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Posts Tagged ‘Trade Show’

Note to Trade Show Exhibitors: “Booth Babes Don’t Work”

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

If you’ve ever been to a trade show, or even seen coverage of one on the news, you know there tends to be more style than substance. Nothing embodies this more (pun intended) than the “Booth Babe”. While having a pretty girl is a sexy outfit may draw fanboys to your booth (and may drive away geek girls) do they increase business ($$$) and not just traffic at the booth?

I recently saw a great article on this as a guest post by Spencer Chen over at TechCrunch discussing the fact that tech companies continue to use old school marketing techniques:

This past week Las Vegas played host to the annual CES conference and concurrently, the annual chiding of tech companies by tech press for their time-honored tradition of using booth babes in marketing their wares.

It’s a pretty indefensible practice. The hiring of young, college-aged females to dress as provocatively as possible to help promote…um, Ultra HD TV sets, Android tablets and Internet-enabled toothbrushes. It’s a relic of old enterprises, but that’s just the way they like their world. But what nearly every critic has failed to mention is a real concrete business reason to end the practice.

Well, I do: Booth babes do NOT convert.

He has had anecdotal evidence of this for years, but no real evidence until recently when had the opportunity to test his theory in real life:

A few months out from attending a big SAP show, I was reviewing our staffing plans for our 10′ x 20′ booth. The preliminary plan was a sales rep, a systems engineer (sales guys that can actually demo), myself, and a couple of “marketing events consultants” (Protip: It’s frowned upon when you actually put “booth babes” as line item in your budget).I was also looking at our previous year’s lead-gen efforts and it was a paltry 150 or so leads. For an event where we’re spending over $70K, it’s not great ROI. In the enterprise world, we would easily spend up to $200 to acquire a qualified lead.

I never realized how much these guys spend on trade shows!

Then came a godsend. I received an email from the event organizer that free booth space was being offered to us in a different part of the show floor since we had been a good marketing partner in the past. Bingo. There was my chance to test a theory with the hopes of boosting our lead-gen results.

My theory from years of being a part of trade show staffs is that the booth babes we hired were actually a drag on lead-gen. Up to that time, it was all empirical evidence based on being at shows where we had money to hire booth babes and events where we didn’t. I noticed that we had always done better without the booth babes but it was just silly to suggest that we did better because we didn’t have hot babes at the booth. I mean, I had a better chance of convincing my co-workers that the sky was purple.

But here was my chance to put it to the test. So for one booth I flew in professional booth babe talent, and for the other booth I had asked another local agency for a couple of show contractors that knew the local area and had established people skills. I actually had to stress a couple of times that I was not looking for contractors whose only attribute was “smokin’.”

The results? They were great. The booth that was staffed with the booth babes generated a third of the foot traffic (as measured by conversations or demos with our reps) and less than half the leads (as measured by a badge swipe or a completed contact form) while the other team had a consistently packed booth that ultimately generated over 550 leads, over triple from the previous year.

So there’s your proof. Booth Babes. Do. Not. Work.

I really encourage you to read the full article. It’s definitely worth your time.

Trade Show Booth 101 Redux

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

Last year we posted our “Trade Show Booth 101: What registrants Really Want”. We thought it was worthy of an update/repost.
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The SXSW Trade Show is a great place to network and learn about all the cool new companies with a message to share.  With that in mind we have come up with what we’d like to see from the Trade Show companies.

Booth Design

Booths should be inviting and allow for space for visitors to enter the booth instead of just talking across the table from the aisle. This allows for better traffic flow and provides for better interaction.

Staff

Some visitors will want to chat about the product, others may just want a pamphlet. To avoid scaring away the masses, don’t play used car salesman (ie; don’t jump on each visitor with a canned spiel). Instead introduce yourself and offer to answer any questions they may have.

SWAG(What everyone *really* wants)

We’ve seen every sort of SWAG, some that stick around and others that just get discarded. For the best impact and long lasting brand recognition, we suggest the following pointers:

Stuff we can use DURING SXSW:

  • Sharpies – either the regular ones or the baby ones. These are almost a necessity during SXSW and are guarded jealously
  • Pens – especially small “purse” sized ones, space and weight are a commodity (but Sharpies are better)
  • Small notebooks – not everyone comes prepared for class :)
  • Blistex – This is really useful, and if you use the name brand item it is more likely to be held onto past SXSW (ie lasting brand recognition)
  • Sunglasses – cheap is okay, there are going to be lost, broken, forgotten shades, and they will be retained past SXSW
  • Gum
  • Bandanas
  • Mini flashlights – most people just use their iPhone so these wind up in the trash when the battery dies. UPDATE: Last year we found a solar powered rechargeable one from the Angers France Film Commission. We love it and it’s still around.

Stuff we can use AFTER SXSW:

  • Bottle openers – unique shapes will catch the eye.
  • USB drives – these are a great resource. We’ve even seen some companies provide content on them, which is very useful, but don’t make it so that the drive cannot be formatted for general use after the content has been viewed, otherwise it winds up in the landfill.
  • Phone cases
  • T-shirts – These are always a favorite, but try to have “SXSW” somewhere on it, it’ll mean more and be less likely to wind up at Goodwill.
  • Reusable shopping bags

Stuff that doesn’t have staying power (stay away from this, if it is taken it will most likely not stay around long)

  • Lanyards – everyone already has one. Suggestion: pony up to sponsor official SXSW lanyards.
  • Mints – especially in non-recyclable containers
  • Hand fans
  • Stickers, magnets, sweatbands, guitar picks, lighters etc. (unless your marketing plan is to advertise on guitar cases)

gdgt returns to Austin during SXSW

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

Last year gdgt hit Austin in a big way at the Austin Music Hall during SXSW Interactive. gdgt, a separate independent event from SXSW Interactive is known for putting the hottest in tech trends on display at booths much like the SXSW Trade Show. gdgt was a place to play with the geekerati in attendance.

