Tag Archives: Booth Design

The 3 Jobs of A Tradeshow Booth: Proper Design Leads to Success

There are “3 jobs” of a trade show booth that lead to exhibiting success – do you know what they are?

If you understand these roles of a booth – and work with a designer with the exhibit design experience needed – you will have a great foundation for trade show success.  If you don’t, it doesn’t matter how great you think your booth looks – the results of your trade show might be disappointing.

The danger of not understanding the role of proper design

All too often, we see new exhibitors (and sometimes even not-so-new) rely on someone who has designed their website or brochure.  Beautiful, perhaps, but not matched to the requirements of a trade show booth.

A trade show booth needs to: stand out at a distance, bring the right people in to look more closely (and keep out the wrong people), and offer up just enough information (visually and otherwise) to start the conversation you want.

Handling those requirements are the three jobs of a booth.

#1: Grab Attention From A Distance

The first job of your booth is to grab attention from a distance, and make you stand out among a sea of other exhibitors.  Your designer will work with the whole look and feel of your booth, especially bringing focus on the part of your booth which is seen the furthest – usually the highest points of your booth.

As people walk down a long aisle, with so much distraction, you can get as little as two to five seconds for an initial look by your prospects.

In that glance, they need to see something that makes sense and appeals to them.  If your company is an unknown, you will almost certainly get a lot fewer eyeballs than you are counting on. if your logo reaches 30 feet but the headline that clarifies what you do is only visible for the final 10 feet.  This demands work from strangers who do not know why they should care, yet.

You cannot rely on your audience taking a second glance. Your booth must make them look.

#2:  Filter In and Filter Out

The second job of your booth is to act as a filter.

Your booth needs to make it clear who should stop, and who should keep walking.  And it only has a few seconds to do this.

It maybe counter-intuitive, but you don’t want everyone at a show to stop and talk to you – unless you have a consumer brand that is literally “for everyone”, which is rare.

Instead – someone walking towards your booth must be able to see if you, your products or services, match one of their needs, desires or interests. They have to see something that matters to them.

You also need to remember that your time is limited at a show.  You want to connect with just the people you are targeting, and keep others walking past.

You don’t want to waste time explaining what you do to just anyone who is curious, or have to fish for whether they match your basic qualifications, both of which a well-designed booth should normally handle for you.

Most importantly of all, you don’t want good prospects walking past you because it was not obvious why they should stop.

This second job turns your booth into a pre-qualification engine, which moves smoothly into Job #3.

#3: Start the Conversation

Your booth’s third job is to set the tone for the conversation that will follow when your intended audience has stopped.  Note, this does not mean your booth replaces conversation.

It means, up close, your intended audience will see images and words that demonstrate you understand them, and their pain points, or the benefits they’re interested in.  What keys their interest in Job 2, when looked at more closely as they’ve paused for a closer look, becomes the grounds of the discussion in Job 3.

Sometimes folks like scientists, software designers, or engineers – and actually anyone with a highly specific technical training – try to turn their booth into a sales brochure. There are paragraphs of information and detailed pictures or designs, better suited for a brochure or presentation.  They are trying to convey as much information as they can.  You’d have to be IN the booth and next to the booth to read it.

The truth is, if someone is that close to your booth, it’s your turn to engage them  in conversation.  You or your staff now get to take the connection and conversation your booth has succeeded at starting to the next level.

Other factors important to your tradeshow success

How successful you are at this third stage of conversation is dependent on much more than your booth design, of course.  It all starts with strategy, and includes pre-show and at-show promotional marketing; presentations, demonstrations or other interactions; and how well your booth staff has been trained in the do’s and don’ts of trade show exhibiting.  (I’ve created links to selected related article topics – or go to the Tradeshow Tips page)

What If Your Graphic Designer Doesn’t Know About the 3 Jobs?

My advice is to seek out graphic designers with the understanding and experience to get you the results you are looking for.  In the case of a tradeshow booth, ask if they have “large format graphic design” experience and if they know how to design for distance, filtering and conversation.

Or give us a call.  Imprinted Originals can provide creative design for your booth based on these principles; it’s what we do!

