Our New, Crowdsourced Design

Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display
Our 4 Final Concepts for Our New Trade Show Display

 

We at FB Displays & Designs recently had an opportunity to interact with our clients in a unique way. In preparation of our participation at a few trade shows, our creative team (which is all of us) wanted new graphics to be used on one of our trade show displays. After several weeks of brainstorming & designing, we came up with ten concepts. Over the following week, we narrowed it down to four contenders. We came to the conclusion that everyone on our team liked all four finalists. With only a week until our first event, what were we to do?

 

This is where our story takes a creative twist: we decided to crowdsource our decision.* We sent an email to all of our clients & posted a poll on our social media sites, inviting our clients & followers to vote for their favorite concept.

 

We were pleasantly surprised by the high participation rate from our fans. In the end, there was a clear winner, (Design #1,) which we produced straightaway. Here’s how the vote totals broke down:

 

Design #1: 55%

Design #2: 17%

Design #3: 17%

Design #4: 11%

 

While Design #1 was the crowd favorite, #’s 2, 3 and 4 received the most passionate responses, including the following:

 

“For me # 4 is your best bet. It’s the most arresting/cool/ “check this out!” display in my opinion. And the words are not fighting with the background.”

 

I can’t automatically put 2 & 4 in a category or stereotype them because though my mind may try to find a file for them…when it can’t…I have to stop to think about what does this mean. My favorite is 2- just more gusto, spunk and power.”

 

We are thrilled to report that our experiment was a success. The amount of votes we received exceeded our expectations, and the feedback was an added bonus. And the rest, as they say, is history. At the SBA Expo on May 13th, we unveiled our new trade show display as chosen by our wonderful fans.

 

FB Displays Trade Show Booth
Our New Trade Show Display

 

 

Do you have an interesting story to tell us about your own design experience? We’d love to hear it-Please leave a comment, below. And to see more designs created by our team, visit our project gallery.

 

* Trained professionals performed this stunt. Don’t try it at home.

 

Written by Bill Henecke, Graphic Designer for FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

FB Displays and Designs trade show display

How to Make Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location

FBD2, Lemonade from a Lemon Booth Location
Photo Courtesy of Flickr, Yellow Sky Photography

Stuck in the back corner of the hall or behind a column? Miss out on getting into the main exhibit hall? Here’s how you can see all your clients and prospects and have a successful show:

1. Pre-show announcements.

It doesn’t matter if it’s an elaborate mailer, or a quick text or e-mail, send something telling clients and prospects you’re not going to be easy to find, but the extra effort will be rewarded. Don’t forget to maximize your presence at the show on Linkedin and Facebook.

2. Sponsor a coffee break.

Convince show management into allowing you to sponsor a coffee or beverage break. Then put a very large and colorful sign nearby with a map to your booth and a prize offer for attendees who find you. 

3. Give them a yellow brick road.

Negotiate with show management to let you place stickers on the aisle carpet leading attendees to your booth. These can be arrows, footprints or pictures of your product.

4. Give them what they want.

Do some serious brainstorming and come up with a novel – a really, really novel – promotional item that will allow people to wear or carry your logo to the masses. The right item will cause people to ask where they can get one for themselves.

5. Let Elvis do your talking.

Hire talent to hand something (samples, coupons, flyers with maps to your space) to attendees as they come into the facility. Some show managers will let you rent space or will designate a specific location for this activity.

6. Give them the shirt off your back.

Dress your entire staff in shirts with a map to your booth on the back and your logo on the front.

7. Sponsor headrest covers on the shuttle buses.

Put your logo and booth location on the back of every shuttle bus seat headrest so that everyone knows how to find you once they are in the hall.

8. Network like a madman!

In addition to every networking event, take advantage of social media. Tweet a ‘Thank you for visiting our booth’ message to every visitor to your booth. This leads to a reply or a retweet that not only creates a bond with the prospect (enhancing the possibility of a conversion) but also takes your brand and booth location to the followers of the prospect leading to more potential visitors.

9. Get friendly with show management.

Don’t be afraid to talk to show management about your dilemma. The more they know that you are serious about maximizing your presence at their show, the more likely you’ll be able to get first option on a better location if someone pulls out or is a no-show.

Good luck and have fun!

Written by Francine Brooks, President of FB Displays & Designs, Inc.

Going Mobile on the Trade Show Floor

mobile
Photo Courtesy of http://www.npaworldwide.com

Over the past few years, smartphones and tablets have become an integral part of everyday life. Since mobile devices are portable and can access a great deal of information within seconds, they are a natural fit for use in the trade show environment. Here are some tips for using mobile technology to your advantage at a trade show.

