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The Latest and Greatest Exhibit Concepts, Inc. News

Sierra Smith

6 Innovative Trade Show Technology Solutions

Sierra Smith August 14, 2019

Technology is attractive to any trade show goer and over the years, it’s evolved and become a staple on the show floor. Innovative and interactive technology draws a crowd, as people can’t resist shiny new gadgets and games to play from their favorite brands.

Just because your company might not be in the tech realm doesn’t mean you can’t incorporate technology to increase engagement or to share your message. From video games to motion sensor video displays, there are a multitude of experiences you can create for attendees by using technology. Here are six ways our clients created a memorable, engaging experience with unique forms of technology:

1. If you want to gather people in your booth, using video game technology is an excellent way to engage visitors and put smiles on their faces. When Scot Forge decided to promote their aerospace offerings, they knew they needed to create an interactive experience that would align with their products. We created and coded an 8-bit game using the same concept as the classic Atari “Space Invaders”. Instead of a space ship, an 8-bit version of the Scot Forge logo was programmed to shoot the aliens as the attendee scrolls. When a visitor wins or loses the game, a custom screen appears and tracks the score. The game was programmed to run on keyboard controls, but we were able to map the keystrokes to a joystick for a better gameplay experience. Think you can beat the highest score? Make sure if you see Scot Forge at a show, that you drop in for a little game play.

 

2. The force was strong with Fabtech 2018 visitors. OTC Daihen, a Japanese company produces advanced welding products in the industrial and manufacturing industry and are well-known for their entertaining and thematic booth experiences. To draw a crowd, we drew inspiration from Star Wars for the entrance of their booth. We created two tall pedestals at the front of the booth which featured retention fabric, LED lights and fog machines for dramatic effect. At the top, two robots programmed by OTC Daihen stood and dueled with custom light sabers. We wired the light sabers’ sound effects into the booth’s speaker system, which played in sync with the movement of the robots to create a complete, immersive experience. When it comes to creating tech solutions, we live by Master Yoda’s words: “Do or do not, there is no try.”

Collins

3. When Collins Aerospace exhibits, the best way to show their advanced solutions is by engaging and educating visitors with interactives that showcase their products and how they work. . We’ve created multiple interactive projects for their trade show booths that resulted in high engagement and success. One facet of their business is supporting the U.S. Navy and Allied surface and submarine fleets. On a display, we CNC’d a submarine, which slowly rotates on the screen. The display included movement sensors that when triggered by hand movement, played video detailing a part on the fleet. For their aerospace division, we created a display with a table that had receptacles carved into it. In these openings, glass blocks that represented either personnel, a place, or a type of machinery sat and could be picked up and moved by a visitor. At the bottom of the blocks and in a center opening, RFID tags were placed so that when a visitor moved a block to the center opening, a video would trigger on a display screen. If you make learning interactive, it’s a surefire way to burn your brand into a visitor’s memory.

 

4. For EXHIBITORLIVE 2019, we decided the best way to make our brand’s story unforgettable was with our own “magical” robot named Orville, along with his not so talkative friend, Wilbur. What makes Orville magical? When visitors pull open the “magic door” on the robot’s torso, a video plays introducing the visitor to one of our clients’ projects. From the moving performance of “This Little Light of Mine” at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum to children playing at the Mansfield Independent School District Early Learning Center, an unforgettable experience was burned into the memory of our visitors. Now, Orville sits in our cafeteria for all our employees to enjoy as their regular lunch date.

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5. Borrowing from our experience designing interactives for museums, we conceptualized and Pufferfish brought an interactive touch screen globe to life for the World Fuel 2018 National Business Aviation Association Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA-BACE) booth. When a spot on this rear projection touch screen globe was tapped, information about a World Fuel FBO (Fixed Based Operation) would display for the visitor. In partnership with Proske and Pufferfish, our client, Abbott, also uses the globe technology at international shows to showcase where their products are available, all around the world.

 

6. Kellogg’s Tony the Tiger mascot is a beloved and huggable character. When the brand goes to shows, Tony is always at the booth to greet and interact with guests. To add some fun and create more of a draw to the experience, we designed and fabricated a photo booth kiosk that included a built-in touchscreen display and social aggregator software. The kiosk allows guests to take their photo with Tony the Tiger and then have the option to share the photos with friends and family via social media networks or direct messages. This all happens in real time, with the social aggregator displaying a continuous loop of all the visitor’s photos on the opposite (aisle facing) side of the kiosk. Visitors are sure to never forget this experience – it's all captured on camera!

Whether you’re a leading-edge technology company or not, it’s a great way to create an engaging experience for your booth’s visitors. Not sure where to start? Let us brainstorm and help you take your engagement to the next level.

4 Award-Winning Museums You Must Check Out

Sierra Smith July 30, 2019

When you’re looking for something to do on the weekend or on an upcoming trip, consider visiting a local museum. 

Museums are a great way to feed your brain, create new memories and inspire you to make a positive change in your community. Whether you live near or are traveling nearby, these four award-winning museums tell powerful stories that are worth a visit.

