Exhibiting at trade shows

My top tips to maximise your investment at a trade show.

I’ve been to some trade shows recently which cover different sectors.

All of the exhibiting companies involved invest a lot of money, time and resources into preparing their stands and looking their best. The hope is that this will be recouped with great meetings and new business enquiries.

… The hope

There are multiple factors influencing the success of these events, such as the day of the week, the time of the year, the venue, the theme, the quality of the speakers, the target audience, your stand location within the venue etc but that’s not my focus for this post.

It’s about standing out when you are there. It’s about getting people to stop by your stand and start a conversation. And this begins with your stand design and presence.

1. Can you do without pull ups?

What has struck me is that the stand design in isolation is probably OK. The assumption is that it will be on brand, have some graphic communication material, brochures and maybe giveaway merchandise.

But let’s assume that the majority of the other exhibiting companies are doing the same, which from what I see is mostly the case. We now have a room of homogeneity! If the art of marketing is to stand out, then this is failing.

What do I suggest to create an impact?

I recommend exploring other ways of presenting your company such as working with a designer to create a stand design that doesn’t involve pull ups, banners, branded backdrops and the like. Go for props, create a room-sets, use interesting furniture, develop eye-catching product displays, show your product in situ, hang it, build a pyramid with it, have a robot hold your product, … you get the idea. Challenge yourself or your team to come up with a creative way to lay out your stand.

2. Can you do without giving away anything?

Most exhibition material, giveaways, gimmicks, and your beloved company brochures end up in the bin. If someone is really interested in doing business with, they’ll make it their business to take a business card. They’ll take your mobile, they’ll show you they’re keen. Competitors will be more interested in your brochure!

As we focus on our individual and company’s impact on the environment, surely it makes more sense not to add to landfill by producing more items that we know will be thrown away. We can do without more plastic pens, stress relievers and gimmicks. If you must, select a recycled or a natural product that can be easily replaced. Make them happy. Tell them you’ll plant a tree instead on their behalf, and do it.

3. The follow up

If you’ve exchanged business cards, write one fact about that person on the back to act as a memory aid when you follow up. For example,

  • has an issue with their current supplier

  • liked the smaller format of our product

  • would like a meeting but on holiday for 2 weeks

  • mad about cycling

After the conference / exhibition / trade show, give people a couple of days to allow them to clear their inboxes before you send your follow up email. Write it as a personal email, and don’t use an email template.

Mention the distinctive thing you wrote about them within the context of your follow up. It must be relevant to your company’s service or products. The objective is that you said you’d follow up, you did, and now it’s over to them to respond. I’d send one more email if they don’t respond and then close off that lead. You might want new business, but not at the cost of appearing pushy or worse still, desperate.

But it is vital you do a proper follow up, or all of your team’s effort on creating a stand that stands out has been for nothing.

The art of presenting

At some stage in your career, you’ll have to stand in front of a group of people and present your ideas. Ever since I heard the words “Death by PowerPoint” years ago, I decided to make a conscious decision not to risk boring people in presentations.

Having the good fortune to work with great presenters and by attending talks by some equally brilliant people, I began to build a picture of the successful elements to an engaging PowerPoint presentation delivery.

They are as follows:

  1. A clever and engaging title (if the subject matter allows)

  2. Strong imagery with a great visual impact

  3. Less words, as few as possible

  4. Humour when appropriate

  5. Video works really well - use it strategically to support your topic

  6. Share your experience and offer genuine tips/takeaways to the audience

  7. Seek audience interaction only if you are comfortable with it

  8. Know that the audience wants you to do well - they also want to be entertained

  9. Pre-talk nerves are normal and keep you sharp

  10. Be available for post presentation questions

We live in an era where TED Talks are the norm. They feature some fantastic speakers who appear to be born with the gift of standing up and presenting. I believe that they have worked hard on their skills to be able to do so. Following these tips will help with that process.

I’d be happy to review your next presentation and offer tips to improve it. Email austin@amgmarketing,ie

World Retail Awards 2016

I was thrilled to receive the news that AMG's client JHP Design had been short-listed as a finalist in the World Retail Awards to be held on the 14th April 2016 in Dubai.

JHP won the 'Store Design of the Year' at the World Retail Awards in Paris in 2013 so having prepared the submissions for both, I am delighted that the combination of the written submission plus spectacular design by JHP once again is recognised by the international panel of judges as being world leading. 

New clients, and the expansion of knowledge

We have been lucky enough to continue to grow the business through working with new clients who span retail, technology, construction, video production and an exciting start-up food business launching in Dublin at the end of April.

Clearly all of these clients have different challenges, unique to their business and their sector, however its been interesting to be in a position to see what joins them all.

- The need for attention

- The need to grow their business through new business

- The need for clarity in their communication

- The need to inspire prospects and existing customers to do business with them

Strategic marketing embraces all of these issues and places AMG in the position of being able to recommend what's needed. And we are always learning from our clients.

The medical consultant analogy always works. We draw upon years of experience to advise on the best course of action to overcome business challenges, and to position the company for growth. 

The sector doesn't matter, as proved by the variety of clients. We are honoured to help anyone. That's why we say it's "Business class for everyone".





Briefing a design agency

It's an unavoidable fact that the agencies that have made your short-list to receive your new project brief are most likely there because they have done some great work that impresses you, or that they come highly recommended.

It's to be expected then that such agencies are not sitting around waiting for the next stellar brief to hit their inbox, but are in the business of working on their current projects.

The challenge clients have is the expectation that once the brief has been carefully worked on, fine-tuned and perfected, the agencies will immediately be in the position to respond properly to it. Professional agencies will quickly acknowledge its receipt, and will set aside some time to digest the information.

From an agency's perspective they just want to understand the brief quickly and to assess if they are interested in responding.

This requires those that prepare the brief to:

- quickly introduce the company and the task at hand

- give the background to the project and what the business sees as the challenge

- define what success will look like (the outcome of the project)

- write with clarity, keeping it short and really focused on the work required

- clearly describe what's expected from the agency in terms of the response

- set the deadline to submit their response with an outline of what happens after

But this is the ideal scenario. 

Sometimes the brief arrives as one paragraph email with a request for outline fees. This is never taken seriously.

Sometimes the agency has to 'co-create' (or write) the actual brief for the client.

If you would like AMG's guide to helping cover off all the key points in order to produce an effective project brief, contact us and we will send you our complimentary guide.





We are delighted to able to launch the new AMG Marketing website. 

The business has moved on from its original incarnation to be a 'strategic marketing consultancy'. By that I mean that we work with companies to help them differentiate themselves sufficiently to enable them to win more business. We adopt a highly commercial approach for all of our projects. Our clients are in business to grow, make money and to make a difference. We help them to achieve these goals. Our particular expertise is in retail, but we also work with design agencies, IT firms, property developers and event companies.

If we feel we can't make a difference to your business, we'll tell you. We won't leave you unaided though and will give you some clear advice or some contacts to help you. Good karma finds its way back.