Trade Show Marketing

8 Essential Trade Show Booth Staffing Skills

You can exhibit at trade show filled with your best prospects, design a compelling display, host fun trade show games, but without capable trade show booth staffing, all is for naught.

To the throng of potential buyers who walk by and into your booth, your staffers are the face of your company. Your booth staffers must perform a wide variety of trade show activities well. If they can’t handle it, your whole company suffers in lost future business.

So, what must your booth staffers do well? For starters, avoid these 10 awful trade show activities.  Here are 8 essential trade show booth staffing skills they must master for your trade show success:

1. Keep Focused On The Job

The trade show floor can be both overwhelming and boring, and neither are good for A.D.H.D. booth staffers. Staffers can get distracted by their fellow staffers, the attractions of the show city, and the dinging smartphone in their pocket. Focused trade show booth staffers keep their eyes on attendees in the aisle. They avoid overindulging in late nights while away from home. They attend to attendees during show hours, rather than sneak in work for their usual day job. They are present and ready to go before the show opens. They understand the value and investment of exhibiting, and remain responsible for delivering leads.

2. Start Conversations With Attendees

One of the hardest skills for trade show booth staffing is to attract unknown attendees into the booth and into a conversation. This skill is simply foreign territory for most people. It feels awkward at best, and scary at worst. Good booth staffers can comfortably start a dialog with people as they enter the booth. Great booth staffers can stop an attendee walking by your booth and pull them into a meaningful discussion. This is perhaps the most obvious difficult skill to master, yet other, less visible activities on this list are equally important.

3. Empathize With Visitors

Face-to-face marketing works because it’s the rare opportunity for too-busy buyers and sellers to meet in person. Buyers want to see if exhibitors’ employees are people they want to do business with.  So, be a person worthy of their business. Keep in mind that visitors are likely tired from travel and sleeping in a bed they’re not used to.  They are also anxious to find out what they came for in the limited time they have. Be a good host. Do they need food or drink? Do they need to sit down?  Genuinely care about helping them solve their problems. Only offer up your potential solutions if you truly believe you’re a good match. Or, if you aren’t, tell them who you think would fit their needs. You’ll gain their trust.

4. Present Your Story Well

Booth visitors want to see many exhibitors besides you. That means your booth staffers have to be concise.  They don’t have time to tell your entire story. So, they present only the part about your company story that is most relevant to each visitor. Share only what matters about your positioning, your relevant advantages, your most similar case studies, and your best-fit products. Staffers thus need to know your product line, your industry, your client’s industries.  And, be able to communicate well with prospects and clients.  Plus, use any presentation tech or props provided in and on your booth.

5. Demo Your Products Smoothly

This is a particularly valuable skill for trade show booth staffing.  Buyers could buy your products online, but are reluctant with larger B2B purchases. Undecided B2B buyers want to see in real life your people and your products – especially your new products. Thus, prospects come by the hundreds into your booth. Your product demo needs to instill confidence, not turn them off. That’s why your booth staffers have to be able to smoothly demo your products, showing how they work, what their advantages are, and how well they are made. This takes hard work to make it look easy.

6. Use Time Wisely

Booth staffers have to find the balance on time spent with each visitor. On one hand, there are a lot of people in the aisles, so keep conversations shorter to get to the next potential prospect. But on the other hand, booth staffers that rush the dialog will offend visitors. Just remember the goal is not to get the biggest pile of business cards, but to get the highest number of qualified leads.  Stay attentive to worthy prospects until you’ve agreed upon next steps for after the show. If they’re not worthy, politely (empathy!) thank them for their visit, then take a step back. Once they leave, go on to the next visitor. Your staffers can also take longer with each prospect when traffic is slow, as long as at least one staffer is free to greet the next visitor.

7. Capture Lead Data

It can be exciting to have a mob of interested visitors crowding your booth. Yet, if your booth staffers don’t capture a record of each interaction, all that potential value evaporates. Aim for complete, accurate, and useful lead data. And not just the visitors’ contact data – they need more than mere business card information. They need to record on paper or electronically info that qualifies each lead.  That means ranking the lead (as hot, warm, or cold), recording product purchase interest, time frame, company or budget size, and next steps. Finally, write any notes that will help the sales rep better understand the prospects’ needs. Because complete trade show lead capture increases lead follow-up.

8. Keep Your Booth Neat

Your booth is like a temporary office that represents your company brand. To uphold your corporate image requires occasional decluttering. Without vigilance, tables and counters attract abandoned water bottles, coffee cups, and discarded brochures like magnets. Promotional products get scattered. Garbage overflows trash cans. So, while your booth staffers didn’t sign up to be busboys, that’s one of the trade show skills they require. Encourage them to occasionally walk through the booth with a critical eye. Help them find their inner Marie Kondo, and find joy in a neat booth. Your company will attract visitors better.

Your booth staffers are the keystone to your trade show success. They must master these activities. And they need to do all these activities well. Otherwise, they are like a tippy table with one leg too short. They make look good at first glance, but the gap in their skills will be very apparent to potential trade show leads.

Help your staffers to succeed. Choose potential staffers who have most of these 8 skills already and can be taught the rest. And then train them. Set expectations and hold them accountable.  Monitor and coach them during the show. The payoff in significantly improved trade show results is worth it.

Another valuable skill your staffers do is be a good host with your in-booth games and contests. If you’d like to see how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

The Biggest Overlooked Thing You Need To Succeed At Trade Shows

Because B2B marketers spend around 40% of their budgets on trade shows, exhibitors really want to know how to do shows well. And so, countless blog posts offer their advice on the key things you need to succeed at trade shows.

We’ve published our own version of that idea here, and we probably will again in the future. There have even been entire books telling you the same ideas, but in far greater detail.

Recurring tips on how to succeed at trade shows include:

  • Set trade show marketing goals and objectives in tune with your overall company goals
  • Find the right shows where your buyers attend
  • Manage your budget for greater return on investment
  • Design your trade show booth to capture attention and tell your story
  • Promote your presence before, during, and after the show with promotions
  • Select and train your booth staff to engage attendees and write up qualified leads
  • Manage your leads for quick fulfillment and distribution to your sales team
  • Repeated follow-up on your trade show leads
  • Measurement and reporting of your results to justify your budget and improve performance

These are all excellent tips, and you need to meet all these steps to succeed at trade shows.

However, in all these kinds of articles about trade show success, there is almost always something essential that’s missing.

What’s often overlooked is your product itself

You can be buried in good advice on the marcom aspect of trade show marketing, and never see any advice on the product marketing aspect.

That’s too bad, because even if you design a gorgeous exhibit, staff it with your top sales people, and host a fantastic trade show activity, you’ll still go down in flames if your product isn’t viable.

So, before you invest in exhibiting at a show, can you answer these questions with “yes” answers:

  • Do you offer a product that is better than your competitors in ways that matter to buyers?
  • Does your product provide important benefits to a large enough segment of the market?
  • Can you demonstrate your product’s advantage in a way that buyers will easily understand?
  • Is your product high enough priced, with a sufficient profit margin, that you can invest in marketing at trade shows, yet low enough priced to be attractive to buyers?
  • Can you identify concentrated groups of potential key prospects?
  • Do you have a strong barrier to entry (start-up costs, technology, patents, distribution) that will limit future potential competitors?

Your products matter. You may be able to succeed short-term offering only copy-cat, me-too products promoted by a trade show program that hits all cylinders from a marcom perspective.  But it’s likely you won’t succeed at trade shows long term.  And certainly not if your products are actually inferior to your competitors.

This key point – your products matter most in your trade show success – was driven home by the recent mockumentary series, “Trade Show SHOW” produced by Mailchimp.

Mailchimp’s “Trade Show SHOW” Reveals Importance of Viable Products For Exhibiting Success

Our SocialPoint team was surprised and entertained by Mailchimp’s “Trade Show SHOW” series. It’s amazing to see so much invested in telling funny stories of what could happen in our own industry.

“Trade Show SHOW” follows the mishaps of 3 entrepreneurs who come to make their fortune at the fictitious WELLNEX 2019. While there are some laughs about their travel pains, really the core of this series is how these three exhibitors are not prepared to market their products, be it at a trade show or any other way. Warning, spoilers follow!

  1. One has no product at all: Jonah Maxine, the head of thryvrr, is a hipster awash in buzzwords and hype, signifying nothing. Exhibiting in a bold, striking booth laden in giveaways (including his company logo on fake poop), Jonah seeks an angel investor who will fall for his “product.” After a few requests, Jonah finally describes his non-existent product like this: “thryvrr’s algorithms interface to synergize personal wellness using blockchain technology. It’s like Uber, but for relaxation.” He ultimately fails with thryvrr, then starts another start up that proves just how poor he really is.
  2. One starts without a viable product: Jeannie Hawkins wants to market her “slajamas” at WELLNEX 2019, but her first product shipment never arrives, and her prototype keeps breaking or malfunctioning. Then she stands in a line talking to other exhibitors, who all have similar, but better versions of pajamas than hers. It’s not until she invents a new other product in a flash of inspiration late one night during the show, and wins a contest with a YouTube influencer, that she succeeds.
  3. One has a viable product, but doesn’t want work to promote it: Decades ago, Marty Calder had a successful product called “Marty’s Mud,” until he lost control of it to a former business partner. At the show he avoids any chance to promote his new, almost-identical product. He grabs a brochure away from a visitor, tells another his product isn’t for him, and even insults a TV reporter interviewing him. Marty finally succeeds, after much reluctance, when he risks his life doing a major stunt – that grabs attention while demonstrating his product’s key advantage.

Marty speaks for the series what he sees as the problem with trade shows, when he tells Dana Calder, his MBA-daughter partner, “This sure ain’t like it used to be. You know, back in the day, it was all about the product. Now it’s all just bullshit and flash.”

Some of what Marty says is true: you need to do the marcom side of trade shows well, including offering experiences that help you stand out, as trade shows are more competitive.

And yet, even today, it’s still really all about the product. So, don’t overlook the viability of your own product when planning for your next trade show.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, teach visitors about your product advantages, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

Choosing The Best Interactive Game When You Exhibit At Different Vertical Market Trade Shows

Savvy exhibitors know that exhibiting at vertical market shows can be the best strategy for improving trade show results.

These smart exhibitors understand which industries their most valuable customers come from – and then exhibit at shows were those valuable customers attend.

For example, if you sell a software product for professional services firms, you may exhibit at a big software trade show.  But once you know that ad agencies and engineering firms buy three times more than your average client, you can instead exhibit at shows where ad agency employees or engineers attend.

So, what does that have to do with best interactive game choices?

When you exhibit at various vertical market trade shows, your audiences won’t be one-size-fits-all. Therefore, you will likely have a variety of audience types and booth sizes between shows.  So, you can boost your effectiveness by matching the best interactive game to the show.

  • When attendees are professional, competitive, or like to learn, your best choice is our Challenge Bar Trivia This works great for attendees like engineers, programmers, health care providers, and other similar professionals.
  • When attendees are more adventure-seeking, or money-driven, or impatient, then our Virtual Prize Wheel fits the bill. Think high-paying sales people, blue collar workers, and others who would be more likely to wear a pinkie ring than join a book club.

Booth size matters, too.

You can also select the best interactive game based on the size of your booth space:

  • If any of your vertical markets are valuable enough that you exhibit in an island booth, you are more likely to In your biggest show, you may invest in Challenge Bar Trivia. A bigger show can more easily absorb the higher purchase price (click here to see our trade show game pricing). And you have the booth space to have multiple iPads for players to get engrossed in the game, and place a large flatscreen leaderboard on the exhibit.
  • When a vertical market show only requires a small inline space, either our Virtual Prize Wheel or our Digital Fishbowl are a better fit.
  • And if you have many shows with similar vertical market audience types, then you may opt for the annual plan on any of the games, to lower your price per show.