Note: I’ve talked about these “3 jobs” for years with prospects and clients.  I hope that this article on what they are, and how they can impact trade show exhibitor success, has been helpful.   Feel free to leave questions or comments (comments are moderated).

~

Deborah Elms is passionate about helping businesses and organizations create and retain customers through the effective use of trade shows & other face-to-face events.  She heads up the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  You can follow her on twitter at @D_Elms or visit the Imprinted Originals Facebook page.

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5 Great Reasons To Step Up To a 20 Foot Tradeshow Exhibit

Are you considering exhibiting in a 10×20 or 20×20 foot booth space at an upcoming trade show?  Do you wonder how to make the best use of this size tradeshow exhibit space to garner more attention and better results, and not just spend more money?

Here’s why some of our clients chose to step up from a 10 foot booth to a larger space – and how they used it to their advantage. If you have similar goals in mind, you might find it a good moment to “step up” too.

Great Reasons To Step Up, and Great Uses for 20 Foot Booth Spaces

1) Your company has made a big step and wants to gain increased attention with a larger footprint.

After the purchase of a related company, Finetech USA took two 20 foot spaces across from one another at their largest industry event in order to announce the acquisition.  We worked with them on coordinated but individually designed booths to make a big splash and help their customers and prospects make the connection.

2)  You are entering a new market or expanding your product line and want to “show off” what is new as well as still include what your current clients and prospects already know.

Edge Electronics expanded from electronic components to include LCD solutions, but was not getting all the traction they were looking for from their existing customers and potential new prospects.  They decided to take advantage of top industry shows to call out the strength of their new offerings by having Imprinted Originals design an attention-grabbing extension of their original booth.

3) Your prospects and clients want a hands-on experience with your products.

The clients of Neutec Group are laboratory scientists who specifically want to learn about new equipment and new capabilities at their conferences.  Our design, which combines fabric backwalls and bannerstands in a flexible and cost effective way, attracts visitors into Neutec’s booth, rich with hands-on stations for demonstrating their product lines.

4) You want a themed environment that drives the flow of interaction between visitors and company representatives.

Network America wanted a dual-purpose booth, where half the space could be used to attract and talk with visitors, and the other half could be used for viewing demonstrations of their latest product release.

Our solution brought them a 50’s style “drive-in theater” for the presentations and a “diner” on the other side of the booth, complete with old fashioned tables and chairs, where they could talk with company representatives dressed in matching bowling shirts.  The result was that theirs was the most talked about booth at the show, garnering exactly the step up in attention they were looking for.

5) You anticipate a large show, a steady stream of prospects and an increased booth staff.  Or perhaps you’ve implemented a program for pre-planned at-show meetings and want an area of your booth available.

After all, the total number of leads you can take home from a show is a result of (the number of hours the exhibit hall is open) x (the number of staff available) x (the number of visitors/hour they will interact with) – factoring in the total visitor population and the % which is expected to match your target profile.

Another critical influence on the number of useful leads will be how well your booth design and layout attracts your target audience and filters out less appropriate visitors – and how good your people are at connecting with, qualifying, and identifying next steps for your visitors.

This reason is not as fanciful, but it contains the essential point of all the answers above.

As with the experience of our clients, it is time to take your trade show opportunities to the next level when you are ready to put the larger space to good use and achieve expanded tradeshow goals.

Some Booth Options

There are many routes, using a variety of booth and display models, that can help create a professional looking 20 foot both space.   Some of the examples above were based on doubling up or extended versions of our most popular light-weight Fabric Displays and traditional Popup Displays.

We also carry a wide range of other models.  Our current website does not have a section highlighting 20 foot booths (upgraded website coming) – but these are some of our other options: Custom Modular, Hybrid Modular (only a fraction of available styles shown), and Truss Kits.  We also represent the full line of Classic Displays.

Beyond the Booth

As you can see from the examples above, however, the physical booth style is only a part of what makes for an successful use of your tradeshow space.  Imprinted Originals offers “exhibit house expertise without the overhead”, if you are considering “stepping up”.

If you are not sure if you have a “great reason” to step up your exhibit space, we can help you look objectively at the plusses — and the minuses — of expanding your booth, to determine if it makes sense at this time for your tradeshow marketing success.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping businesses grow by creating and retaining customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events; offering high impact, professionally designed display booths, promotional marketing and guidance on what works and what does not.

