Tag Archives: Events

High Impact Exhibiting: Bring Your Event Marketing into the 21st Century – 09/28/10

High Impact Exhibiting: Draw Crowds and New Business at your Next Event or Tradeshow — a workshop presented by SMPS Long Island as part of its Marketing Tools Series

Whether you’re a new or veteran exhibitor, you will learn how to take advantage of event sponsorships and tradeshows.

  • Avoid making the 10 biggest mistakes of exhibiting
  • Discover how to take steps to go beyond “talking green” to showcase your commitment
  • See — for yourself — why new display trends are worth noticing
  • Explore integrating new digital and traditional techniques that will lead to event success.

Pre-registered attendees receive a free exhibit assessment.

This workshop by Imprinted Originals is presented as part of the SMPS-LI Marketing Tools Series.

When: Tuesday, September 28, 2010, 8 – 10 AM
Where: RXR Building Lower Level Conference Room 68 South Service Road Melville, NY 11747
Cost: Free for SMPS, IABC & USGBC members, $25 for non-members


Note: Do you have event and tradeshow experiences — good, bad or “interesting” — in the architecture, engineering, and construction world?

I’d love to gather additional examples, so I can be sure to address specific questions from within this industry.



Just a quick non-exhibiting tip for all the road warriors out there on their way to or from tradeshows or conferences.

Never assume you are getting a secure connection using any public wi-fi network in an airport or coffee shop, that protects you from snoops nearby, when you access your email or other websites.

Signing up with a password?  That was just about getting you to pay for the service.

There are some things you can do.

Best case would be that your IT department has prepared you with a VPN (virtual private network).  Next, there are some software products that can help.

If it’s all up to you – you should know to look for the HTTPS:// (with an S) for secure system before and during any session.

For a lot more detail on what to look for, why and what to do about it, I recommend this article from NetworkWorld:  How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi

Keep the results of all your hard work preparing for and following up from your events safe!


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

She is also a veteran of a couple of decades of working in the world of software development so Imprinted Originals “Speaks Geek” when it comes to exhibiting at tradeshows and events!



I recently attended a presentation by sales expert Duane Cashin,  which riveted the entrepreneurs at the TAB Long Island Prosperity Series on March 9th, 2010.  (The Alternative Board is a peer advisory group for business owners.)

He spoke about “Sales in The New Normal” to a room eager to understand the new world as business owners.

It got me thinking about the trends our clients are facing in sales, marketing, and exhibiting, and I jotted these notes down afterwards.  There may be deeper and longer thoughts later.

1) The “New Normal” in selling:  your product or service is not just competing with your competitors’ products but with other budget items, so you must make a compelling business case for its purchase.  (This was one of Duane Cashin’s key ideas.)

2) The “New Normal” in marketing:  in a networked, social media-oriented marketplace, communication is not one way from you to your client, and it isn’t even 2 way; communications are multi-node integrated experiences between many different conversations, plus traditional forms of marketing communications.

(This is informed by Duane’s presentation, but also grown from experiences I had at #EventCamp2010, explorations with #eventprofs in Twitter and my own observations)

3) The “New Normal” in tradeshow exhibiting and other events – my thoughts:

In the “New Normal”, exhibitors need to produce better results with less budget, staff and time.   They’re competing for budget with every other marketing project, and marketing is competing with every other idea that can impact the bottom line.

Exhibitors need to be more nimble, more targeted, and quicker to differentiate themselves with their prospects.  How?  They must compete less on the superiority of their products or services and more on their ability to “get” – and help with – their own prospects’ “New Normal” in order to make a connection.

Got questions on how the “New Normal” is impacting you?  Or need ideas on how to implement?  Let’s start a conversation.  Reach out at http://www.twitter.com/d_elms, leave a comment, or call (631) 979-0283 or (888) 912-9116.


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


Duane Cashin http://twitpic.com/1cmqrq next to one of displays Imprinted Originals designed and produced for TAB Prosperity Event (as well as for most of the sponsors).  Duane Cashin’s website: http://www.duanecashin.com

Duane after his presentation.  (Like the bannerstand?)

The Alternative Board of Suffolk County:  http://www.tabny.com

The Alternative Board of Naussau County: http://www.tabli.com



Tip of the Iceberg

Are you new to tradeshows or having a tough time getting the results you’re looking for?

