Category Archives: Uncategorized

Choosing Your Marketing Tools- What Should You Use?

Posted By Jay Moldave On Wednesday, June 25th, 2014

Outbound/inbound, digital/traditional, push/pull, emerging/ tried-and-true

Marketing tools – seems like just when you choose your marketing mix, something new emerges – and it’s generally digital. But we’re here to remind you that traditional marketing tools are still around, they’re still popular, and they can work with digital marketing to reach your target audience.

This is the first in a series of blogs in which we’re going to look at choosing and using marketing tools strategically.

Marketing Toolbox 2014: What Should You Use???

Cross-channel Marketing: Integrate, Don’t Eliminate

The traditional versus digital marketing discussion can overshadow the more important discussion about content. Marketing tools offer multiple ways to convey a consistent, coherent message.

As marketing consultants, we need to understand all the available tools, so we can advise clients not only how to use them, but whether they make sense for them at all. We’ve had many conversations that go like this:

Client: “I need a facebook page.”
Us: “Why?”
Client: “I don’t know, doesn’t everyone have one?”
Us: “Are your clients on facebook? Your competitors?”
Client: “I don’t know.”
Us:  “What will you post on facebook?”
Client: “I don’t know.”

Our feeling is that it doesn’t make sense to start with any marketing tool until you’ve done enough research to ensure that your investment of time, effort and budget will  be worthwhile. This series of blog posts will help you make that determination.


Marketing_infographicX20034% of marketers did not have a “documented plan” in 2013. Companies with fewer than 50 employees were least likely to have a plan. In addition 22.5% of respondents indicated they don’t have “measurable marketing goals.”  Remember, optimizing the mix of marketing tools involves doing the foundation work needed to understand your audience and how, when, and where it’s best to reach them and then developing a marketing plan that aims for 360 degree reach. Integrating traditional and digital marketing gives you more options for optimizing the opportunity for push and pull reach.

Which Marketing Tools are Marketers Using?

A recent survey, How Are Marketing Departments Allocating Budgets?, has us thinking about whether we marketers might be overlooking legacy marketing tools by thinking of them as passe, rather than adding tools to the marketing mix strategically. Or, maybe we’re trying to mix and match to see what works, sometimes without an overall plan.

The survey asked respondents whether budgets for specific tools would Increase, Decrease, or Stay the Same. Another choice was Not Applicable (NA) or Don’t Know.

We have to assume that since the respondents are marketers, “Not Applicable” is far more represented than “Don’t Know.” At least we hope so, because if marketers  “don’t know” whether a tool is being used, it could mean that they aren’t involved in configuring their own budgets or implementing marketing strategies. Uh oh.

Here’s the breakdown of marketing tool usage with 25% more marketers responding “Increased” and the combined “Decrease” plus “NA or Don’t Know.”

Table 1: Marketing Tools and Percentage of Marketers Reporting Increased and Decreased/NA/Don’t Know Budgets.

  Increase   Decrease/NA/Don’t Know
  Email marketing   64%   Product placement   76%
  Web site   69%   Telemarketing   70%
  Social media marketing   63%   Place-based advertising   70%
  SEO/paid search/Google AdWords   58%   Teleprospecting   53%
  Online display ads   51%   Print ads   53%
  Live events/trade shows   26%   Direct mail   41%
  Mobile marketing   48%   Mobile marketing   27%
  Direct mail   25%   Live events/tradeshows   35%

Marketing tools in the 25%-50% range in both categories in Table 1 were live events/tradeshows, direct mail, and mobile marketing. What could this mean? Perhaps these tools are more important or less important on an industry-by-industry basis or maybe their relative usefulness is being adjusted within a narrow range as other marketing tools are integrated or tested. Add to this the fact that roughly a quarter to a third of marketers allocated the same budget for live events/tradeshows (39%), direct mail (33%), and mobile marketing (26%), the takeaway may be that marketers try these tools and, if the tools work, marketers stick with them.

Marketing tools in the 51% and up range do break down clearly, with digitally based tactics increasing and traditional tactics decreasing.