You can follow Deborah on Twitter at @D_Elms and Imprinted Originals at @TradeshowsMdEZ.

(c) 2011 Imprinted Originals LLC

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New Graphic Design Panels for Xpressions Snap Trade Show Display Systems

There are exciting new graphic design options for the Xpresssions Snap tension fabric tradeshow booth and event display systems from Imprinted Originals!

In addition to full color tension fabric panels in Square, Rectangular, and Diamond shapes, we now offer:

  • Sheer fabric panels
  • 3 new shapes: Star, Triangle and Hexagon

Any shape can be printed on either original or sheer material.

Your tradeshow graphics design can now get even more creative, adding sheer and/or shape panels as a front layer to create additional dimensionality, drama, and intrigue.

sheer1x3a-249x213 shape-1X3-N-190 shape-4X3US-Q-190

As always, these Xpression Snaps are ultra-light weight and feature the fastest setup of any display, and offer a wide range of standard and custom configurations for floor and tabletop displays – with different widths, heights and even shapes (pyramids and Xs as well as tall/skinny and typical backwalls).

Pricing for Sheer and Shape fabric graphic panels is the same as for  regular fabric panels.

Call or email us for design suggestions, artwork requirements and templates – and see the difference an Xpresssions Snap display can make.

Click on a sample display picture for more info.

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Using QR Codes For Trade Show/Event Sales & Marketing

qrcode

Are QR codes just a fad — or on their way into the mainstream? How can you use them to turn that glance from a prospect into meaningful engagement at your next trade show, conference, and other face-to-face event and move them down your sales pipeline?

Here are my suggestions for both event organizers and exhibitors,  plus some links to more resources.  And the offer to help you move in this direction, of course.

What are QR codes?

Just a brief explanation, if you have never seen a QR code, or have seen them but don’t know how they work.

QR stands for Quick Response. It’s a kind of bar code, similar to the ones used for SKUs on retail products, but able to carry more information. What makes them quick is that someone with a smart phone just takes a picture, which an application on the phone translates into some kind of action, usually taking them somewhere on the Internet.

Typically the application brings up the URL of a landing page with anything from a poll to a coupon to a white paper to a video.

How Might It Work for You As a Tradeshow Exhibitor?

The most basic advice for exhibitors is that you want as much interaction with your tradeshow booth visitor as possible. Factors which impact interactivity include how many people are staffing your booth, your pre-show marketing, your in-booth promotional activities, the complexity of your offer, and the length of your sales cycle — plus who your target audience is.

QR codes will not replace the primacy of human-to-human contact.

They can supplement it by allowing you to create additional targeted touch points.  You get a prospect to move themselves from a glance to a more engaged interaction, which you have devised for them.

How QR Codes Are Being Used Now

  • Retailers are moving people from advertisements to micro sites for specific offers or to sign-up for more information on items of interest.
  • Manufacturers use codes to serve up a specific page for instructions based on their particular purchase.
  • Starbucks has created an essentially two-way application, where people add money to an account which is deducted when a barista scans the customer’s personal QR code on their phone.

How Can Event Organizers Use QR/2D Codes?

  • Invitations. The first obvious application has been to include QR codes in printed invites, so potential attendees get to information quickly and can register right then and there, or easily get back to the sign-in location.
  • Registrations/Check-ins. A second use, still taking hold, is to speed up in-person event registration and check-in lines by including QR codes on confirmation sheets attendees print and bring with them

Other opportunities:

  • Name Tags. Add codes to name tags so that not just exhibitors can scan attendee name tags, but attendees can share contact information amongst themselves easily.
  • Sponsor Call-outs. Provide as a benefit for sponsors — in show materials, on websites and as a special mark within their event display area.  Use in event journals or show listings to provide a map to the sponsor’s location or special offers they are providing.
  • Temporary Tattoo/Icebreakers. Lara McCulloch-Carter mentions several more options in her in her Ready2Spark blog entry on Event Planners and QR codes (see link below).  I liked her suggestion to use codes as temporary tattoos, with 2 people sharing 1 code, so that finding each other works as an icebreaker in large events.