Success starts with understanding one key secret: the time spent at the show is only the tip of the iceberg.  Success or failure depends on what you do after and – especially – before the show.

Exhibitors with poor results often rely solely on the at-show efforts of their booth staff – often poorly trained and ill-prepared – to make a show a success.  They make the mistake of confusing logistics administration with true strategic planning.  They blame the exhibition management for not bringing in enough of the right prospects, or the economy, or the booth design.   Worse yet, they sometimes decide that “trade shows don’t work” and give up rather than learn how to succeed.

Great results can be had, in almost any situation, with proper planning, preparation and support, based on a clearly defined set of goals.

And since successful tradeshow exhibiting allows you to introduce yourself to new markets and new prospects, solidifies relationships with existing customers, and speeds up your sales cycle with prospects, planning correctly is well worth the time and effort.

High Level or Annual Planning

Planning for individual shows will be easiest if there is an annual marketing plan which includes an overall tradeshow plan, even at a high level.  Fortunately, you can create a good individual plan on its own, which can be used later to start an overall plan.

A high level plan:
– sets a consistent overall strategy
– helps you evaluate specific opportunities for fit
– suggests how & when different marketing approaches can reinforce each other
– creates a consistent framework for evaluating results
– saves time in preparing for individual shows

Tradeshow Planning: Setting Strategic Objectives vs Logistics Management

“Tradeshow planning” is often confused with handling the logistics of the show: budgets, deadlines, and the “stuff” involved whether it is the booth, the clothes, or the giveaways.

Preparing for the logistics is critical.  And costly if done incorrectly  – it only takes one show with missed deadlines, and rush charges for everything  from production to shipping to show services, to make this point clear.  This planning and tracking is often handed to someone who is good at handling details, which is appropriate.

However – the single most critical aspect of planning for a successful tradeshow is – to borrow a well known idea – to start with the end in mind.  (Thank you Dr Covey, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”)

The key is being clear about – and keeping a laser-like focus on – your business objectives, target audience, branding, strategies for implementing each objective, and ways to measure results.   All show preparations must be geared towards achieving these goals.

Meet the deadlines, of course.  But start at the beginning, with a plan to succeed.

An individual (or marketing campaign-level) tradeshow plan:

  • Sets specific business objectives to be met, aligned with overall strategic goals
  • Defines target audience, including demographics and key pain/purchase points
  • Clearly identifies tactics, goals and measurements for each objective
  • Establishes a budget and ROI rationale
  • Sets up a timeline including planning, logistics, marketing and promotional efforts, staff preparation to support goals, etc.
  • Provides a clear evaluation process

Let’s look briefly at each of these topics.

Business Objectives for Tradeshows

In the long run, tradeshows are all about building your business.  That may mean generating sale-ready leads, and it may not.  There are many ways to use tradeshows to support your business or organization.

Trade Shows Can Be Used To:

  • Generate quality leads
  • Reinforce existing relationships
  • Strengthen company, product or brand awareness
  • Reach the media or provide input for blog
  • Announce or measure interest in new products or services
  • Perform competitive analysis
  • Find vendors / potential partners
  • Use as “because” to contact customers, prospects and dormant leads

Target Audience

You need to specifically who you will be targeting at each show.  This is because your marketing message – the one that will move you towards your selected objective – must be based on the needs and interests of your target audience.    It’s all about WIIFM – “what’s in it for me”.  If you don’t know who, how can you direct your message?

You want your booth to be designed in a way that reaches out to the right people, filters out the others, and starts a conversation.  This is why one of the very first things we ask for when we prepare to design a tradeshow display is “who do you need to reach – at this show”.

Tactics, Goals and Measurement

“Build sales” is not helpful as an objective.

“Build sales by setting appointments” – that is actionable and measurable.  You can train your booth staff how to qualify attendees, how much to say in the booth, and when to move to “make a sale” of an appointment time.  If you’re handing out gifts, to know the correct moment to present them.   You can decide how to lay out your booth based on this goal.  You can determine how to word your marketing collaterol.

And before the show?  This goal now leads to specific pre-show tactics like promotional mail or email, offering them an opportunity to meet you in person.