1. Mississippi Civil Rights Museum: Jackson, MississippiCRM-23This compelling museum opened its doors on December 9th, 2017; the day of the bicentennial celebration year of Mississippi statehood. As the first state-sponsored civil rights museum in the United States, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum’s mission is to educate visitors about the men and women who fought the battle for equality in Mississippi. Within the museum, you’ll find eight interactive galleries taking you through the movement’s history, from 1945 to 1970. In the eighth gallery, visitors are met with a beautiful, colorful, glowing sculpture that increases in intensity as more people enter the space. In addition to the lights and colors, the space is filled with the sounds of “This Little Light of Mine” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around”: a powerful experience that is sure to leave you with goosebumps. In 2018, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum won the Gold Muse Award in the Video, Film, & Computer Animation category. Ready to plan your trip? Visit their website for more information.

2. B.B. King Museum and Delta Interpretive Center: Indianola, MississippiPortfolio_bbk8Feeling soulful? Saunter on over to Indianola, Mississippi and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds surrounding legendary blues artist, B.B. King. The museum chronicles King’s life from social challenges in the 30’s, his popularity in the 50’s and how the Civil Rights movement shaped his music in the 60’s. With so much history, iconic music and fun events, it’s no wonder the Museum won the USA Today 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Mississippi Attraction. The thrill is never gone here so plan a trip and let the good times roll!

3. Bradford Railroad Museum: Bradford, OhioBradford-Railroad-Museum-09In the 1920’s the railroad brought economic growth and prosperity to small towns all over our nation but many of these boom towns crumbled once the railways disappeared. Bradford, Ohio was greatly impacted by the demise of the iron horse and this museum tells the stories of the people who lived through it all. Carefully preserved artifacts, fun interactives and a whole lot of history awaits any train enthusiast. In 2017, these stories were honored as the Ohio Museums Association awarded the Bradford Railroad Museum with the Best Exhibition Under $500,000 award. If you’re in the Bradford area, the museum is worth a visit.

4. Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum: Oklahoma City, OklahomaOKC-Thumb
On April 19, 1995, tragedy struck Oklahoma City after car bomb was detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building, killing 168 innocent people. 24 years later, the magnitude of the destruction and the lives of those lost are still remembered through interactive exhibits, murals, artifacts, and dramatic presentations at the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum. Housed across the street from the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in the historic Journal Record Building, the museum’s mission is to educate visitors on the impact of violence while remembering those killed and those who survived. Over the years, the museum was awarded the Redbud Award in 2014, ranked at 21 on the Top 25 Museums in the U.S. list in 2018 and was awarded the inaugural Tripsavvy Editors’ Choice Award. Every year, the museum hosts the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon, which Exhibit Concepts’ employees had the opportunity to participate in this year. Our employees had the opportunity to visit the museum, testifying the powerful impact it had on them.

Whether you’re traveling or just need something to do on a Saturday afternoon, a museum is one of the best options for creating new memories and experiences. Not only will you enjoy your visit, you’ll leave exhibits with a lifetime of knowledge and lessons you’ll use for the rest of your life. Looking for other possible museums to add to your must-see list? Check out our portfolio.

The Qualities to Look for When Partnering with an Exhibit House

Sierra Smith July 23, 2019

You can’t do it alone.

As you strategize your plan for your trade show, don’t limit your thinking to your booth’s structure, the engagements within it, the booth flow, how you’ll advertise your presence, or the staff you’ll need at the event. Yes, all these things can make or break your trade show but so can the partner you choose to assist with your project.

Draw from life experience. Would you become roommates with someone that owns a dozen large snakes? More than likely, the answer to that question is a firm “NO” (If it’s yes, no judgment). In that case, the same thought process applies to choosing an exhibit partner. Think about what exactly you’re looking for in a partner and what you’re not. You wouldn’t want to partner with an exhibit house that doesn’t take the time to listen, or who assumes they know your goals and objectives before you’ve told them.

Ask yourself – what goals am I trying to accomplish at this show? What do I value most in a partner? What process for this project works best for my team and my company? What is my budget and timeline? What services or products will I need for this show to be successful? If you're going through an RFP process in selecting a partner, tailor your request to your company’s unique needs and market position.

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There’s nothing more frustrating than working with a partner that doesn’t look beyond the design of your booth. You need and deserve a partner that understands your business as well as you do, takes care to tell your brand’s story, listens closely, and troubleshoots any issues as they arise.

“From my perspective in looking for a trade show partnership, it’s absolutely critical that the partner listens and understands what our goals, hot points, and the things that are important to us are instead of just bringing us a design without really thinking about what’s important and what we are wanting to communicate,” said Jacki Jaynes, Senior Manager, Channel Marketing at LG Air Conditioning Technologies USA.

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When we begin working with a new client, our priority is to become an extension of your team. In the beginning, our approach is to identify the teams needed for each piece of the puzzle. As we worked on LG Air Conditioning Technologies’ presence at AHR 2019, LG recognized the value in each leg of the process and those ECI team members responsible for each segment.

“We didn’t see a design in the first couple rounds of meetings. They were listening, asking excellent questions, and helping us think through our goals and objectives. So consequently, when they came back with a design, they were almost right on the money,” said Jaynes. “We worked together to make some modifications to tweak a few things but because they were so careful, listening, and guiding us in our thoughts through good questions, the actual design process went very swiftly because they took the time upfront to listen and properly interpret.”