  • Include a highly visible QR Code on your display. The QR code should take users to a landing page that is optimized for mobile devices. The landing page can be your company’s homepage, a contest entry form, a lead qualification form, etc.
  • Use an app to collect leads. There are several apps that make lead retrieval very simple, such as iLeads and DUB, that allow you to scan a business card and enter the contact information into either your phone contacts or a database. Using a lead retrieval app will save you the headache of keeping up with hundreds of pieces of paper and trying to decipher a potential lead’s handwriting. The leads can be sent directly from your phone or tablet to your office.
  • Schedule appointments with prospects using the calendar function on your phone or tablet. This saves both you and the prospect the time of attempting to connect after the trade show and guarantees a better chance that the meeting will take place.
  • Many trade shows have an app created for the event. Download this onto your mobile devices and continually check for updates, changes, itineraries and announcements.
  • Take photos using the smartphone’s camera and share them on your company’s social media platforms. Include your booth number to encourage your followers at the show to visit your exhibit.
  • Stream video from the event to the home office, attendees and clients who were unable to attend, using social media and/or videoconferencing.
  • Ask attendees to share their own photos and videos from your exhibit through social media. To encourage attendee contributions, design a contest for attendees who share their images and videos of your exhibit through social media.
  • Design a simple, interactive game to be played on a mobile device housed at your exhibit. A game is memorable and increases attendee engagement. The game should easy to play, fun, casual and tied directly to your value proposition.
  • Process credit card payments using a device like AprivaPay, which attaches to your smartphone or tablet and allows you to swipe the client’s credit card.

Exhibitors who learn to leverage mobile technology on the trade show floor will ensure that their trade show appearance goes smoothly, while also increasing engagement with the show attendees. This leads to a greater amount of leads generated at the show and less time spent on administrative tasks associated with post-trade show follow-up, which ultimately improves ROI (return on investment).

Trade Show Trends of 2012

By Lisa Shackelford

The fall trade show season is upon us, which means exhibitors are inspecting their old displays, purchasing new displays and graphics, repairing broken parts and revising their past trade show strategies. In doing so, exhibitors will undoubtedly evaluate the upcoming trends in the trade show environment.

Here are some of the recent trends to consider when updating your trade show strategy, based on the results of Exhibit Surveys, Inc. annual Trade Show Trends report and the 2012 Social Media Marketing Survey.

  • 35% of attendees in 2011 reported that their intent to buy was more favorable after visiting a company’s exhibit.  This means that for companies that exhibit, the value of attending trade shows lies not only in meeting prospective clients, but also in building brand loyalty and brand awareness.
  • There has been a 90% increase in the amount of marketers using social media as a part of their exhibiting strategy in the past two years. Marketers utilizing social media for exhibit marketing cited benefits such as increased booth traffic, increased brand awareness, improved relationships with clients, increased event attendance, additional press coverage and increased sales as a direct result of their social media campaigns.
  • 81% of trade show attendees in 2011 had the power to make a purchasing decision or influence the purchasing decision. Despite recent economic challenges, trade shows continue to attract attendees that either are decision makers, or have are influential in the buying process.
  • Technology is becoming more integrated into trade show exhibits. IPads and tablets are not just used to show videos and photos of a company’s product. Tablets and CRM software are increasingly being partnered to streamline the lead management process.
  • 36% of attendees on average are first time attendees. Trade shows are attracting a wide variety of decision-makers; from the first-time attendee to the seasoned trade show professional.
  • Many exhibitors have been focusing on creating metrics to justify the initial investment necessary required for exhibiting. The most common metric being discussed is ROI (return on investment), but exhibitors are looking for supplementary metrics as well, such as ROO (return on objectives).

The trade show environment is rapidly evolving to make the experience on the trade show floor more interactive for attendees, by means of social media and technology. Trade shows continue to attract attendees that are decision-makers in the purchasing process, which means that trade shows continue to be a highly effective method for marketers to reach their target market.

Lisa Shackelford is the Marketing Coordinator at FB Displays & Designs. 

References

Sequeira, Ian. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Trade Show Trends, April 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, Apr. 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/apr12/trade-show-trends-exhibit-surveys.asp&gt;.

Stanton, Travis. “EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012.” EXHIBITOR Magazine – Article: Research: Social Studies, June 2012. EXHIBITOR Magazine, June 2012. Web. 06 Sept. 2012. <http://www.exhibitoronline.com/exhibitormagazine/jun12/research-social-studies.asp&gt;.

Using Social Media to Enhance Your Trade Show Presence

Social media is a cost-effective way for a business of any size to interact with customers. Sites like Facebook and Twitter can also be used to give a firm an edge when exhibiting at a trade show. Here are some tips for using social media to drive traffic to your trade show booth:

  • Create a Facebook fan page and encourage attendees to “Like “ your business. You can tie this in with a giveaway or contest to increase participation.
  • Use Twitter to give teasers about what to expect from your booth. Include one enticing tidbit per tweet, and include things like giveaways, contests, show specials, any entertainment, etc.  Make sure to vary your teasers to sustain the excitement.
  • On Twitter, use the hashtag (#) for your show when posting tweets related to the show. An example of what a hashtag looks like is #tradeshow. By placing the hashtag at the end of your tweets, your tweet can be viewed by attendees of the show, who have filtered tweets by the hashtag.
  • Use Facebook and Twitter to post pictures from your booth at the Trade Show.  Posting on Twitter will allow real time images and up to the minute updates. Facebook will create an album, where your photos can be viewed in the future.
  • Use Twitter and Facebook to post any “breaking” news from the Trade Show for clients who could not attend
  • Use Pinterest to post pictures from your booth. You can link your Pinterest account to both Twitter and Facebook, so you can reach out with photos through three social networks at once!
  • Blog about our exhibit both pre-show and post-show. This will create a buzz around your display, but also invite feedback and keep those clients who were unable to attend in the loop with any news.

