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GSK 2016: The Linkedin Influencer Event

GSK16_linkedIn While It isn’t for everyone – by invite only – it mostly consisted of 22-32 yr olds listening to 45 yr olds tell them what is the next big thing in business, social media, disruption techniques, etc.  Just as a note: people over 45 – actually have MONEY to spend.  how many 24 yr olds do outside of Silicon Valley?

As a member of traditional media, I was excluded from some of the closed events like the impromptu “blogger” news meet up. While I understand totally their disdain for “old” media since we’ve done such a crappy job of covering actual news and most of the networks have become one long infomercial for the presidential candidate that shall not be named in case he manifests, we can still report what is news worthy and what is just a fad.

The problem with the Linkedin model is while it is the best platform for business, they fail to differentiate between a lone person on a job hunt (at 29.00/month to be a premium member) and someone who has a job – therefore income and can afford the 29.00 a month. So there are 1000’s that are left behind – once again.

My takeaways from this event:

  • If you are an intern – you get to do social media and get paid to attend this conference while still making less than what one pair of shoes the paid speaker is wearing.
  • The Aria is still a beautiful hotel but their convention space leaves a lot to be desired.
  • The trade show area was mostly apps and analytics

The parties were worth the time it took to schlep from valet to the trade show area.

Beyond The Booth: We are Growing!

Two new additions to the Gem Communications Empire!

Our new “Everything you wanted to know about the Hospitality Industry” Blog:  The Daily Dunkin

Hospitality includes:  Arts & Entertainment, Broadcasting, Food & Beverage, Gaming, Hospitality Design, Tourism & Travel, Event Planning

Because we are road warriors – we’ll be adding curated Tour guides from Jauntful.  We are starting with Las Vegas and have published 2 so far.

These will be our common theme areas for the 11 major cities that we cover plus some individual guides for things like “Our favorite Secret Spots” NYC or Best Craft Breweries in Portland.

You can follow us – Beyond The Booth


Exhibitors: Trade Show Tip Thursday: The Show Is Over: Now What

Day 2 Is a wrap!

What’s Your Exit Strategy?

You’ve planned your booth space for six months. You’ve groomed your booth staff on branding talking points. Your booth swag is so unique everyone will be flocking to your booth. Brochures and marketing materials are boxed up all shiny and new. Flights are booked. Show floor appointments made. Pre-show check list is complete.  You’ve even taken our advice from the last TSTTH and set up social media for your booth including a 4Sq check in so you can see who stopped into hear your presentation.

Where is your exit strategy?

Before you go to the show, every exhibitor needs to know what they are doing post show to follow up with all the hot leads they’ve received without becoming a nudge. *my NYer is showing*

There are basically two reasons for spending thousands of dollars to exhibit at a trade show:

1) To physically connect with your current customers to keep them updated or just buy them a drink so they’ll remember their next $50,000 order goes to you.

2) To find new clients.

Whether you use the scanner  or do it the old fashioned way of business card exchange, the post-show follow up is as important as the booth babe retrieving that information for you.

Let’s digress for just a moment here:  Scanners vs. Cards.

A scanner tells you that someone came to your booth.

A business card is a personal interaction with someone who took the time to reach into their pocket and give you their card, hopefully in exchange for yours.

Which is better?

Now back to the topic of this post:

Within 2-3 days of the close of the show, just send a short quick branded email thanking each person for stopping by your booth:

Dear Mr. McAttendee:

Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to stop by our booth at the Bqhatever show last week. It was a pleasure to meet you and I hope that your time in <insert city name>  was both productive and enjoyable.

I’ll drop you a line [this Thursday / next Monday etc] so we can talk about this opportunity, but please feel free to call or email in the meantime if you have any questions.

Best regards:

Joe Widget

Contact Information

*Picture of your show booth

I know that * seems a bit odd but it will give your contact a reference point.

If you say you are going to follow up in a week make sure YOU do it!

I prefer making a specific appointment with them just as if it was a standard in person sales meeting. This way it is on their schedule. About five minutes prior, send them an email with any visual material they might need to reference during the conversation.

Once the call is complete, send an expanded follow up referencing the talking points covered in the call.

If you have the facilities to do this, a hand written thank you card with a hand addressed envelope goes a long way. Nobody sends personal snail mail anymore.

Then leave it alone for at least 2 weeks.

Send a polite email asking if they had any further questions or if there was a specific project they had in mind etc.  Attach other similar trade events you are going to be attending or exhibiting at in the near future.

IF you get NO response. Let it go for at least 3-5 months. Do NOT call/email every week.

At about the 5 month mark since the close of the trade show – the new registration should be open. Send a reminder email asking if they are planning on attending this year. *unless it’s ConExpo which is every 3 years*

Add them to the pre-show invite list you should have by now to pre-schedule appointments that should automatically start about a month before the opening.

Your exit strategy should be in place before the show even opens.


Free tips because we like you:

1) Create a quarterly newsletter that gives industry as well as company updates. Invite your trade show list to subscribe to it and make sure there is a link to your website so it is accessible.

2) Make sure you get the gender right on any correspondence. Do not assume that all people you are doing business with are male. I get 10 calls per day referring to me as Mr. Dollar and I am quick to inform them that both the Mr. Dollars, my dad & brother are deceased.

3) Personally we prefer business cards because it allows us to make notes instantly on the back of the card. Female/blue dress Male/pattern baldness *no one said we were PC here at B-t-B* this way you can personalize your email more when you follow our advice above the cut.