Let’s break out the combined Decreased/NA/Don’t Know category:

Table 2: Percentage of Marketers Categorizing Marketing Tools as Not Applicable or Don’t Know

  Tool   N/A or don’t know   Decrease
  Email marketing   4%   2%
  Web site   5%   2%
  Social media marketing   10%   2%
  SEO/Paid search/Google AdWords   12%   4%
  Online display ads   16%   6%
  Live events/trade shows   23%   12%
  Mobile marketing   25%   2%
  Direct mail   26%   15%
  Print ads   29%   24%
  Teleprospecting   46%   7%
  Place-based advertising   58%   12%
  Telemarketing/radio ad   59%   11%
  Product placement   70%   6%

Is it a coincidence that the “Not Applicable” category is weighted towards traditional marketing tools? Is that a good idea?

Just Like in an Investment Strategy You Have to Diversify!

The rule of seven said that a prospect needed to see or hear your marketing message seven times before the message would be absorbed. Today, with a constant flow of information, that number may be higher. So how do you know the best way to get your message through to the right people? Start by looking at your target audience, and compare the demographics with those of the users of different media. Then, get your hands dirty and dig! Find out specifically (and it’s not that hard to do) where your prospects, customers, competitors and industry thought leaders are getting information, and make sure your business is using those channels.

For more information, contact us or visit our blog regularly. Some other great sources are:

Our upcoming series of blogs explores marketing tools and how and when to use them.

Contact us to find out how we can help you develop a marketing plan that works for your business!

Get Buzzed With Buzzwords

Posted By On Thursday, March 13th, 2014

SXSW, One of the biggest interactive/music conferences in the world, is being held this week in Austin.  We all know how techies love their buzz words and jargon- social media and web site development abounds with them.

Here’s a video of four of the top tech columnists talking in tech buzz words.

We admit it – we have some favorite buzz words. What about you?
Here’s a short self-survey see how buzz word savvy you are.

Question 1: Choose one answer.

a. I love buzz words! Use them all the time.
b. I can’t keep track of all the new buzz words.  I don’t even know what they mean until everyone stops using them.
c. I don’t need buzz words. The ones I’ve always used are just fine.
d. I make up my own buzz words and use them when I’m looking in the mirror.

Questions 2 – 6: Choose the most appropriate synonym for the following, when used as buzz words or phrases.

2. Phoned it in
a.  Didn’t try
b.  Garbled
c.  Undocumented

3. Face time
a.  Going to a spa
b.  Meeting in person
c.  Looking tired

4.  Parachute in
a.  Interrupt a discussion
b.  Assign an experienced person to a task or position
c.  Suddenly put someone in a new job when others do not expect it.

5.  Thought showers
a.  Brainstorming
b.  Ideas you get in the shower
c.  Brought your umbrella but didn’t need it

6. Parking lot issues
a.  Ideas or issues brought up during a meeting that are not relevent to the agenda, and are “parked” for later discussion
b.  A management ploy used to assign tasks that nobody really wants to do
c.  Arguments about where employees park their cars.

Extra Bonus Question!!!

Fill in the Blank! Match the buzz phrase with its most common business-related usage:

A. Out of pocket Capacity ___
B. Operationalize Clarify ___
C. Nontrepreneur Biggest problem ___
D. Disambiguate Do ___
E. Long pole in the tent Risk avoider ___
F. Demassify Layoff ___
G. Critical mass Not here ___

We’d love to give you the buzz on MoldaveDesigns and find out your buzz!

How to Use Direct Mail to Increase Your Web Traffic

Posted By On Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

Our Guest blog today was written by Ryan Cote from Ballantine. Ballantine is a family-owned direct and digital marketing company, established in 1966. They offer their clients a full range of marketing services including direct mail, creative, personalized URLs and online marketing solutions.

postage_art_250pxMany businesses that once depended solely on Google now realize search engines do not do your selling. Well-developed direct mail and online marketing campaigns are the best way to get people to take action. Direct mail marketing and online marketing go together as well as peanut butter and jelly. While they are distinctly different types of marketing, your campaigns can be designed to complement and fuel each other.

Direct Mail Sends Targeted Traffic to Your Website

Search engine marketing attracts traffic but they might not be interested in what you offer. For example, a person might search for ballet to find a local show rather than the leotards your company sells. This traffic is meaningless because it does not result in a sale. Direct mail is one of the most effective ways to reach your target market. People have been using direct mail campaigns for decades. Targeted mailing lists are available to reach out to people who want dance supplies rather than tickets. A mailing with your website address can encourage them to visit your site and make a purchase.

