A Key Ingredient to Success: by Susan Brauer

No matter how big or small your booth is and how well you’ve laid out strategic plans for your show, it’s not likely to be successful if you don’t have buy in and cooperation from your booth staff. Most of the time you don’t get the support you need from staff because they don’t feel connected to the process and they don’t understand how important their role is in the success of the show. To get staff on board, be sure to communicate the “big picture” to help them connect to the program by:

- Clarifying show goals (and why they are important to the company)
- Explaining the show strategy (make sure they know what’s going to be happening in the booth and when and why it’s important to the success of the show)
- Preparing the staff to meet the attendees – (Make sure staff understands how to engage, ask qualifying questions, convey your message, and disengage. Think about assigning roles (i.e. greeters, demonstrators, lead takers, etc) if you have a bigger booth and staff.)
- Making sure that the staff knows the products/services that you’re highlighting and if there’s anything new they should be aware of.
Remember, whether your booth is big or small, if you have 3 team members or 30, your staff can make or break your program. Be sure to give them the tools they need to be confident working in the booth and help make the show as successful as it can be.

Susan BrauerAbout Susan Brauer
Susan, CME, is the President of Brauer Consulting Group (brauerconsulting.com) Susan has more than 20 years of experience in the trade show and events industry and works with organizations to help them set strategic, quantifiable objectives, promote and strengthen key corporate messages and demonstrate ROI for their face-to-face marketing programs.

Powerful Focused Messaging: by Susan Brauer

Don’t pass up an opportunity to go to a show that you think will deliver an audience that fits your products and services just because you don’t have a booth or because you think your booth isn’t big enough to give you the impact that you want – You can always think about renting. Just remember that, while the booth may be a rental, it’s up to you and your team to think through the messaging and branding to make it your own.

Powerful messaging can of course, help you bring your brand to life, but it can also help attendees understand why they need to stop at your booth as they pass by in the aisle. Be sure to make your messaging clear, concise, and focused on the target audience that you want to attract. Put the emphasis of your messaging on benefits rather than features, and be sure the most important points are eye-level and not hidden behind staffers or counters.

Don’t miss out on a great show just because you don’t have a booth. Rent the booth that you need and then create powerful, focused messaging to help you turn your booth space into your own personal branding zone.

Susan BrauerAbout Susan Brauer
Susan, CME, is the President of Brauer Consulting Group (brauerconsulting.com) Susan has more than 20 years of experience in the trade show and events industry and works with organizations to help them set strategic, quantifiable objectives, promote and strengthen key corporate messages and demonstrate ROI for their face-to-face marketing programs.

Case Study: Organized Living

Organized Living is a leading manufacturer of quality-engineered home storage and organization products available at select specialty retail stores and hardware stores, through online merchants, and through Organized Living's extensive network of dealers and distributors nationwide.
Downing Displays was contracted to develop a 20 x 30 booth for IBS 2014 that had a contemporary and cohesive style. The booth needed to create the feeling of being in a home and show how Organized Living storage solutions can be used throughout the home and show true scale, full size applications.
• Use traditional box frame constructed panels that are durable enough to have products repeatedly installed and dismantled.
• Incorporate a wire management system within each of the panels that will conceal all wires and electrical connections.
• Pull all of the demo areas together so they feel like they are in one space vs individual spaces.
• Reinforced box frame panels with additional ribs and connectors.
• Hollowed out panels on all sides that allowed for easy routing of power cords.
• Created an overhead roof structure consisting of lightweight aluminum frames with mesh fabric ceiling tiles. Overall floor plan was very open and allowed you to stand in the middle of the display and view multiple product lines without any obstructions.

Organized Living more than doubled the amount of leads from the previous year’s show from 400 to 850 in just three days. (Part of this was due to IBS becoming KBIS). Organized Living also received more foot traffic in their booth from previous years, which helped them spread the message about their new brand name to new customers.

“Working with Downing was a great experience. They were able to take all of our ideas and create a great looking booth that fit our new branding initiatives perfectly.”
Eric Busche | Product and Software Specialist

Measuring Success: by Susan Brauer

I regularly hear several reasons for why event managers aren’t doing any kind of measurement for their trade show programs. One of the most common is, “We don’t have budget for measurement”

I would propose that if you have the budget to do a show or event at all, make measurement a line item in the budget right along with booth space/size, graphics, marketing plan, give-aways, etc., so that you understand what’s working and what isn’t working. If you don’t, you’re destined to keep going with “gut feelings” and doing things that are costing money without obtaining any results or data to back you up.

