Viewing entries tagged
trade show marketing

Approaching Creativity

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Approaching Creativity

In a world where there is a constant flow of communication at not just trade show attendees, but all consumers, how do you showcase an exhibit with creativity and differentiation to drive impact? This is the question at hand for many trade show managers and executive leaders.

The process is a true partnership between client and agency. Together, we are always stronger because each group brings two vastly different perspectives to the table; which marries business objectives and understanding with strategic and executional trade show excellence.

We believe that finding creativity for a company must start with the precedence of why they are exhibiting in the first place. This understanding should be the thought stream that all creativity should stem from. As a company digs into the objectives of show attendance, they will naturally bump into further understanding their target market, specifically, the ones that attend the show and their rationale. Dialogue around objectives should be the catapult into creative discussions that surround addressing and solving their target market’s pain points through trade show marketing.

Often, people attend these industry events to learn about new products, gain valuable information, and network with others to be inspired and challenged. Being next to hundreds, sometimes thousands of other exhibitors, should push companies to understand why they’re attending and how they’re going to cut through the noise and reach their audience in a fresh, differentiated, and business-impacting way. 

Some people like to start with color swatches, trends, tactics (which, we are the first to love all these things); however, starting with objectives will help to make sure the creative direction and innovation is on-point.

Once objectives are clear, then the creative process can be informed. At nParallel, we bring in key people from across the organization to strategize around the outlined objectives. For us, it doesn’t matter where the best idea comes from for our clients; we just want the best. Sometimes, these story storm session, as we call them, include our clients. Again, we are looking for the creative concept that will support business objectives to reach our client’s prospects.

At a trade show, most companies shouldn’t be trying to attract everyone; they should be laser-focused on obtaining quality leads. Creativity for some brands, like a medical-device client of ours, looks like closing off their booth to only the ten percent of show attendees who received an exclusive invitation to go behind the curtain (which actually was a wall) to experience an innovative product first-hand. This approach is different and is tied to their business objectives of quality leads and sales.

Being innovative and creative in the trade show industry means understanding how to interact with the target audience in the way they want to be interacted with to help them achieve their business goals. Our team of trade show pros have been in the industry for decades and they get how to drive business objectives through trade show marketing.

Helping clients stand up and out is what we love to do.

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Our RFP Tips from Reading Hundreds of Proposals

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Our RFP Tips from Reading Hundreds of Proposals

To every season turn, turn, turn. We know that you’ll be turning, turning, turning many pages of trade show proposals once you’ve sent out your RFP. We’d like to help.

 After 15 year in this business, we know it’s RFP season when our team is spending an excessive amount of time held up in a room decorated with pinned renderings, too many coffee cups, and strategic ideas bouncing off every surface.

We review countless proposal every year and we wanted to share a few tips that help both exhibit houses and their prospective clients in the detailed process of proposal season. We can help.

 Check out our top 7 tips.

 1. Include Brand Standards

It is always best to include brand standards from the start so that the creative team can include the right branding, the first time. No one likes a re-do. And by no one, we mean no one. Exhibit houses appreciate any design files that companies want to share as well as any guidelines to follow.

 2. Share the Budget

When sending a proposal, it’s best to always share a budget. A detailed exact number is even better than a range. It helps to give context for how an exhibit house can better help its potential client. We can promise that sharing a budget does not limit creative thinking – including the budget helps to maximize thinking to stretch and optimize within a client’s financial parameters.

 3. Give Time

The worst timeline is a rushed timeline. Excelling exhibit houses aren’t sitting around without any work to do, so, when a brand sends out a proposal to agencies, they should hope that they have other client work on their plate and that they cannot turn a proposal around in a matter of moments. So, being generous with timelines almost always produces the best results.

 4. Ask for Feedback

In a proposal process, this is an excellent time to ask the question, “if this was your exhibit, what would you do differently?” Hearing an outside perspective on an exhibit program can positively change the trajectory of a current program. Exhibit houses see trade show programs all day and have endless ideas to optimize strategies to be stronger. So, gather feedback needed to maximize current programs.