Direct Mail Reaches Out to Everyone

Most people have a computer at home and at work. There are still people who do not own a home computer, especially people who live where limited Internet service is available. These people might depend on computers at work, the library or a local community center. Often their surfing time is limited. They might not check email often. Direct mail marketing reaches out to everyone. People always get mail and will look at your correspondence. Offer a special deal for visiting your website. They will save this information and use it at their convenience. Sending an email is likely to get overlooked, especially if it lands in a spam mailbox.

Postcards are Convenient

Direct mail campaigns don’t have to be complicated or expensive. A simple postcard with a unique deal can go a long way. Include your website address for exclusive savings or a promotional freebie. A postcard can be left by a work computer until the person is ready to access the deal. People can affix them to their refrigerators at home to remind them to check out the deal when they have a minute. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), postcards are the most likely form of correspondence to be read by the recipient.

The Personal Touch

People often prefer the personal touch of a direct mail letter or brochure over a generalized email. Certain email marketing campaigns are targeted to each consumer but most are mass produced. Direct mail is more intimate and inviting. Businesses can send a congratulations card to a valued associate to honor a milestone moment. Birthday cards and holiday cards with a special web offer can be sent to valued customers. This helps to build loyalty and attract people to your website.

Coupons at Customers’ Fingertips

Online coupons need to be printed or displayed on a mobile device to get cashed in. Sometimes certain codes must be copied for customers to get the discount. All of this involves work and effort on the customer’s behalf. Sending coupons via direct mail is easy. Customers don’t have to print, copy or remember anything. All they have to do is save the coupon and cash it in when they are ready. Include a code on the coupon so it is a breeze to redeem on your website. This gives customers the option of cashing in the coupon in-person or online. People always prefer to have convenient solutions and multiple options. Coupons are also an excellent way to get people to take action. The DMA reports consumers’ use of coupons went up to 79.8 percent in 2012.

Direct Mail Succeeds When Web Surfing Fails

A potential customer typically visits your website for just a few seconds before making a decision to stay or go. If the web surfer is having a bad day or doesn’t like an image at your website, you can lose a possible sale. Direct mail adds another tier to your marketing and branding efforts. When someone forgets about your website, they might be lured by a compelling direct mail campaign. It takes more than one approach to attract customers and make them want to buy.

Using Your Website for Direct Mail Campaigns

While direct mail can increase your web traffic, you can also use your website to tailor direct mail campaigns. Offer coupons, discounts or a free report to encourage your web visitors to share their mailing addresses. Use these mail addresses to create a targeted mailing list for your next direct mail campaign. People who leave their mailing addresses want to know more about your business. Give them what they want and see your dual marketing efforts result in actual sales.

Conversion is the key to any marketing campaign. Use direct mail marketing and online strategies to boost your business brand and encourage people to take action. Reach out to more potential customers by using a tiered approach to marketing.

Design Guidelines and Useful Tools to Create an Effective Infographic

Posted By On Sunday, December 8th, 2013

To see a larger image click here

In our last post we discussed some of the esthetic considerations about infographics in general, but how can you create one?

A Team Effort

It takes a diverse set of skills to create a good infographic and unless you’re a renaissance person, you might not have all of them. Aside from design, market research, number crunching, etc. may come in handy. So use all available resources.

Define the Problem and Structure

First, define the inherent characteristics of the data set you want to present. These will determine the way in which the data should be presented visually. Do the data represent a process? A comparison? A trend? Are the data geographic? 

Whatever  the data characteristics are, think about the structure first. Like a web site, the visuals shouldn’t get in the way of the story you want to tell and the information you want to present. So take some graph paper, a legal pad or the napkin left over from lunch and do a rough sketch of what you want your graphic to look like. You’ll be amazed at how many problems you can solve at this point with a pencil and paper.

A Metaphor

Then look for a metaphor to help the viewer relate to something familiar. Maybe the imaginary National Association of Transfat Manufacturers from our last post would use unclogged plumbing pipes as a metaphor for the clean arteries and veins you get from having a cup of hydrogenated vegetable shortening with every meal.

