Our ramblings on industry happenings.
Do you ever feel pretty sure about something but just lack proof? This great article on TechCrunch just confirmed what I've always worked off of….that Booth Babes Don't Work.
One of my first responsibilities out of college was the temporary staffing of our tradeshow assistants. Without thinking much of it, I just used the lists of people we'd worked with in the past. Some were professional models, some were stay at home moms and at first I didn't really think about how we got to know them. Pam, who founded the company in 1977, was known for asking waitresses and hotel staffers that she liked during her travels to join us. Any outgoing, friendly and super helpful service staff at the local spots always caught her eye…and always did a great job when they did end up working with us!
I watched as these temps blew professional models out of the water….people just identify with other people like them. Sure being a bit attractive helps, but intimidating beauty without anything to back it up is gets you nowhere. No one wants to deter people from coming into the booth and conversely you never want to attract the wrong crowd. Quality leads relate better to quality conversation and relevant booth draws.
Furthermore, sometimes to get your target audience really engaged in your booth, they just need to talk to real company representatives. Quality support staff can triage visitors so your senior staff's time is not wasted, and the best people to do this are often personable locals with something to say about the city, it's restaurants, hot spots, etc. Since they are pretty bright, they can always be trained on the product they are representing for the first level of conversation!
When we staff our shows now, we always ask for a picture but not to make sure they fulfill some beauty requirement….more that they fulfill a professional requirement (pink hair and facial tattoos are still going to be a no-no at a pharmaceutical show, for example). When hiring temporary tradeshow staff, what really matters is personality – a warm smile and a friendly, outgoing demeanor will always win!
Promotional giveaways have long been a part of the convention experience. As medical marketing came under scrutiny for some of their actions, the industry created guidelines such as PhRMA and AdvaMed that restricted the use of these gifts. Since then, new laws have come into effect and the Sunshine Act is now regulating medical marketing.
The Sunshine Act now regulates a wide range of topics from food to expert speakers and requires tracking by companies transferring value to caregivers. But it's great news for the promotional giveaway portion of our industry! Exhibitors can again give promotional items without reporting as long as they are under $10 each (and the recipient doesn't receive more that $100 of value from one company in one year). In addition, if the item is educational or directly benefits patients, it is excluded from reporting despite it's value!
Tracking requirements began August 1st and the first submission of federal reports will be on March 31, 2014. While this may seem a hassle to some, many vendors have come forward with data capture solutions that automatically sync with the National Provider Database.
Exhibitors have already begun to utilize promotional giveaways again; to both attract visitors and give them something to remember their experience by. Personalization of those items, with the recipients name or face, increases that item's perceived value (while keeping it below the $10 limit) and will have them remembering your brand for months and even years to come.
There's nothing like a committed relationship
March 2, 2012 - Trent Poltronetti
Half our business comes through industry partners such as exhibit houses and event managers. To show them more love we have formalized the Gold Key Partner Program, which unlocks exclusive benefits and 10% off.
What better way to stand out from your competition but a surprise marketing piece that shows up on your client's desk…with their name on it! Our key clients were delighted by the classy business card holders we sent as Valentine's Day gifts to thank them for their business in 2011. What's even better is that a large portion got back to us, not only to thank us but also to ask for quotes! It's important to stay on your client's radar so opportunities don't pass you by just because your clients are busy or distracted. A custom mail campaign with a personal touch will rise above the junkmail noise. Just ask the marketing team at Mobile Modular that just had us complete a project sending out 1200 packages to potential clients. It was a notice of a huge discount that prompted them to 'sign for their savings' with the included pen engraved with each clients name. Made a huge impact!
We teamed up, you got nice gifts free!
Feb 15, 2012 - Rebecca Bertram
Ten years ago, Marlys Arnold wrote 'Build a Better Trade Show Image' and to celebrate the anniversary we teamed up with her to give the clients who signed-up nice personalized gifts for free! Ardent Impressions has been given the opportunity to be involved offering a complimentary personalized leather jotter to the first 100 people to sign up! Other gifts include free design consultations, trade show shipping resource guides and social media marketing training videos. What a great opportunity to learn and strengthen your trade show marketing program!
Don't Forget Your Follow-up
May 26, 2011 - Rebecca Bertram
You’ve spent your valuable time and money preparing an attractive booth, with the perfect crowd draw and an awesome giveaway for attendees to remember you by. The show goes great and you breathe a sigh of relief …. but wait a second…. maybe the most important detail has yet to happen. Lead Follow-up!!! Exhibit City News recently published an article about tradeshow exhibitors’ follow-up and the reception it receives from attendees. The research showed attendees were frustrated when they didn’t receive follow-up and the best-received follow-up incorporated actual conversation the attendee had in the booth with sales representatives. Although handwriting notes on lead retrieval slips works, there are some great programs available to incorporate with show retrieval systems that facilitate sales rep conversation as well as encourage note taking. Utilizing a custom lead retrieval allows exhibitors to glean more pertinent detail from prospective buyers and in-turn provide them with more accurate follow-up. Bonus – there are no little slips to go missing either or tedious data entry after the show. So make use of those great booth draws, take notes and follow-up!!!