How Can Tradeshow Exhibitors or Event Sponsors Use Codes?

You can use QR codes in easily integrated ways, including your pre-show marketing, at-show promotional activities, post show follow-up, and even booth graphic design to help you deepen your connection and keep it moving forward.

  • Event Landing Page. Have at least one QR code that leads to a particular landing page for each event,  allowing you to hone offers and help you track results by campaign.  Note that you can keep updating information after the event to keep the interaction going.
  • Incorporate in your Graphic Design.  You can integrate a QR tag within your major graphic display to carry a major message or simplify getting information to people unlikely to pickup and carry printed materials back to the office or home.
  • Multiple Products or Services? Even better — especially if you have multiple products or services which you are highlighting or demonstrating — have a separate code at each kiosk or as a standalone display, with a unique QR code for each specific item.
  • Pre-show Campaign with PURL Driving Customization. Include a barcode on your preshow postcard or e-mail which drives a prospect to a PURL (private landing page), where they enter their interests, create their own code, and then, at your exhibit — your booth staff only needs to scan that code in order to direct them to the correct person to talk to, or a specialized demonstration or other personalized attention.
  • Personalized Rewards. Especially in the case where you want to drive a prime prospect to their PURL and get them to your booth — promise and give them a great gift.

Other ideas:

  • Marketing Collateral. Include a QR code on your business cards or sell sheets
  • Build Buzz with Wearable Codes. Wear your code — or better yet, let your prospects wear it on a brightly colored giveaway such as a shirt or cap or button — with a great tagline to catch interest and make others want to scan it and get one of their own.
  • Social Media. Offer a way that attendees can “like” your FB page or sign up for Twitter feeds or otherwise connect via social media sites.
  • Convenient Gifts. Offer prizes which will be sent to the office instead of having to lug back from event, based on tiering of gift, of course.
  • Activities. Set up treasure hunt or other interactgive game, possibly with your marketing or channel partners at show.
  • Promotional items. Get your message back to the office with a QR code, which is especially important if you do not have direct contact with the decision-maker.
  • Make Them the Star. Take a video or picture of a prospect, maybe with a celebrity, and post it to a PURL which will be accessible using their scan. Of course this needs to be after they have participated in a presentation or demonstration, or otherwise qualified themselves or you may be over run with non-qualified participants.
  • Beyond the Booth. Does the show offer opportunities for hall banners or floor space for use for advertisements? Post a QR code which will lure them in.

Warnings

  • Be Helpful. Don’t assume everyone has a QR reader or smartphone. Be sure to include information on how to download a reader for those who have smartphones, and post website URLs for those who do not.
  • Be Visible. If you can, send them to a .mobi site or, at a minimum, a page friendly to phones! Be wary of Flash, large documents, and awkward placement on the page as these can negatively impact your results. And needless to say, there must be cell phones reception.
  • Be interesting. Don’t forget to include specfic benefits and acall to action.
  • Test! Use a/b testing and don’t forget to make sure your code works as planned, using a range of QR code readers.

Wave of the Future? Or a Fad?

QR codes have been around since the mid-1990s but their use was limited while phone cameras and technology caught up with them.

How far they go now, as smartphones become more ubiquitous, is anybody’s guess. I believe there is such potential to create interactions which empower the prospect and allow for smart marketing, that their use should be explored, and not just by the “big kahunas” but also smaller, nimbler exhibitors and event planners who want to step ahead of the curve.

Need Help Implementing QR Codes at Tradeshows and Events?

Feel free to shoot questions my way.

Imprinted Originals can help with design and production of booths, displays, accessories and promotional products which carry and utilize QR / 2D codes.

We also partner with experienced event planners, marketing and branding gurus, and printing, direct marketing and fulfillment resources with customization experience that I can recommend.

More information:

Lara McCulloch-Carter’s Ready2Spark blog:  QR Codes for Event Planners — many additional event-oriented ideas

From Mashable.com:  HOW TO: Create and Deploy Your Own QR Codes and 2-D codes: The 10 Commandments for Marketers

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Top 10 Signs You Need a New Tradeshow Booth or Graphic Design

The situations on this list, while presented with humor, lead to results which are anything but funny. If you cannot read through it without a glimmer of recognition — chances are that you are coming up short on achieving the tradeshow results you are looking for, including quality leads and new opportunities with existing clients.