The “M” Word

How do you transfer all of the numbers and information in your data set to a visual metaphor? For me, the M-word is math. If, like me, you’re math challenged, chances are that you know someone who isn’t, and knows how to use Excel® or another spreadsheet program. It makes slicing and dicing data easy, and you (or your non-challenged associate) can create basic charts and graphs that will make visualizing your final infographic easier.


At some point you’ll have to put the pedal to the metal and actually produce your infographic. So what tools do you use?

If you’re a designer, the choices are obvious- Adobe® Illustrator® or Adobe® Photoshop® software. Illustrator uses vector graphics, which makes it easy to design images and text in any size relatively quickly. It can also generate charts and graphs from data you input directly into the program or import data from Excel. You can also use Photoshop, but it’s a little more awkward to handle text in the program and the files can get massive. I create the originals in Illustrator and import them into Photoshop for effects and touchups that can’t be done in Illustrator.

What if You’re Not a Designer?
A program just about everyone’s familiar with is PowerPoint®. It’s easy, you can import Excel data, use clip art from paid and free sites and use the included art and templates to create a look that you want. You don’t have to stick to the default screen page size either – you can create pages in any size you want and export your final product to a jpeg to post online or insert into a document.

Some Online Tools

There are a bunch of online tools you can use; some free, some paid. They offer a wide variety of capabilities and design options, and most offer data import.


You can either create your own look or use Piktochart themes. The free account comes with the use of 6 templates and branded info graphics. The premium account provides access to 110 themes. is currently in beta, but with 343,401 graphics created it’s pretty well tested. It has an easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface, dozens of themes and art objects.

Google Charts

Of course Google had to get into the act. If you need interactive (or not) data visualizations on your web site, this might be your answer. You have to load chart libraries, list the data that you want to use, and customize your chart. It’s free, but some familiarity with html will help. offers many of the same tools to create infographics and data visualizations as some of the other online tools, but it also serves as a source of existing infographics and over 35,000 designers, journalists and illustrators who can do your data analysis for you for a fee. Prices vary. offers more than 30 chart types that are helpful in creating infographics. You can enter your data into an online spreadsheet or import Excel files. You can download your chart in .png or pdf format to share, or embed the code in your web site.


If you want to create a data visualization easily and quickly, this might be the place for you. You can either upload your own data set or choose from over 17,000 pages of datasets on the site, pick the type of visualization you want to use, and share it. From IBM.

So now there are no excuses for having charts or infographics that look like they were created on graph paper with a ruler and protractor. If you have a story to tell, or data to explain, there are myriad resources to help you get your information to your audience in an effective way.

Infographic Design… It’s More Than Just Lookin’ Good

Posted By On Monday, November 18th, 2013

Way back when, a chart was simply a way to view data visually. We created bar charts, pie charts, line charts, and made them as attractive, accurate, and easy to interpret as possible.

Technology has created an information explosion, so the task of helping people get their hands around tons of information they may or may not actually need has gotten more complex.

For now, we’ll leave the important question “when is information actually data?” for another blog.


Which path would you rather follow to get a green card? Click to see a larger image.

What Should a Good Infographic Do?

Edward Tufte, in his book The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, defined what he thought a graphical display should do:

  • show the data
  •   induce the viewer to think about the substance rather than about methodology, graphic design, the technology of graphic production or something else
  •  avoid distorting what the data have to say
  • present many numbers in a small space
  • make large data sets coherent
  •  encourage the eye to compare different pieces of data
  • reveal the data at several levels of detail, from a broad overview to the fine structure.
  • serve a reasonably clear purpose: description, exploration, tabulation or decoration.
  • be closely integrated with the statistical and verbal descriptions of a data set.
  • Graphics reveal data. Indeed graphics can be more precise and revealing than conventional statistical computations.”

Tufte, Edward (1983). The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, Conneticut: Graphics Press.

1972-map_optThe first time I became aware of what can be done with information graphics was in the seventies when Nigel Holmes was doing elegant, witty and understandable charts for Time Magazine and Massimo Vignelli designed his first New York City Subway Map in 1972. The map was controversial (and redone 5 years later) because it made the subway lines horizontal and vertical instead of showing their actual angles and it made Central Park a square instead of a rectangle.

