include the full name of the show as opposed to its acronym. There are many shows, and several have similar acronyms.
12. What is the final destination of your freight? Is your shipment on a one-way trip? Or have you scheduled an outbound shipment - either back to origin or to another event? We want to help make sure your freight doesn't get "forced" at the end of the show!
Many people exhibit at trade shows who have little to no previous experience in marketing, and make it work. They're known as unconscious competents. Those people who have an intuitive sense about marketing and getting their products out to the public - mostly entrepreneurs. They don't know exactly WHY it worked, but they were successful.
Then there's the folks who get "invited" by a boss or new job description to take on the trade show function in an organization. These might be people who are good at details, good at selling, or in some other area that managers see as a good fit for trade shows. And they make it work, too.
Unfortunately, what can be missing for these folks is some simple marketing background that could launch a trade show program into a strategic marketing tool rather than just a one-time event.
If you're interested in getting up to speed on some basic marketing concepts, take five minutes for each of the free videos here. You'll learn about how the lifecycle stage of your product, as well as your intended positioning in the marketplace can influence key decisions about trade show participation. These concepts are part of Module A Create a Plan and Select the Best Shows.
Most of the time, for smaller companies, space amount is dictated by budget. " We can only afford....." Let's face it, most small companies are making a stretch to purchase 100 square feet. But if you need more than 100 square feet (say you are demoing large products, or need several product stations) there's an actual formula for calculating how much space you'll need. Who knew.
It's pretty straightforward when you think about it. Start by collecting the information in the chart here, then follow the four steps below. Bingo...optimum space size.
The four-step calculation looks like this:
Step 1 Potential Audience ÷ Total Show Hours = Visitors Per Hour
Step 2 Visitors Per Hour ÷ Staffer Capacity = Staffers Required
Step 3 Staffers Required × Open Space = Total Open Space Required
Step 4 Open Space + Occupied Space = Total Space Required
ColorVerify demonstrates that as a small exhibitor you can still make a big splash at a show with a strategic social media plan. Thanks to Shelby Sapusek and ColorVerify for permission to reprint this blog post about their strategy.
by SHELBY SAPUSEK on MARCH 27, 2012
Last week, we demonstrated the ColorVerify process control solution at the International Sign Expo (ISA) in Orlando. We partnered with Mutoh America to develop and promote ColorVerify and they have provided us with space in their booth at several trade shows over the past year to help promote the new product offering.
We’ve also noticed that trade show and event coordinators have been using social media more actively and consistently to engage with attendees. We’ve been a part of that and we will continue to follow this trend for future events and trade shows.
Our social media strategy generally begins months before a significant event. After several email exchanges, phone calls and even onsite meetings, we come up with a plan together that will benefit both companies’ interests.
The ColorVerify plan resulted in a mix of print, social media and live demonstrations at the show. Then both companies cross-promoted the event across various platforms to effectively get the word out to a wider audience.
The inclusion of video in your promotional materials and coverage of events can be vital to your social media success. For our purposes, video is a large part of our marketing arsenal. We see video working best in these ways:
Promotional and/or training: Videos are great for “how-to’s.” ColorMetrix has its own YouTube channel and you can find several “how-to” videos about our products. The most recent video listed is the same one you can find on our home page and the one we played in Mutoh’s booth at ISA in between our live demonstrations. This time we even burned it to a CD along with some educational literature so that attendees could take it with them.
Quick and easy explanations: During ISA, we took a short, 30-second videoof the beginning of our CEO Jim Raffel’s demonstration. Those 30 seconds answered a very simple question: Why use ColorVerify? This video was posted on Twitter and Facebook during the show to let attendees know about the demos and explain quickly why they might be interested in stopping by the booth.
Sharing with those who can’t attend: We gave at least a dozen live demonstrations of ColorVerify. But what about people who might be interested in the product but couldn’t attend the show? There’s no need to worry because we shot video of the complete demonstrations as well and, as soon as it’s all edited, we’ll be uploading that to our YouTube channel too. (We wish we could share it with you today but we’ve only been back for two days. Social media takes time, folks!)
