Five Ideas to Steal from EXHIBITOR 2013

Five Ideas to Steal from EXHIBITOR 2013
Five Ideas to Steal from EXHIBITOR 2013 alt

From digital sketching to wall projection to social media inspiration, finding new and meaningful ways to connect brands with attendees was at the top of the priority list for many at EXHIBITOR 2013, held March 17-21 at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.   “Everything that’s here is meant to facilitate face-to-face interaction,” said Brian Baker, creative director at MC2. “That’s what’s precious about a trade show.”   Baker noted that to create the right experience, it’s important to start with the brand’s goals and only then move to strategy and specific tools.   To capture imagination, and future business, of attendees at EXHIBITOR, several brands adopted a winning strategy of focusing on the guests and found innovative ways to do it.

Apps That Work   It’s hard to get attendees to download apps and even harder to get them to use them. EWI Worldwide created an app that attendees were happy to share with their peers, even during educational sessions.   Building on a concept of creative storytelling, EWI asked attendees various fun questions, such “What is your guilty pleasure?” and had an artist sketch out their answer.   Their photo with the drawing was uploaded to an album in the app, which also contained a dream journal, a brag book with case studies and more on the company’s creative process.

Social Media That’s About Them   Lots of brands encourage attendees to follow them on social media, but few offer something that can spark ideas. To help attendees find the right feel for their next exhibit, Hargrove created curated photo boards that track design trends on the visual-minded Pinterest social network.   “The worlds of fashion, art, retail, architecture and interior design are interconnected and can serve as inspiration for exhibit and event design,” said David Solsbery, executive director of design at Hargrove.   Attendees browsed through the boards on interactive screens in the exhibit while discussing what they saw with company reps and walked away with a personalized exhibit mood board.

Personalized Face Time   A captive audience is every trade show marketer’s dream. It might sound like a gimmick, but attendees crowded around the EventToon’s booth, where a digital artist sketched their image on a tablet – that’s at least five minutes of face time.   The caricature portraits were printed out and many attendees sported them in their badge holders as they roamed the aisles, happy to show off their personalized giveaways.

Five Minutes of Fame   Larger-than-life projected imagery may not be a new concept, but what about when it’s your photo on the wall? MG Design brought a 20-foot projection mapping wall that used Pandora’s Box system for traffic-stopping effect.    Attendees loved large dynamic imagery even more when they realized that for their own Times Square moment they could have their photo taken at the booth and in seconds, it would be part of the projection.   “If you’re doing multiple shows, you don’t have to redo the whole exhibit and you can adjust the content for multiple brands or product lines,” said Ben Olson, vp of marketing for MG Design.

Comfort and Joy   After a crazy day on the floor, it’s hard to resist plopping onto a comfortable couch in a cozy lounge environment.   Add to that a meaningful and inspiring conversation with a top creative, not a sales person, who is not following a script but actually knows how to help. Factor in a cup of coffee and an éclair. Priceless.

Bustling EXHIBITOR show floor suggests good year ahead

WRITTEN BY EXHIBIT CITY NEWS
Three days of face-to-face engagement and accelerated sales cycles during a record-setting EXHIBITOR2013 show bodes well for the tradeshow industry this year.

EXHIBITOR has been ranked the top tradeshow in the United States for net-buying influence among attendees, according to research conducted by Exhibit Surveys. About 98 percent of those who attended the EXHIBITOR show last had the power to specify, recommend or make final purchasing decisions within their organizations, according to Exhibit Surveys. And some 61 percent indicated they would make a purchase within 12 months of the 2012 show.

“These percentages are well ahead of the averages for all tradeshows,” said Lee Knight, CEO, EXHIBITOR Media Group. “Over the last 10 years, the profile of EXHIBITOR attendees has consistently ranked us among the top shows who have qualified decision-makers with buying power.”

More than 275 exhibitors occupied about 65,000 square feet of exhibit space at the Mandalay bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, making the 2013 show the event’s largest during its 25-year history.  Some 219 exhibitors took up more than 52,000 square feet of exhibit space last year. And educational programs topped 200 this year, making EXHIBITOR as critical for career success as it is sales success.

