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So You’ve Been to the Trade Show: What is Next?

So you have recently attended a conference or trade show. You were well prepared. You identified your goals and used your time to make key connections. But the show is over and you are back home. Now what? Don’t let all the preparation and time well-spent go to waste by getting caught up in catching up and not following through. 

An essential part of marketing and networking is the follow through. Here are Ten Tips for Post Conference Follow Through.

Trade Show Season Post

1. Make a top line list of all media that came by the booth or with whom you visited and determine  follow up activities for each. Next determine who is responsible and when  should the follow up take place.

2. Make a list of all competitors that you visited at the show and include any important notes such as products they premiered, their booth or showroom presentation,  sponsorships they took part in and their social media presence.

3. Take note of general observations about you or your client’s booth display/location/activity/overall presence. What worked well? What changes would you suggest in the future?

4. Review the social media from the show? Were there any innovative tactics used that could be of future reference?

5. The show offers lots of client one-on-one time. Make a list of any new developments/news we learned from our clients, colleagues or partners and summarize these insights for people on your team who did not attend the show.

6. Take note, in a place you will remember to reference in the future, of new ideas or opportunities for  the next year.

7. Recap the media connections, social mentions, and placements  made in a report to your boss or client.

8. Send a hand written note to new contacts, old friends and media you met or reconnected with.

9. Make any necessary follow up emails and phone calls within the first week.

10. Review any literature or swag you brought home and file it for reference, pass it on to someone who did not attend and might have interest or get rid of it. This is the pile that is most likely to sit, untouched until next year, so go ahead and handle it now.

We hope these tips help you make the most of your conference and trade show experience.

15 Tips To Maximize Trade Show PR

15 Tips for Maximize Trade Show PR Potential

It is nearly Spring and we are approaching trade shows and conference season. You’ve been there. The frantic rush to get your booth and materials ready, to prepare a presentation you have been asked to speak on, or to set up key appointments. We all know trade shows are a good place to put your goods and services on display and connect with sales prospects and other industry partners. Conferences also offer an opportunity to further your education within an industry or niche, make connections, and garner awareness as a speaker or exhibitor. However, with the sensory overload and many options in which to invest your time at the trade show, one can easily get distracted from the mission.

Once you, or your organization, have made an investment to attend one of these industry events, you want to be sure to maximize the PR potential of attending in addition to the business potential.

15 Tips To Maximize Trade Show PRHere are 15 tips for maximizing the potential of trade shows and conferences:

1. Pre-show promotion

About one month before the conference, you will want to call clients, prospects and media who may be attending to set up appointments and meeting times. Have a written purpose for each meeting and be sure that includes finding out how you can add value for them.

2. Prepare for long days

The convention or exhibit floor is often a long way from your room. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes for walking. I often bring protein bars or a piece of fruit to calm hunger pains between mealtimes. You’ll also want to make sure to have your phone charger and a backup charger because cell batteries drain quickly at all day conventions.

3. Research the media audience and the types of companies/attendees that will attend the show

Review the conference website for an idea of who is going to be there and what types of networking and educational events would be important to attend. Ask the conference coordinator for a list of people/media attending, review last year’s list, and follow the conference on Facebook and Twitter to get a sense of who is attending and with whom you would like to connect.

4. Set measurable networking objectives for your team and check in daily

Set objectives for media networking, new business networking, and client relationship building. Determine with whom each of you should connect and map out a strategy to meet with these prospects and what you would like to accomplish with each interaction. Schedule nightly check-ins to give staff a chance to share experiences and capitalize on relational opportunities.

5. Assign roles and responsibilities

Assign individuals attending the show a specific task or role. Don’t assume team members know what to do on the floor. There is often a lot of down time when exhibiting. This is a good time to observe competitors and take notes.

6. Practice your message

Have your elevator speeches ready to roll off the tip of your tongue. What type of people might you connect with at the conference? What do you these people to know about you, your organization, your products and serves? What do you want them to do (the ask)? Don’t wing it. Write it down and practice.

7. Schedule the tasks/have an event run down

A detailed schedule and plan will help us get the most out of each trade show opportunity. Review the conference schedule and schedule time for breaks, potential meet up opportunities and outside events.

8. Train yourself

Become familiar with your organization’s equipment, products, and sales literature so that you can respond to inquiries as needed. If presenting, make sure you are familiar with how to connect your computer to the onsite technology, how to run the presentation and what your back up plan will be should you have a technology fail.

9. Set up early

Arrive early to set up your booth or table so you have plenty of time for an office store run should you be missing any key supplies. Visit the press room, ensure your kits are displayed at the booth as necessary. Double check you items are in the attendee bags. If speaking, test the technology twice!