Trade Show Tip Thursday: 5 Must haves for your Conference & Trade Show

1: Easy to navigate website:  I cannot stress this enough. Attending 700+ trade events per year gives us a little bit of knowledge on this topic.

Website’s Front page:

  1. 1. Big Honking Registration button
  2. 2. Search feature (try google’s – it’s free)
  3. 3. Brief UPDATED description of what your current show offers. No one cares that in 2013 40K people attended – save that for your exhibitor’s page.
  4. 4. Link to What’s new for 20xx (pick a year this advice is timeless)
  5. 5. Clear navigation tools

2. PR in Advance- aka Social Media: Set up your twitter # (hashtag)  at least 3 months in advance & put it in your twitter description. Make it simple like #ShowNameYear Set up your 4Sq – I cannot tell you how many shows overlook this tool. It is invaluable to finding who else is attending that might be a good cross match to both your attendees & exhibitors. Same with Instagram. If you don’t have a trade show account, get one then encourage all your exhibitors and attendees to post their photos with the present up # (that is the SAME as your twitter one- can’t believe i have to write that)

3.  Badge Pick up vs Onsite Registration:  The advantage of registering prior to the show is to make it faster from the badge pick up to the show/conference floor. It should not include having to show 30 pieces of ID in order to retrieve your badge. It’s like voter registration: less than 1% of people will be fraudulently trying to to attend your show. Make it easy for those who do. (I’m looking at you #CONExpo – 2 hour wait, lines back up to the street – not a good start) Speaking of badges. Even the most technical show should have a trade show only options. Especially if you are in a large market venue like Orlando, New York or Las Vegas. If it’s a medical conference – sometimes the staff of a practice can benefit from just attending the trade show but not at 1K per head. Or maybe someone is thinking of getting into a career in aviation. What better way to find out what opportunities are available than attending the trade show.

4. New Product Showcase:  How hard is it to carve a space out on your trade show floor, upcharge your exhibitors a set amount and post a list of participants with new products on your website? Not hard at all and worth it to both attendees who are looking to expand or upgrade their lines and for exhibitors looking for new clients. Win-Win. And event management looks like a champ!

5.  Social Meetup:  No matter what your business is, there is always a need for personal engagement. Sometimes a conference and trade show are the only interaction many companies have with their peers. Sure everyone has a group breakfast or dinner but it always includes a speaker and/or presentations/awards. Not much time to meet & greet. So why not offer a ‘tweet-up‘ on the show floor. Like the new product showcase, you can carve out 100 feet – put a couple of chairs there and at 4pm or 10am or 2pm have a daily “Tweet & meet.” One of the best peer to peer engagements we’ve ever seen or been to is at the annual Exhibitor’s Expo. they have a big white board called Dinner with Strangers. Every night they have a dozen or so restaurants & a facilitator who coordinates the dinner. It’s usually limited to 6-10 diners. there is a set menu of $25-35 – and you have dinner with people you don’t know. Its a great way to expand interactions among attendees/vendors and for those who are the sole person from their company or they are new to the industry they don’t have to dine alone.  At the NAB show, TWIT-Tv sponsors a photo walk down the strip. they limit it to 100 participants but every year they pick a different section and stroll along  snapping pictures with their cameras, cell phones & tablets. afterwards they meet up for cocktails and share their adventures.

It is no longer just booking conference space & having a trade show. It’s about engagement pre-during-post show.  Most of these should be intuitive but it is surprising how many conference planners forget they are in the service business and attendees/exhibitors are their customers.

Happy π Day! 3/14/2014

Charlie Yes today is the day we celebrate all things π and who better to celebrate with than our own master of all things consumer insight related than Charlie, our road warrior. You can find his bio over here – Charlie’s company, Pi Market Research  is forerunner of tracking what kind of consumer will buy your duck call, your ap to track the greatest places to eat geoduck or where to put your limited advertising $$ for the school board candidate your are in charge of getting elected. Charles program can also pinpoint who is a good “fit” for your company before you hire them.

So here’s to Pi – the answer to all the questions ever asked and some that haven’t even been thought of yet!

Orlando: NTSA I/ITSEC Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference

“I/ITSEC? The Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, to you. It’s billed as the world’s largest modeling, simulation and training conference. I/ITSEC promotes cooperation among the Armed Services, Industry and various Government agencies in pursuit of improved training and education programs, identification of common training issues, and development of multiservice programs. Initiated in 1966 as the Naval Training Device Center/Industry Conference, the conference has evolved and expanded through increased participation by other entities. The Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and Academia have all joined with the Navy in sharing leadership of the conference. In 1979 the title of the conference was changed to the Interservice/Industry Training Equipment Conference. The Services have steadily evolved toward a total systems philosophy in the acquisition of training equipment and training delivery systems. Simulation? Who did you say was “”simulating”” something…?

London UK: World Travel Market #WTM2013

WTM stands for World Travel Market, billed as must-attend business-to-business event presenting a diverse range of destinations and industry sectors to nearly 50,000 global travel professionals. WTM is owned by the world’s leading events organizer Reed Travel Exhibitions (RTE), which organizes a portfolio of other travel industry events including Arabian Travel Market and International Luxury Travel Market. RTE is the world’s leading provider of exhibitions in the travel and tourism industry, with a wide-ranging portfolio of 20 international events in 13 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Africa. Its market-leading business-to-business events cover travel and tourism branches including leisure travel, luxury travel, meetings, events, incentives and business travel, as well as golf, ski and spa travel. Attendees range from agents to government ministers — they’ll be the ones heading for the spa… #WTM