Thinking Outside the Cubicle
March 4, 2011 - Rebecca Bertram
What if you were asked to describe your leadership style - but without words! In a new twist on charades, attendees at a management training event we recently photographed, were challenged to present their styles through a photo using just their office surroundings. Chairs, office plants, phones and books all made appearances yet some participants generated pretty amazing results. We were impressed by this fun exercise to get creative juices flowing! Now our challenge to you - what exercise could you use to spice-up your marketing programs?
These colder months bring a wonderful winter wonderland to most of the country, unless your business sends you traveling! Ardent’s team travels the globe year round executing hundreds of events and along the way we’ve learned some tips that can help you survive the storm!
• Book the first flight out in the morning since it less likely to be affected by earlier delays. • Minimize connections to reduce the risk of missing them and of loosing checked luggage.
• If you must book a connection, make sure there is sufficient time. Most travel websites will book layovers as tight as 30 minutes, which is not enough if you need to change terminals or suffer even minor delays. We allow an hour for domestic layovers and two for incoming international flights that have to clear customs.
• Book connections through cities such as Atlanta and Houston that suffer less winter weather issues. Chicago is the worst.
• When you are in danger of missing your connection, speak up! Let your flight attendant know as they can help in various ways such as enabling you to get off the plane first and calling ahead to the departing gate.
• If you are affected by delays or cancellations, use your cell phone to call your airline instead of standing in long lines at the airport. There are many more customer service agents available on the phone and the quicker you get a hold of someone to help re-route you, the better your chances.
• If it looks like your flight is going to be canceled, look at booking a hotel close to the airport as soon as you can. These accommodations fill quickly and the alternative might be sleeping at the airport.
• Know the airline’s policy for delays due to weather. Airlines are more likely to cancel flights now that the Tarmac Delay Rule fines airlines.
• Though airlines are not responsible for weather delays, each has unique policies that may help with ticket changes, waive fees or offer partial refunds. But they won’t necessarily volunteer this information so make sure to ask!
And, lastly, don’t forget your scarf! Wishing you Happy Travels and the best of luck so you never need these tips!!
International Pediatricians descend on Paris
Feb 18, 2011 - Kelly Gurza
Ardent staff joined Pfizer Pharmaceuticals in Paris for the first annual Global Congress for Consensus in Pediatrics & Child Health. Being a first-time conference, show organizers were expecting about 600 participants - but were excited by blowing that out of the water with 1200! Pfizer brought Ardent along to offer physicians a show branded photo in front of the Eiffel Tower or the Louvre; making it easy to ‘visit’ the landmarks without leaving the convention! The show runs through Feb 20th and so far, it’s a huge success!
Support Hearts After Dark, San Francisco, Feb 10
Feb 7, 2011 - Rebecca Bertram
For the second year in a row we will be providing photo mementos of the guests at the annual Hearts After Dark benefit for the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. This exciting evening features live music, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. General Admission tickets are $75 and support the city’s only level one trauma center. Join us under the stars in Union Square for a fabulous event to raise money for a great cause. Click here for photos from the event.
Ardent’s very own Corinne Chapman ventured to Atlanta last month for the Beltwide Cotton Expo, January 4-7th. Our mission was to attract attendees to the booth and send them away with a memorable keepsake. Did we accomplish that mission? Boy did we.....armed with a fun BBQ background that mimicked the client’s advertising and backyard BBQ props we had attendees manning the grill in these photos. Corinne even commented that the booth’s location wasn’t great but that didn’t stop them, the promotion drew people into their corner of the exhibit hall to join in the fun. Numerous comments were made by attendees as they posed for their photos that our booth was the most fun booth in the convention! Mission accomplished!
A few years ago I had a 30x20ft booth at the DAC tradeshow in New Orleans. We made sure to check all the usual boxes: nice booth, clear signage, meaningful demos, handy literature etc but the attendance was still disappointing. The following year we upped our game by hiring a professional presenter and crowd gatherer and they brought in three times the number of visitors and leads. The only problem was soon after many of those visitors left the booth they forgot all about us – even if they remembered the presenter! When planning your next exhibit make sure to include promotions and followup that helps those visitors keep you in mind. Call us if you need any ideas.