This year they will be back on Monday, March 11th. The event is free, but get there early as there will be a long line to get in.

We’d love to see gdgt before a part of SXSW, maybe even a satellite event. This is the kind of new cool gadgetry that belongs in the SXSW Trade Show, and there is certainly some overlap with other aspects of SXSW.

gdgt will have a small conference as well, and it’s sad to think that these two great events can’t somehow come together. The would certainly both benefit from the cross pollination.

Who’s Going To Be Exhibiting at SXSW?

Friday, December 28th, 2012

SXSW have put up a list of the many exhibitors who’ll be populating the Trade Show at the Austin Convention Center hall for SXSW 2013. It’s the usual mix of small indie companies and curiosities, to the big names of the music, film, and interactive industries. Many of them are veterans of SXSW, others are new to the conference.

This year’s Trade Show runs from Sunday March 10th at 11am  and will be open for four days, closing at 4pm on Wednesday March 13. That means that those of you attending SXSW Music will only have one regular day of the convention to walk the floors (although many people will be coming in on Tuesday for some of the early showcases and can pound round Exhibit Halls 3 & 4 during the last day of Interactive).

It certainly helps to blend the three strands together, and also helps fill the hall up and make it look very very busy, even if only a third of the stands would be considered relevant to you.

SXSW Trade Show and the gdgt Event

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

Walking through the SXSW Trade show we noticed quite a few interesting booths:

  • We were exciting to see Space Camp there. While not usual for a SXSW event, you have to admit it gets the space geek in you excited. We were!
  • Beautecam, an app specifically designed to determine skin type and tone, was there. They were also handing out tiny zoom lenses that attach to your phones camera to allow the app to work. Clever idea and way out of the norm for SXSW.
  • Otterbox had a very visible booth, and drew a large crowd to play their version of “Plink-O” where the winners won an OtterBox phone case.
  • We were happy to see several booths take our advice and offer items that had staying power; bandannas, mini Sharpies on lanyards, notebooks, and a new item we’ve not seen at SXSW before: headphone cord keepers.

We also checked out a tech event over at the Austin Music Hall; gdgt. This event was like the techie ubergeeks Trade Show! With companies like Seagate, SanDisk, LogiTech Boxee, and Roku displaying their cutting edge tech products! Is was really like a mni CES! The gdgt Live show is touring the country, check out the website for info!

One of the most interesting booths there was the Simple.TV booth.

Simply.TV has a device that allows you to record onto it’s $149 DVR from any broadcast or basic cable service and have it available to view remotely if you choose. The feature that got our attention was the ability to add your own external storage, including networked storage! Having the ability to add your own external hard drive to the setup eliminates the problem of diminishing space on your DVR!

It was a great event, and more like what we’d like to see in the future at the Trade Show, cause who doesn’t like gadgets?

;

Trade Show Booth 101: What Registrants Really Want

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

The SXSW Trade Show is a great place to network and learn about all the cool new companies with a message to share.  With that in mind we have come up with what we’d like to see from the Trade Show companies.

Booth Design

Booths should be inviting and allow for space for visitors to enter the booth instead of just talking across the table from the aisle. This allows for better traffic flow and provides for better interaction.

 Staff

Some visitors will want to chat about the product, others may just want a pamphlet. To avoid scaring away the masses, don’t play used car salesman (ie; don’t jump on each visitor with a canned spiel). Instead introduce yourself and offer to answer any questions they may have.

SWAG (What everyone *really* wants)

We’ve seen every sort of SWAG, some that stick around and others that just get discarded. For the best impact and long lasting brand recognition, we suggest the following pointers:

Stuff we can use DURING SXSW:

  • Sharpies – either the regular ones or the baby ones. These are almost a necessity during SXSW and are guarded jealously
  • Pens (but Sharpies are better)
  • Small notebooks – not everyone comes prepared for class :)
  • Blistex – This is really useful, and if you use the name brand item it is more likely to be held onto past SXSW (ie lasting brand recognition)
  • Sunglasses – cheap is okay, there are going to be lost, broken, forgotten shades, and they will be retained past SXSW
  • Gum
  • Bandannas

Stuff we can use AFTER SXSW:

  • Bottle openers – unique shapes will catch the eye.
  • USB drives – these are a great resource. We’ve even seen some companies provide content on them, which is very useful, but don’t make it so that the drive cannot be formatted for general use after the content has been viewed, otherwise it winds up in the landfill.
  • Phone cases
  • T-shirts – These are always a favorite, but try to have “SXSW 2012” somewhere on it, it’ll mean more and be less likely to wind up at Goodwill.
  • Reusable shopping bags

Stuff that doesn’t have staying power (stay away from this, if it is taken it will most likely not stay around long)

  • Lanyards – everyone already has one. Suggestion: pony up to sponsor official SXSW lanyards.
  • Mints – especially in non-recycleable containers
  • Mini flashlights – most people just use their iPhone so these wind up in the trash when the battery dies
  • Hand fans
  • Stickers, magnets, sweatbands, guitar picks, lighters etc. (unless your marketing plan is to advertise on guitar cases)

By the way, SXSW announced their list of Trade Show Exhibitors yesterday. Go check it out.