“It’s a great show to be in. I’m impressed by the amount of people who have stopped by and shown interest,” said Brandon Watson, owner and president, Streamline Show Services. “We hope to be back next year.”

Watson’s company is new to the tradeshow industry and was nominated for the new product showcase for its unique “Show, Stack, Ship” display system that doubles as a crate system for product transportation. The system eliminates the need to store crates and other moving materials while a tradeshow is in progress and enables quicker exit times after a show ends, saving on labor and drayage costs.

Although not new to EXHIBITOR, Reality Engineering made its return several years after going on a tradeshow hiatus at the start of the recent economic meltdown that crippled many industries. But with economic conditions improved at least slightly, a return to the tradeshow floor was in order to promote its new products for lead retrieval, business card capture technology and other services.

“We have so many new products to offer our industry,” said Shayna Metzner, account executive, Reality Engineering. “People more than ever need to measure their events – especially tradeshows. You need to qualify the leads you are getting.”

Participating in EXHIBITOR was the best way for Reality Engineering to introduce its new products and accelerate the sales cycle.

“It’s an excellent show and a really good turnout. We are seeing a lot of traffic, even on the last day,” said Metzner. “We got a booth right up front next year.”

Among other returning exhibitors was Expand International, which has been at EXHIBITOR for more than a decade and found the business pace to be brisk this year.

“The quality of leads seems to be better this year. There are fewer tire-kickers,” said Ed Fedorowich, marketing manager, Expand International. “We are seeing way more qualified leads, and the people coming to our booth know who we are. We’re going to be here again next year in the same spot.”

Another returning exhibitor was New York-based ExpoLinc, which was participating in its eighth EXHIBITOR event and was featuring its new panel base and magnet frame for banners and signage.

“This has been an exciting show for us. We’re seeing a lot of new people this year,” said Jan Firszt, national sales manager, ExpoLinc.

Exhibitors from all 50 states as well as Canada participated, but the international presence reflected the increasingly global nature of the tradeshow industry with exhibitors and attendess coming from 40 nations.

“We are especially pleased with the international contingent,” said Carol Fojtik, senior vice president, Hall-Erickson, the event’s management company. “The international exhibitors are telling us they are coming to connect with U.S. exhibitors both to find outlets in America and to help U.S. companies expand their overseas business.”

EXHIBITOR2013 ran from March 17 through March 21 and is slated to return to the Mandalay Bay Convention Center again next year. Its apparent success bodes well for the tradeshow industry, which generally matches the pace and tone of the EXHIBITOR show throughout the year. And that means lots of qualified business leads and shortened sales cycles likely are in store for exhibitors.

If You Really Understand Your Brand, You Can Sell on Value, Not Price

Posted by Katherine O’Brien, American Printer-GC WorldBiz

Do you have high quality, good pricing and attentive customer service? These are all great things, but unfortunately virtually every company can make these claims. “It’s not what or how a company does something, but why they do it that way,” says Ryan T. Sauers, President/Owner of Sauers Consulting Strategies.

Sauers, who spent 20 years running offset printing operations prior to launching his consulting firm, has first-hand experience in dealing with industry realities such as commodity pricing. “You can’t sell on price,” he says. “There’s got to be value in what you are selling, the value in the ingredients that make up your brand. Why would people pay more for your work? What’s your brand and expertise?”

On February 21, 2013 in Orlando, Sauers will help  Graphic of the Americas’ (GOA) attendees understand their BRAND aka the Barometer reading of their Reputation, Attribution and Distinctiveness. Sauers’ Thursday seminar is called “So What? Why You? Who Cares?” “Attendees will be challenged to re-examine what organizations could look like and become,” he explains. “They’ll be challenged to understand and articulate the Differentiating Sales Factor.”

5 Branding Considerations

According to Sauers, once you know what your brand is you can determine the ways you want to purposefully grow, change, re-frame, promote, and/or strengthen your current brand position.! Here are five things to keep in mind.

1. Please refrain from saying that “print is not dead.” Of course it isn’t dead. It has simply changed—as has the entire world.