Unfortunately, we have seen and corrected every one of these mistakes at least once!

I’ve combined some variations to keep the list short, so we can work our way up from number 10 in classic late-night TV Top 10 List fashion.

Top 10 Signs You Might Need a New Booth

#10 A sure sign you need to get a new booth is when you have clients saying “You do that?” even after just seeing you at the tradeshow where you announced a new product or service.

#9 A sign it’s past time for a revamp is when your booth sports a color scheme that’s been out of favor longer than you’ve been with your company, and the logo has changed, probably at least twice, since then. And maybe the magnets need a little help with duct tape.

#8 You might be ready for a new booth if you’ve gotten tired of watching your competitors essentially open their arms and put their booth up in two minutes when it takes you an hour or two and a ladder. Or your competitors have one of the hybrid fabric and extrusion models that only look like they require paying for labor from the general contractor, and you are paying for your setup, with overtime too.

#7 A sign the timing is perfect for a new booth is you’ve just made a big move like purchasing another company or snagging some major clients, and you want to step up the style of your display to replace the same-old, same-old pop up you’ve relied on for years.

#6 An obvious sign is when your boss finally admits that his wife’s nephew did the design for a school project, and the course he was taking was website design. Or your marketing agency designed it for you at the same time they did your brochures — and you realize they look exactly the same, only the brochures work and the tradeshow booth design does not. (Hint: you’re not saving money by using someone who does not know how to create impact with tradeshow graphics because you are going to have to pay to replace them to be successful on the show floor.)

#5 A painful sign you may be missing is when your sales people or field marketing reps won’t put up the display you think they’re using, because it either weighs more than they do or is so difficult to set up, it cuts into their face time with prospects — or they have decided it requires too much effort to explain its middle-of-the-road message, because the inflexible booth layout does not allow easy adaptation for their specific audiences or product lines.

#4 Another reason it could be time to reconsider your booth design is when people keep asking if you’re a startup — and you’re not. Or you are a startup with great new ideas and everyone sees the same stock photographs they see on other booths so they don’t pay any attention to you.

#3 You know you need to get out of a rut when you get lost coming back from the bathroom, and other people stop by and ask your help in finding your company. Your booth looks too much like everyone else’s, your company name or tagline does not stand out, and even you can’t read most of its overly small print when you’re standing next to it.

#2 A truly bad sign that you need a new booth is it’s not doing its job. Instead of connecting with leads pre-qualified by its message, you end up talking to the wrong people, and wasting time trying to attract people into your booth by standing in the aisles and offering giveaways.

And the #1 most obvious and most worrisome sign that you need a new booth is when people pause, stare at your display, then look at you and ask, “So what is it you do anyway?”

Do you find yourself agreeing — or even suspecting — that any of these situations describe your own booth?

This is going to be a strong year for tradeshows, and your booth is going to be a major influence on the level of impact you have. Please feel free to reach out for ideas on how to refresh the graphic design on your display or replace your booth so none of these 10 signs will apply.

Your booth has three jobs: stop attendees from passing by without looking, filter out those who are not good matches to your target audience while attracting those who are, and start a compelling conversation with those who are appropriate.

Imprinted Originals provides the expertise of an exhibit house without the overhead. We can help you achieve Exhibiting Success at your tradeshows and events. Call or e-mail us today for help assessing your current situation and getting you prepared for 2011 and beyond.

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/D_Elms
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deborahelms

Website: http://www.imprintedoriginals.com

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BACKLIT FABRIC LIGHTBOX – DOUBLE-SIDED AURA DISPLAY

AURA DOUBLE-SIDED FABRIC LIGHTBOX

The Aura, a free-standing 3D lightbox with double-sided graphics, creates an unforgettable marketing showcase.

Use as part of a tradeshow booth, retail environment, or installation at a school, museum or corporate lobby to replace or supplement traditional structures at a much lower price point.