A vertical market exhibiting strategy can be just the trick to generating greater results.  You avoid wasting money at big shows with broad audiences where too many attendees are unlikely to buy.  You focus your effort on getting face-to-face with only your best potential buyers. And with our variety of games, you can choose the best interactive game that fits each, different vertical market audience.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, click here to ask for a product demo. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

 

Aurora Diagnostics Boosts Trade Show Lead Counts Two Years In A Row With Interactive Trivia Game

Stacey Rosenberg, Marketing Specialist at Aurora Diagnostics, wanted an interactive trivia game as part of their large booth at the American Academy of Dermatologists (AAD) show for three main reasons:

  • Have a fun, interactive booth with an activity that was quick and easy to play, to get more people into their booth
  • Have an additional way to gather leads beyond the show’s badge scanners (which often lacked attendees’ email addresses)
  • Showcase company services and benefits by including easier company-specific questions mixed in with dermatology-based quiz questions

Aurora Diagnostics first used SocialPoint’s Challenge Bar Trivia Game at AAD 2018, with excellent results: “Wow! Quite the turnout!” affirmed Rosenberg.  “About 30% of our booth visitors played the game.”

“I was happy to get 332 additional leads at the show. The game was actually an easier way to collect leads than asking everyone to scan badges, which some people are put off by.”

Plus, attendees came away from the show better informed about Aurora Diagnostics’ services and benefits: “We had some players who were there for hours, just wanting to be top on the leaderboard.”

Success Leads To Game Reuse at AAD 2019

Because of their success at AAD 2018, Rosenberg made the easy decision to repeat using their customized trivia game for AAD 2019: “The trivia game totally exceeded our expectations in 2018,” said Rosenberg.  “SocialPoint is amazing to work with and they really went out of their way last year for us.  Therefore, we did it again in 2019.”

“The cost for our second year was very minimal.  And the process to set-up the game this year was less than a 20-minute phone call.”

At AAD 2019, Aurora Diagnostics had similar strong results, with 320 unique game players, who played 551 games, and answered 9,632 trivia questions.

Game Set Up: Trivia Configuration, Prizes, Exhibit & Graphics

Getting the game set up was “a seamless process that SocialPoint walked us through,” said Rosenberg.

“Both years, we had 6 iPads and an 80” screen leaderboard for our booth. For our first year, we set-up all the graphics, game questions and what questions we wanted our audience (mostly physicians) to answer for our leads being collected.”

To make the game quick (and not overdo attendees’ limited attention-span), Stacey asked SocialPoint to limit the game plays to 3 minutes. “SocialPoint did have other options, but I thought this was best for us,” said Rosenberg.  Players could play individually rather than wait for other players before starting. This also let more people play the game. People who wanted to play more could simply play the game again.

Aurora Diagnostics created over 100 trivia questions, so attendees who played more than one game saw mostly new questions each game.  Rosenberg requested their game Leaderboard display the top 20 scorers: “I wanted to put as many names as I could, so more people could be up there.  They just liked seeing their name on the board.”

For visibility, both years the game was set up on the booth corner on the main aisle.

In 2018, Aurora Diagnostic’s exhibit counter supported 6 game iPads.  Counter graphics promoted the trivia game with the words, “Faceoff here – Dermatology is not a Trivial Pursuit.”  Aurora Diagnostics also had matching page-sized graphics atop the counter showing the Dermlite they could win by playing the trivia game. “We gave Dermlites to the top 3 people per day on the leaderboard,” recalled Rosenberg.

Aurora Diagnostics - Trivia game 2


At the 2018 AAD Show, Aurora Diagnostics set up their first SocialPoint Trivia game on the corner of their booth on the busiest aisle to grab more attention and booth traffic.

In 2019, rather than put the game player iPads on a counter, Aurora Diagnostics put their 6 game iPads on kiosks, which made it easier for players to approach and see the game leaderboard.  They renamed the game “DERM Master Challenge.” Aurora Diagnostics also promoted game with graphics on their exhibit components, and with 2 larger signs saying, “The top three scores will win a YETI” that included a photo of the prize. “The custom Yetis cost us only half as much as the Dermlites, but were an equal draw for attendees.” Aurora Diagnostics also used the trivia game as a “gate” to visit the candy bar they had in their booth, further motivating attendees to play their game (and learn more about their products).

Aurora Diagnostics - Trivia at AAD 2019

After successes at AAD 2018 and AAD 2019, what will Aurora Diagnostics do for AAD 2020?

“Our booth was so well received this year,” concluded Rosenberg, “that we will do the same game again next year, and probably not change much.  We are also considering using our DERM Master Challenge trivia game at another show, and other SocialPoint trade show games for our smaller shows. ”

6 Reasons To Keep Exhibiting At B2B Trade Shows

In this increasingly tech-driven world, you may hear from colleagues who look at seemingly old-school trade shows and think, “Why should we continue to exhibit?”

Well, because trade shows continue to provide so much value to B2B marketers. Value that may be surprising at first glance.

So, in case you or someone from your team is feeling reluctant to pack their bags for a bustling three-day trade show in sunny Las Vegas, here are 6 reasons why trade shows bring unique value to your company:

1. Digital Marketing is no picnic

Yes, as a B2B marketer, you have a wide palette of digital marketing tools to employ. But access to tools doesn’t mean success is guaranteed. For example, many marketers have found social media to be hard to do for more than build awareness, lacking success at generating plentiful sales leads.  And social media is no longer free media – it’s now pay-to-play, and increasingly more and more pay.

That other digital marketing darling, Content Marketing, requires far greater effort to stand out. For example, the 500-word blog post is so last season.  Successful blog posts tend to be comprehensive, well-researched articles running 1,500 to 2,000 words or more, rather than short posts outlining the basics.

Search marketing also keeps getting more difficult. Google keeps tightening the reins on their search algorithm, changing previously allowable “white hat” SEO practices into “black hat” methods that Google will ignore, or worse, penalize you for.   Companies dependent on SEO for leads dread hearing about the latest algo change that may drop them off the front page of search results and drive a stake into their business.

Email can still be a successful marketing method (especially with clients and already active leads), but broad email marketing is done for thanks to email fatigue and more sophisticated spam filters.

I’m not suggesting that exhibiting at trade shows is a walk in the park, either.  Doing trade shows right takes more effort than many realize.  But getting to the promised land of digital marketing nirvana is even harder.

2. Tech infusion into trade shows

News flash: Trade shows are no longer just halls filled with people, furniture, and temporary structures.  They have evolved to be hotbeds of technology.  Exhibits now often include interactive booth activities that help attract, engage, and retain booth visitors, and let exhibitors better wow crowds and persuade individual prospects.

For example, exhibitors can use large touch screens for tailored, highly personalized presentations to a team of buyers.  Exhibitors can use social media to attract attendees to their booth, and then create an Instagrammable event in their booth to get attendees to share their company brand with their peers.  Exhibitors can create activities that educate buyers about their products and services.  Augmented reality and virtual reality are getting a footing with higher end exhibitors who really want to stand out.

These tech advances have helped exhibitors remain relevant to younger, “digital native” attendees who expect tech as part of their day-to-day experiences.

3. Increasing measurability proving the value of trade shows and events

B2B marketers have struggled with the conundrum of more easily measurable digital media, versus the less easily measurable (yet intuitively higher value) trade shows.  But that dynamic is rapidly changing.  With more and more companies switching from Excel spreadsheets and siloed databases to web-based CRM systems like Salesforce.com, exhibitors are getting better data on leads to sales conversions than ever before.

No less than Harvard Business Review authored a new study that showed that greater use of events correlates with greater business growth.  That greater trackability has helped increase trade shows’ credibility: 52% of the Harvard survey respondents said event marketing drives more business value than other marketing channels, while only 8% said it drives less.

4. Trade shows tick all the boxes on marketer’s goals

Marketer have long valued trade shows for meeting three major marketing goals: building brand awareness, generating sales leads, and strengthening key relationships. Exhibitors often adapt their trade show program and exhibit design to focus on the key goal they want most.

Savvy exhibitors even design their booths around activities to accommodate visitors at all phases of the buying cycle: spaces for early phase buyers (such as group presentations), middle phase (including product demos), and late phase (such as conference rooms).

Yet, there are more goals trade shows can help marketers achieve.  Exhibitors will often launch new products – especially since attendees’ #1 goal is to see what’s new.  Companies can meet with industry press while at the trade show, who can generate much publicity after the show is over. Marketers who have embraced Account Based Marketing find that trade shows get them a rare chance to actually get face-to-face with buyers from their target accounts.

5. You can grasp your industry’s big picture at your industry’s main show

Trade shows are a unique occasion where everyone is all together at one time: your clients, your competitors, you channel partners, and your industry experts.  In this arena you get a pulse of your industry’s trends, main issues, challenges, and opportunities.

You’ll never have a better chance to engage in conversation with your competitors, as you walk into their temporary places of business to see what they are promoting – and how potential buyers are responding to it.

And even better, as an exhibitor, you’ll get a more accurate feel for the market by talking to hundreds of prospects and clients over the course of just a few days. Your booth visitors aren’t just a boost to your sales pipeline; they are a continuous, face-to-face stream of market intelligence.

6. Get to know your own team better

It may seem counter-intuitive to fly to a trade show in order to know your own team better, but hear me out. Your booth staffing team is pulled from a variety of disciplines: sales, marketing, engineering, customer service, and top management. Instead of sitting in their cubes isolated in their departments, they spend a few days working together, shoulder-to-shoulder, with team members they ordinarily wouldn’t. They go out to dinner together to share war stories and celebrate successes. Working together at the show creates new relationships that otherwise would not have happened. Relationships that bear fruit in better cooperation across departments when back at the office.

And your trade show booth staffing team may even be from across the country.  You get face time with your fellow employees or channel partners you usually only interact with over the phone, chat, or email. Those tighter bonds build trust and community that leads to better communication and less turnover.

Trade shows are still a tremendously valuable arrow in your B2B marketing quiver. They help you meet your key marketing goals that drive essential business results, provide insight into the state of your industry, and strengthen relationships within and outside your company. They are worthy of your time and investment, because they will pay you pack in many times over.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

This article originally was published on Business.com here.

4 Ways To Better Care For Your B2B Customers At Trade Shows

One of top three trade show goals for B2B marketers is to strengthen key relationships. And no relationship is more valuable than their relationship with existing customers.

Yet, most exhibitors put greater effort into generating as many badge scans as possible, rather than creating a pro-active plan to take full advantage of their rare face-to-face time with multiple clients.

That’s a lost opportunity to boost sales and profits. You may be acquainted with some of the eye-popping economic stats that support focusing on retaining your customers

  • Acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one
  • Increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%
  • The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60% to 70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5% to 20%

Here are 4 ideas to help you plan to improve the quality of your customer interactions when they inevitably visit you at your trade show booths.

1. Quickly Recognize Your Clients At The Trade Show

It’s offending to customers who visit your booth and are treated as if they were just a face in the crowd. If they feel you don’t know they are customers, and value their business, they only have to walk across the aisle to find another vendor who may value them more.

You can prevent this unnecessary churn by:

  • Training your staffers to ask booth visitors very early in the conversation, “Are you familiar with our company?” Anyone who is a client will tell you at that point, and you can change your presentation accordingly.
  • Sending different pre-show invitations to clients. Offer them a gift when they visit you at the booth, that is only available for them, and tell them to bring the invitation to claim it.
  • Asking your sales force to tell you who is coming to the show ahead of time, and create a client visitor list. Share this with the booth staff, so they are alerted to look for and greet these clients.