“I argue that print is more useful than ever,” says Sauers. “Trust me. I spend a lot of time in the social media world and doing marketing research.”

2. Please don’t get caught up with the fact that you feel you must refer to yourself as an MSP (marketing services provider). “Personally, I dislike this term… unless of course you are an excellentmarketing organization,” Sauers says.

3. Please don’t become overwhelmed with social and emerging media.  “Always remember it is all about the psychology—notthe technology and these are simply new ways to communicate—if you use them correctly. They are a tool—not the tool—in your marketing mix.”

4. Determine what you are best at. Embrace it and then build and promote your brand around it. Shout it from the mountain tops. Print it. Email it. Tweet it, etc. But always be authentic in everything you do.

 5. Remember, your brand is that “extra value” you provide and the reason a customer stays with you over similar competition and other offerings in the market.  Says Sauers: “When pondering your brand, you must first determine what it is all about. So obtain feedback from those around you as a first step. Be sure to obtain this feedback from those close to you as well as those who are more removed from you.”

Marketing Ideas You Can Copy – try these simple ideas in your business

Posted by Judy Schramm

How to Use QR Codes in Retail and Restaurant Marketing

0I rarely visit a nearby giant mall, so I don’t know where the stores are located. Whenever I go to there, I head straight to the map first thing. Rather than memorizing the locations of the stores I want, I use my phone to scan the QR code on the map to take it with me.

This is QR code in action doing what it does best: giving businesses a way to help customers take an offline source online and mobile. It saved me the time of using my phone to search for the mall’s directory on its not very mobile-friendly website.

While some customers haven’t adopted QR codes, it’s a helpful tool. QR codes take little space and you can provide a service to customers who use them. Even teachers are getting in on QR codes. At a recent school open house, each teacher posted a QR code for parents to scan to get the teacher’s contact information.

Using QR codes in retail and restaurants

Here are some ideas of what retail and restaurants can do with QR codes:

  • Share basic information. This includes address, phone number, website URL, social media URLs and hours of operation.
  • List products. Restaurants can post menus, while retailers can list brand names and products sold in the store. If possible, include pricing so customers know what to expect. You don’t have to change the QR code every time you change prices. Create the QR code to deliver a document or a web page. Then, all you need to update is the document or web page.
  • Offer discounts. Customers who scan the QR code can get a code word or instructions for getting discounts.
  • Collect customer feedback. You can put a QR code on your menu or next to your cash register. Use the QR code to take customers to a mobile-friendly form (preferably a short one) that allows them to give you feedback about their experience.

What NOT to do with QR codes

Watch out for the following:

  • Lack of explanation for the QR code. Just posting the QR code and hoping people’s curiosity will compel them to scan isn’t enough. Give them an idea of what to expect when they scan it:
    • Scan for contact information and operating hours.
    • Scan for offers.
    • How’s our service? Scan to share your feedback.
    • Scan for our menu.
    • Scan for items we carry.
  • Create tiny or giant QR codes. We’ve seen some QR codes smaller than a dime. Phones can’t always successfully scan something that small. They should be at least the size of a quarter. But not huge. Creating a large QR code may be troublesome because customers have to work harder to capture it on the small screen.
  • Send traffic to the wrong place. If your QR code just sends people to your home page, that’s not helpful. Remember people scan QR codes on their mobile devices. You want to deliver something they can use while they’re mobile.
  • Fail to optimize for mobile devices. Whether your code sends people to a web page, form or something else, ensure it’s easy to see and use on a mobile device.
  • Put the QR code in an accessible place. The first time I saw the QR code on the map at the mall, it was over eight feet up! I was grateful when they redesigned the map and moved the QR code in a much lower spot.
  • Publishing the QR code on the website. What’s the point? One reason for doing that would be to share it with coworkers, franchises and others who might need it to use in their publications.

Textbook Case: Before You Say What You Think, See What Your Customers Say

Posted by Katherine O’Brien, GC WorldBiz

How well do you know your customers? Often, we find it easier to go with what we think they want vs. their actual desires. Why does this happen? Probably because our suppositions seem logical—so logical that we never test or challenge them. And sometimes we focus on one stakeholder without considering other equally important players.