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A beautiful booth that impressed everyone on the show floor isn’t the only benefit partnership brought to the table. Coordination between Exhibit Concepts’ Project Manager, Site Supervisor, and third-party vendors streamlined the flow of project, bringing peace of mind to the LG team. Because there was a clear understanding of the goals, objectives, and needs, ECI was able to create cost efficiencies: a 25% reduction in show service costs and a 60% reduction in storage fees by utilizing light weight, modular components and rental inventory in the design.

Once the booth was packed, shipped, and returned to our office to be safely stored, our team got to work reconciling the final invoice and bringing creative thinking into pre-planning, storage needs, and experiential design before the next show.

When you’re looking for a new exhibit partner, their ability to listen and understand you is key. Don’t feel like you must shout your message from the top of a mountain so that your story is understood. Your partner should fit into your business just as if they are an employee of your own. They should bring creative ideas, a solid process with proven results, a team that will act as if they’re a part of your business, and the ability to anticipate your needs to the table.

We make your business, our business.

FORCAM Case Study: Going Beyond a Trade Show Design Concept

Sierra Smith July 15, 2019

 

From the digital space to your office’s interior or trade show – it is imperative that all your brand’s touch points are consistent.

When vetting an exhibit partner, you want to make sure that they’re on the same page and understand your brand identity, vision and purpose as they ideate exhibit designs. When Sandy Abraham, Director of Global Marketing and Brand Management at FORCAM set out to find a new partner to help the brand exhibit in the U.S. at IMTS, she needed one that could bring her vision to life within budget while exceeding expectations.

The booth needed to look modern, smooth and sleek while also showcasing that FORCAM is a classic company with traditional values. This space needed to show prospects that they create top-notch shop floors known as the “Smart Factories”.

As she moved through the selection process, she looked through portfolios from many different exhibit partners and tried to put herself in the shoes of her customers. She asked herself: Was the message clear? Is this booth appealing? Is it bright? Was the product displayed well? Does it showcase FORCAM's vast partner network? If I saw this on the show floor, what would be my reaction?

With her search narrowed, she brought a design concept to several different exhibit partners to see if they could capture her brand’s essence while staying within budget and keeping an eye on quality.

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 “Other vendors literally took what I said in my concept and put it on paper. They seemed to not have tried to create something that went beyond my initial concept. ECI provided that service and delivered an outstanding concept integrating all of my ideas,” said Abraham.

The new FORCAM booth used a combination of existing and rental elements. The most eye-grabbing feature of the booth, the heart sculpture, was enhanced with lighting and mounted to draw attention to the brand that delivers an innovative IIoT platform with pre-installed MES applications. In addition, product pedestals were added, and all the power connections were converted from European standard to US standard with ease.

“What really impressed me is ECI understood what I was looking for from the beginning. They made it look more expensive than it could’ve looked somewhere else. It was a mixture of meeting my budget needs and looking top notch,” said Abraham.

The end result was a showstopping booth that achieved their brand awareness goals and left visitors with a positive impression.

“Thinking about the quality, it’s not just about the material used but about the people that make it happen. Attention to detail and care bring a concept to reality. I recommend for all companies to pay special attention to quality graphics – a clear message, and a certain height to the booth back walls. In FORCAM’s case it created a simple but powerful look,” said Abraham.

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If you’re looking for a new exhibit partner, Abraham gives great insights on what to look for in order to achieve your goals on the show floor. Look for a partner that will bring more to your booth than what’s on paper: you need someone that can bring expert recommendations to the design, layout, visitor experience and booth flow while staying true to your brand’s identity. Hold meetings with potential exhibit partners, request an RFP (request for proposal), bring your design ideas to the table with a creative brief, look at their portfolio and then evaluate the designs they bring back to you compared to other potential partners.

Ask yourself: Is the branding cohesive and clear? What improvements did the exhibit partner make to your design? What types of materials are being used? Is the exhibit partner meeting your budget without compromising the booth’s quality? If you were a visitor, what would your opinion be of the booth?

Your space reflects your brand and it’s important that your exhibit partner represents you while creating a unique, memorable experience. Through strong discovery processes, your exhibit partner should be able to showcase your products in remarkable ways you’ve not yet dreamed.

Ready to find that partner? Let’s talk.

Girl Power: 4 Women-Owned Businesses that Inspired Us at WBENC 2019

Sierra Smith July 10, 2019

When I was a child, “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” by Shania Twain on the stereo as my mother cleaned up our home and got ready for work. Still, 22 years later, I can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of empowerment when I hear the loud, twangy guitar while Shania exclaims “Let’s go girls!”

As I walked the floor of the WBENC National Conference and Business Fair for the first time, I could hear Shania singing in my head as I passed by the many women living their dreams and empowering others to do the same.

Nearly twenty years ago in Arlington, Texas, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) first established the event that would come to be known as the WBENC National Conference & Business Fair, and the rest is history. In 2019, over 4,700+ attendees and 325+ exhibitors filled the Baltimore Convention Center to foster relationships, learn, create new opportunities, and to celebrate women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs.

I was captivated by the unique presence many of these fellow women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs had on the floor, so naturally, I stopped to chat. These are their incredible stories I just had to share.