You may even have your Account Executive who manages the largest client accounts attend the show if you know their big customers are attending, too.

2. Have Deeper Conversations With Clients Who Visit Your Booth

Your clients are your company’s greatest resource. Treat them with respect to retain them, but also engage them in a deeper dialog to gather even more value for your company. Discussion topics should include:

  • Thanking them for their business. Show appreciation for their purchases, and they will give you more.
  • Cross-selling and up-selling. Your sales force has not been able to reach every client and let them know about your newest products. Plus, your clients may have other needs your other products solve well.
  • Asking how well your company is serving them. How can you improve your service? Do they have any new product ideas? Would they be willing to provide a testimonial?

3. Set The Stage For Better Client Interactions

If you know there will be clients coming to your booth ahead of time, make it a place worthy of their visit:

  • Have a higher-level gift hidden away that staffers can give only to clients. You would be surprised how often that gift leads to clients opening up about another project you can do for them.
  • Have a more comfortable place in the booth for them to rest, and provide them food and drink. (This is much more the norm at European shows).
  • Introduce them as clients to top company executives in your booth, to make them feel more appreciated.

4. Be Prepared For Disgruntled Clients

At a trade show with thousands of attendees, it’s very likely that your booth will be visited by dissatisfied or even angry clients. Have a plan in place to respectfully deal with them, share it with all your booth staff, and you will be more likely to retain these clients:

  • Tell your booth staff that you recognize they are likely worried angry customers could visit the booth. Give them training on how to calm down and respond to angry client visitors.
  • Tell your booth staffers who is the point person to handle the worst of these frustrated clients, either a top executive or a customer service manager who is also staffing.
  • Know where the closest place to get food is, and if you have a persistently angry client, offer to buy them a cup of coffee to talk further. You don’t want other booth visitors to hear your ongoing conversation.

Your B2B business only exists because you have clients who buy from you. Treat your clients who visit you at trade shows with respect, empathy, and partnership, and you will retain more of their business, generating greater repeat sales and profits.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

This article originally was published on the Customer Think blog here.

Educate Prospects, Qualify Buyers, Recruit Top Talent: Achieving 3 Different Goals With Trade Show Trivia Games

There is surprising versatility in achieving different business goals with our Challenge Bar Trivia game.  It all comes down into what your goals are, and writing your trivia questions to meet your specific goal.

For all our clients, our trivia game brings in more booth traffic and engages visitors. That’s reason enough for most clients to value it.

However, some of our clients have also realized 3 other major strategic business goals. They purposely sought those results by how they choose to write and set up their trivia questions:

1. Educate Booth Visitors About Their Products

The most common business goal exhibitors use our trivia game for is to educate their potential buyers. So, these exhibitors write a large portion of their trivia question about their own company and products. Attendees eagerly play trivia to have fun, win prizes, and stroke their ego (“I’m smart, I’m a winner”). These enticements drive them to get as many product education questions right as possible – even asking booth staffers what the right answers are, or searching for answers on their smart phones.

By the end of the game, attendees have learned about your company’s competitive advantages and product benefits. Attendees have a good time, all the while learning more about why they should buy from you. This is especially helpful up-selling and cross-selling existing customers.

If you need more help writing your trade show trivia game questions – read our guide How To Write Successful Questions For Your Trade Show Trivia Game.  

2. Identify Qualified Buyers

Ever get back from a trade show and have such a big pile of leads that you don’t know who to contact first? Trade shows provide a big burst of leads at once, so this is not that uncommon. After the show it’s a race to get to as many qualified buyers as possible, before their memory of their time in your booth fades.

Our trivia game can help you identify the qualified buyers in the crowd, especially if you sell a technical product that requires a knowledgeable buyer.  You can load up your questions with technical terms, industry acronyms, and details that only competent buyers would know. Then, use the Timed Quiz version of our trivia that only gives attendees one minute to answer as many questions as they can. Then, after the show, you can focus on the leads with higher trivia scores – they will have the technical knowledge to understand and champion your technical product.

3. Identify Talented Job Recruits

In this era of 4% unemployment, companies are ramping up their recruiting efforts. To identify the most knowledgeable job candidates at a school career fair, you can use our trivia game to find who already has the technical expertise you need. Just like in the second strategy above, you can ask students to rapidly answer industry-specific questions. You can offer as a prize for the top score a live in-person interview at your company headquarters.

While some companies favor cultural fit over job skills, by using the trivia game in this way, you can find the subset of applicants who have at least an acceptable level of existing job knowledge.

So, what is your trade show goal? If it’s to educate prospects, qualify buyers, or identify talented job recruits, our trivia game can help you achieve your goal.  And if you have another strategic goal, consider how you can creatively structure your trivia questions and game set up to achieve your goals, too.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

Keep Attendees In Your Booth Longer With Interactive Trade Show Games

Interactive trade show games do a great job of driving more traffic to your booth.  But they can also keep that larger crowd of attendees in your booth longer, too.

Here’s how two of our interactive trade show games increase attendee dwell time:

Challenge Bar Trivia: Play It Again, Sam

fun trade show trivia game to attract customers

When your booth visitors play the “three strikes and you’re out” version of our Challenge Bar Trivia game, it can take up to 10 or more minutes as they answer up to 25 questions.  That fun experience keeps them in your booth for an extended period.  And as they answer questions, they learn about your products and services, plus get to know your booth staffers who helpfully give them hints on quiz questions.  They also can stay a longer time when they play the Game Show version of our trivia game.

However, a good portion of your booth visitors will want to improve their initial score.  So they will tap the “Play Again” button and try to get more questions right the second time.  And then, the third time. And some even more times than that.  And if you’ve supplied the game with enough questions, they will learn new things about your company even during the second, and third game, and more.

Also, booth visitors who do well enough to get their name on the Leaderboard sometime come for a second visit the next day, to see if they are still on the board, or to show their friends their success.

Between first plays, repeat plays, and return visits, you will keep visitors in your booth longer, so they get to know you better, and have less time to visit your competitors.

Virtual Prize Wheel: I Walk The Line

Tech trade show attendees line up to play Virtual Prize Wheel game

Our Virtual Prize Wheel lets you offer up multiple prize choices, with the added enticement of the possibility of winning a big grand prize. That combination of a guaranteed prize with the chance of a windfall gets attendees to line up.

While they are in line waiting, attendees are soaking up your brand messages splashed all over your booth graphics and your other audiovisual content.

Most of all, that line is a great opportunity for your booth staffers.  They can engage with attendees as they wait for their chance to “Spin To Win.” Your booth staffers can chat them up casually, but also with the intention of finding the qualified prospects.

Once attendees get their turn spinning the wheel, then your booth staffers can continue the conversation with the more qualified prospects they identified from the line.

Nothing Gathers A Crowd Like A Crowd

Trade show trivia game choices for island exhibits

The great thing about having all these prospects staying longer in your booth is that it snowballs: As other attendees walking down the aisle see all those people in your booth, they slow down to see what’s going on: nothing gathers a crowd like a crowd.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic, keep attendees engaged longer, and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

How To Cross-Sell Customers At Trade Shows With Our Interactive Trivia Game

Maybe you exhibit at trade shows to boost awareness.  Or maybe your goal is to generate new leads.

But if your B2B company has been around for years, or you have considerable market share, your trade show goal may be all about maintaining and expanding your sales with your existing customers.

And while our Challenge Bar Trivia game can help you boost awareness and generate leads, it’s particularly adept at helping you cross-sell to customers you already have.

Three sad realities about repeat sales

Here are three sad realities about generating repeat sales at trade shows:

  1. The first sad reality is that when your company introduces a new product, your busy B2B sales people simply don’t have the time to call all their clients to alert them.
  2. The second sad reality is that your client may have bought from you because they were trying to solve a narrow problem. That client doesn’t know all the other products you have that may be a perfect fit for them – yet they’ve built a mental picture of your capabilities limited by their initial purchase.
  3. And the third sad reality is, that when your clients see your booth at their industry trade show, they likely think, “Oh, I know what they do already, I don’t need to visit them.”

Combine those three sad realities together, and you get a lost opportunity to generate repeat sales from your trade show exhibiting – and drastically boost your company profits.  That’s because, according to Bain & Company, a 5% increase in customer retention can boost your profitability by 75%.

How our interactive trivia game can boost cross-selling

However, when those under-informed existing clients see our interactive trivia game in your booth, they will say to themselves, “Hey, that looks like fun, I bet I know enough about them to win prizes and get my name on the big Leaderboard!”  And so, they enter your booth to play trivia.

When you know that your booth visitors are likely to be lots of existing clients, you can write your trivia questions to mostly be about your newest products (and what new capabilities they offer), and questions about your broad product offerings (products that fit best the segment of attendees at that show.)

As they play, your client booth visitors will be driven to learn about your new and other products they didn’t know existed, but may well serve problems they currently have.  That’s because, in order to score higher, your booth visitors will often ask your nearby booth staffers the answers to questions they aren’t sure about.

Digital trade show games help B2B salespeople

Think about it: Clients who would have walked by your booth (“I know them already”) are instead in a conversation with your booth staffers asking about the new products and other complementary products you offer, that they didn’t know existed.

This extremely positive outcome is why, if your goal is to generate repeat sales via cross-selling and up-selling existing clients, our Challenge Bar Trivia game is a winner for you.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

 

 

Best Trade Show Marketing Advice From Exhibit House Experts

Over the past few years, our company has increasingly partnered with leading Exhibit Houses to create interactive trade show game activations for their exhibiting clients. We have been impressed by the commitment, care, and expertise they bring to their clients’ trade show marketing.

We also wanted to uncover their vast experience creating effective trade show marketing campaigns, especially with technology.  So we asked them to share with a survey.  Survey respondents were all either Exhibit House Account Executives or senior management, all with client-facing responsibilities.

So first, we’ll provide their best advice on what exhibitors should do to create effective trade show marketing campaigns.  Then, we’ll share their answers to our more detailed survey questions.

What Exhibitors Need For Successful Trade Show Marketing Campaigns

Most of their expert advice focused on the same 4 elements: the exhibitor’s brand, their target audience, planning, and objectives.  With so many other potential ideas to discuss, those four must be important!

Here are their answers.  Note: some survey respondents answered anonymously.

1. Focus on your brand

The most popular topic of advice from Exhibit House survey respondents?  They advise exhibitors to focus on their brand when creating their trade show marketing campaigns:

  • “Take the time to really think about your brand message and purpose. Begin from there.” — John Mitchell, MC2
  • “Whatever it is… it needs to be memorable (and associated with the exhibitor’s brand and drive an action that will drive the exhibitor’s goals.” — David Brull, Kubik
  • “Stay focused on the brand presence that has been created, and if that doesn’t exist, it would in our best interest to guide them toward creating one. Integrate it with other media – social, advertising, etc. Also utilize pre-show campaigns to get in front of your target audience in order to make it a success.” — Gary Donatell, CenterPoint Marketing
  • “Any campaign should strengthen the brand and be consistent with the other marketing they are doing.” — Aaron Reitmeier, Showcraft
  • “Create a brand activation where you engage at least (1) of the attendees (5) senses.” — Erik Streight, Excalibur Exhibits

2. Focus on your target audience

Many other Exhibit House experts also advise their clients to focus on their target audience first and foremost:

  • “Do what’s best for your target audience, and create buzz with what you’re doing.” — Conner Brown, Pinnacle Exhibits
  • “Start with the key visitor experience and work backwards to the campaign.” — Anonymous
  • “It doesn’t need to be complex or expensive but know who you are targeting, what they worry about, and how you will make their life easier. Also connect with them all over the show, not just at your booth.” — Anonymous
  • “Envision who you want to enter your booth space at least six months in advance. Then target your marketing to that audience.” — Mel White, Classic Exhibits

3. Plan in advance

Planning is another very popular focal point of advice:

  • “Start planning months before you need to.” — Tim Patterson, TradeshowGuy Exhibits
  • “Allocate the appropriate amount of time and budget to execute a comprehensive campaign!” — Rick Klimek, Epic Experiential Marketing
  • “Plan accordingly and then execute effectively.” — Kevin Carty, Classic Exhibits
  • “Planning then implementing.” — Jay Burkette, ExpoDisplays
  • “Start the planning process as early as possible. Be open and transparent about your budget. Hold creative solutions and concepts accountable to measurable objectives to avoid subjective decisions.” — Anonymous

4. Set goals and objectives

Exhibit House experts also repeatedly advised that exhibitors stay focused on their goals and objectives.  (A few of the comments above also mention goals):

  • “Have a goal. Target the top tier you’d like to be in front of. Then get creative on ways to get time with that dream group of prospects. Make an internal contest for your sales force so they have incentive to be the difference.” — Robin Clinton, 2020 Exhibits
  • “Trade shows, like any marketing, should be thoughtful, strategic, targeted, executed flawlessly and measured.” — John Reisert, Skyline Exhibits Kentucky
  • “Create objectives upfront and make sure everything you do along the way aligns to those objectives.” – Anonymous

To create a winning trade show marketing campaign, you need to set campaign goals, create campaigns that focus on your brand and target audience, and then create a plan that gives you enough time and resources to succeed.