I thought of this as I read “For Many Students, Print is Still King.” According to author Jessica Howard, “Even [textbook] publishers that have invested more heavily in new digital features say they’re not doing away with books but making them part of ‘customizable learning experiences,’ to borrow a phrase from Pearson, the biggest player in the field.”

WHO KNEW?

Other quotes that caught my eye:

“The vast majority of students still prefer print,” says Michael Wright, director of college sales at Norton. “…As people become more sensitive to the overall costs of higher education, these are seen as a good value, so that’s part of their staying power.”

“We still print everything,” says Jerome Grant, the company’s chief learning officer for higher education. Pearson’s aim is not “to bias print or digital but to offer the experience in multiple formats.”

“Our students don’t really want to have e-books,” says Julie K. Bartley, an associate professor of geology and chair of the geology department at Gustavus Adolphus College. “What I hear from them a lot of times is that they feel some sort of comfort in being able to hold the thing in their hands.”

Students’ major concern about textbooks isn’t format but cost. “Probably the second biggest complaint in northern Minnesota after the weather is the cost of textbooks,” Bartley says.

“We’ve found that, at least so far, students are not terribly interested in the e-books,” says Tanya C. Noel, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Windsor, in Ontario. “That surprised me at first because I thought students would want something they could access on their mobile devices.”

Howard reports that Norton’s editorial team plans to offer a digital edition of the company’s biggest seller when it creates one it’s satisfied with. “The big question in creating digital Norton anthologies is, how you replicate the reading experience?” says Julia A. Reidhead, editorial director of Norton’s college department. The company wants digital editions to share the distinctive aspects of its workhorse print volumes, with their annotations and a format “that keeps the student focused on reading.” Digital permissions are a hurdle, too.

THEY MAY HAVE SMART PHONES BUT THEY’RE STILL EATING TOP RAMEN

It would be easy (and logical) to assume that digital savvy students would gravitate toward e-books. Apparently, however, some things don’t change. Modern college students may have smart phones and tablet computers but most are still stocking their dorm rooms and apartments with ramen noodles. And most textbook publishers want flexibility—print as well as other options. (But as new e—platform developers court the “old school” publishers, things will really get interesting.)

The moral of the story? Don’t let your preconceived notions give you tunnel vision. Seek an objective perspective. And if you find evidence that supports your view (print is great, even college students prefer printed textbooks) spend equal time evaluating a contrarian view, such a  German study that found a person’s preference for the printed book is not an indicator of how fast and how well the information is processed. Most importantly—ask your customers what they want—and then give it to them!

 

How Facebook’s Graph Search could affect restaurants

Posted by Mark Brandau, Nation’s Restaurant News

Operators and marketers are closely tracking any effect Facebook’s new Graph Search might have on restaurant referrals and word-of-mouth, but so far the new search function mainly puts the onus on brands to continually refine their Facebook engagement strategies, they said.

Graph Search, a new function Facebook rolled out in a beta test to a limited number of people on Jan. 15, allows users to find, among other things, pages of businesses, such as restaurants, that their friends like while using search criteria such as a city or state. In addition to restaurants their friends like, users also could find Facebook photos taken at restaurants or recent check-ins posted to friends’ pages.

Experts speculated that Graph Search could complement search engine optimization strategies or perhaps lessen the influence of other online sites like Yelp.com if it achieves enough scale, though it is too early to know for sure.

“It will be interesting to see if Facebook gets a widespread behavior change and gets people to use it often for search,” said Dana Arnold, director of public relations and social media for Madison, Wis.-based Hiebing, the agency of record for quick-service chain Culver’s.

So far, Facebook has not opened Graph Search to brands looking for paid opportunities, Arnold said, so the operative strategy is to keep interacting with Facebook fans to get their likes, comments and shares, which would ultimately lead Culver’s and other brands to show up in results when someone looks for “restaurants my friends like” in Graph Search.

Hiebing is currently managing Culver’s “Mini Resolutions” Facebook sweepstakes to promote the chain’s Mini Concrete Mixer.