Both the map and Holmes’ graphics did exactly what an “infographic” are supposed to do- they make the information they contain accurately accessible.

What Visual Elements Make a Good infographic?

A recent study at Harvard called What Makes a Visualization Memorable, provides some interesting insights::
•    Visualizations with more than six colors were much more memorable than only a few colors or black and white
•    Graphics with a lot of visual density were more memorable than minimalist approaches
•    The subjects remembered charts with more curves than they did with straight lines
•    Bar charts and graphs were easily forgettable because people said they all looked alike

Does this Mean the Busier the Better? Does Memorable Mean Effective?

Tufte called a busy graphic “chart junk”.  There’s a difference between information being presented in a visually memorable way and information being understood and viewed critically.

In the Harvard study, researchers do not appear to have assessed how well the subjects retained or understood the information, just whether or not they retained the image.

I suppose in some cases study subjects might as well have been looking at wallpaper samples.

What About the Data and the Source of the Graphic?

Consider the source- If the infographic comes from, let’s say, the imaginary National Association of Transfat Manufacturers, are you really going to believe that the big bold headline with a heart next to it that says “Have a cup of hydrogenated vegetable shortening with every meal!” along with some “statistics” that seem to indicate transfats won’t necessarily cause coronary heart disease?

Do the Data as Presented Tell an Accurate, Complete Story?

Mark Twain popularized the phrase: There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics. Does the graphic tell the whole story objectively? Charts and diagrams can be set up to show results differently; if the graphic uses a poll, who conducted the poll? How were the questions phrased? Was the sample size large enough to have a true meaning?(click here to see examples).

It’s Not Just the Presentation!

So for the designer, the task is to make the Infographic as clear, attractive, informative and honest as possible; for the viewer the task is to look at the information contained in the design and make sure that the story it’s telling is true and not just an attractive surface.

Charts:, Reason Magazine

Next time: Tools to create infographics.

Face-to-Face Interaction at Trade Shows is More Valuable than Ever!

Posted By On Friday, October 25th, 2013

bunnycard1Your Trade Show Exhibit Booth Staff Makes It Happen.

48% of trade show attendees say that face-to-face interaction with trade show exhibitors is increasingly valuable, and 43% expect the value to continue growing.1

So it’s more important that ever to select your trade show staff strategically and train them thoroughly – and it’s essential that booth staffers represent your company and its brands professionally. The results will show up in your trade show ROI.

Before the Trade Show: Preparation Beats Winging It!

Will you select trade show staff members from within your company or will you outsource trade show staffing? It’s possible to outsource trade show staffing if your company can’t divert staff to trade show assignments or doesn’t have staff with the characteristics needed to optimize interactions with customers and prospects. It’s also possible to outsource training for in-house trade show staffers. 

But here we’re assuming your company will handle the trade show training and staffing.

Staff Selection: The First Step in Making the Most of the Face-to-Face Opportunity!

Long days? Yes, but staffing a trade show can be a chance for your staff to shine, so choose staffers who are energetic and excited about working the show, reconnecting with current customers and creating new ones, and reaping the rewards of face-to-face interaction!

  • Choose a blend of experienced staffers and newbies, and assign roles and objectives accordingly – it’s a great way to provide on-the-job training.
  • Choose staffers who know how valuable it can be to do something that seems simple – really listening to customers and prospects.

Staff Training: Ready, Set, Market!

Tradeshow-specific preparation is key – your trade show booth may be visited by industry media representatives, key opinion leaders, and competitors, in addition to customers and prospects.

Training should address these questions:

  • How will management assess results?
  • How should we attract, engage, and qualify attendees?
  • How can we disengage graciously from unproductive interactions?

Training should include:

  • Hands-on experience demonstrating products
  • Encouraging and addressing suggestions and concerns raised by staffers during the training

After training is complete, staffers should:

  • Understand their individual roles and objectives for the trade show
  • Understand the desired customer profile and your company’s Universal Lead Definition (ULD)
  • Understand the company’s strategic objectives for the trade show
  • Be able to demonstrate the company’s products or show how the company’s service work
  • Understand how to engage (and disengage) attendees at the exhibit booth

At the Trade Show: Be Ready for Anything!