Gelli Arts

Nowadays, you can print with a multitude of high-tech software. But have you ever thought of printing with gel? That's what Gelli Arts does best – and it works!

At just the age of three, Joan Bess found her love for art and in adulthood, became a seasoned professional in paper arts, founding several businesses and teaching mixed media workshops. Bess’s friend, Lou Ann Gleason, was an experienced marketer with over 20 years of experience with brands such as Proctor & Gamble. Together, the dynamic duo combines their skills to bring their clientele a unique product experience.Photo Jun 26, 1 49 19 PM
One afternoon, Gleason received a call from Bess, excitedly asking her to come over because she had something interesting to show her. Gleason arrived at her home, and Bess presented her with a slab of gelatin and papers with colorful, painted designs. She had found that when you paint a design on gelatin, you could perfectly transfer the design to paper without smudges. After spending the afternoon experimenting, the duo shook hands and Gelli Arts came to be.

Gelli Arts now offers 14 shapes and sizes of the gelatin molds, stencils, and cones that are sold all over the world. Unlike regular store-bought gelatin, Gelli Arts found a way to make their product non-perishable and easy to clean and store. Their product appeals to a female audience including artists, teachers, and mothers, which is what brought them to WBENC. Gelli Arts inspires their customers to find their inner artist, one gelatin slab at a time.

Gleason, co-founder and CEO described her WBENC experience best: “What I love about exhibiting at WBENC is seeing so many strong and courageous women. I find it so empowering. In my space, I’m nearby businesses with younger women in their booths, and it gives us an opportunity to share information. We keep in touch and I’m able to act as a mentor. WBENC is a super friendly and inviting environment.”

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In 2016, Roxanne Royce left her home in Colorado to move to New Jersey to care for her father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Royce regularly took her father to his doctor’s appointments and brought small gifts to thank the office staff for their care. As an experienced Nurse Practitioner, she knew from experience, that a beverage or a snack, goes a long way. In both instances in which she attempted to bring the medical staff their favorite drinks, she spilled before she got to her car and in the medical center parking lot. The flimsy cardboard tray did not support the beverages. Frustrated, she wanted a better solution.

After extensive research, Royce designed an insulated bag that would fit exactly around beverage trays and maintain their cool or hot temperatures. Further R&D lead to reusable, eco-friendly 3D printed trays that are much more stable than their cardboard counterparts. The BevBag was born.BevBag-on-a-BenchCurrently, Royce sells her product on Amazon and through her website and donates five percent of her profits to Alzheimer’s research. Her next step is to become a WBENC-certified business so that she can sell BevBags in well-known retail stores such as HomeGoods.

As she walked the show floor, she moved many with her story and felt moved herself as she listened to empowering speakers that weren’t attending WBENC just to sell their product – they were supporting and helping others through their journey, just as Royce intends to do.

EcoPlum

As organizations work to reduce the amount of plastic and other waste, EcoPlum is doing their part to change our world for the better.

Since 2008, sustainability has been at the core of the EcoPlum business. “Our big overall focus is encouraging companies to be more conscious of their buying. If they want to put their brand on a product, it should show their values, beliefs, and business practices,” said Marcia Robbins, Senior VP of Marketing and Strategy. One of the difficulties of creating promotional products that are environmentally friendly is finding suppliers with those same values in mind. EcoPlum seeks to create innovative, recycled, and compostable or reusable products that won’t just end up in a landfill or the ocean.Photo Jun 26, 3 49 28 PMAbout 18 months ago, EcoPlum became WBENC-certified. While it isn’t the first time that an EcoPlum team member has attended the WBENC conference, 2019 is the first time EcoPlum came to the WBENC conference to exhibit their products, bring team members, and serve on the host committee. “As a small business predominantly staffed by women, we thought the certification, network, and community of other women-owned businesses was a great asset to have,” said Robbins.

Gia Machlin, President and CEO said, “We’re excited to be here at WBENC. Being a part of this community and among the exceptional women that are not only committed to building their own businesses but mentoring and helping facilitate meaningful connections is a wonderful thing. It’s not about competing – it's all about connections.”

WestWind Computer Products

Westwind took a unique approach to drawing visitors into their booth. Their colorful logo of a wolf and giveaway items such as branded dog bandanas and wolf stress ball toys drew me to their space. We began talking with Troy Legere, Director of Marketing, curiously asking about the business’s branding and mission.

21 years ago, Westwind opened and to this day, is still a woman-owned business. They're a Value-Added Reseller (VAR) and provide IT products and services to the Federal Government, with extensive expertise in emerging technology, lifecycle management, and integrated solutions. Westwind is also dedicated to philanthropic efforts, especially regarding animal rights. This shows in the logo, which is inspired by one of the current CEO’s more memorable pets, a wolf hybrid!

In 2018, Westwind was awarded their WBENC certification. Through the process, they learned more about the organization and as a woman-owned business, wanted to show their support and create new connections. “It’s been great to meet people in different industries. It brings us interesting leads. We’re very happy and looking forward to attending next year,’ said Shannon Lee Turner, Sr. Business Development Manager.MicrosoftTeams-image (2)-jpg-1“To see this many women and people embracing the way their markets are changing, and bringing women’s brains to everyday business is empowering,” said Turner. Legere added, “I love and am amazed seeing so many diverse women and cultures represented at WBENC. It makes me happy.”

