Monthly Archives: February 2015

Image 4 exhibit design and tradeshow marketing

We were talking “demand generation” with a client today…

Demand Generation. Sounds pretty simple, right? Take an action, generate a demand for you, your service, your company…it’s a basic tenet to marketing in the pursuit of sales.

But what does that mean really? Our clients work with us to create sales through a platform we call a trade show exhibit, or an event environment, or a retail store. And we all know just “opening shop” does not mean prospects will magically arrive!

So Image 4 focuses our client on preparing the marketing ground, on telling prospects what they will find and how it will better their businesses. We strive to quite literally “generate demand” on the part of the prospect to visit the environment we created for our client.

All good marketing and sales teams should be using broadcast email as a demand generation tool. Contrary to popular myth, E-mail is not dead. In fact, it’s growing more rapidly than social tools in the B to B sphere. Even with all the challenges of CAN-SPAM, bad addresses, server junk settings, etc, the opt-in email is a great way of letting people know who you are, when you will be where, and why they should come and visit you.

Here are some thing we guide our customers to consider when developing a campaign:

Look at your Mobile Device Stats

Our design team is continuously amazed at how many people are doing business on their device, and when. We are seeing campaign responses of 45-55% to B-to-B prospects read on a mobile device. You MUST design your content to be mobile friendly. Make your response buttons large and contrasty so you can easily use a finger on the phone. Don’t ask for a lot of feedback in text boxes.

Design your Positioning and Content Carefully

Before starting a mailer or an entire campaign, think through your sales goals. Do you want to drive traffic to an exhibit? Do you want to have people schedule a visit time? What precise action do you want your prospect to take?

Then work your content. Short, pithy, simple to absorb. Your prospect will judge your validity to his needs within seconds – don’t waste those seconds. Humor works, but be cautious of going to far or missing a social context.

Use First Names if You Can

Personalizing any communication tells the recipient that “you care enough to send the very best…”. We all like to see our name, we all appreciate the 10 seconds thought or planning or research that went into spelling it correctly. Your measures of email effectiveness will soar!

If your email manager has a programmable auto-responder, use it to close the communication loop. Thank the prospect for taking an action.

Segmentation and Targeting

Every prospect and customer has their own opinion of their specific need. You can (and should) broadly classify opportunities into segments of your list. Those prospects who share a need or opportunity should receive the same content. Other segments may be looking for a different solution – put thought into this.

Research tells us that a well-segmented email campaign creates 50% more click-throughs than a generic broadcast message. Opening rates are commensurately higher as well.

Social Sharing and Forwarding

Use the Twitter, Linked In and Facebook links within the email manager. By allowing prospects to share your content you gain mileage from your efforts, free! We have seen sharing rates increase over the past year from the single digits to the mid 20% range on B-to-B content that is well segmented and relevant to the audience.

Good luck with this part of the demand generation program. If you need help, feel free to connect with me or our client support team at Image 4. We can show you real-life programs and data to support the concepts here, and perhaps help you generate more demand.

Exhibitor Show: In and Out are done, Now comes Services

The past two posts have dealt with the complexity of completing the show book, all around moving our exhibit in and out of the space. Now we’re moving on to completing the show book.

At this stage, we think about how the exhibit will be built. If we have an overhead hanging assembly, we’ll install that before anything else goes in to the space. Then we work from the ground up, starting with electrical, then carpet, then the display, then accessories.

Next, we look at the electrical needs. Our display will need 2 overhead lamps, a large LCD flat screen, a CPU, the lead reader, and an open plug to charge phones and i-pads. We add up the wattage of these (75+75+30+40+3+6=229) and we know that the order has to be placed for a single drop at 250 watts.

Always check your wattage math. This is one place where many exhibitors go awry, and where budgets start to get out of whack. You cannot exceed the line wattage – if  you do, you risk shutting down the entire electrical feed string. This will cause great angst and a visit from the chief electrician. It will also require that you unplug items, or purchase more wattage.

We will send over our overhead floor plot indicating where the electric feeds needs to be placed, and off we go!

Now we look at IT feed. In this day and age, you might think that it’s easy to get wireless connection on a show floor, but it’s not. It’s very mysterious as to how all cell phone signal evaporates within a show hall. Ask me about that sometime…

So we place our order for either a T1 cable or a wireless router. This is also the order form for technology staff who can any sound system you are deploying in the space.

We are bringing our own carpet, so we don’t need to think about either carpet or pad. Any experienced exhibit road warrior knows that nice carpet, and especially a nice pad, helps manage those long hours on your feet. If you want your sales staff to be fresh and energetic, put some extra money in the budget for the good stuff!

Now we work on the display assembly. At this point, we schedule labor and supervision. Generally, we want labor to arrive within an hour after the carpet and electrical goes down. We think about how to unpack the display, and hopefully, we’ve loaded and labelled the crates so that the materials we need first are clearly identified. We use a bright yellow label that reads UNLOAD FIRST.

This load works into the labor order form just like everything else.

We will be setting up a combination of extrusion, custom fixturing, tension fabric and furniture. We plan on 2 men 4 to 5 hours to complete the project.

Here’s where experience makes a difference. Having more labor available to build the display does not always translate into a faster set up. It;s more complex to manage a large group of I&D staff, and the staff needs to be really clear about the unload and build sequence. Also, a more experienced, smaller group may be more effective than a less experienced, larger group.

Managing this is how and why we get paid. Effective installation strategy can save thousands of dollars in a large event environment.

At this point, we are pretty much through the show book. Once our exhibit is assembled, our own staff members will detail it. We personally want to clean it, position literature, business cards, furnishings, etc. to support how we interact with the space. We work all this out in advance in our warehouse, especially with a new build such as the one we are revealing at EXHIBITOR.

So off we go! Show book is done, payments are confirmed, and we are ready to work on the exhibit design.

Come visit the Image 4 team at space 1870. Exhibitry Starts Here.