Again, we are fortunate to be partners with Mutoh because we were able to promote all of our products, services and announcements on our various networks. Working trade show booths is hard work. You’re on your feet for 8+ hours a day giving demonstrations and answering questions. It’s unrealistic to think you’re going to be able to post everything on every network.
Since Twitter is more immediate (and because ISA had an event hashtag to follow and a Twitter wall of postings), we handled that network on site at the show. However, photos and video with information were sent back to our home base and an employee who stayed behind posted them to our Facebook page. This strategy was part of our planning well before the event took place.
Our CEO Jim Raffel was heard repeating this mantra several times throughout the show. But what does it mean?
To us, it meant more than what we have already mentioned. Engaging with the show coordinators and attendees was also at the top of our priority list. Below are some examples.
Celebrating 60 years:Mutoh celebrated its 60th anniversary with a 90-minute party in its booth on the second day of the show. Attendees received free refreshments and lots of giveaways. Both companies tweeted out announcements about the party to ISA attendees, making sure to include the event hashtag so that they ended up on the show’s Twitter wall. We ended up with a great crowd at the party that afternoon.
Happy hour: Each day, ISA hosted a happy hour at the show and provided free beer at stations around the exhibition hall. It was a no brainer to help promote that.
You ran out? We have some!: ISA was so well-attended this year that they actually ran out of lanyards for attendees by the second day. We saw ISA tweet that out and knew Mutoh had plenty of lanyards at the booth. We let attendees know that they could stop by and pick up a Mutoh lanyard. It was fun to walk the show floor for 30 minutes on the last day of the show and notice all the Mutoh lanyards milling around.
New contests: This year, ISA had a best new product and best green product competition. Mutoh had a product entered in each. The awards were decided through attendee votes by texting codes to a certain number. At first, we tweeted out descriptions of each product with the code and number on how to vote. Then we designed a sticker (which Mutoh printed right there at the show) with all the information on it for both products. Again, it was fun to see these stickers floating around the show floor (and even on our marketing coordinator Shelby’s back!).
ISA might be over, but we aren’t finished with it. We still have more photos to post, videos to edit and some general follow-up sessions to determine what worked, what didn’t and what we can do better.
What are your thoughts on using social media at trade shows?
Here's a nice theme created by the folks at Red Rocket Web Specialists in Windsor, CO to promote their SEO services at a local business trade show. Follow this six-step template to create an integrated theme for your next show.
The components included:
1. Customer-focused graphic message on the exhibit
Red Rocket Web Specialists wants to attract companies that are looking for help optimizing search for their website. When you come up first on a Google search for your type of products or services you've made it in the world of Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
So, with this single phrase, Red Rocket is quickly qualifying show visitors by those who understand what the phrase means, and then by those who want the get that #1 placing.
2. A motivational hook and an engaging, interactive "to do" for exhibit visitors
When visitors slowed to read the exhibit graphics, they were invited by staffers to get a free, on-site check of one of the five "Fatal Mistakes" most made by online marketers regarding SEO. The numbered cards each represent one of the Fatal Mistakes and visitors could select a card for the potential mistake that they would like to have evaluated. Red Rocket staff walked visitors to one of two laptop computers on free-standing pedestals at the edge of their space, logged onto the visitor's web site and did a quick analytic and offered a few recommendations. They then asked visitors if they would like a complete free 25-point analysis. For those who did, Red Rocket recorded their information on the same computer and scheduled a follow-up appointment at the same time.
Talk about closed loop lead follow-up.
3. Inexpensive collateral pieces tied into the activity
Each card featured one Fatal SEO Mistake. When opened, visitors saw a definition of that mistake along with the offer a free analysis.
4. T-shirts for staff (Sorry for the blurry image...couldn't get those guys to stand still!)
6. Instant lead gathering with integrated follow-up
Staffers were capturing vital lead information while they did the first analysis with the visitor right on site. Then, at the visitor's request, they did a complete website analysis after the show, and brought it to their scheduled meeting with free recommendations for improvement. Nice.