Exhibit Concepts has been WBENC certified since 2010. We take great pride in this certification, as we have a strong focus and initiative to partner with and support supplier-diverse companies.

“We attend and exhibit at WBENC’s National Conference and Business Fair to support our Supplier Diversity clients as they continue to diversify their supply chain. And to be present and supportive of our fellow women-owned businesses. Everywhere you turn, during sessions, in the expo hall, over lunch, you see and hear and meet amazing entrepreneurs growing their businesses. It is so rewarding to be a part of that,” said Ellen Kaminski, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Exhibit Concepts.

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As for me, I didn’t just leave WBENC with a ton of goodies from all the booths I visited as I wandered around, trying to get a feel for the event; I left with a sense of empowerment and a desire to follow my dreams instead of the straight, mundane path that sometimes women are expected to walk on and never stray. My entire life, my grandmother has told me I have a book floating around in my head, waiting to be written and enjoyed by the rest of the world. Because we all have a story to tell.

The women I met have inspired me to pursue that dream. As this world depends on them for their innovative products, maybe the world depends on that book floating around in my head.

To anyone out there wanting to start a business, to advance in their career, or to fulfill their artistic needs, attend WBENC and listen to these stories from other women who made it happen for themselves. They’re worth your support, and they’ll dish it back to you. You are in charge of your life and your happiness. Chase it.

Trade Show ROI: Key Metrics for Success

Sierra Smith June 25, 2019

You’ve boarded your flight back home after a successful trade show. The booth is packed into crates and on the way back to the storage facility. An inbox full of e-mails awaits you. Your priority is to get the leads to you collected at the trade show to sales team and start working on the next event.

It’s an all-too-familiar loop for event marketers, and with everything on your plate, it may be challenging to determine where to begin when it comes to analyzing the previous show. Before your booth goes up, your objectives and goals should be defined along with the type of metrics you need to track.

From lead data to web analytics, these are the metrics and formulas you should be familiar with as you evaluate how successful your event was and what areas you want to improve for the future.

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Leads:

The number of prospects you’ve collected information from the trade show. Before attending the event, determine what constitutes a qualified lead. For example, do they need to have a defined project of a certain size? Once you’ve determined what makes them qualified, set a goal for how many you need to drive revenue.

Average Cost per Lead:

The average amount spent obtaining a lead. This is calculated by dividing the TOTAL show cost by the number of leads (see previous definition).

Average Cost per Opportunity:

This is defined differently than average cost per lead. An opportunity is a lead you’ve identified as qualified and interested in taking a defined action, such as asking for a proposal. This would be the average amount spent obtaining a qualified lead. The average cost per opportunity is calculated the same as average cost per lead, except you’re dividing the TOTAL show cost by the number of opportunities.

Close Rate:

This is the percentage of leads your business generated revenue or action from during your trade show or digital campaign. You can calculate this in two ways:

  • Number of Wins / Number of Leads
  • Number of Wins / Number of Opportunities

One calculation looks at the percentage of wins across the total number of leads. The second looks at the percentage of wins across the total number of opportunities (or leads with active opportunities).

Lead Follow-Up Rate:

The percentage of leads that your account team followed up on after the show. This metric is calculated by dividing the number of leads sent to Sales Representatives by the number of documented follow-ups. For example, if you distributed 100 leads to your sales team and see documented evidence in your CRM that sales made an effort to contact 75 of those leads, then your Lead Follow-Up Rate is 75%.

Estimated Revenue:

This is the forecasted amount of revenue you expect to earn from your face-to-face or digital marketing efforts. First, you need to determine your business’s average order value to calculate this metric. Determining the average order value will also help you set an estimated revenue goal in advance or help you evaluate your business’s future state across all your marketing efforts. To calculate estimated revenue, multiply your average order value by the total number of wins or opportunities.

Return on Investment:

As defined by EXHIBITOR Magazine, ROI measures the direct return of a trade show relative to the event's overall cost. This is calculated as (Trade Show Revenue - Investment) / Investment) x 100.

Return on Objectives:

Return on Objectives is a little more adaptable compared to ROI. This metric is based on your measurable show goals, rather than just looking at the overall cost and generated revenue. Prior to hitting the show floor, you'll want to define your goals and the metrics associated with them that will need to be tracked and bucketed under the Return on Objectives umbrella.   

Cost Savings:

This metric can be tricky to calculate because trade show costs vary for a variety of reasons such as service price fluctuations by city. Because of these differences, in order to evaluate cost savings, you need to normalize your data. This means finding a metric, such as cost per lead, that removes these variations and that you can compare between shows and years.

Media Graphic

Your brand’s presence is not limited to the booth. The infinite digital space gives you a chance to cut through the noise and create an experience that will attract storytellers and start a conversation with your prospects. If your brand presence started a buzz at the show, you’ll want to capture those outcomes in your final report.

Impressions:

This can be defined in multiple ways: the number of times a person sees your content or ads on social media, search, e-mail or display platforms. An impression could also be tied to a sponsorship you purchased, for example, an ad placed in an event welcome kit to attendees. The number of attendees that packet was sent to would equal your impressions. The total number of attendees overall at the show could also define impressions. It could be the number of badge scans or other tracking technology such as RFID at your booth. Defining an impression is dependent on the tactics and tracking methods your brand is using to drive awareness.