10. Watch for VIP visits

Alert sales people to possible VIP industry & media visitors to the booth and make sure they have a protocol for handling these engagements. Train them in key messages or instruct them in what to say/whom to call should media begin asking questions.

11. Take Notes

Note the unusual and fresh ideas on the show floor. Qualify the attending crowd, are they your target audience? Take pictures of any display ideas or branding that inspire you.

12. Make the most of meal times

Use mealtimes as a way to connect with new people or further the relationship with a partner. Resist   the urge to escape and eat alone.

13. Attend vendor events that coincide with the conference or trade show

At many conferences, vendors host “after hours” parties and events. Make sure to attend some of  these prime networking opportunities or consider hosting one of your own.

14. Go beyond the trade show floor

Often the best networking is at the meeting itself. Pay the extra fees to be a full conference attendee  and go to the sessions that are most pertinent to your field. Arrive early and introduce yourself to the  speakers and other attendees.

15. Be active on social media

Conferences will likely have a presence on multiple social media channels including Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. Pinterest is a great way to find out what to expect in the city you  are traveling to. Facebook groups often form in advance of a conference to plan and connect ahead  of time. During the conference Twitter is used to live Tweet presentations, promote booth contests  and conference events. Find out and use the conference hashtag to track what others are saying and  doing on site.

To help you prepare for your next trade show or conference, I created a Trade Show Networking Planner, which will help you think strategically about the opportunities that may arise.

Download here: 

Download “Trade-Show-Networking-Planner.pdf” Trade-Show-Networking-Planner.pdf – Downloaded 103 times – 152 KB

What would you add to this list?

Five Lessons Nonprofits Should Learn from the Ice Bucket Challenge

August 30, 2014

By now, everyone has heard of the “ice bucket challenge” and perhaps, many of you have taken it on. Nonprofit marketing teams across the country are likely brainstorming what stunt they can perform in the hopes that it goes “viral.”
Before you begin your campaign, here are five things to consider.

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1. The Message Always Matters

Who knows anything more about ALS as a result of this challenge?

While at opening day ceremonies for my daughter’s football/cheerleading season, the coaches took on the ice bucket challenge in honor of a coach who had fought the disease. It was a touching gesture for the park and the family. As we looked on, my oldest asked me what ALS is. I could not tell her. We walked away from the stunt, not any more informed and not any more inclined to donate.

While many people are certainly aware that there is a disease termed ALS (also known as Lou Gerhigs Disease), and an amazing amount of funds have been made, most people probably could not tell you what ALS stands for, what the disease is and how the donations are going help. To raise awareness beyond the name of the disease, those making the challenge might have been encouraged to state a definition or fact about ALS when making their challenge or share a website to direct people too.

2. Connect the Challenge to the Cause

To make a stronger impact, make sure the challenge you are asking people to take on makes sense with your brand/message. What does ice water have to do with ALS?

An even stronger challenge would be to get people to do something related to ALS.

Matt Damon muddied the messaging waters even further by dumping dirty water on himself to raise awareness of the countries that don’t have clean water. This stunt would have made perfect sense for an organization that was about clean water.

3. Don’t Distract People from the Goal

Despite its success, the ice bucket challenge was a flawed concept from its onset. They asked people to do the fun (or outrageous) action of dumping a bucket of ice over your head or donate $100. If the donation is the goal, don’t give people a way out.

Participants soon saw the flaw and began to change the challenge by asking people to donate in addition to dumping water on their heads.

4. Make it Sustainable

Happily, ALS raised an enormous amount of money this year. Can they sustain it? They will have to do careful budgeting without the dollar signs in their eyes, so that whatever programs or initiatives they fund this year will be able to continue when next year’s numbers are significantly lower.

5. Timing is Everything

I’ve recently seen an organization I support try a “me too” challenge hoping to get people to video themselves dancing for 21 seconds in support of those with Trisomy 21 (Down syndrome) and challenging their friends to do the same. In some ways, this challenge is more appropriate to the organization than the ALS challenge is but, as they say, “timing is everything.” Don’t launch a “me too” challenge while the original break out challenge is still spreading like wild fire!

We are a few weeks into this challenge and this creative idea has raised $100 million (The ALS Association, and its chapters, collectively raised $64 million last year, as reported in Forbes). The combination of an embraceable cause, a patient-initiated challenge featuring a silly activity and celebrity involvement, caused the stunt to rush through social channels like a tsunami wave. As the challenge begins to wane, some controversy is stirring up about how much of the money is actually going to programs and research and how much is supporting very large salaries. This leads to a sixth, bonus, point to consider when strategizing a public campaign: Explain where the money goes clearly and upfront.