The time before the exhibit hall opens is important.

  • Once your exhibit booth is set up, rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
  • Ensure that electronic and other infrastructure-related systems are working properly
  • Scout out locations of services booth visitors might ask about – for example food vendors, rest rooms, and shuttle bus stops. This little “extra” can you’re your company stand out
  • Take some time to visit exhibits booths – your suppliers, competitors, and companies that provide products or services related to yours will be there. Is anyone doing something new?

Common-sense rules of professional etiquette apply.

For instance:

  • Keep a sensible after-hours schedule
  • Be prepared
  • Dress appropriately for the show
  • Wear a name tag
  • Stay focused and maintain eye contact
  • Maintain the supply of deliverables and the general order of the booth
  • Save the cell phone calls and texts for break times
  • Keep the exhibit booth up and running for the entire length of the show – no packing up or breaking down exhibits early

After the Trade Show: It’s Not Over Yet!

There’s lots of follow-up after a trade show, but it shouldn’t be limited to pursuing leads. Staffers have returned to the office with a wealth of knowledge, so hold a debriefing session as soon as possible where staffers can share their experiences and discuss how what they’ve learned can make the next trade show even better.

What worked? What didn’t work? Did anything unexpected happen? If so, how was it handled? Were demos and deliverables well received? Are there any additional tools that might have been useful? How can overall trade show planning and staff selection and training be improved? Should the company invest in the same show again? If so, is there anything the company should do differently?

1Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), Change in Value over Next Two Years and Effects of the Great Recession and Online Media, 2012,

Other sources:

Leave us a comment to let us know how your company engages the trade show staff in post-tradeshow evaluation activities.

Trade Show Exhibit Booth – Make Yours Stand Out

Posted By On Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

 trade show moldavedesignsThere Are 400 Exhibitors at the Average Tradeshow1

Trade Show Planning Is Incomplete unless You’re Maximizing the Effectiveness of Your Exhibit Booth before the Tradeshow Even Starts!

Exhibit staffers have about 4 seconds to engage an attendee walking past the booth and between 5 and 15 minutes to make your company’s products or services stand out.2

How can you be sure the customers and potential customers you attract will be wowed with what they see and experience?

Get to Know the Venue and What the Sponsor Will Provide

Understand Roles and Responsibilities. Don’t assume all trade shows operate exactly the same way. Understand your roles and responsibilities and those of the trade show sponsor.

  • The trade show sponsor will provide information that outlines typical demographics; a calendar; fees; policies; services; booth specifications and furnishings; services such as materials handling, and exhibit transportation; floor plans; rules, regulations requirements and restrictions; forms; and advertising, sponsorship, and other marketing-related opportunities.
  • Minimize the chance for unwelcome surprises by confirming all your tradeshow-related arrangements ahead of time.

Develop and Implement an Exhibit Booth Design Strategy

You don’t want your booth staff to be lonely, but you also don’t want them overwhelmed.

  • Your exhibit booth should reflect your company’s strategic objectives for the specific tradeshow. And those objectives should be customer-based.  If you’ve implemented a targeted pre-tradeshow marketing campaign, you’ll want a specific type of space for meeting with customers and serious prospects. If you’re aiming to attract a wide audience, you’ll want open space that facilitates flow and strategic placement of staffers. If you’ll be demonstrating a product, you’ll want that space easily accessible to an aisle.

There are many types of booths and displays for many types of budgets.3 Here are a few:

  • Portable (Pop Up) Displays are available in several sizes. They’re affordable and simple to transport, set up, and take down – and it’s easy to switch graphics on a show-by-show basis.
  • Inline exhibits are available in several sizes too. They can include pop up displays as well as furniture, custom graphics and media.
  • Peninsula exhibits have aisles on three sides. They come in a variety of sizes and offer lots of opportunity for customization.
  • Island exhibits have aisles on all sides and are also available in a variety of sizes. They’re super-customizable and some have more than one level, but they’re the most expensive.