Social Media Reach:

Social media reach is different than impressions. Reach is defined as the total number of people that saw your posts or ads. This metric does not count the total number of times those users saw your ad.

Social Media Interactions:

Social media interactions are defined as any engagement that takes place on your social media posts. Social media interactions include likes or loves (or any other interaction such as angry, sad, or wow on Facebook), comments and shares.

Social Media Interaction Rate:

The interaction rate is the percentage of your audience that engaged with your posts or ads. This is calculated by dividing interactions (the sum of your likes, comments and shares) by the total number of impressions. NOTE: For Facebook, use impressions rather than reach if you’re analyzing across social media platforms for consistency’s sake. You can find the impressions metric by exporting a page data report (this would be impressions across your page during your selected time frame) or a post data report (this report shows you the impressions by post during your selected time frame) depending on the breadth of your data analysis.

Booth Visits:

The number of people that came into your booth. HOW this is measured is dependent on your tracking methods. You could use RFID technology, have someone in the booth using a click counter, use hidden cameras and count or estimate the people in the image or video, or other technology using booth or floor sensors that track traffic.

Badge Scans:

The number of people that your booth staff had a conversation with and were able to scan their badge to collect information. These are likely people that you’ve identified as qualified leads that will require follow-up post show.

Give Away:

The definition is in the name. This is number of items your booth is giving away to visitors. The success of this metric is dependent on what you’re giving to visitors and why. Are you giving an item away in exchange for a business card or information? Are you giving away lanyards or keychains to raise awareness? If for awareness, you’ll simply take inventory of your items and then track how many were given to visitors. If the goal is lead generation, you’ll want to track the number given away and the number of contacts the items resulted in.

Media Contacts:

This number of reporters or other media personnel your booth staff interviewed with for a story crafted about your brand. Make sure to keep track of their contact information and the name of the publication or broadcaster they work for so you can mine for that content post show.

Media Mentions:

This includes article mentions, social media mentions or award nominations. You’ll want to establish a tracking method (spreadsheets are our friend) to keep all this information in one place.

Web Analytics Graphic

An increase in traffic or engagement on your website before, during, and a few weeks following an exhibition is a good indication that booth visitors are researching your company and may become customers. You might also consider running paid or unpaid promotions through various channels such as social media or e-mail to drive interest in your event. Also, keep in mind that as people move through the conversion funnel, they may not initially convert at your booth. Tracking web data will give you and leadership a better picture of the audiences you’re attracting and their value.

First things first: UTM campaign tracking

To attribute traffic from your event or show, set-up UTM campaign tracking to get precise figures. UTM campaign tracking is set-up by putting bits of code at the end of a link. The code tells your analytics platform exactly where and how you’re getting traffic and engagement. If you do not set-up UTM campaign tracking before you begin the promotion of your event, it will be difficult to directly attribute your efforts to the actions being taken on your site.

Google has made UTM campaign tracking set-up incredibly easy. All you do is visit their Campaign URL Builder page, fill in the fields and copy your new URL with code attached. You can learn more about UTM tracking here.

Session or Visit:

The number of times a user enters your site in a defined time period. Usually a session or visit duration is 30 minutes. If a user is inactive for 30 minutes or more, any of their future activity will be considered a new session.

Page Views:

A page view is the number of times a user(s) visits and loads a page. Google Analytics defines this metric as the total number of pages viewed. In a session or visit, multiple page views may occur.

Conversions:

In many analytics tools, you can set-up conversion tracking to see what activities such as sales or form fills that your website is generating. Many analytics tools require additional snippets of code be placed on the website to accurately track data, such as a thank you or purchase page a user sees after they’ve submitted a form or credit card information. If you’re planning to track conversions, be sure to meet with your web developer or analyst several weeks prior to the event. If conversion tracking is not set-up properly and tested, you may not have accurate data to use post show.

Conversion Rate:

The conversion rate tells you what percentage of your website’s visitors completed a conversion you define in your analytics software. To calculate your conversion rate, divide the number of conversions by the number of sessions. If you’re running an ad campaign, you would divide the number of conversions by the number of impressions.

As marketers, data analysis can be daunting. While these metrics may look intimidating at first, the calculations are simple and will show the growth across your efforts in a powerful way. Before heading to your trade show or launching your digital promotions, setting your goals, defining key metrics and establishing a solid tracking plan will result in a compelling story sure to leave executives in awe of your star power.

Need a partner that will guide you to success? Let’s talk.

Why Your Exhibit House's Account Management Team and Processes Matter

Sierra Smith June 17, 2019

When you’re choosing an exhibit house partner, it’s easy to focus solely on the creativity and construction quality they will provide. What you may not be thinking about is how they will achieve that level of creativity and quality through processes and partnership.

Aligning early in the process and identifying key players is crucial to the success of a new trade show build. The exhibit house you choose should not operate independently from you; they should operate as an extension of your team.