Exhibit House Survey On Trade Show Marketing & Technology: Perspectives, Roles & Preferences

Survey Executive Summary

Some of the most interesting insights from this survey include:

  • Exhibitors value sales results more than marketing results
  • Exhibitors value the marketing potential of trade shows, but often deploy insufficient resources for marketing success
  • Exhibit Houses do far more marketing than just exhibit design
  • Top trade show marketing methods include experiential marketing, interactive technology, and integrated marketing
  • Exhibitors could improve results with more booth staff training
  • Exhibitors want marketing campaigns most of all that are creative and innovative, appealing to their target market, and brand-centric
  • Exhibit Houses report that their exhibiting clients’ most-likely issue with a viable marketing campaign is lacking the funds to implement it
  • 96% of Exhibit Houses are involved in their exhibiting clients’ interactive technology
  • Exhibit Houses are three-times more likely to favor experiential marketing

Here are the results of their responses to a number of questions about trade show marketing and technology.

Exhibitors Driven More By Sales Than Marketing Results

This may be a surprise to some of the people who pursue trade show marketing: it’s actually sales results that matter most to exhibitors.

While 52% of Exhibit House survey respondents agreed that their clients viewed sales and marketing as equally important, 44% said that sales results were more important, but only 4% said that marketing results were more important.

Therefore, almost all exhibit houses say that sales results are important (52% + 44% = 96%), while only 56% (54% + 4%) say that marketing results are important to exhibitors.

Sales more important than marketing

So, while there are nearly 3 times as many people who search Google on “trade show marketing” versus “trade show selling,” it’s sales that matter more to exhibitors.

Exhibitors Value Trade Show Marketing More In Spirit Than Action

We asked Exhibit House experts to choose any of six statements to agree with about their exhibiting clients’ attitudes and actions regarding their trade show programs. They told us that four out of five exhibitors (81%) value the marketing power of trade shows.  It’s how they execute on that value that differs from their attitude.

That’s because two-thirds (67%) of exhibitors choose to have a logistics-based person managing their program, rather than a marketing person.  Plus, almost two-thirds (63%) of Exhibit House survey respondents agreed that exhibitors invest too little time or resources to drive marketing success.

Having watched their exhibiting clients for years and years, exhibit house executives say that only a quarter of exhibitors (26%) put sufficient time and resources towards their trade show marketing, and only a fifth of companies (19%) give their trade show program to employees who can bring a marketing background to all their trade show interactions and duties.

marketing versus logistics for trade show programs

The hope is that the more-common logistics-based person is getting enough guidance from a marketing supervisor, or that their exhibit house is filling the marketing gap, so that exhibitors can create winning trade show marketing campaigns. Otherwise, exhibitors are not committing enough internal marketing resources to succeed.

Exhibit Houses Do Far More Marketing Than Just Exhibit Design

Exhibit Houses act as outsourced marketing partners for their exhibiting clients.  Fully 85% of Exhibit Houses have some marketing involvement with their client’s trade shows.

  • Nearly one in five Exhibit Houses (18.5%) are right there from the beginning, helping exhibitors brainstorm potential marketing campaign ideas. These tend to be the largest Exhibit Houses that act as marketing agencies.
  • Almost half (48%) of Exhibit Houses are asked by exhibitors to execute a marketing campaign based on the theme provided by the exhibitor.
  • Another 15% of Exhibit Houses say their marketing participation is asked for only for their client’s largest shows.
  • Only 15% of Exhibit Houses say their exhibiting clients restrict their marketing participation to only exhibit design.

Marketing involvement of Exhibit Houses with client trade show marketing

If exhibitors are employing logistics-based personnel to manage their trade shows (as seen in the previous question), exhibitors can lean more on their Exhibit Houses to help enact their trade show marketing campaigns.

Most Often Asked-For Trade Show Marketing Campaign Elements

We asked these client-facing Exhibit House executives what marketing campaign types and elements were their clients asking about more in the past two years. Of the 15 choices, the top 5 were:

  • Experiential marketing (83%)
  • Interactive technology (79%)
  • Integrated marketing campaigns (54%)
  • Measurement (54%)
  • Social media (50%)

greater exhibitor interest in trade show marketing choices

The top two choices, experiential marketing and interactive technology, are elements that help derive greater value from the face-to-face medium of trade shows, and help differentiate trade shows from increasingly popular digital media.  All 5 top choices are hot topics covered extensively in trade show industry publications and blogs.

These 5 choices are what exhibiting clients ask their Exhibit Houses for the most, and they closely mirror what Exhibit Houses say works best (with one notable exception), as we see in the next question:

Exhibit Houses Value Exhibitor Staff Training A Lot More Than Exhibitors Do

Of the 15 possible trade show marketing campaign elements, Exhibit Houses gave top 5 marks to 4 of the 15 choices, for both what exhibitors ask for, and what they think are effective.  They chose experiential marketing, interactive technology, integrated marketing, and measurement for both lists.  This is extra confirmation that these are tactics and elements that exhibitors will have success pursuing.

However, Exhibit Houses listed staff training as the second-most effective choice for trade show exhibitors, even though staff training was ranked far behind, as the 11th most-asked for element, by their exhibiting clients.  This startling insight points to the underappreciated need for booth staff training to enable more successful trade show marketing.

most effective trade show marketing campaign elements

What Exhibitors Want For Their Trade Show Marketing

We asked Exhibit Houses to report which of 15 different attributes their clients ask for in their trade show marketing. Some of the noteworthy results include:

  • Exhibit Houses say “creative and innovative” is the number one attribute their exhibiting clients want in their trade show marketing.
  • The second-most desired attribute for their trade show marketing is “appealing to their target market’s needs or pain points.” While #1 is an aspirational goal, this #2 reason is a more tangible strategy that every exhibitor can more easily follow.
  • Just under two-thirds of Exhibit House respondents say their clients want their trade show marketing to be company brand-centric. Which means almost 40% of clients are willing to go beyond their brand for their trade show marketing, or don’t realize how important brand consistency is.
  • Technology is wanted by over half of all exhibitors. Tech-aided face-to-face interactions is the norm at trade shows.
  • Under half of exhibitors want their trade show marketing to integrate with their other marketing messages. Either exhibitors want to remain unshackled to their company’s existing marketing, or they don’t understand the benefits of integrated marketing.
  • Exhibit Houses say 43% of their clients want their trade show marketing to be both low cost and easy to implement.
  • About a third of exhibitors want education built into their trade show marketing, and also want their trade show marketing to be fun for attendees. (What about both educational and fun?)
  • Unfortunately for the aspiring barista, less than one in ten Exhibit House respondents say their exhibiting clients want food or drink as part of their trade show marketing.

trade show marketing desired attributes

Problems Faced By Exhibit Houses When Creating Marketing Campaigns For Exhibiting Clients

We asked Exhibit Houses to select which of 5 potential problems they have faced when helping their exhibiting clients with their trade show marketing. Note: These numbers look high, but Exhibit Houses were reporting which problems they had experienced, not faced every time.  So, in actuality, these problems happen less frequently.

  • Money is problem #1 for exhibitors, according to the Exhibit House survey respondents who work with them, as 83% say they have experienced clients that lack the budget to invest in a viable trade show marketing campaign.
  • The second-most common problem experienced, at 57%, was insufficient time to create an effective trade show marketing campaign.
  • Half of Exhibit House survey respondents (48%) said they have had clients who lack the knowledge to judge potential marketing campaigns. (Again, this doesn’t mean half of clients don’t; it means half of exhibit houses have had a client who didn’t have the marketing know-how).
  • Almost 4 in 10 (39%) Exhibit House survey respondents have experienced having a client who had more than one trade show marketing idea to choose from, but couldn’t get internal consensus on which campaign to implement.
  • One in six exhibit houses (17%) were asked by their clients to execute a campaign they felt was beyond their internal capabilities or vendor network.

Problems faced helping with trade show marketing campaigns

96% of Exhibit Houses Involved In Exhibiting Clients’ Interactive Technology

Exhibit Houses are very involved with creating interactive technology for their exhibiting clients, with 96% having some role.

  • Twenty-two percent of Exhibit Houses rely mostly on their own in-house tech team to create interactive elements for their exhibiting clients.
  • About 4 in 10 have some in-house tech capabilities, but rely most on outsourced tech companies to create interactive elements for their exhibiting clients.
  • About one-third manage tech interactives for their clients, but outsource the development to outside tech companies.
  • Only 4% of Exhibit Houses don’t get involved with their clients’ interactive exhibiting elements.

Exhibit House high involvement in interactive tech for exhibitors

This 96% statistic demonstrates Exhibit Houses’ deep involvement in exhibit marketing technology, far beyond the traditional, limited role of exhibit design.

Exhibit Houses Favor Experiential Marketing Nearly 3 to 1

Experiential marketing was rated #1 in both interest by exhibitors and as promising by Exhibit Houses. And it’s perhaps the most talked about trend in trade show marketing.

  • Exhibit Houses have a mostly favorable view of experiential marketing, with 71% agreeing that experiential marketing is a trend they encourage their clients to pursue with their help, and a way for exhibitors to stand out and make a strong impression.
  • Only a quarter (25%) of Exhibit House survey respondents think experiential marketing is too difficult and expensive for most of their exhibiting clients, or that it’s talked about a lot but not often implemented.

exhibit house views on experiential marketing

Survey Respondents: Number of Employees At Their Exhibit House

While our survey respondents work at a wide range of sizes of Exhibit Houses, 70% work in Exhibit Houses with 51 to 500 employees.  However, these smaller companies wield outsized influence. They help far larger companies create and implement major trade show programs. It is not uncommon for an exhibit house with 100 employees to manage the trade show program for an exhibitor with 10,000 employees.

survey respondents number of employees at exhibit house

Trade show marketing continues to evolve, with greater use of technology and interactivity.  Because Exhibit House Account Executives work hand-in-hand with many high-level exhibitors, they have unique insight into exhibitors’ perceptions and results. A big “Thank you!” to our survey respondents for sharing their insights.  I hope you’ve gained useful insights into how to increase exhibit marketing performance through this survey.

If you’d like to see more about how you can quickly create a branded, interactive marketing activity that drives more booth traffic and measurably captures leads, feel free to contact us for a demo of our trade show games. We’ll help you increase excitement, crowds, and trade show leads.