“If we look at how traditional search outside of Facebook works and try to apply that within Facebook, then we know we’ll need to have people engaging with us,” Arnold said. “We need likes and shares, and we need our EdgeRank score to be high, and we do that through compelling daily content and large promotions, which is what we’re seeing with Mini Resolutions.”

 

Thinking more locally

Joe Sorge, chief executive of Milwaukee-based multiconcept operator Hospitality Democracy, said his restaurants, notably two-unit casual-dining burger concept AJ Bombers, are showing up in Graph Search results for a few customers testing out the search tool because he has spent years growing their likes and check-ins.

“That work we do to connect to those customers walking through our door and getting them to like our page and interact with us is what has made us prominent in Graph Search,” Sorge said. “It has everything to do with how connected you are to multiple friends who know each other.”

 

 

He added that location-based social platforms that link in with a person’s Facebook feed, like Facebook Places or Foursquare, would be important sources of activity to increase visibility in Graph Search. “If you haven’t been encouraging check-ins on a mobile app, it’s worth doing so now,” he said.

Social-media experts noted that the part check-ins would play in Graph Search, as well as the fact that people would use the tool to search for recommended restaurants nearest to them, would necessitate brands to manage local Facebook pages for each location they have.

Rob Reed, chief executive of MomentFeed, suggested in a blog post that brands need to claim local pages of their units by managing all pages through Facebook’s “Parent-Child” function for brand pages, and then make sure all those pages are updated with accurate location information and contact information.

If companies do not have individual location pages, they “need to start building pages for local branches in order to reap the benefits offered by Graph Search, because it’s going to act as a digital Yellow Pages,” Erica McClenny, vice president of social-media software firm Expion, wrote in an email to Nation’s Restaurant News. “It works for Web or mobile platforms, making it the key factor in ensuring that your storefronts will show up in a user’s search.”

McClenny reiterated that each local page should have accurate location information, including a street address and GPS coordinates, in its “About” section.

Not quite a Yelp killer

Continued from page 1

Experts and operators have speculated that if users successfully find new restaurants in Graph Search, the tool could become competitive with other online services such as traditional search engines or Yelp.com.

Social Graph’s ability to use people-centered information rather than mere SEO terms engenders trust between Facebook users based on likes,” Jitendra Gupta, chief executive of mobile-loyalty firm Punchh, wrote in a recent blog post. “In other words, if my graph of Facebook friends likes these restaurants, then I may trust its suggestions more than those from a search engine.”

 

 

He added, however, that Social Graph might aggregate which restaurants have the most likes among a user’s friends, but could neglect “richer customer data such as details of actual restaurant visits and opinions about food and service.”

The fact that Graph Search results would be displayed only within Facebook and would not get aggregated by external search engines like Google or Bing means that Graph Search likely would have a long way to go before seriously blunting the influence of Yelp, Arnold said.

“Search within Facebook is only within Facebook, so that’s kind of the downside,” she said. “Today, when we search, it’s likely on Google or Yahoo, and nothing within Facebook plays into that. If I Google Culver’s, the Yelp review comes up much higher than the link to the Facebook page [in search results].

“I don’t think Graph Search is going to overtake Yelp,” she continued, “unless Facebook opens their capability up to outside search — which I don’t think will happen — or we all go to Facebook for searching.”

Milwaukee restaurateur Sorge was more optimistic that many customers would eventually use Social Graph to find restaurants — and trust their friends far more than anonymous Yelp reviewers.

“The relief from a ‘Yelp effect’ is probably true, but the best part about Graph Search is if you’re in a city where you know some people but you’re not from there, now there’s direct word-of-mouth instead of just Yelp reviews,” Sorge said.

Sorge projected that when Facebook likely opens up Graph Search down the road to brands for opportunities for paid search results, he could seed Graph Search results to reach a very specific audience.

“If I came up with a new bacon burger and bought a Graph Search result, I could reach people who like AJ Bombers and like bacon,” he said. “I spend money on Facebook ads every month to promote posts and increase our audience and likes. I absolutely see the value in Facebook advertising, so making it more relevant and content-specific with Graph Search makes me want to use it more.”