 5.  Get to Know the People

At the end of the day, people like to work with people they like. Before hiring an exhibit house, spend time with them. Whatever company gets awarded the business will have the privilege of working day in and day out with your company. We believe it’s important to build comradery before selecting the right agency so that when the work starts, there’s already a personal connection.

 6.  Provide Details Details Details

As it relates to everything in the proposal, the more details that can be shared with the exhibit houses, the better. As a brand experience company, our goal is to help our clients stand out and we do this through the information shared with us. The more the merrier.

 7. Make Time

Agencies are investing their time into creating for their prospective client the best possible brand activation to deliver upon business goals. The most productive way to work is in collaboration. So, during the RFP process, make sure to leave space in the week to connect with the exhibit houses to answer questions, provide feedback, etc. The positive results of these brief calls can make a world of difference.

If it’s you, a colleague, or friend who’s about to embark on a brand activation or trade show RFP we hope you find exactly what you need. Our team specializes in help our clients stand up and out and we’d love to help you get there.

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The Importance of Exhibit Space Selection

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The Importance of Exhibit Space Selection

Booth selection shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s truly a critical process and creative art to help provide the best experience for your exhibit visitors and support your company goals.

As an account planner, I facilitate the process of partnering with the show association, analyzing current options, recommending new exhibit locations, and selecting the best new or created exhibit space to support my client’s objectives.

When evaluating the location of an exhibit, many elements should be reviewed. We’ve created a top 10 list of considerations to help exhibitors evaluate the best location for their business on the show floor.

1. Know the show

It’s most helpful to understand the flow of the show to select the best location. Exhibitors should thoroughly understand the flow of the floor, busy areas, and areas to avoid before making their location choice.

2. Custom spaces

Inquire about custom spaces with the association if you do not see the most ideal set-up for your company. With the right conversation, you might be able to have them create a new space to help achieve your goals in a more efficient way with a stronger location.

3. Maximize middle isles

There’s a science behind the technique to make your exhibit stand out. It might take more strategic work to amplify in the middle, but it can pay off.

4. Front hall

Yes, the front hall seems to be a place where people can see you first; however, the front of the hall can be overlooked by show attendees who want to get into the exhibit hall. At the same time, you can set the stage for the best display if you choose the front hall.

5. Back wall

If you’re choosing the back wall, it’s helpful to think about how you can open the space and maximize traffic. For some clients, we recommend removing the pipe and drape and choosing the corner location to catch people from both angles.

6. Sponsorships

Is your company planning to sponsor a function of the show or activity like a happy hour, break room, exhibit-wide contest, etc.? If so, selecting a space close to your area of sponsorship can be helpful to increase awareness and traffic.

7. Traffic flow

With large shows, it’s important to ask the association how traffic will flow at the event. Sometimes what may seem like the entrance, labeled "front hall," might be the back hall regarding flow.

8. Exhibit company

Like mentioned earlier, utilize your exhibit company. They are truly the experts in the field and should understand your shows better than anyone, except the association. Ask them to develop a strategy, dig into the association’s floor plan and recommend the best way forward.

9. Competitors

As exhibit spaces are selected, be sure to watch where your competitors land. A strategy for companies launching a new product might be to place their exhibit close to a competitor to capitalize on their traffic overflow which can maximize the brand awareness of your new product launch.  

10. Neighbors

It’s important to evaluate who is going to be in the surrounding booths. You want to pick a location where your neighbors are complementary to yours. An example might be, if you’re a healthcare company, you probably don’t want to sponsor the happy hour that could be placed right next to your booth. Consider the moral of your neighbors; you want their moral to be like yours.

If you are still unsure of which exhibit location is best for you, we’d love to help. It’s a strategy that we are experts on delivering to help drive the strongest show results. Reach out to us; we’d love to help.

