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How Conference Planners & Exhibitors Can Leverage
Meeting planners an exhibitors can create more value for each other with additional partnership
Exhibitors: Get introduced to prospects by firms they already know and trust.
After speaking at over 100 tradeshows I’ve found that “the sum is greater than apart.”
Savvy speakers, exhibitors, meeting professionals - and the bureaus that work with them - can partner to generate more visibility, value and profits together. Let’s focus on exhibitors in this short article.
Exhibitors: Increase the helpful ways, times and places that prospects come in contact with your firm. You can become top-of-mind with your kind of customers – even in the noise and rush of an expo.
Here’s four ways to forge alliances to reach and warm up more prospects while exhibiting.
1. Give the Gift That Keeps on Giving and Gets Passed Along
“What Nurses Need to Know NOW” is the title of a CD that a pharmaceutical company gave away at their exhibit booth at eight national nursing conferences with expos. Half of the CD covered tips from the firm, with a related offer to warm up prospective buyers and the other half featured complementary tips from the keynoter (me).
To pull the maximum number of attendees to the booth, the association’s Director of Exhibits work with her colleagues in the association to schedule the keynote as the last session before the tradeshow opens.
The association president introduced the speaker, praising the sponsor of the session and announcing *the gift*, that *a limited number* of CDs with follow-up tips to the talk would be available at the sponsors’ booth
The gift was also announced with on-the-seat cards, placed in the room before the speaker began.
2. Make Your Gift Look Like Something They’d Want to Keep
Attached to each CD was an accordian-fold, business card-sized gift card, with elegant water-colored flowers on both sides, as background. On top of the flowers on one side, was the exhibitor’s tips, in summarized bullet points, plus the offer at the bottom.
On the other side appeared the speaker’s tips, in the same bullet point style.
In the CD, the exhibitor offered a link to the company web site where attendees could download additional free copies to share with their nursing colleagues.
3. Inspire Them to Ask for More, So When They Are in the Buying Mode, They Think First of You
That page of the Web site also listed other topics that might interest them, available as free audio downloads, including two by leaders in the nursing associations, thus deepening the connection between the company and the associations that were key to them.
• When attendees have to make an effort to get to your booth and to ask for their gift, they value it more.
• Tips are kept longer than advertising.
• Make the look and feel of your gifts match the personality of your prospective clients. (Nurses loved the flowers and the elegant, handy small size.).
4. Give Your Customers Bragging Rights So They Show and Tell for You
What my client, the exhibiting firm chose not to do, in favor of spending more on more advertising, is a shame. I suggested that they encourage nurses to share their expertise and experience – and make them more well-known for doing so.
On the gift card, in the CD and on the Web page the association and exhibitor could have invited nurses to submit their best advice, in 50 words or less, to be included in next year’s gift CD and on the firm’s Web site.
A representative from the company or a professional voice could read each nurses’ piece of advice for the CD and name the nurse and the facility where he or she worked.
When that year’s gift of collected advice is announced from the stage at next year’s convention, attendees could be invited to vote online within the week, numbering their top 20 favorite submissions.
Everyone who voted would be entitled to receive a “Peek Preview” - an email with the results, before it was generally announced – along with an e-book of – you guessed it – tips from one of the conferences speakers and tips from the pharmaceutical firm, the exhibitor.
The ten nurses who won the most votes could be announced on the association’s Web site and/or in their publication, in a Dave Letterman-style Top Ten. Other medical and healthcare media that covers nursing (and products used by nurses) also picked up this story.
The winner would also receive substantial prizes from the sponsoring exhibitor / firm – some of which might be provided by partnering firms that would also like visibility in that market. For example, Aveda Spas and Splenda might join the exhibiting pharmaceutical firm in providing gifts to the winning nurses.
Please notice the secret to successful - and satisfying – partnering:
At every step all partners benefit from the alliance. Together the right partners created more value and generated more visibility than they could every have accomplished on their own.
That kind of priceless value and visibility builds an association’s and an exhibitor’s credibility – helpful in today’s time-starved, less trusting world, eh?
Learn more about the author, Kare Anderson.
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