Lessons in Latin

Posted by MARC HALPERIN: RESIDENT F&B EXPERT QRS Magazine

With Hispanic consumers surging in number and influence, the future of quick-service dining has a distinctly Latin flavor.

Latin flavors are growing in popularity on menus at American quick serve brands.

If demography is indeed destiny (as so many pundits and prognosticators are fond of noting), then fast-food and fast-casual brands are bound to take on an even more pronounced Latin flavor in coming years.

Consider: The Latino population in the U.S. grew 43 percent between 2000 and 2010, and Hispanics are projected to constitute fully 20 percent of the U.S. population by 2020, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. And this is a young crowd; the median age of U.S. Latinos is estimated at 28 years, compared with the overall U.S. median of 37 years. This means that a vast number of Latino consumers throughout the U.S. are starting families and forming households, which are often larger than those of other Americans. It also means that many, many Latinos are just now entering their prime earning and spending years.

It bears repeating that Latinos are already a vitally important part of the quick-serve customer base. Recent estimates from NPD Group indicate that Hispanic consumers make up 17 percent of all quick-serve traffic, and that about 18 percent of all dollars spent in quick-serve establishments can be attributed to Hispanic customers. On average, these patrons visit fast-food and fast-casual restaurants 10 times per month, compared with an average of seven times per month among other demographics.

What this suggests for quick-serve operators is that it pays to have a menu strategy that takes into account the many and varied tastes of Latino consumers. Here are a few thoughts on how to best meet this challenge:

Cater both to the desire for authenticity …

The first and most obvious tack quick serves can take to attract more Latino consumers is to take classic Central and South American recipes and recreate them, taking care to source authentic ingredients from their origins.

What does this mean in practice? Well, if you’re going to serve, say, a traditional Mexican torta for lunch, it means it should be served not on an American-style bun or sub roll, but on a true Mexican bolillo—the crusty, oblong carriers that are, for many Mexicans, the sandwich’s defining ingredient. In a similar vein, if you’re considering adding arepas (stuffed Venezuelan corn patties) to your menu, don’t skimp on the real ground corn dough; sample many versions of the genuine article and strive to achieve something akin to what a native Venezuelan might experience at home.

… and to the acculturated consumer

It’s worth noting that while authentic offerings have their place, it’s not off strategy to develop dishes that aim more directly at the hybridized palates of acculturated Latino consumers—those with one foot planted in their Latino heritage and the other grounded in more traditional middle-American fare. This can be accomplished simply by, say, creating a grilled chimichurri sandwich that fuses the Argentinean sauce with a standard-issue slab of steak or chicken. The parsley-based sauce could even be doctored to include cilantro or basil to give it a more bi- or tricultural spin.

Play off traditional American favorites

Think mac ‘n’ cheese that uses Brazilian Minas cheese, Mexican queso blanco, or Venezuelan Guyanés rather than traditional cheddar. Think about the possibilities inherent in spiking pizza or pasta with Cecina de León, the Spanish-style cured and air-dried beef, rather than pepperoni or Italian sausage. Or try your hand at customizing burgers with any number of authentic Latino ingredients: salsas, tomatillo sauces, pico de gallo, serrano or habanero peppers, Oaxaca cheese … the options are virtually limitless.

Put a lid on it

I’ve talked before in this space about the potential for using interesting, distinctive Latin-American flavors to create novel soft drinks like tamarind or mango iced tea, guava or hibiscus lemonades, and agua frescas made with watermelon, tamarindo, or strawberry. Again, the care and creativity you bring to the table can go a long way toward winning over consumers who straddle the cultural divide between traditional Latin and traditional American foods and beverages.

One thought to bear in mind as you consider the options for making greater inroads with Latino guests: Everything we see, hear, and read about American quick-serve customers—particularly those who fall into the Millennial cohort—suggests that “flavor adventure” is one of the main drivers of food, drink, and restaurant choices these days. Everyone, it seems, is interested in having his or her palate piqued. So the menu items quick serves devise to appeal to the Latino market, if carefully conceived and smartly executed, stand to appeal to consumers across the spectrum. In other words, though the upfront creative challenges, financial investment, or ingredient-procurement process might be somewhat daunting, the potential payoff could be substantial.