Here’s a few things you can measure already in this scenario:

  • How many invited prospects came
  • How many additional people were attracted by other at-show activities
  • How many signed up for appointments
  • The results of those appointments
  • The number and size of sales resulting

Of course, setting appointments may not be the next step from a show for your business.  What is?  Select your objective, then determine what needs to happen before the show, at the show and afterwards to make it happen.

Know your objectives, set up tactics, make them measurable, and focus your efforts based on these.


There is a lot to juggle in preparing for one show, never mind if you have a series of shows.  You need to read and understand the show book, with its rules and deadlines.  Preparing a project plan with milestones and deadlines, is not a bad idea.  You may need to “rent” this service from your tradeshow provider, or you may be able to keep it in-house by getting the most organized person on your staff to keep track and pay attention when they say a deadline is looming.

Some of our tips can be found here:  TRADE SHOW PLANNING – A TIMELINE FOR SUCCESS


You need to evaluate every show.   Evaluate based on the objectives you set, for effectiveness.  Also evaluate your staff on how well they met their individual goals, and ask for their input on what could have been done better in preparing them, in setting up and executing on your plan.

The essence of a plan is to take a good look at how events can support the major corporate objectives, who will be reached, how and when, with what budget and in order to reach what measurable results.

Need help starting, thinking through, or implementing your plan?  We’d be happy to help.


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



Inspired by a trip to the largest promotional products tradeshow on the East Coast – ideas for more impact for YOUR brand at YOUR trade shows (besides the booth):

#1 – Electroluminescent Illuminated Branded Apparel

Definitely an “eye-catching” idea: a T-shirt or Cap branded with your logo in lights which flashes to the beat of your selected song!

“The next big thing in branded outerwear” – shirts and caps with integrated light technology to flash designs or text in a predetermined pattern.  Custom or standard designs.  Minimum quantities required.

Available for certain thin illuminated display applications in booth design as well.

#2 – The WOW! Customized, personal “concierge” service branded just for you!

Turn your booth visitors (or other prospects and clients) into VIPs with the WOW! Card, which provides customized “concierge” service, branded not just with your visual logo, but also your name and 2 messages within each of their calls for assistance!

Recipients call a toll-free number to access live personal assistants 24 hours a day, with the response branded with your company name and book-ended with your customizable greeting and closing messages on every call.  Your recipients will keep these cards close at hand and then use them to call for on-the-spot answers.

For traveling tradeshow visitors, think how appreciative they will be when they can get nearby restaurant recommendations and reservations, hunt down tickets for sporting events, and get gate or flight updates.  Not to mention, settle bar bets or get directions to the rental car lot when they’re running late!

Still not sure what it’s about?  Go check it out for yourself here – WOW! Branded Personal Assistance.

Be sure to sign up for a complimentary demonstration … and if you need help thinking about what to ask – here are examples of popular requests.

#3 – Ideas which are not brand new but are still cool, and definitely bring folks into your booth:

* All kinds of things to help your traveling prospects cope with life on the road … including folding maps with location-specific information on one side, and custom information about your company, products or services on the other.

* Puzzle pieces sent in pre-show mailings, to be checked against a “prize board” in your booth.  Choose how many “grand”, “second place” and “consolation” prize pieces are sent out.  (And select prizes your target customers will want to collect!)

* Non-slip grips for cell phones and other electronics will be kept for the life of the object.  Now available with “recovery-for-reward” tags with over 85% of lost items recovered, at no added cost, and no annual fees or charges for end users.

* Completely custom ideas – which we can source reliably for you.

Of course, you can always call or visit our website for additional ideas!

And if you still haven’t taken a look … go on, check it out – WOW! Concierge Cards



The best way to find out about Trade Shows, Conferences and and other events is to ask.  Check with your best customers about the “must attend” events in their industry.

Reading their trade journals will also tip you off to educational, networking and other events where you can present or sponsor.

You can also use these online calendars to research your options.

These sites allow you to search by a number of different options such as: name of event, industry, date,  location, theme, organizer, keywords, # of attendees, # of exhibitors and size.

TSNN Calendar

The Tradeshow Calendar

Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Conferences & Business Events Worldwide

For more help on deciding on where to exhibit, read Selecting the Right Trade Show or Conference, on our tips archive page.