Promoting Your Brand With Interactive Trade Show Games

Want to build your brand at trade shows? So do 83% of exhibitors, according to CEIR, which found that “building or expanding brand awareness” is exhibitors’ #1 marketing objective at trade shows.

Brand-building in the face-to-face, 3D trade show environment can go far beyond just showing your logo.  From the style of your booth architecture, to the tenor of the giveaways, to the attire of your booth staffers, it all makes an impression that affects how attendees perceive your brand.

In the experiential space of exhibitions, interactive trade show games can help enhance and update your brand’s perception in multiple ways:

1. Interactive trade show games attract more attention to your brand’s exhibit

Trade show attendees walking down the aisle are bombarded by an overwhelming amount of visual stimuli.  An interactive trade show game breaks through the clutter to get you noticed, pulling more people into your booth. People are attracted to play our games because they want to have fun, test their skills and knowledge, win prizes, and compete against their friends.  And once the first people stop to play, they create a crowd that attracts a crowd, drawing in even more traffic. Your brand gets seen by more and more people.

2. Interactive trade show games are customized to your brand identity

Customized branded interactive trade show games

Your trade show exhibit will almost certainly be customized to your company’s colors, type fonts, images, and of course, your logo.  With most games, you lose that brand continuity, but with our interactive trade show games, you maintain it. We can customize the look of our games’ iPad and flat screens with themes aligned with your brand colors and your type fonts, plus include your logo and brand images. Our interactive games can include splash screens, and even slide shows with your brand messages that can be scheduled and updated remotely. That cohesive visual presentation reinforces and strengthens your brand.

3. Interactive trade show games modernize your brand

Interactive trade show games are more than just fun.  They are digitally-based, tech-infused activities attendees play on iPads or other tablet computers, and see results on big flat screen TV monitors. These digital interactions and outputs position your brand as more modern, hip, and current. This tech association is a subtle but powerful influence in how attendees perceive your company’s brand image at a live event.

4. Interactive trade show games reflect your brand personality

Is your company’s brand seen as tech-savvy? A thought-leader? Fun-loving? Surprisingly, you can choose interactive trade show games and activities that more closely match your company’s personality.  Do you want to present a more thoughtful brand to attract professional-type attendees? Our Challenge Bar Trivia fits the bill.  Do you want to draw in attendees who just want to have a good time? Our Virtual Prize Wheel will get them excited – and extend that excitement to your brand. Do you want to be perceived as collaborative? Our Attendee Participation Game gives you multiple ways for booth visitors to co-create content, and see you more as a partner they want to have a relationship with.

5. Interactive trade show games teach attendees about your brand story

interactive trade show games teach booth visitors about your brand

To make your short amount of time with attendees longer and more memorable, our Challenge Bar Trivia game asks visitors to answer questions about your company.  Visitors are motivated by prizes and bragging rights to learn about your company and products. They leave your booth with a greater knowledge and appreciation of your brand story.

Trade shows are powerful events for building your company brand.  This is where the buyers, influencers, and players of your industry gather. The show hall is filled with the exact people you want to recognize, remember, and value your brand. An interactive trade show game helps increase your brand awareness, enhances its perception, and reinforces your brand story. Which helps achieve your goal of boosting your brand at trade shows.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, or boost attendee engagement with our event technology, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, engagement, and leads.

7 Common Mistakes Exhibitors Make With Their In-Booth Activities

This blog post originally appeared on the CEIR blog.

As a developer of interactive trade show games, we’ve participated with hundreds of exhibitors as they research, select, and execute their in-booth activities. And while we’ve seen many succeed, along the way we’ve unfortunately seen exhibitors repeatedly make the same 7 avoidable mistakes. I want to share those with you, so you can avoid them:

1. Waited too long to start choosing their in-booth activities

Because trade shows require an astounding amount of details, exhibitors are notoriously overworked and time-starved. As a result, some exhibitors wait until it’s almost show time before looking for an in-booth activity.  By then they are so anxious to have any activity in their booth, they jump on the first passable idea they find.  With better planning, they could have taken the time to brainstorm and select a better in-booth activity.  Even worse? They may have waited so long that they throw up their hands and do nothing.

2. Chose in-booth activities that aren’t on-brand

While exhibitors’ main goal for their in-booth activities is to boost traffic, be mindful of the activity’s effect on their brand.  If you choose an activity doesn’t mesh with your brand, you will actually cause confusion — and damage — to your reputation. Instead, choose activities that will reinforce your company’s personality and brand attributes – not fight them.  And another aspect the activity should match, besides brand? Be appealing to the exhibitor’s target audience demographics.

3. Didn’t promote their in-booth activities before the show

While interesting and engaging in-booth activities pull people out of the aisles by itself, you can get even more attendees with pre-show promotion announcing your in-booth activity. Use trade show promotions across multiple media:

  • Emails sent to the show’s pre-registered attendee list and your own sales and marketing database
  • Social media messages, both free and paid, published on your major social media accounts, using the show’s hashtag
  • Postcards and dimensional mailers to your key prospects and customers
  • Telemarketing by your sales team to known prospects attending the show

4. Didn’t train booth staffers on their role with the in-booth activities

Booth staffer training is essential for successful in-booth activities.  Your booth staffers need to know what their roles are and how to actually do the activity.  You may think, “Our booth staffers don’t need to be trained, because our activity is completely performed by a third-party” (such as an entertainer or event agency). However, your booth staffers still need to know how to convert people who stopped to watch or participate in the activity into leads.  And if the activity is very successful, booth staffers need to know how to “work the line” and find the qualified leads among the people waiting to do the activity.

5. Placed good in-booth activities in the wrong spot in the booth

What’s the point of hosting an activity that can’t be seen? Since most exhibitors choose their in-booth activities to catch people’s eyes as they walk down the aisle, then your activities need to be placed next to the aisle.  Even better, place your activity next to the busiest traffic aisles.  That said, some activities are best situated in more private settings, because the exhibitor wants to prevent distractions and keep the attendee in their booth longer. Work with your exhibit designer to set the proper stage.

6. Lack enough staff to handle peak waves of traffic

Some exhibitors are fortunate to create in-booth-activities that really bring in a crowd.  Unfortunately, their flow of attendees is rarely uniform, but has peak times where there are more visitors than they can handle.  And then? Hard-earned leads are lost.  To fix this, your can scale up your booth staff rosters in anticipation of peak traffic needs, not just average traffic needs.  Your can also bring self-serve in-booth activities that can capture leads, so interested, unattended visitors can still ask to be contacted.

7. Didn’t capture lead data in exchange for in-booth activities or giveaways

Unless your overriding goal is raising brand awareness, it’s a big mistake to host an activity or giveaway a promotional item without capturing the attendee’s lead data.  And this is a very common mistake: in a recent SocialPoint survey, 61% of exhibitors said they had experienced not capturing lead data from visitors that took a giveaway.  Plan when and how during your in-booth activities you will request and gather lead data, or else attendees will slip away anonymously.

You can host successful in-booth activities that facilitates your trade show goals, if you plan ahead, stay on brand, promote your activity before the show, train your booth staff, place the activity in the proper booth location, anticipate peak traffic times, and capture lead data.

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6 Ideas To Attract More Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth

Many of our exhibiting clients tell us they crave trade show ideas on how to attract more visitors to their booth. They want an attraction that makes their booth irresistible for attendees walking down the aisle.

Do you want to drive booth traffic, too? Here are 6 proven ideas you can consider:

Idea #1 To Attract Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth: Product Demo

Rather than make all their purchases over the Internet, buyers continue to go to trade shows because it allows them to see and touch real products in person. Leverage this strong advantage by demonstrating your products in your booth.  Show how your product solves real problems. Have a presenter constantly demonstrating your product, and even invite attendees to try your product themselves.  Just be sure to have your booth staff trained to perform the demo smoothly, especially if it’s a new product.

Idea #2 To Attract Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth: Games & Contests

Attendees love to play trade show games.  They can have fun, win prizes, compete with colleagues, and even learn something about your products during the game. Trade show games can be selected to fit your audience and booth size. They can be designed to include your company branding and logo. You can host games that are digital or old-school analog style. Games rejuvenate attendees drained from tromping down too many aisles, so they’re ready to talk shop with you again.

Idea #3 To Attract Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth: Experiences

When a simple giveaway isn’t enough, exhibitors are upping their game by hosting experiences in their booth.  Experiences are best when they are immersive, personalized activities that emotionally connect buyers to your brand story.  They engage the senses and are hands-on. Experiences that attract visitors to your trade show booth require space and staging, which means planning your exhibit design in conjunction with your activity.

Idea #4 To Attract Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth: Technology

Trade shows continue to remain relevant and grow in part because exhibitors have integrated technology into their exhibits.  Tech-dependent attendees are never without their smart phones, tablet computers, and the Internet, so exhibitors include tech to match attendees’ higher expectations. What content works best on all that technology? Exhibitors start by showing their websites or PowerPoint presentations. Some graduate to videos or apps made just for the show. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are sought by exhibitors with the largest budgets and longer planning timelines.

Idea #5 To Attract Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth: Entertainers

Some exhibitors choose to put the “show” back into trade shows by hiring entertainers in their booth. They may be magicians, artists, dancers, celebrity lookalikes – any kind of performer that will attract visitors to your booth. The best entertainers will customize their performance to blend in your product messages.

Idea #6 To Attract Visitors To Your Trade Show Booth: Social Media Wall

Similar to idea #4, exhibitors can present their company as modern (and thus relevant) by including a Social media wall in their booth.  This wall displays constantly updated image, video & text messages about the show or their company, filtered by hashtags – all within a digital framework customized to your brand.  Content shown on social media walls can spark a dialog with visitors to your booth.

With hundreds of exhibitors at the average show, you need an edge to get attendees to stop by. When you choose any of these 6 ideas to attract visitors to your booth, you’ll make your space, and thus your company, more interesting.  Not only will attendees will be more engaged, but your booth staffers will also have more fun, too.

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8 Tips For First Time Trade Show Exhibitors

Exhibiting at trade shows – how hard can it be? You just show up and talk to people, right?

Actually, exhibiting is surprisingly harder than it looks.  That said, trade shows still remain very popular (and even keep growing) because they can produce great results when done right.

If you’re exhibiting for the first time, we want to help shorten your learning curve with these 8 tips you need to succeed:

1. Know what your goals are for exhibiting

Everything you do at trade shows should support your main sales and marketing goal. So if you don’t know why you’re exhibiting, there’s no way to succeed. Discover or decide if your trade show goals are (most likely) to boost brand awareness, generate sales leads, or strengthen key relationships, or something else. (This advice is good, even if you are not first time trade show exhibitors.)

2. Design your trade show exhibit to achieve your goals

See how important knowing your goals are? Now you can design your booth to support your sales and marketing goals. Design big branding structures and graphics for building awareness, lots of workstations for sales leads, and meeting spaces for strengthening reseller, prospect, and client relationships.  Some exhibitors design booth spaces for all buying phases in one large exhibit.

3. Use promotions to drive traffic and help visitors remember you

Promotions, whether they are interactive activities or giveaways or entertainment, entice attendees to visit your booth, give your booth staffers a way to start a dialog, and help attendees remember you after the show.  Pick trade show giveaways that are of different value levels to fit each lead’s value, can be imprinted with your logo, and are useful to your target market.

4. Capture the right attendee lead data

Even for first time trade show exhibitors, the most valuable outcome of trade shows is the leads they take in their booth.  You can make your leads even more valuable when your booth staffers and lead management systems are aligned to capture attendee data that will matter to your sales force.

5. Consider a game to boost trade show results

According to trade show industry research, interactive games are one of the best ways to attract attendees, but one of the least used – giving you an opportunity to outshine your competitors.  If you need more reasons to consider a trade show game, here are 17 reasons.