5 Tips on Using Social Media to Ramp Up Your Trade Show Event

Posted by Vickie Siculiano, ExhibitCraft

So, you’ve made the investment in a fired up trade show
display and you’re ready to ramp up your booth traffic. To do more than just
build your physical presence at a trade show, use the opportunity to ramp up
your virtual presence using social media.

The online conversation can multiply if you use some of these simple tips to get your show started.

1. Tweet before, during and after the show.

You can use a
free online tool such as hootsuite or tweetdeck to schedule a thread of tweets
to run before, during, and after your trade show. You can change one word in
each post, such as “10 days left…” “9 days left…” You can also vary them a bit
based on what kind of message you would like to post. Think of what specific
message you would like to promote, and then schedule it around your event to
maintain your presence even while you’re away.

2. Develop a content development strategy.

Fresh and valuable content takes time to develop.
And like a fine wine, it gets better with age. You should have a strategy, or
some kind of content calendar in place if you plan to have regular fresh content
development moving through the social media funnel. Think of the types of
content you create. Maybe it’s industry-specific news of relevance to your
audience. You should also have an internal content calendar to spread your
organization’s content you want to share – such as photos with clients, photos
at headquarters, blog posts, etc. Take all of this valuable content, and
schedule it to post throughout your event, so you can drive traffic not only to
your valuable online properties (your website, your social media profiles,
etc.), but so that you can have rich properties to drive search engine
traffic.

3. Listen to thc conversation already happening.

Is there
something that is already being discussed around the event? Make sure to pick up
on keyword phrases that are being used over and over again, and align yourself
with the conversation by using those same keyword phrases. Perhaps it is the
name of the event. Find the hashtag that is being used for the event. One
popular event hastag that we were jumping in on recently was #CHAShow. We were
able to learn about videos being shot at the exhibit, and were able to jump
right in the conversation. You can do this, too, if you keep track of the
tweeters that are already having a conversation. Join in.

4. Reach beyond
Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Listen to the conversation on different
social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, but don’t ignore
the value and power of Google+. There are industry specific blogs you can follow
(if you don’t know which ones, Google your industry name and the world “blog”
and you’ll not only get a list of currently active blogs, but the first page of
results will have blogs that rank highest in the search engines. You already
have your homework done for you. Now, you just need to align yourself by
commenting or contacting the blog authors to let them know where you’ll
be.

4. Foursquare discounts and prizes.

You can engage your booth
visitors by offering discounts using Foursquare or Gowalla. Maybe you might have
a check-in premium, a special event check-in at the trade show, or a scavenger
hunt. Whatever the offer might be, engage and encourage your exhibitors to do
the same.

5. Post your event photos!

Photos are one of the most
viral pieces of social media content, because they don’t take any time
investment to share – as long as there is an easy way of sharing them, people
will spread the word. Don’t just post them on flickr, but post them using
services like twitpic, and definitely share them on google+, too!

Survey says women want online meetings

Posted by Exhibit City News

TeamViewer, one of the world’s most popular providers of remote control and online meetings software, has announced the findings of its survey of over 2,500 American adults age 18 and older, conducted online by Harris Interactive in January. The survey, which was drafted based on TeamViewer’s experience hosting online meetings in the workplace, highlights that women are at the forefront of technology in the American workplace.

The results showed that, in general, women were more likely than men to see the benefits of taking their meetings online, with a majority of U.S. adults (77 percent) saying that online meetings are on the rise.

Specifically, women were statistically more likely than men to say:

  • They could save money in transportation costs – (78 percent vs. 71 percent)
  • You don’t have to waste time traveling to meetings – (77 percent vs. 71 percent)
  • Online meetings are less nerve-wracking – (37 percent vs. 26 percent)
  • People are less distracted – (22 percent vs. 16 percent)

Surprisingly, Generation X/Baby Boomers (ages 45-54) were more likely than young people (ages 18-34) to say they think online meetings save money in transportation costs (80 percent vs. 71 percent) and don’t waste their time traveling to meetings (80 percent vs. 68 percent). When asked about the characteristics most important for an online meeting host to have, women proved much more demanding than men in almost every category, including:

  • Organization (81 percent vs. 68 percent)
  • Fast-paced (64 percent vs. 52 percent)
  • Respectfulness (60 percent vs. 50 percent)
  • Fair (57 percent vs. 51 percent)
  • Decisive (40 percent vs. 34 percent)
  • Clever (17 percent vs. 12 percent)

Some women even said they thought online meetings hosts should be passionate (15 percent), attractive (5 percent) and blunt (6 percent).

