by Ellen Campbell-Kaminski, VP of Marketing
What do a mascot, mad scientists, 169 classes, virtual reality, four magicians, video testimonials, skateboards, exams, balloons, Vegas, and aching feet have in common? Well, if you throw in some of the most innovative and creative trade show booths imaginable, you’ve got ExhibitorLIVE: the Annual Professional Development Conference for Trade Show and Corporate Event Marketers.
After months of planning our presence: objectives, theme, trade show booth design, visitor engagement, client video testimonials, pre-show marketing, and brand ambassador training, it was finally time. My reservations were booked and my luggage was packed and our marketing materials were saved onto thumb-drives and securely packed in my carry-on luggage.
Impression 1: Education is Serious Business
On the first morning of conference, I attended a beMatrix breakfast meeting where Exhibit Concepts was named Finalist in three categories: The One That Got Away; Best Use of the 360 Solution; and Most Innovative Use. Walking down the hall I passed an enormous wall filled with the class schedule. I was struck by the sheer number of offerings. A few that caught my eye, in addition to the four sessions on exhibiting internationally that my colleague Jeff Hannah delivered, included: Build a Better RFP and 11 New Rules of Trade Show Marketing. Our industry is changing rapidly and at the same time, there is a proliferation of ways to reach our target audience which means we, as marketers, need to develop sophisticated, integrated campaigns in order to reach our intended audiences, wherever they may be.
Impression 2: The Value of Face-to-Face Marketing
I was recently asked why I joined a company that focuses on trade show exhibits, permanent installations, museums, events and mobile tour marketing. I think of our industry as “Face-to-face marketing, the original Social Media™.”
I believe that human beings are inherently social and at the end of the day, people buy from people. We want to be able to examine what we are potentially buying and we want to know who we are doing business with;. hence, I think face-to-face marketing will be required for years to come. And here I was, attending a conference of thousands of people who understand and are invested in advancing the profession because they too understand the value and necessity of trade show and corporate events.
Impression 3: Materials, Lighting and Special Effects
Oh My Goodness! The beauty and variety of materials used in the exhibits on the show floor was astounding. Everywhere I looked, there was something new to see and wonder, “How did they do that?” Woods and metals. Fabrics and laminates. Every surface told a story- one of innovation and really thinking outside the box. The hall was bright and every booth was brightly lit, inviting attendees in at every turn. Special effects included a dancing wall of water and even holograms with eyes that followed you as you walked down the aisle.
At Exhibit Concepts, this has become somewhat of an unofficial motto around our offices. After 39 years in the trade show, commercial interior, and museum industry, we know all too well that every project and each client is unique. When it comes to unique, however, nothing is more so than the wooden crates we use to ship property across the world for our customers.
As a kid, did you ever want to walk on the moon? Maybe you still dream of going into space one day. Thanks to a donation, a lucky group of second graders at St. Albert the Great School in Kettering, Ohio step foot on the moon every time they walk into their classroom.
We believe creativity isn’t just delivering fresh, innovative ideas to clients. It goes much deeper than that, into the realm of understanding (and anticipating) their needs, interpreting the vision, and offering solutions along the way.
To truly appreciate the present (and future) one must first appreciate history. The Computer History Museum, located in Mountain View, California, with stunning views of the Santa Cruz Mountains, tells the compelling story of how computers and software have evolved. Surrounded by the headquarters of some of the largest technology companies in the world, including Google and Symantec, it’s the ideal setting to pay homage to computing’s significant impact on our society.
Are your booth staffers greeting French-speaking attendees in English at a show in Paris? Does your English marketing tagline make sense when translated into Portuguese? Are you asking for hundreds of thousands of marketing dollars, but have no way to prove your ROI because you are not evaluating your program? Many companies who exhibit at international trade shows make these COMMUNICATION MISTAKES, which fall into two main areas: Messaging and Engagement. In this 4-part series: Common Mistakes Made by International Exhibitors, we are identifying these mistakes and suggesting tactics to avoid them in the future. You can read Part One, AWARENESS, here and Part Two, PREPARATION, here.