Created using brilliant Trifab dye sublimated tension fabric, finished aluminum extrusions, and side lighting which brings out the brilliant color and fine detail of your high-quality images, its Silicon Edged Graphics (SEG) technology means it is easy, fast and inexpensive to create and swap in a whole new look as needed.

For all its elegance, the Aura lightbox display is highly portable, setting up in minutes without specialized equipment or expensive crews.

Benefits of Aura Lightbox Displays

  • Fantastic presentation
  • Versatile – quick upgrade to existing display
  • Easy, fast and inexpensive to update
  • Decreases shipping costs
  • Use as backwall or two-sided
  • No added labor; fast set-up and breakdown
  • Permanent installation or portable use
  • Double-sided – maximizes visibility at a trade show or retail environment
For more details, go to:  DOUBLE-SIDED AURA BACKLIT FABRIC LIGHTBOX
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What’s the News about Tradeshow Exhibiting? Notes from TS2

I made my way to Boston a few weeks ago for The TS2 Show, also known as “The Tradeshow for Tradeshows”, one of two primary annual shows within the industry itself.

Since we are expanding our reconfigurable, island booth and rental offerings, it made sense to take advantage of what makes trade shows irreplaceable — being able to investigate new vendors and get an up close view of potential new exhibit products, to make sure they meet our standards for quality, impact and usability.

That effort was very successful — we have many exciting new product offerings.  We are still in the process of adding them to our website and in our “Introducing … ” new products blog category, but they are available now.

Exhibitors at this show include both manufacturers reaching out to companies to resell their products and companies like ours, looking for new and updating existing clients.  In addition, the show offers a great opportunity to check out what’s new, what’s working, and what should probably be avoided.

I will highlight some of my impressions from the show, as a way to share some current trends.

Illuminated Fabric Displays

There were wonderful examples of some of my favorite new products in use– illuminated fabric displays.  Created with beautifully “living” dye-sublimated fabric graphics, backlit and side-lit within handsome aluminum supports, these products provide a true high-end look at an almost unbelievably affordable price.

Sized in portable dimensions, tower and custom sizes — they can add emphasis to an existing booth or can be put to work in a central role within newly designed structures.

One example of this type of product — at a size perfect for highlighting a key message, introducing a new product or service, or simply reinforcing the brand visibility — can be seen here:  Double-sided Backlit Fabric Lightbox Display.

Note: there are also Tower and custom-sized versions available, not yet on the site.

Creative Uses of 10′ x 20′ Booth Spaces

An in-line booth which consisted of an approximately double-height backdrop was quite dramatic in a relatively small space. I thought its hodgepodge design, meant to show an array of effects, may not have made the best use of it, however.

Even more interesting, to me, were Island Booths created in 10′ x 20′ spaces.

One used its wood-colored flooring very much like an island, positioning at its center what would normally be a cabinet style display for the back of a booth. Props of lobster traps were positioned around the booth to support the theme which was nautical, also well represented within the display design.  Staff correctly positioned themselves facing in the different directions to engage with passersby.

Another 10′ x 20′ island booth was used to show off features of the exhibitors’ offerings using three distinct elements in a way that suggested a larger booth but left open spaces for visitors to walk in from any direction and engage in conversation with booth staff. This setup reduced costs involved in shipping, drayage and set up, while still projecting a much larger and very finished look.

Even the larger footprint island booths seemed to accentuate their open space at this show, rather than walling in their “turf”.  Chances are some exhibitors were given upgrades to larger island spaces, which could account for less “display” per square foot of booth, but the net effect was quite positive. It felt good not to be hemmed in, and allowed for more natural interactions.

Social Media on Tradeshow Floor

Professionals in the tradeshow, meetings and events industries are paying a lot of attention to social media tools, and the benefit they bring both to show organizers and exhibitors.  So of course there was a Twitter hashtag promoted by the show organizers, and used widely by electronic “participants” from afar and on-site.  If you do a search at search.twitter.com using #TS2show as your query, chances are you may still find comments being made weeks later.

I was also impressed to discover that the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center’s twitter handle @bcecnav was actively engaged in providing information throughout, alerting us to lunch hour, where there was free coffee, and when shuttle buses were available, etc.