When Exhibit Concepts took on the Air Conditioning Technologies division of LG’s project for the 2019 AHR Expo, our design, account management, and project management teams held onboarding meetings with the client to better understand their needs and wants. While the Account Manager is the primary point of contact, we identify a team member to oversee each piece of the puzzle. For LG, communication with their Project Manager, Misty Boyd, was crucial to their success as she acted as an extension of their team.

“Our project manager is as much a part of our team as anyone directly on LG’s payroll. Whether it is a text, a phone call, or an e-mail, I have instant response and I have absolute trust in terms of being able to respond quickly, effectively, and I don’t fear a problem because I know she will resolve it,” said Jacki Jaynes, Senior Manager, Channel Marketing at LG Air Conditioning Technologies USA.misty and lg cratesECI project managers follow standard project management best practices and manage all their tasks using industry-leading project management software. They handle any and all questions and communications regarding the project. They are the liaison between all departments and all vendors.

“The only way to have a productive working relationship with a client is open and timely communication. When I need information or approval for any piece of the project, keeping the ‘surprises’ to a minimum is absolutely the key,” said Boyd.

To streamline communication, project managers hold regular status meetings with the client once the project is approved. Agendas are set in advance and meeting notes are distributed immediately following so as to keep ECI and the client on the same page.

“For us, equally important was the day-to-day account relationship that we had. To have that continuity, to know that there is someone that understands us dating back to day one is invaluable. To know that I have a short-hand communication with that person makes things very efficient and reliable,” said Jaynes.aaron and mistyCreating a consistent experience with outcomes that exceed expectations is important for ECI. We created a process called the 4D Methodology, which yields solutions that exceed our client expectations, achieves better results, meets budget requirements, and reduces error and rework. Project management is a crucial piece of the process that assures projects stay on track, keeps our clients informed, and coordinates numerous interdependencies to produce the most compelling and memorable physical embodiment of a brand.

Airstream Alumapalooza: Taking Design Research a Step Further

Sierra Smith June 12, 2019

Meandering through aisles of shining aluminum, Senior Designers Matthew Brandeberry and Josh Koenig looked like two kids in a candy shop.

We were at Airstream Alumapalooza 2019: an event where Airstreamers across the country come together to meet friends old and new, learn more about their travel trailers and marvel at the unique interiors their fellow fanatics customized to be “Home, Sweet Home”.

We weren’t visiting just for enjoyment. There was an important purpose for attending: we were conducting research to design the new Airstream Heritage Center coming to Jackson Center, Ohio in 2020.

IMG_9807For the last 3 years, Exhibit Concepts has worked closely with the brand to come up with solutions as sleek and modern as the travel trailers. Airstreams are well-known for their high quality build that stands the test of time. As we walked through the campgrounds, we passed units aged well over 40 years old that still travel all over North America. In a sense, it was as if we were walking through a museum.

As Brandeberry led us in and out of the aisles of travel trailers, his role changed from observer and listener to storyteller. We passed by Wally and Stella Byam’s small, golden Airstream, affectionately known as “Stella’s Dream Trailer” and Brandeberry stopped to tell us more about its history. Impressively, with each living artifact we passed, Brandeberry and Koenig had information about them all, showing us that they’d done extensive research on the iconic brand.

While walking to interview campers, I asked Brandeberry: “Do you always go to these lengths to get to know a brand?”

“The best way to come up with a design is to get to know that brand’s community,” said Brandeberry. There is truth in his statement. How could you trust a business to tell your brand’s story if they didn’t do the research to understand who you are and what makes you unique?

Samantha Martin, Archivist and Historian for Airstream Inc., recounted the first time she met with the ECI design team. She sent them home with packets of information about the brand and a book; Wanderlust: Airstream at 75 by Russ Banham which is jam packed with vintage photos and the company’s history and timeline. The next time Martin met with the team, she remembers seeing Brandeberry open the book to reference a piece of information. The pages were covered in jottings on sticky notes.

IMG_9825“It was apparent that everything I mentioned about Airstream during that meeting was understood by the ECI team. From the get-go, we were on the same page and and it was clear that ECI was dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding of the brand. We established a level of trust that didn’t take long to earn; there was no need for me to catch ECI up because they had already done extensive research,” said Martin.

When brainstorming designs specifically around Airstream's caravan culture, Brandeberry and Koenig quickly realized that they needed to go a step further than client meetings and reading.

“There is no other way to understand that culture other than to just become a part of that community,” said Koenig.

“For any design, we would take the opportunity to become a part of the client’s  community while also seeing firsthand how the product is made,” said Brandeberry.

Koenig added: “You can’t come up with a stellar design if you don’t understand the stories behind it.”

In a day’s work, we immersed ourselves in all things Airstream: we toured the factory, conducted video interviews, took extensive notes, explored the inside of a few Airstreamers' travel trailers and listened to the fascinating stories about where they came from and where they’re going next.

IMG_9821We learned that the lure for Airstream has largely to do with the comradery and community formed around pink flamingos and travel trailers some call home. Like the friendships formed through rallies and caravans, Airstreams are durable, safe and never seem to age. No matter where they are on the road, people approach owners with curiosity and excitement because seeing an Airstream brings nostalgia.

Iconic brands like Airstream have no shortage in stories to tell – from their employees to their loyal following – it is important that their legacy is handled with accuracy, passion and care. At ECI, we go the extra mile to walk in your brand’s shoes. We are your partner and a member of your tribe.

