Get Your Exhibit to Speak?
Nine things you need to know
by Jenna Bodenman, MC² EXHIBITOR FastTrak Sponsorship Manager
EXHIBITOR always brings together the best and the brightest subject matter experts in the industry, and this year is no different. At EXHIBITOR2013 in Las Vegas from March 17-21, more than 160 speakers will conduct education sessions on a wide range of topics.
MC² has long participated in the program, providing experts to address important industry issues. This year, representatives from MC² will again hold sessions on event site inspection techniques, the influence of women in business, understanding exhibit and event graphics, and evaluating exhibit partners for program success.
New MC² sessions will explore the burgeoning trend to put attendees first and how to get your exhibit to “speak” to them. The sessions will cover evaluating your exhibit to maximize audience engagement, aligning content in your exhibit with your brand, creating compelling content and the effect of sensory stimulation on your message and your audience.
If you can’t visit EXHIBITOR2013, here are nine takeaways culled from the new MC² sessions.
Marketing & Communications
Tip #1: Reference and expand on your company’s brand messages in your exhibit through a variety of media for a cumulative, positive impact on your target customers.
Content can prove to be the most challenging piece of the trade show puzzle. But key steps can ensure your content is consistent with your company’s brand while improving trade show effectiveness. Tapping into creative agencies can also dramatically increase relevant, on-strategy messaging with robust content.
From the Tap Your Agency to Super-Charge Your Content session
Presented by Matt O’Mara, senior vice president of client services, MC²
Matt O’Mara’s passion for marketing fueled his success during his 14 years at Saatchi & Saatchi, which included the launch of the Lexus Certified Pre-Owned brand (an all-new category) and the development of a new retail model for Saatchi’s US Toyota business. Over the course of his career, Matt ran his own agency and held positions with Doner Advertising and Team One Advertising. Most recently, he served as general manager of the Detroit office of Imagination The Americas, a global full-service creative agency, where he led the Ford Motor Company Auto Shows and Events business.
Exhibits & Experiences
Tip #2: Think content, not carpentry. Be about the “story,” not the “structure.”
Tip #3: Think activity, not architecture. Focus on enabling attendees to fully engage with your brand story. Drive active engagement, not passive information consumption.
For industry professionals accustomed to simply providing graphic support to trade show programs, developing immersive, experiential content to drive an attendee’s experience can be a challenge. However, by focusing on storytelling and multiple touch points, you can turn visitors into evangelists for your brand.
From the Experiential Storytelling: Where Customer-Centric Content Is King session
Presented by Ken Dec (“Deese”), SVP of client services & strategy at MC²
Ken Dec has more than 25 years of experience helping global businesses including Citi, IBM, Procter & Gamble, GSK, Reebok, Agilent and Vonage build their brands and drive demand. With a rigorous focus on marketing investment ROI, Ken has worked with Fortune 500 executives to drive revenue, share and margin growth through multi-platform brand strategy development, implementation and optimization. Ken leads MC²’s Boston office while cultivating client development opportunities nationwide.
Exhibits & Experiences
Tip #4: Exhibits and events are opportunities for visitors to experience something they can’t experience anywhere else, so it’s your obligation to deliver these experiences.
Tip #5: Remember synesthetic thinking — an awareness one type of stimulation can evoke the sensation of another, and thinking joins objects such as letters, shapes, numbers or people’s names with a sensory perception such as smell, color or flavor.
Tip #6: Give your visitors all the dots they need to understand your story —but let them connect the dots.
Combining sensory technology with vivid storytelling can provide an unforgettable impression of your brand. However, developing a successful sensory experience isn’t easy. How do you introduce sensory stimulation effectively into your face-to-face engagements? And why should you do it?
From the Employing Sensory Stimulation in Face-to-Face Marketing session
Presented by Russell Reich, MC² senior vice president of creative strategy
Webmaster magazine called Russell Reich “[one of] the people who could see far enough into the future to create it.” He produced the first-ever prescription drug website (claritin.com) and conceived the HeartFX Pod, a simulator designed to give cardiologists an experience of heart failure from the patient’s point of view.
Exhibits & Experiences
Tip #7: Consider your business goals and objectives as well as the attributes of your exhibit partner before basing your decision solely on design.
Although design and creativity are very important when choosing your trade show partner, most people don’t realize the choice is also very subjective. How do you find the right match?
From the Collaborate, Create, Succeed, Maximize Results Through the Power of Design session
Presented by Shana Carr, Southwest Division president, MC², and Phillip Lauzon, MC² Southwest creative director
Shana Carr has over 18 years’ experience in the trade show and event marketing industry. She began her career with Giltspur (later Exhibitgroup/Giltspur) where she quickly advanced through many different roles including estimating, project management, product management and sales management. Later, she was general manager of the Milwaukee and then Las Vegas divisions at Derse. She joined MC² in 2007 as general manager of the Southwest Division and is now the division president, responsible for the overall management of the group, which includes the Las Vegas, San Francisco and Kingman facilities.
Philip Lauzon is a 20-year veteran of exhibit, event, environmental and strategic design. As owner and principal designer of SpatialArt Studios, Inc., he concentrated on the event and exhibit industries. Among his accomplishments during this time, Philip took first place in the 2008 ExpoDeck Design to Win competition for the Event Design Summit. Now, as creative director for MC² Southwest, he leads a team of designers in effectively communicating clients’ brands.
Tip #8: Understanding the demographics and the psychographics of your audience lets you make meaningful connections.
Tip #9: Keep in mind that your audience attends events to learn, to network and to experience.
Your sales, marketing and brand teams turn to you for expert advice on how to use events effectively. Consequently, you must know how to align events with your brand, understand objectives and audience profiles, and be able to identify the tools you’ll need to guarantee success.
From the Event Portfolio Alignment session
Presented by Cindy Provencher, MC² Chicago Division President, and Alan Cordial, MC² Sr. Vice President of Account Development
Cindy Provencher has significant experience, with over 20 years in the industry. During that time, she has held various positions from national account sales to sales and marketing management. Her responsibilities have included managing programs, customers and sales forces. In her current position, Cindy ensures that MC² business processes are aligned to client business requirements.
With 35 years of experience, Alan Cordial is a frequent industry speaker and contributes to a variety of exhibit and event industry publications. He has managed an annual client event portfolio in excess of $17 million. An active member of the EDPA Foundation, Alan has served on the board of directors for both EDPA and TSEA. He co-founded calan communications, which created the industry software used by many of the most prominent exhibit suppliers.
If you’re unable to attend EXHIBITOR2013, you can continue your career growth at any of the four EXHIBITOR FastTrak education sessions sponsored by MC² this year — in Boston, Chicago, San Diego and Atlanta. For more information, go to http://www.exhibitorfasttrak.com/.