The InZone

Then there was the InZone — a 40′ x 40′  space dedicated to gathering, entertaining and educating an interactive “hybrid” audience, made up partly of tradeshow attendees and partly those who watched via video feed and participated via Twitter and other online communities.

A professional tradeshow presenter (Emilie Barta, interviewed elsewhere on this blog) led conversations between experts and end-users about tradeshow and social media topics, especially but not exclusively focusing on the technologies and techniques which were making this experiment possible.  In addition, many of the participants who had previously “met” through networking using Twitter groups such as #eventprofs or #engage365 were able to have a well-appreciated face-to-face conversation.

This was basically a pilot for a concept that associations can use at their conferences, or an exhibitor seeking to create special “buzz” at an important show could implement.  There is great potential in this idea.

To see videos from the InZone, and learn more visit: http://ts2.3d-mediagroup.com/index.php .  And yes it  had/has its own Twitter hashtag #inzone.

I have yet to write a blog entry about my experiences participating in and helping create these kinds of hybrid events – but it’s coming!

Electronics and Event Technology

There were a range of electronic products for lead capturing, as well as interactive and 3-D displays for when it is impractical to bring actual products for demonstrations.  Many of these either used or mimicked iPad or Smart Phone technology.

There was also a product which provides Internet access for a reasonable rental fee — look out convention centers and exhibition organizers in the habit of overcharging!

I look forward to addressing some of these new products in a later blog entry.

Also Worth Noting

Let me mention a few other things that I believe are worth noting from the show, even though not brand-new ideas.

Not surprisingly, based on the work we’ve done for our own clients the last several years, the show was dominated by fabric booths and display components, including portable booths such as: Xpressions Snap, Entasi, and HopUp, as well as reconfigurable and rentable extrusion frames with silicon edged graphics (SEG).  There is good reason for that — lowered shipping and set up costs, ease of use, dramatic results and versatility appeal to essentially all exhibitors these days!

Though sometimes experts warn that using colored carpeting which contrasts with the show’s can create a barrier to attendees entering one’s booth, what I saw reconfirmed my experience that a well chosen color scheme which coordinates flooring with a booth’s graphical theme or coloring can have a quite positive result.

It is so easy to install one’s own wood-style flooring tiles now that there were several booths where exhibitors used it successfully to highlight their space.  It’s also worth noting that we now can offer standard carpeting and carpet tiles that are “green”.

What’s A Tradeshow Without Giveaways?

One odd thing I observed was a booth which made a very big deal about having barrels of beach sandals of different sizes to give away — but made no connection between them and any theme, message, or action item that I saw.  And I can think of so many ways to tie a message to those particular gifts!   It seemed to be a lost opportunity to create a deeper impression.

On the other hand, I will admit that a small part of my choosing to attend the show on the first day that the exhibit hall was open was an offer made by one of the exhibitors, “free flexible keypad for the first X visitors to our booth”. Despite the fact that I can get a sample of almost any promotional item for free or at a reduced cost, it set this exhibitor apart and motivated me even that slight bit more to get to their booth early enough to snag one.

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

This was my first visit to the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and from what I saw I was impressed.  They seem to be dedicated to providing a 21st century electronically-enabled experience — complete with Twitter handle and messaging mentioned above.

It’s also extremely handy to get to the BCEC from Logan Airport on the T via the Silver Bus Line SL1, and it only takes a few minutes.

Even though TS2 was smaller in size than previous trips, I found it very worth my while.  Participating in industry shows doesn’t just help us, it enhances our ability to support our clients exhibiting successfully at tradeshows.  I could only capture the tip of the iceberg here but I’ll be sharing more with clients throughout the fall season I’m sure.

Because someone will ask – the other major industry tradeshow is Exhibitor, held in March in Las Vegas and much larger.  I was disappointed this year to see that social media was not used particulary effectively by organizers or exhibitors in 2010, but I predict that will change in 2011.  If you are looking for implementation ideas, or help – feel free to reach out to us!

~

Deborah Elms is CEO and head of the Trade Show and Event Division of Imprinted Originals.  She is passionate about helping new and growing businesses, non-profit organizations and associations create and retain customers through the effective use of tradeshows & events.

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/D_Elms
LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/deborahelms
Exhibiting Success: http://www.imprintedoriginals.com/blog

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