Exhibit Concepts’ Leadership Attends Exhibitions Day 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Sierra Smith June 05, 2019

From June 4th-5th, Exhibit Concepts’ President and CEO, Kelli Glasser and Bill Glasser, husband and company co-owner, are advocating for the event industry on Capitol Hill.

Exhibitions Day is an event that brings lawmakers together with hundreds of leaders in the business of exhibition and face-to-face marketing to address issues crucial to the event industry. Exhibition leaders are working to influence change that will positively impact our economy and the industry’s lifeblood: our customers.

RELATED: Exhibitions Day 2017: Exhibitions Mean Business for Face-to-Face Marketing 

0(Right) President and CEO of Exhibit Concepts, Kelli Glasser and Bill Glasser, husband and co-owner with (Left) Randal Acker, President of EXHIBITOR Media Group

Over the course of this two day event, attendees will be tackling the following issues:

  • America’s Transportation Infrastructure: As the Exhibitions Day website states, transportation infrastructure is one of the United States’ top 10 most problematic factors for doing business. Due to under investment in transportation infrastructure, our interstates and highways are damaged and clogged. This affects exhibition companies’ ability to transport trade show property efficiently and influences Americans to avoid road travel -- causing a decrease in travel spend and loss of American jobs.
  • Secure Travel Partnership Act of 2019 (H.R. 1996): In 2019, the House introduced R. 1996 and amended the Immigration and Nationality Act to rename the Visa Waiver Program to Secure Travel Partnership. As it stands, this program does not waive Visa requirements but enhances security standards between the United States and its partner countries. Event industry leaders are advocating for a change in the program’s name to “more accurately depict its security enhancements and demonstrate strong support for secure and better travel for international travelers who have been highly vetted,” the website states. Secure Travel Partnership will better describe the purposes of the bill.
  • JOLT Act of 2019 (H.R. 2187): Across the United States, millions of jobs are impacted by international inbound travel. This policy amended the Immigration and Nationality Act in order to entice international travelers to come to the United States. By supporting the JOLT Act, numerous existing programs will be updated and strengthen, which in turn will increase the United States’ share of the global travel market.
  • Protecting Brand USA: The FY2018 budget proposal is calling for the elimination of funding for Brand USA. This bipartisan program promotes our country overseas as a business and tourist destination and is supported by inbound airline passenger fees and private industries, not by U.S. taxpayers. As the website states, the program’s efforts “are crucial to attracting international business travel, investment, and fair and free trade.”

Exhibit Concepts’ attendance at the event is not just about us as a business – it’s about advocating for our clients, our employees and our industry. Glasser puts it best: “Our lawmakers rely on us as citizens and constituents to let them know what’s important to us – when we tell them our stories and ask for their support on our issues, they do pay attention.”

Strong Discovery Process Delivers “Thrilling” Booth Design

Sierra Smith May 28, 2019

Trade shows can be loud, crowded, and somewhat chaotic. And when you’re vying for your potential customers’ attention, your booth design is likely what will initially pique their interest. But when thinking about your trade show presence, don’t stop with just how the booth will look. You need to consider the cost, the weight, how your visitors will find you and travel through your space, the time needed to successfully build your booth and the transport and I&D.

Aligning with your face-to-face marketing partner early in the design process will help you think about each piece of the puzzle. When Exhibit Concepts began working with LG, we started with a series of onboarding meetings to clarify roles, identify goals and desired outcomes of their presence. Beginning with this strong discovery process allowed us to understand exactly what LG required in order to attract attention at the AHR Expo (The World’s Largest HVACR Marketplace).
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A proactive approach was taken with LG for the design and approval of their new booth. As the design was developed, they were provided with interpretative studies, 3D digital renderings, and product elevation details. Exhibit hall pedestrian flow, how the booth would be oriented, and hanging sign elevation were also factored in to assure the design would be beautiful and functional, while still providing visitors with a seamless experience that enhanced LG’s message.

“When ECI brought their designs to us, it was like nothing we would have ever imagined. It was such a perfect interpretation of our goals,” said Jacki Jaynes, Senior Manager, Channel Marketing at LG Air Conditioning Technologies USA.

Because of the work and research completed during the discovery process, the design team was able to anticipate LG’s wants and needs. This led to a decrease in costs, weight, and labor time. Even when revisions were requested, expectations were above and beyond what LG anticipated.

“As in any design process, there were revisions that were required and again, ECI took our input and were very quickly able to interpret and bring it back to us in ways we never would have thought of,” said Jaynes.LG-7752
Discovery is the first step in the “ECI 4D Methodology” – a framework we follow to ensure on-brand and on-budget projects that our clients love. The methodology incorporates dedicated project management resources and automation tools to stay on track, keep our clients informed, and coordinate numerous inter-dependencies in order to produce the most compelling and memorable, physical embodiment of a brand.

How you and your marketing partner align on your goals, wants and needs will influence your project’s outcome. The discovery process is vital when it comes to creating a design that is not only eye-catching and interactive, but functional and cost effective.

Are you ready to take the plunge and find a marketing partner to take on your trade show build? We’re here to help.

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