Using social media as a part of your trade show toolbox with not only get the word out about your booth, but also portray your company is up to date with current trends, as well as innovative. However, like other forms of pre-show and post-show marketing, it is essential to be proactive in advertising your display to get the most out of your social media promotional materials.

Why Isn’t Your Small Business Using Social Media?

While the phrase “social media” easily resonates with business owners these days, it’s surprising how many aren’t actually involved with this ever-growing facet of marketing.

This disconnect became more concrete in the latest Small Business Success Index survey. While the SBSI showed an “almost universal awareness among small business owners of Facebook and Twitter” only 27 percent of the entrepreneurs used Facebook for business purposes, and a mere 7 percent were Twitter users. LinkedIn garnered 18 percent.

Despite the tepid survey results, small businesses that have tried social media often see results: 63 percent say it helped make their customers more loyal. Other say social media has helped them stay engaged with customers, build brand awareness and identify and attract new customers.

So why aren’t more small companies doing it?

Many small business owners worry that social media is too “time-consuming” and that getting started can be very overwhelming. When FB Displays & Designs, Inc. first decided to integrate social networking into their marketing strategy, they had hired a college intern to build all of their profiles and begin initiating relationships. Over a short period of time, solid connections were steadily built across the board and members of the team could naturally maintain and interact with others among the different sites. Today, they use their social media presence as an outlet to interact with others, share important information and retain mutually beneficial relationships with their “friends and followers”.

Creating a successful social media presence boils down to a 2-step process:

1) Listen. Where is your key audience online? Set up Google Alerts for your business. You’ll begin to see where the conversations about your business are taking place. Listening helps you develop your voice.

2) Engage. Be sure you aren’t just blasting out information and news about your business. Interact directly with your followers. Ask them what else they would like to see from you and your business.

It’s important to remember that building a social media presence requires patience. If you’re not sure which site to begin with, find out which one is most popular with your customers. Learn the site to the best of your ability, refine its use and decide whether to move on to another. Social networking is all about building relationships and whether it’s online or off, relationships don’t happen overnight.

SOURCE: Rieva Lesonsky, www.AllBusiness.com Blog

We’d love to hear your thoughts on social media. For those of you currently involved on social networking sites, what strategies do you find work the best for your company?

“Texting” for the Trade Show World

 

In the United States alone, several billion text messages are sent each day. Texting is a form of communication that is here to stay. And with every new form of communication that has evolved, there follows with it a new form of advertising. In this case: SMS (short message service) marketing. Blindly messaging random segments of people may generate negative thoughts about your company, because no one in their right mind enjoys spam. But selectively and creatively incorporating SMS into your trade show marketing campaign can generate interest in your booth, and increase the amount of traffic you see.

Over 80% of consumers own and carry a cell phone on a daily basis. While snail-mail and email marketing can be lost in a pile of junk mail, or the clutter of a full inbox, SMS can target an attendee instantly. Whether trade show visitors are arriving at their hotels, or walking the show floor, they can receive your message. Here are a few ways you can make SMS messages work for you at trade shows:

  • Inform attendees of your booth location and schedule of demonstrations at your booth
  • Offer a special promotion only available by responding to your message
  • Instant follow-up with contacts you have met at your booth to build the first part of a friendly relationship and stay fresh in their minds
  • Inform attendees of any changes to your show schedule or booth location

Another alternative SMS messaging offers you at trade shows is a creative way to run a Q&A session of your both presentation or demonstration. While simply asking your audience for questions will generate a few responses, here are some ways SMS messaging can boost interaction:

  • Help more timid attendees receive the answers to their questions by removing the public speaking aspect
  • Allow visitors to instantly ask questions without interrupting the flow of your presentation
  • Grant you the ability to weed out irrelevant questions and only answer the most pressing and important ones

On the more technologically flashy side, you can purchase a SMS display system to accompany your graphical display. From these screens you can instantly broadcast attendees’ feedback about your booth, your company, or the show in general. These displays will be eye catching and draw in curious onlookers to your booth and also provide an incentive for them to stop back and view updates.

In these economically tight times, SMS messaging is a creative, flexible and a more economical alternative to standard trade show marketing procedures. You can target every attendee, or only a select few, right on the show floor and be assured they have your message in hand. Even though  text messaging is most popular among teenagers and tweens, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for it in your marketing strategy. And well, it’s also never too soon to practice and perfect ways to target the next generation of consumers.