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Three Ways to Maximize Budgets

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Three Ways to Maximize Budgets

For the past 15 years, we’ve been helping our clients think outside the box and work within their brand activation budgets. Here are three tips that are tried and true to help companies save money (and time)!

1.       Set clear goals and priorities and have them approved cross-functionally

Your organization’s business goals, marketing objectives and specific goals for your brand activation programs are extremely important – maybe the most important item to share with your agency partner. Whether your agency is helping you with a trade show, retail pop-up shop, VIP demo or experience, or any type brand immersion, this written document (yes, we said written) can help agencies always keep your goals top-of-mind and woven throughout the experience.

We want you to succeed and success looks different for each client, and often each team within our client’s organization, so routing the goals and priorities cross-functionally is always a win-win. We want to deliver a recommendation and solution that drives your organization towards success and if we understand your goals and priorities, we can get to your solution quicker and more efficiently, saving both time and money.

2.       Focus on the entire customer experience, versus physical exhibit space

Often, our clients come to us with very specific exhibit space elements in mind such as wanting a certain number of displays, conference rooms, tables, chairs, signage, entrances, etc. We recommend starting with the experience, instead of these details. Before kicking off a new exhibit design, align as a team and answer this question, “what is the experience we want our customers to walk away with," versus "what elements do we want in our exhibit." Starting here – after aligning on your goals, of course— helps us to get to the quickest exhibit solution by starting with the end in mind.

3.       Ask your exhibit agency to manage your show services

At nParallel, our account team manages thousands of show services for clients each year. This is an area that companies often think they should manage versus asking their agency to do so on their behalf. The benefit to having your exhibit partner manage these elements for you is that agencies have ongoing relationships with exhibit halls and vendors that makes it easier for us to find the best pricing for clients.

We love helping companies problem-solve and stretch their company’s dollars to work harder for them, no matter the brand activation experience.

Want to maximize your budget? Give us a call.

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nParallel Receives Top 40 Exhibit House Award!

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nParallel Receives Top 40 Exhibit House Award!

It’s been an incredible year at nParallel and it’s only March!

We were recently recognized as a Top 40 exhibit producer by Exhibit Media Group, an award-winning monthly magazine that features best practices in the trade show industry.

Exhibit houses across the United States and Canada applied for the award and were subjected to an exhaustive evaluation process including more than 50 individual criteria, all weighted to reflect how EXHIBITOR readers and Editorial Advisory Board members value them when vetting and selecting potential partners. 

“It is such an honor to be recognized as one of the best exhibit houses across the United States and Canada,” said Megan Diamond, president of nParallel. “Our team at nParallel is truly some of the best in the industry. We hold ourselves to a high caliber to ensure we are always providing our clients with strong creative, visual intrigue, inspired innovation and useful technology and we’re thrilled that our industry publication has taken notice.”

"This program is intended to spotlight the best exhibit producers in the industry, while also providing a valuable resource for exhibit managers searching for new potential partners," said Randy Acker, president and chief operating officer of Exhibitor Media Group. “The Find It – Top 40 represents the most exclusive list of U.S. and Canadian exhibit providers in the industry and serves as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval when it comes to the companies behind many of the most successful trade show stands in the world.” 

The evaluation process also included a survey of current clients and a review of entrants' past projects, selling points, and innovations, conducted by corporate exhibit managers. The myriad criteria considered were categorized into five primary areas:

·       Company and Capabilities

·       Honors and Awards

·       Thought Leadership and Industry Participation

·       Reliability and Service

·       Creativity and Key Differentiators

All companies who made the 2018 Find It –Top 40 will be featured online at www.ExhibitorOnline.com/FindIt and in the June issue of EXHIBITOR magazine.

Not only was this a huge accomplishment, but we also were recognized by Event Marketer with their Fab 50 award, an honor that showcases the top fabricators serving the event and trade show industry.

Thank you, EXHIBITOR, and thank you to our clients who allow us to help them bring to life their incredible work.

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