“These findings demonstrate that women are on the cutting edge of technology and are having a big impact on the way the modern office is evolving,” said Holger Felgner, general manager at TeamViewer. “TeamViewer 7 gives them the freedom to do just that, providing a platform for online meetings at any time and on any device.”

How Restaurants Are Using Technology to Deliver Better Customer Service

GLENDALE, CA - JUNE 21:  A Domino's Pizza deli...Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife

The next frontier for social media and smartphones may well be the restaurant table.

Consumers want to see the new technology they use integrated into their dining experience, a new study from Technomic on consumer-facing technologyshows, especially if it will speed up the process of getting their meal or paying their bill.

Just over half of respondents to the survey said it’s important for restaurants to start using these technologies, and that they expect to use technology more often in the coming year to order food.

Sounds like the first restaurant that lets you order dinner from their mobile-enabled tweetstream wins.

So far, restaurants have been slow to take to technology, but a few chains are breaking new ground. Here’s a look at some of the recent innovations:

  • Mobile ordering. This is one area where fast-food chains are in the forefront. Domino’s Pizza is so far along with it, they recently introduced their Spanish-language mobile-ordering app.
  • iPad order kiosks. Why wait in line if you can file your order at a kiosk immediately, and then sit down and relax? Blazing Onion Burger Company is testing this system out in a new restaurant opened last month in Seattle. Expect more of this, since it could help prevent walk-aways and result in more orders.
  • Facebook ordering. This may be the biggest technology leap coming in the next year, as nearly 100 percent of restaurant owners say they plan to have a Facebook presence by next year. Companies specializing in Facebook-payment integration for restaurants such as ChowNow and NetWaiter are helping chains to get their ordering onto the popular platform. This is a fairly low-cost add-on to make, and it has the potential to grow sales, which always gets a restaurauteur’s attention. For instance, the Taco Spot in Charleston, SC saw a 10 percent sales bump after implementing Facebook-based ordering, trade magazine Fast Casual recently reported.
  • Tabletop e-waiter & checkout. Diners hate it when waiters take their credit card away and run it up at the register — it’s a common point for credit-card fraud. Hand them a restaurant iPad they can self-checkout on where their card doesn’t leave their sight, and they’re happy. That often-endless wait for the card and bill to return doesn’t win fans, either. E la Carte’s Presto tablet is one solution that offers tableside self-checkout and more — it even suggests additional items to order, and the company reports it cuts 7 minutes off the average diner’s stay. Customers are happy with the faster service, and restaurants can serve more diners per night. Airport-restaurant chain HMSHost is among the operators using Presto.
  • Digital menu boards + smartphones. Watch for fast-food restaurants to change menus more often, because digital menu boards make it so much easier than manually changing prices and items. Digital signage also allows quick-serve restaurants to provide entertainment and interactivity while you wait in line — for example, Boston-based burrito chain Boloco’s digital signboard allows patrons to play tic-tac-toe against friends or the computer while they wait.
  • Games while-u-wait. Gaming industry sources report McDonald’s is projecting gesture-enabled games onto restaurant floors for kids to play while they wait for Happy Meals, in 150 of the chain’s higher-profile locations. Now that’ll keep kids busy — and we all know happy kids mean happy parents who come back to your restaurant.
  • Online coupons. More restaurants are using digital coupons, and diners gobble them up — in the Technomic survey, 58 percent of diners said they’ve already used them.

Tech-savvy diners expect elegant solutions that work, as McDonald’s clunky test of bolted-to-the-table iPads showed. But for restaurants that can get it right, integrating technology that makes customers happy and turns tables faster will be a no-brainer.