You also need to “budget” some time to put a measurement plan into place. Decide what’s important that you get measurement on and then make a plan for what you need to do to actually collect the data.

If you make room in your budget for measurement (both in terms of time and money) you’ll be able to make informed decisions on where you can grow and/or what you need change to help you reach your overall face-to-face marketing program goals.

Susan BrauerAbout Susan Brauer
Susan, CME, is the President of Brauer Consulting Group (brauerconsulting.com) Susan has more than 20 years of experience in the trade show and events industry and works with organizations to help them set strategic, quantifiable objectives, promote and strengthen key corporate messages and demonstrate ROI for their face-to-face marketing programs.

Building Your Strategic Action Plan: by Susan Brauer

When building a strategic action plan for your trade show or event, there are three questions that you need to ask:

1) Why are we going?
2) Who is our target audience?
3) How will we measure success?

With regard to question number 1, "Why are we going?" Don't try to answer this one yourself, build a team if possible with representatives from both sales and marketing and don't let them off the hook with simple answers like, "to get leads" or "for brand awareness", or "to demonstrate a new product" Dig a little deeper –

•  How many qualified leads do we need to get for us to consider this successful? (Also ask them what makes a qualified lead)
•  If we get x number of qualified leads, what will be our potential ROI? (How many of the qualified leads that we bring back does the sales team think they can turn into sales? How much is an average sale?)
•  What do we want to find out about how our brand is being perceived?
•  What do we want the audience to know or to do when they see a demo of the new  product?

After you get the answer to the base question of what your goals are, be sure to ask why they are important so that you build strategies around relevant and meaningful objectives.

Once you've thoroughly answered question one, go on to the next question, "Who is our target audience?" Again, you want to make sure that you don't let your team off with easy answers to this question (i.e. blanket answers like, doctors, electricians, mechanics, etc.) You might find, if you drill down that your sales team is targeting companies of a certain size (by number of employees or income), or in a specific region of the country or international, or companies that specialize in a particular procedure that your newest product addresses. This doesn't mean that you won't talk to others who come by your booth and possibly even get some good leads that fall outside of your defined target. But drilling down and creating a more defined target profile for a specific show helps you focus your strategies and bring back leads that are more likely to be followed up on quickly because they align with overall objectives.

Finally, answer question number three, "How will we measure success?" I'll tell you right now, that if you haven't answered the first two questions it's hard to measure anything pertinent. So, if for example, you've answered questions one and two and have determined that one of your goals is to demonstrate a new product or service to 50 of your target audience (Question 1- What's our goal) and, you've determined that you're target audience is marketing managers (or higher) of companies with an annual revenue of 50M- 100M that specialize in xyz (Question 2 –who are we targeting) then you know that you'll measure success by seeing how many of your target audience you get to the booth for a demonstration of your new product and whether you've "moved the needle" on where they are in the sales cycle. Not only can you measure the success of the tactics that you use to attract your target audience to the booth, but you can survey attendees to find out if they are indeed your target audience and if they are more inclined to visit the website, get more information, consider your product, or want a rep to contact them as a result of seeing the demo.

When you gather this kind of measurement and information you'll be able to see if you've been successful at your stated goals, and/or what you might need to tweak, change or drop for future success. Just remember, you need to ask and answer all three questions (Why are we going? Who are we targeting? And, How will we measure success?) to build a more strategic action plan that will help you demonstrate the value of your program.

About Susan BrauerSusan Brauer
Susan, CME is the President of Brauer Consulting Group (brauerconsulting.com) Susan has more than 20 years of experience in the trade show and events industry and works with organizations to help them set strategic, quantifiable objectives, promote and strengthen key corporate messages and demonstrate ROI for their face-to-face marketing programs.