6. Plan for technology and its content in your booth

It’s official: Millennials are the largest generation in the United States workforce. That’s perhaps the most compelling reason why most trade show exhibitors integrate technology into their exhibit design and attendee engagement. So take some time to plan how you will use tech in your booth, and how you will create content to run on that technology.  Just make sure you don’t use tech for tech sake, but instead choose tech that is easy for staffers and attendees to use and enhances your in-booth conversations.

7. Follow up on your trade show leads fast

Your trade show leads are worth more than their weight in gold, and quickly lose their value over time. So, follow up on your leads quickly! It’s easily the biggest mistake exhibitors make, new or veteran. Quickly get the materials appropriate to each lead post-show, and quickly get your best leads into the hands of the right sales people.

8. Measure and report your trade show results to management

Trade shows cost a lot of money – they can often be the largest marketing expense for a B2B company.  Your boss and your Chief Financial Officer are eager to hear how well your first show (and all subsequent shows) produced results. So you need to measure if you met your trade show goals, and then give your boss a short report with easy-to-understand charts and pictures.

I am excited for you as first-time trade show exhibitors. There is nothing like the rush you will get from meeting face-to-face with a stream of customers and prospects over several days. Do the show right, and you will create significant value for your company.  Good luck!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and capture leads with our fun interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate a serious increase in excitement, crowds, and leads.

3D Exhibits’ Booth Design With SocialPoint Trivia Game Creates Best Problem For Merck Animal Health

When Merck Animal Health Conference & Event Manager Amy Gregory called her boss just after the start of the 2018 Veterinary Meeting and Expo, and said, “We have a problem,” it made her 3D Exhibits Account Executive George Furman surprised — and at least a little nervous.

But then Gregory told her boss they actually had the best kind of problem: “We need to bring in more staffer talent, because our booth is so swamped, we can’t handle the traffic!”

What made the Merck Animal Health booth so busy and the talk of the show was an award-winning design from 3D Exhibits, and a crowd-stopping trivia game from SocialPoint.

Merck Trivia Game Attracts, Engages Over 3,000 Trade Show Attendees At One Show

“In years past, Merck had a large space but not nearly as much traffic,” said Furman. “There were people participating, but nothing like the rush at this show.  Merck was 50 feet inside the doors, and attendees didn’t get past their booth.”

Over the 4-day show, 3,400 people played Merck Animal Health’s trivia game, answering 35,804 questions, a tremendous amount of traffic and engagement. Attendees played a timed version of SocialPoint’s Trivia, competing on iPads. While all attendees received a Merck-branded T-shirt, players with the 10 highest scores were displayed on a leader board –especially appealing to very-competitive veterinarians.

Trivia game crowded trade show booth Merck Animal Health

After the first show’s results, Merck Animal Health expanded their planned use of the trivia game from 2 shows up to the entire year.  They had similarly high player numbers at WVC 2018.

The Merck Animal Health Exhibit was designed with 3 main areas. In the front there was a reception desk on the left, and on the right an activity area that included a long counter with 8 mounted iPads to play trivia.  In the back of the booth was space and components for engaging with more qualified attendees.  “The Trivia game – and the chance to gain recognition on the game’s large leaderboard — helped gather in attendees, then provide them with high-level education about Merck products,” said Furman. “Most were satisfied to win a shirt. Some attendees that became more interested from what they learned from the game were ushered to the back of the booth to further engage with Merck staffers.”

As a result of the new exhibit and interactive trivia game, Merck increased their requests for post-show email follow up by 21%.  Moreover, 90% of attendee survey respondents learned something new about Merck while visiting the exhibit.

Merck Animal Health Exhibit Wins Award For 3D Exhibits

3D Exhibits’ design for Merck Animal Health is something special.  3D Exhibit’s design for Merck Animal Health won a Hermes Creative Award, Platinum Trophy.

The Merck design incorporates a sweeping curved hanging sign that made the brand more approachable and the exhibit inescapable.  Underneath, a large SocialPoint Challenge Bar Trivia leaderboard continuously updated the names and scores of the top 10 players. “SocialPoint’s trivia game leaderboard seamlessly integrated into the exhibit design,” said Sam Hersee, 3D Exhibits Interactive Technology Project Manager. “Our team easily blended the orange and green brand colors for Merck Animal Health’s two products, Nobivac® and Bravecto®, into the leaderboard graphics.”

The Merck Animal Health exhibit design, including SocialPoint’s interactive trivia game leaderboard screen, was so compelling that 3D Exhibits even made its photo the front page of their company website:

Front page of 3D Exhibits website -- big photo of Merck Animal Health

3D Exhibits Gets Quick, Complete Game Solutions From SocialPoint

As a major exhibit house, 3D Exhibits often sources and creates interactive activities for their client’s exhibits. “We usually build custom interactives, but for this show we had minimal time to do this. SocialPoint’s solution was off-the-shelf with the customization we needed.” explained Hersee.

Merck Animal Health trivia leaderboard with top scorers

“Two trusted sources recommended SocialPoint, so we reached out to them, said Furman. “We laid out needs, and SocialPoint provided something very intuitive to the solutions that were required.”

“Working with SocialPoint was an easy, pain-free experience,” said Hersee. “They gave us good talking points to help the client realize the value trivia could have in educating their booth visitors. I really like the SocialPoint solution, it’s a wrapped-up solution with bow on top, and it can customize with options.  Everything we wanted, SocialPoint already had accounted for.”

“SocialPoint is very helpful,” concluded Hersee.  “We came in, hemming and hawing about what we wanted, but SocialPoint steered us to a better idea.  SocialPoint’s games are very finished, well thought out, and complete, with a lot of feature options.  We’re happy that with SocialPoint’s help we were successful.”

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Designing Your Island Trade Show Exhibit To Host All Phases of Your Clients’ Buying Cycle

 

We recognize that our trade show games, while a powerful addition to an exhibit, are by no means meant to take over your entire exhibit – especially with island booths.

What we’ve heard from our clients is that by adding our games, they get many, many more people into their island trade show exhibit, and which then produces larger visitor counts, all along the buying cycle.

Several of our largest clients have followed this buying-cycle exhibit design strategy, dividing their exhibit into up to 6 different areas:

Spaces and activities for early-phase buyers:

  1. Interactive Games: Our clients use our games to attract more booth traffic, and then after a short discussion, escort the game players to the most appropriate place in the booth based on where they are along the buying cycle.
  2. Large Group Presentations: Exhibitors use a theatre-style presentation to groups of 5 or 10 or more attendees at one time.  These are broad overview presentations to help inform early-stage buyers what are the main ways their company solves client problems.

Spaces and activities for middle-phase buyers:

  1. Product Demo Stations: Buyers who are past the point of general info want to see that your product can do what you say it can, and so product demo stations are a mainstay in many island trade show booths, especially for manufacturers and tech companies.
  2. Small Meeting Spaces: Attendees who are more interested than those sitting in a theatre get one-and-one time with booth staffers who answer their individual questions and make personal presentations based on specific needs.

Spaces and activities for late-phase buyers:

  1. Conference Rooms: Private meeting spaces are reserved for buyers who are ready to sign a deal, deserving the privacy and honor of a quieter, intimate room.  Conference rooms are also used for existing client and partner meetings away from prying eyes.
  2. Hospitality: Existing clients are treated like family, and given special treatment that includes comfortable seating with food and drinks (although in European and Latin American exhibits, more people are likely to get treated this way).

As an example, they may divide up their island exhibit for these 6 areas in this way:

Designing your exhibit to host all phases of your clients buying cycle

By creating spaces to allow for interactions with your booth visitors who are at the various stages of their buyer’s journey, you can be a great host to all attendees, no matter how far along they are towards a purchase.

Even better, by using our games to drive more booth traffic, you get more visitors – at every phase of the buying cycle:

Designing island trade show booths to host all phases of your clients buying cycle

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

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Successful Interactive Trade Show Games In A 10 x 10 Foot Booth

10 x 10 foot trade show booth with trade show games

When you are in a 10 x 10 foot booth space, you have to work even harder to stand out from the crowd.  That’s because there are so many other 10 x 10 foot exhibitors, plus all the other exhibitors are in larger, presumably more attention-getting spaces.

That’s why adding an interactive trade show game to even your smallest booths makes a lot of sense.

Even in a 10 x 10 booth space, your game needs to reflect your brand, engage your target market, and advance your marketing goals.  However, there are specific issues to including an interactive trade show game to your 10 x 10 booth.  Here are those issues, and how to ensure your interactive game is a success:

1. Your budget is smaller

Many of our clients don’t bat an eye at our trade show game prices when they intend to use them in an island exhibit, because they compare our prices to other activities or custom-programmed interactives and see what a bargain we are.  Yet, because you won’t get as many leads from a show with a 10-foot space, and because you likely do so many more shows in 10-foot spaces, there’s a reluctance to invest in a digital game.  If this is the case, ask your potential vendor if they have a pricing structure that rewards you with lower prices when you reuse the game.

Consider that the game is still only a small portion of your overall costs for that event, but can double your results. Most of all, consider ROI – what is the value of each extra trade show lead you get? An interactive game may be a fantastic additional investment if your average sale from a trade show lead is high enough.

2. Your tight display design

Your 10 x 10 booth space is likely already cramped.  So how do you add a game into the design?  Our most successful clients design their exhibit layout and graphics to include both the game’s technology and messaging right from the start.  That means they integrate any flat screen monitors into the backwall or on a kiosk, table, or stand.  Plus, they include bar-height counters for game iPads, and they include graphics messaging such as “Play To Win” or other messages about the game in their exhibit graphics.

And while your space is small, there is another dimension to consider: Some of our clients also divide the front and back of their booth space, and have the game played on a kiosk or table on the aisle.

3. Your likely booth staffers

In your island exhibits you most likely have a diverse team of booth staffers, drawn from multiple areas of your company, such as sales, marketing, management, engineering, and customer service.  Yet in your 10-foot booth shows, while you may have similar kinds of staffers, more likely you will rely on your field sales reps to booth staff.  These staffers are likely less willing to set up a more sophisticated game like our Challenge Bar Trivia.  To ensure success when dependent on field sales reps, easier game implementations like our Digital Fishbowl work best.  These simple games also ensure you get lead data recorded from booth interactions, when the leads might not make it home to your otherwise.

Interactive trade show games can be a huge part of your 10 x 10 foot booth success, because they attract more traffic, boost engagement, and done right, facilitate better and faster lead follow up.  They are a worthy part of your budget, provided you properly integrate them into your display design and choose them well to match the strengths of your booth staff team.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

Fun Trade Show Games Ideas with Your Logo to Play in Your Booth

trade show games

Trade show games are a proven, yet dramatically underused activity to get more potential customers into your booth.  After hundreds of client game implementations, we know trade show games attract a crowd and get attendees engaged with your booth staffers.

But, if using games in your booth is a new idea for you, you understandably need more info.  So, in this article, I will share with you several kinds of games and game aspects to consider in your decision.

Fun Games to Play To Attract Customers

fun trade show games to attract customers

The first factor is that your game must be fun!  You want people to be magnetically drawn into your booth because you are hosting a game that looks like fun, that their friends have told them is fun, and that they can see people already enjoying to play. And, not just any people, but your target customers.  Be mindful that what you think would be fun as a 25-year old man may not be fun to your target audience of 45-year old women – or vice versa. Make it fun for your customers, not you.

Games with your Logo

trade show games with your logo

Your booth visitors will pay attention to your game while they play it, not your booth.  And this may be the most engaged they are during their visit.  So, ensure that your game has your logo in it, and even better, the look and feel of any graphics match your company brand. That way you get the maximum branding value and post-show memorability.