Case Study: Imprivata

Imprivata enables secure access and collaboration for two million healthcare users worldwide. In 2006 Imprivata exhibited at the annual HIMSS Conference with a 10’ x 20’ exhibit space. For the 2013 HIMSS show, the company’s rapid growth in the healthcare market warranted a 40’ x 40’ exhibit space.
• Show a live demonstration of their solutions in a hospital setting.
• Launch a new HIPAA compliant texting service for hospitals.
• Increase their brand presence at the show.
• Creating a live presentation area that represented a patient room, a nurse’s
station, and the doctor’s lounge to demonstrate their software in a
real-world environment.
• Mounting two 70” monitors above the demonstration area for a bold
presentation that increases visibility to a larger audience.
• Placing an 8’ replica of a smart phone to draw attention to the new texting
app. The replica sat close to the aisle to encourage people to participate in
live texting demonstrations from smart phones, tablets and laptops.
• Finally, we created a dramatic overhead sign that captured the eyes of
all attendees.

The cumulative results of the new design were a 20% increase in visitor traffic to the Imprivata booth and a commanding presence on the show floor.

“We received loads of compliments from attendees. Many thought we were an anchor sponsor because of the aura of our booth. Our team was incredibly impressed with all of the work from Downing. Downing Displays was an integral partner in our success.”
- Maria LoBrutto | Marketing Events Manager

Certificate of Recognition

Downing Displays Award

On the 19th of May 2013 The Board of County Commissioners Clermont County, Ohio recognized Downing Displays for the contributions they make toward enhancing the community and expanding opportunities through vision, innovation and hard work. This recognition coincided with Downing's celebration of 50 years in business and National Small Business Week.

The Fab 50: Top exhibit fabricators in the U.S.

The Fab 50 - Downing Displays 2
"Over the last few years, the exhibit landscape has become cluttered, cloudy and fragmented.

According to respondents to an industry survey fielded by our sister magazine, Event Design, Fortune 1000 trade show teams, event departments and procurement officers are presented with "more choices than ever," have "a difficult time telling one exhibit partner from another" and "need an easier way to separate the great ones from the good ones."

In an effort to help clarify things for you and your procurement departments, we have created the first-ever editorial listing of top exhibit builders. Fabrication partners serving the U.S. applied in January by providing us information on their companies, their people, their culture and their offerings. They gave us direct access to their clients, case studies and raw numbers on capabilities, capacities and competencies. The editors of Event Marketer and Event Design, along with the analysts at the Event Marketing Institute, combed over the applications to compile what has been and will be forever be dubbed....The Fab 50, the top 50 exhibit fabricators serving Corporate America. (This section was mailed to our standard circulation plus a bonus mailing of several thousand procurement managers.)

When comparing and contrasting the companies you are about to learn about, there are several common trends that are clear and present. For one, Technology is the top upgrade many are embracing (followed closely by investments that pull dollars out of show floor service execution and into more important elements). Two, the strategic evolution that invaded the event agency sector has indeed come ashore in the land of exhibit builders--most are shoring up strategic chops and offering measurement, analytics and more. And three, today's exhibits are being created with better reasons in mind--used now for client-facing, prospecting and sales generation. Some are more ahead of the curve than others, but as a whole there is a push to upgrade.

For trade show teams trying to understand who's who and who does what, we created this inaugural list, presented in alpha order, just for you--to provide a bit of clarity. Congratulations to this year's Fab 50."

Visit Event Marketer Magazine for the list and feature.

The 2013 Economic Outlook

"Five years after the so-called "Great" Recession, the industry is still struggling to gain traction and return to the promised land of business as usual. With many first-quarter trade shows posting record-breaking numbers for attendance and participating companies, it appears we're on our way to recovery. However, the aftershocks of economic collapse are still rippling through many industry sectors, and the winds of worry have been fueled by fears of fiscal cliffs and European debt. But ever the optimists, exhibitors remain hopeful that this year will produce better returns than 2012.

Thirty percent of exhibitors are enjoying larger budgets in 2013 than in 2012, while an additional 46 percent are at least maintaining last year's allocations. Furthermore, the vast majority of marketers are optimistic about the future of trade shows. When asked how they feel about the current effectiveness of trade shows as a marketing medium, a whopping 83 percent reported being "optimistic" or at the very least "hopeful."

Fifteen percent are still cautious about the future of our industry and the effectiveness of live events, but they're the exception to the rule. When asked, "How confident are you that your trade show program will achieve better results in 2013 than it did in 2012?" more than 81 percent reported feeling "confident" or "extremely confident." That's 3 small percentage points up from 2011, but one giant leap compared to 2009 and 2010, when many marketers weren't sure whether their departments would survive the cutback axe unscathed."

via: Exhibitor Online