Giveaway & Prize Games

Trade show game prize winner with prize and prize shown on screens

A game can be fun to play just to play, yet playing for a prize or giveaway is twice as fun!  Chances are you are putting money aside for promotional giveaways in your booth anyhow.  Now, pool that money into attractive prizes and fun giveaways that people are motivated to win. You can give everyone a prize, only give some people a prize (and they know right away), or only give some people a prize, and they don’t find out until the end of the day or the show. People can win the prize by spinning a wheel, with an instant win game, and other game choices. You can make the prizes fun or imprinted you’re your logo.  Here are some ideas on how to choose prizes for your game.

Easy Trade Show Games

Easy trade show games

Perhaps you may think this goes without saying, but it’s better to say it just in case: make your trade show game easy! Not necessarily easy to score or get correct answers, but easy to understand how to play.  It should be so simple that your booth visitors walk up and intuitively know how to play, or learn how to play in 30 seconds or less.  They don’t have time for complicated games, and will walk out of your booth frustrated.

Trivia Contest Games

Trivia game for trade show booths

Trivia games are surprisingly popular, because they give attendees a chance to prove their knowledge, compete against friends, and learn.  Plus, trivia games give you as an exhibitor the valuable opportunity to teach booth visitors about your products and services.  Trivia games can also keep attendees in your booth longer, and when they get uber-competitive, they even return to your booth, and bring friends with them.

Games of Skill Versus Games of Chance

Trivia game for trade shows are a game of skill that increase attendee engagement

Games of skill give attendees a better chance to win if they can think or play with greater talent, such as a trivia game or a putting green.  Many games choose winners by random chance, such as a prize wheel or plinko prize drop games. Some games of skill are derived from sports, like pop a shot basketball or a miniature putting green.  Few sports translate to good trade show games – you don’t see exhibitors encouraging booth visitors with a chance to win at wrestling or pole vaulting! Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide, do you want to reward your booth visitors for skill (which creates competition that drives more visits), or just give prizes randomly so people are less afraid to try.

Interactive Digital Games Versus Analog Games

interactive digital trade show games for your booth

Technology continues to expand its influence in marketing, and trade shows are no exception. Trade show games have evolved to include many interactive games, to compete with many old-fashioned analog games. Analog games are tangible and usually cheaper, although they do require shipping and drayage.  Interactive digital games present a more modern image, and can improve your ability to capture meaningful data about your leads.  You can read other advantages of digital games here.

Games are a great activity to attract and engage trade show booth visitors. Trade show games that are fun, easy, branded with your company logo and colors, and offer a chance to win prizes are even better. Take the leap and add a trade show game to your booth, and see how a fun activity can have a serious positive effect on your trade show ROI!

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How To Combine Gamification with Content and Experiential Marketing

Pardon the sports metaphor, but our interactive trade show games are a marketing buzz word triple play!

If your marketing department has plans to implement Gamification, Content Marketing, or Experiential Marketing, 3 of the hottest trends in B2B marketing today, you can get the benefits of all three at once with our interactive games.

Let’s look at how our digital games are at the convergence of all 3 trends:

1. Gamification

According to Wikipedia, “Gamification is the application of game-design elements and game principles in non-game contexts …. to improve user engagement …”

Improve user engagement? What trade show and event marketer wouldn’t want that!

And according to trade show industry research from CEIR, gamification is a powerful, yet underused tactic for exhibitors to drive traffic and increase engagement.

Games are best when, like ours, they allow attendees to walk up and start playing intuitively.  And play they do! They get pulled into friendly competition, with their friends, colleagues, and surprisingly often, against their expectations of themselves.

Our games motivate them to enter your booth and stay rooted to the spot, providing lead and contact info about themselves and their company needs, in exchange for the opportunity to win a prize or demonstrate their level of expertise.

That’s awesome gamification: attendees are so motivated to play, they enter in their own lead data!

Plus, our games provide feedback while attendees are playing about how well they are doing, so when they are in jeopardy of losing, they reach out to your booth staffers to get help – and start a conversation that gets you closer to another trade show lead. This happens much more than you would think.

You can even make a competitive game out of attendees’ social media engagement at the trade show, and give your company a more modern image at the same time.

So, our games allow you to win at the Gamification of your trade show program!

2. Content Marketing

Content Marketing is arguably the fastest-growing B2B marketing method today, with 35 times more marketers planning to produce more content than less, according to a 2017 survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.

A key part of Content Marketing is that you teach prospects with content that is valuable and relevant to them.

Most trade show visitors don’t realize before they enter your booth how relevant and valuable your company can be to their success.  But that all changes when they try to win prizes and beat their friends while playing our Challenge Bar Trivia Game, and in the process answer dozens of questions about the advantages of your company and products.

Your booth visitors get immersed in learning about your company, and it’s your content that makes the magic happen.  Your attendees are motivated to learn what makes you better, and in the process, advance further in the buying cycle.

It’s Content Marketing at its best.

3. Experiential Marketing

According to legend, in the good old days, trade show exhibitors only had to pop up a display, stand by the aisle, and a parade of buyers would march into their booth.

It was never really that easy.  But it is true that, thanks to their ability to find product info easier on the Internet, today’s trade show attendees are more in control of the buying process.  And they know it.

So, to get attendees out of the aisle and into your booth, then get them to stay there longer, and then to remember what they learned there, you now need to create an experience.  Something that engages more of their senses and emotions. Something with an element of interactivity that requires them to participate, not watch passively.

This is exactly what happens when exhibitors use our interactive trade show games.

Attendees get pulled into your booth because they see our innovative game visuals and the prizes they could win. Once in your booth, they are fully engaged while playing, sometimes enjoying it so much they return multiple times. They become emotionally involved with their performance, feeling joy, envy, frustration, greed, and more.

Some attendees get so motivated to succeed, we’ve heard of some going back to their hotel rooms to study!

So, our games create an experience that attendees will remember when your sales people follow up on their leads after the show.

Gamification, Content Marketing, and Experiential Marketing are all growing marketing strategies for getting more engagement with your target audience.  You don’t have to choose just one to pursue at your next trade show – with SocialPoint’s interactive trade show games, you get the benefits of all three!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic and get more qualified leads with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

J. J. Keller Takes 1,100 Leads At SHRM 2017 Using Challenge Bar Trivia Game, Nearly Double Their Goal

Challenge Bar Trivia game a good match for meeting J. J. Keller’s trade show goals

When Mike Monson, Senior Trade Show Specialist for J. J. Keller, wanted to boost attendance to his booth at one of his top 3 annual shows, he found more success than he expected with the Challenge Bar Trivia Game from SocialPoint.

As a leading supplier of workplace regulation compliance products and services, one of J. J. Keller’s top 3 markets is Human Resources, which for many years means exhibiting at SHRM in a 20 x 20 booth.  “We’ve exhibited at SHRM for a long time because SHRM is very influential in the Human Resources market,” said Monson.  “This year our goal was to reach as many attendees as possible.”

Monson knew that to increase his booth traffic and lead counts, he needed to do things differently.  “We needed a fun and challenging activity that would reinforce key points about J. J. Keller,” recalled Monson.  “While researching possibilities, I found SocialPoint, went to their website and thought, ‘This looks cool, it’s just what I want.’”

While SocialPoint offers several games for trade show exhibitors, Monson discussed their goals and audience with SocialPoint, and decided upon their Challenge Bar Trivia Game.  Monson explained, “Trivia offered good interaction time, reinforced our messaging, was fun, and for competitive individuals, it provided a challenge to get their names on the leaderboard.”

Results with Challenge Bar Trivia Game nearly double their pre-show goal

The game exceeded Monson’s high expectations. “While our pre-show goal was to get 600 attendees through our booth, we ended up with 1,100 visitors – nearly double our goal!” said Monson.  “Right away during the first day we had great traffic and meaningful engagement.  I was nothing but happy, thinking, ‘This is working out better than I hoped.’”

Monson added, “It didn’t take long that there were attendees lined up to play the game.  People would play the game as teams, even strangers!  How they interacted with each other was very fun, all the while the game reinforced several points about us we wanted people to leave with.”

And not only did Monson get nearly double the number of attendees, J. J. Keller had even more visits, because people kept coming back.  “I was amazed at number of attendees that played the game over and over.  Many came back each day.”  By the end of the show attendees answered nearly 5,000 questions – and learned more about J. J. Keller’s products and advantages in the process.

JJ Keller trivia winners at NSC 2017

Trivia game created dialog and interaction with booth staffers and attendees

The Trivia game not only brought in attendees, it helped facilitate meaningful conversations that converted into leads.  “The game allowed our booth staffers to start conversations with every attendee,” said Monson. “When a person was struggling with answers to the game, our staffers occasionally gave hints, building on the player’s own knowledge base, to get to the right answer.

“When a player got a question wrong, our staffers would hear an audible ‘ding’ from the game, and even shy people, once they got two wrong, it would crack the ice, and they were then more willing to accept our booth staffers’ assistance.  By the time they finished the game, our staffers were talking with them.  There would be a little down time between each question, so our staffers would ask what they were looking for at the show, and if we can help them.”

The show was a success from start to finish, even on the traditionally slow last day.  “There were very few times we did not have all 6 iPads with an attendee playing, and a booth staffer helping them. They were full most of the time.”

And even if people did not play the Trivia game, they were drawn in to become lead opportunities.  “Crowds draw crowds, so our booth staffers interacted with some attendees who became leads, even though they did not play the game.”

J. Keller leveraged attendees’ answers to Trivia questions in their post-show follow up

Monson continued to get more value from the Trivia game, even after the show.  “I sent a follow-up email to all attendees, that said something to the effect of, ‘By the way, these are the top 10 questions most frequently incorrectly answered by your fellow SHRM attendees.  These J. J. Keller products have the correct answers, that you could be using or posting at your company.  And for a limited time, you can get a 30-day free trial of our FMLA guide.’” Thus, Monson used the results of the Trivia game to demonstrate to his SHRM leads that they truly needed J. J. Keller’s products and services.

Mike Monson and J. J. Keller will use Trivia Game again

Monson is all-in on Trivia: “The Challenge Bar Trivia game worked so well at SHRM with our HR market, we will use the trivia game in our 20 x 20 foot island booth at the upcoming National Safety Council Show to help us with the safety market, another of our big three markets.

“I will likely try other SocialPoint games in the future, but for this summer I am happy with Trivia.  The other SocialPoint game modules may be better for other business models, but my market has many required regulations, and Trivia is a perfect fit to engaging this market.”

Smooth experience working with SocialPoint

While the results of the Trivia game were exciting, the experience working with SocialPoint was fortunately less stimulating.  “SocialPoint is very easy to work with,” said Monson.  “They were thorough, professional, and a good value.  They understand their product really well, and have enough experience with it, that when they predicted what would happen with the game in my booth, they were spot on.”

JJ Keller trivia game in island booth 2017

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How to Promote Your Virtual Prize Wheel For Even More Booth Traffic

 

When you include a SocialPoint Virtual Prize Wheel in your trade show booth, you’re going to get more booth traffic.  People will be attracted to the cool-looking, moving digital screens, and the chance to win prizes.

But hey, if you’re like most exhibitors, you want even more traffic! To get it, follow some or all of the following 7 steps, to more aggressively promote your prize wheel game:

1. Signage

Use bold, large text in your exhibit graphics above where the game is played (either on a flat screen monitor or on one or more iPads) to let passing attendees there’s prizes to be won! “Spin To Win” or “Play To Win” or “Win A Free ______,” if you are giving away a significant main prize. Consider using color in the graphics that makes these words stand out from the rest of your booth.

2. Large Flat Screen Monitor

It’s really attention-getting when a booth visitor hits the button to make that Virtual Prize Wheel spin, when the spinning prize wheel is seen on a large flat screen monitor.  It creates a bright, colorful, moving impression, which becomes even more impressive on a bigger monitor.

3. Multiple iPads

The more iPads you have lined up on a wider counter, the more it will be noticed by trade show attendees.  While some exhibitors may only have one iPad when in a 10 by 10 booth, in larger spaces we’ve seen as many as 5 iPads lined up on a counter, creating an intriguing visual that’s hard to pass by.

4. Crowd Gatherers

While you (and most of your booth staff) may feel uncomfortable reaching out to engage trade show attendees as they walk by your booth, there are professionals who gladly will do so.  You can hire Crowd Gatherers that have no problem starting a conversation with people in the aisles.  During a trade show they will ask hundreds of passing attendees “Would you like to spin to win our grand prize, a ______?” And a lot of them will say yes!

5. Location in Booth

Our trade show games have been used in many different booth sizes.  In the larger island exhibits, our games are only one part of their entire campaign, with other areas for presentations, meetings, and demos.  You’ll pull more people into your booth if the prize wheel is featured near the aisles with the most booth traffic, so attendees can see game, and especially other people excitedly playing and winning.

6. Pre-Show Email

Before the show ever happens, you can be promoting your Virtual Prize Wheel with arguably the best tool for bringing in more traffic: Email. You can send an email inviting people to come “Spin To Win” in your booth, and list all the great prizes they could win.  Use your own email prospect database, and if possible, rent the best segments of the show’s attendee list.

7. Pre-Show and At-Show Social Media

You can get people excited to come play your Virtual Prize Wheel game by promoting it on your company’s Social Media accounts on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.  Tell them the prizes they can win before the show, and then publish messages with photos of prize winners (holding their prizes!) during the show.  Be sure your messages include the show’s hashtag, so more people at the show see your messages.

Try these promotional ideas out!  They’ll make it easier for attendees to discover that you’re hosting a fun activity in your booth that could award them prizes. The more of these tactics you do, the more traffic you’ll have in your booth.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

New CEIR Research Says: Attract Attendees & Stand Out From Other Trade Show Exhibitors With Games

If you are an exhibitor, you can stand out by hosting games in your booth. That’s because trade show attendees want to play games to learn about products, but not many exhibitors provide games.

That’s a key insight from the 2017 Attendee Floor Engagement Study, newly published by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR).  (The entire name of the report is The 2017 Attendee Floor Engagement Study Part One: Exhibitor In-booth Tactics – People, Product, Emotion and Other Tactics.)

Games are favored by most trade show attendees

Among many of the survey questions, attendees and exhibitors were asked about 10 different engagement tactics.  Attendees were asked if they used them when offered by exhibitors, and exhibitors were asked if they offered them. And that’s when opportunity revealed itself.

The second-most engagement tactic used by attendees is “Games that help educate attendees about products in a fun way,” used by 67% of attendees.  However, only 7% of exhibitors offer games that educate attendees about their products.  That means there is a whopping 60% gap between attendee interest and exhibitor use of games.

So if you are an exhibitor, using SocialPoint’s fun games such as our interactive Challenge Bar Trivia game will not only appeal to attendees better than almost any other activity, it also will be an activity that very few competing exhibitors will do.  So, you will stand out even further by comparison!

About the gap between attendee and exhibitor use of games, CEIR said in the report, “Gamification to educate and engage attendees is a minority activity though among exhibitors that use these tactics, attendee use is high.”

Digging deeper into several sub groups of the most active exhibitors, CEIR also found that, while on average, only 7% of exhibitors use games to educate attendees about their products in a fun way, 17% of exhibitors who do 25 or more exhibitions a year use games this way.  Which we’ve found as well – exhibitors who do lots of shows can spread the initial cost of the game over many shows.

There you have it — now there’s industry research that proves what we’ve been saying all along: Attendees love fun games to learn about exhibitor’s products!

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

CEIR 2017 Report on Attendee Engagement Part 1

How A SocialPoint Customer Used Twitter To Promote Their Interactive Trade Show Game

Trade show prizes for an interactive trade show game

One of the strengths of SocialPoint interactive trade show games is that they capture so much attention that they essentially promote themselves.  But that doesn’t mean you can’t throw some extra fuel on the fire.

Our client Syngenta PPM did a fantastic job using Twitter to promote their use of our Challenge Bar Trivia Game at the Pest World 2016 Show.  I’m sharing what they did to inspire you and reveal some of the smart things they did.

Let’s break it down, dividing their tweets between pre-show and at-show messages:

Pre-Show Promotional Tweets

Before the show, Syngenta sent four tweets.  The first tweet went out 11 days before the show started, announcing the Pest trivia game they would host in their booth, and a photo showing all the prizes attendees could win.  They also used the hashtag for the show, #PestWorld2016, as they did in all their pre-show and at-show tweets.

Pre-show promotional tweet by Syngenta

 

A week before the show Syngenta sent their second tweet.  This time, the image included a very gripping sample trivia question from their quiz that was sure to get people’s curiosity going! And, it’s a question that leads to people realizing they need Syngenta’s services even more than they thought.

Pre-show tweet featuring trivia game sample question

 

Five days before the show, they sent another pre-show tweet about their trivia game, this time with a big image saying “Pest Trivia! Think you’re a pest expert?  Test your skills at booth 517.” This is a time-honored strategy, pulling on people’s pride to get them to come try the game.

Pre-show message on Twitter challenging people to play their trivia game at show

 

The final pre-show tweet went out a day before the show started, with another gripping question, “How long can a cockroach survive w/o food?”  As with all their pre-show and at-show images, Syngenta uses their brand colors – with illustrations pre-show, and photos (with the booth and staffer shirts) at-show.

Pre-show tweet sent a day before the trade show starts

 

Notice that all four of these pre-show tweets include a link, ow.ly/7nab3059gxo that goes to a microsite promoting everything Syngenta PPM would be doing at Pest World 2016.  Included prominently on that page is this greater detail about the prizes attendees could win in their booth:

Game prizes and summary on pre-show microsite

At-Show Promotional Tweets

During the show, Syngenta sent out 5 tweets, with at least one every day of the show. These all showed activity in their booth, with happy attendees and proud staffers.  The first tweet on Day 1 shows two photos of an attendee playing the trivia game, and how other attendees can come win a treat.

Tweet sent the first day of the trade show from their booth with attendee playing the game

 

On Day 2 of the show, Syngenta’s tweet congratulates the first big prize winner, shows the winner and his prize, and reminds attendees to come play so they can win, too.

Big prize winner on the first day of the trade show

 

Syngenta does the same thing on Day 3, showing another prize winner.  They also keep including the show hashtag and their booth number.

Second day of the show prize winner from challenge bar trivia game in their booth

 

On the final day of the show, Syngenta sent out two tweets.  This first tweet shows two prize winners.

Two game prize winners on the final day of the trade show

 

For their final tweet – likely after the show closed, but on the final day, Syngenta showed 4 photos of happy and proud attendees interacting with the game and staffers in the booth.

Final tweet sent on the last day of the trade show with happy attendees in the booth

 

Syngenta did many things well with their Twitter promotional campaign about their SocialPoint Trivia Game.  Let’s summarize them – you can even use this as a checklist!

  • Repeated messaging before and during the show
  • Consistent use of company branding
  • Consistently used show hashtag and gave their booth number
  • Linked to more details about their Trivia game on a microsite
  • Asked intriguing questions that are in the Trivia game
  • Showed illustrations pre-show before they had attendee at-show photos
  • Showed lots of photos of happy attendees
  • Showed the prizes attendees could win and did win
  • Thanked by name the prize winners

Whether you use SocialPoint’s interactive trade show games or not, this is a great primer on how to promote via social media whatever activity you are doing to drive traffic in your trade show booth.  But it’s especially useful if you are using our games, as it leverages the use of human emotions (want to win the prize, want to show off knowledge) very well.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our interactive trade show games (and thus achieve your sales and marketing goals!), feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate excitement, crowds, and leads.

What’s the Marketing Purpose of a Social Media Wall in A Trade Show Booth?

A 10 foot trade show booth includes a social media wall

Social Media Walls are big digital monitors that show a constantly-updated stream of filtered social media activity about an event. They were originally invented for special events, to give attendees a way to see the pulse of the event, keep up to date with what’s going on, and visualize the event’s energy.

Other benefits of Social Media Walls at events include:

  • Recognize and honor the most active and interesting event participants
  • Incentivize more social shares to help promote the event, both on and offsite
  • Promote more learning and networking
  • Enhance the modern image of the event and its host (be it an association, media company, or corporation)
  • Provide instant analytics about the size and changes of social shares about an event, especially during important moments such as keynote speeches

IBM at SXSW Social Media Wall

Social Media Walls are now being used by more and more trade show exhibitors, because they bring some of those same benefits, but also many new benefits to the individual exhibitor:

  • Demonstrate the exhibitor’s connection to the community, enhancing networking and relationship-building
  • Enhances the exhibitor’s image as a modern company
  • Networking opportunities with industry influencers who come to the booth to see their own social shares and possibly their ranking in number of social shares
  • Attract booth visitors who are drawn in by the impressive visual and want to see a digital representation of the pulse of the show
  • Offer a safe ice-breaker to start a dialog with attendees otherwise reluctant to enter their trade show booth
  • Conversation-starter about the messages shared on the social media wall to help identify a prospect’s pain points
  • Highlight the company’s own thought leaders as a part of the overall industry dialog on social media

Therefore, Social Media Walls can be more than pretty pixels and digital decoration. In a trade show booth, a social media wall helps exhibitors achieve multiple key sales and marketing goals: enhance their image, attract booth traffic, build relationships, generate leads, and ultimately, generate sales.

Multiple social media walls in a 10 foot display

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our social media walls and interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you generate more booth traffic.

Using Digital Trade Show Games As An Icebreaker With Attendees

digital ice breaker for trade showsEver seen a trade show attendee give your booth staffers the cold shoulder?  Maybe you just need something to break the ice.

Many trade show attendees shiver at the thought of walking boldly into a booth and striking up a conversation.  They just want to avoid getting pounced upon by an overzealous booth staffer.

It’s a real problem for trade show exhibitors, that attendees (who are at the trade show to find solutions to their business problems!) avoid booth staffers. Without a start to the conversation, there is no lead taken by a booth staffer.

Fortunately, digital trade show games can warm up shy attendees – and turn them into booth visitors – by acting as a digital icebreaker.

The Digital Icebreaker In Action

Here’s what our clients tell us happens, again and again:

Attendees walking down the aisles see the big, colorful digital screens featuring our games such as the Challenge Bar Trivia Game or the Virtual Prize Wheel.  The attendees slow down and watch for a moment, watching the other players enjoy themselves.  And soon enough, the frost starts to melt!  They overcome their usual reluctance, walk into the booth, and start to play the game.

And as they attendees play the game, something wonderful happens.  They have fun, plus learn about the exhibiting company’s products.  Which makes them much more approachable by the exhibitor’s booth staffers.

Now, the ice is broken, the attendee has warmed up, and the booth staffer can start a conversation.  How did you do on the game?  What did you get right?  Let me get the prize you won!  Are you familiar with our company?

And because the attendee is already warmed up, they are much more likely to answer the booth staffer’s questions, and if there is a good match between the attendee’s needs and the exhibitor’s products, then a trade show lead has been created.

That’s no small feat.

And it started with the digital ice breaker.

If you’d like to see more about how you can drive more booth traffic with our interactive trade show games, feel free to contact us with questions or to discuss your event with one of SocialPoint’s Digital Strategists. We’ll help you break the ice – and generate more booth traffic.