Speaking of displays . . . Signage and graphics

  • Work with a graphics communications firm or your in-house communications department to make sure your visual message is in sync with the company’s identity, your tradeshow objectives, and sponsor parameters.
  • Design attracts attendees to your booth; text educates them.4 Your visuals unite the two.
  • Choose a relevant theme
  • Deliver a concise message that’s consistent across all your tradeshow deliverables
  • Signage should be distinctive, visible, and readable from a distance
  • Choose, balance, and contrast colors that complement your space and help convey your message
  • Go for quality over quantity
  • Avoid visual clutter and complicated or excessive text
  • Transport signage and graphics to and from the tradeshow carefully

Make your exhibit booth comfortable, inviting and safe – for staff and attendees alike.

 For example:

  • Make sure carpeting is padded – everyone’s feet get tired
  • Make sure lighting is adequate – you may need to supplement site lighting, and you can use lighting as a design element
  • Manage cords and wires to prevent falls
  • Make sure exhibits are stable and can’t be knocked over easily
  • Encourage staff to wear “sensible shoes” or at least leave the brand new shoes at home
  • Consider becoming a charging station or hotspot if it makes sense in terms of your traffic objectives and you have the space
  • Bring the outdoors in – plants bring vitality to your space and can refresh attendees
  • Ensure that your exhibit booth adheres to the tradeshow sponsor’s rules and requirements

Tradeshow Gadgets and Gizmos – What Do You Think?

Are they treasures, trash, or something to give to the kids? Are they effective marketing tools? Leave a comment below to tell us what giveaways you bring back, giveaways you could do without, and why. We’ll let you know what we find out.

Next time: Choosing, Energizing and Using Your Exhibit Booth Staff

1 Tradeshow Tips from Skyline Exhibits,
2 How to Boost Traffic at Your Trade Show Booth,
3 Dimension Craft,
4 Ideas for Trade Shows,

Tags: tradeshows, trade show, tradeshow, booth, exhibit

Marketing Before the Trade Show- The Value of Pre-Trade Show Marketing

Posted By On Monday, September 30th, 2013


80% of Trade Show Exhibitors Fail to Implement Pre-Trade show Marketing Campaigns

Don’t Be One of Them!

You’ve decided to do a trade show, you’ve sold upper management, and your sales and marketing organizations have worked together to develop your ULD (Universal Lead Definition).

But you’re not ready yet!

It’s time to develop a targeted pre-tradeshow marketing campaign. Why? Because about three-quarters of attendees come to a trade show with a list of “must-see” booths. Pre-tradeshow marketing can put your exhibit on that list.

Here are some tips:

    • Dedicate an adequate budget to pre-trade show marketing. Exhibitors generally use only 6% of the tradeshow budget for pre-marketing, when they should be allocating as much at 15%1.
    • Be sure your sales reps talk up the trade show during pre-show visits and conversations with customers and prospects.
    • Offer an incentive for scheduling tradeshow meetings with important customers and prospects ahead of time.
    • The trade show sponsor may have pre-show marketing tools available and some might even be free, so ask. Don’t be shy! These tools can include lists of previous and pre-registered attendees.
    • Check with relevant industry organizations to see if you can rent their member lists for pre-show marketing.
    • Develop a list of customers and prospects who fit your ULD make sure to invite them. Include an exhibit hall pass for each key customer or prospect if possible.
    • Invite industry KOLs to attend – or better yet, present – a special event at your booth.
    • Do more than list your products or services – be prepared with memorable messages. How does your product/service solve the customer’s problem or create opportunities for your customer? How is your company better than its competitors?
    • Develop a persuasive, show-specific call-to-action.
    • Plan enticing demos and education sessions. Mention them in your pre-tradeshow marketing.
    • Use a variety of media for pre-trade show marketing to customers and prospects. These include social media, advertising and advertorials in targeted electronic and print outlets, email, postal mail, personalized invitations and phone calls. Include your booth number.

. . . or better still, start your pre-tradeshow marketing months ahead.  Check out our Trade Show Checklist for more pre-trade show marketing tips and suggested preparation timing.

Click HERE to contact us about your trade show needs.


1 Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge

2 Kendall Tucker via ImageSource (2013)  

3 Exhibitor Advantage first_time_exhibitor.pdf

Tags: trade show, tradeshow, booth, exhibit

Tradeshow Preparation Affects Lead Quality!

Posted By On Monday, September 23rd, 2013


Tradeshow prep lists abound and we like this one. But there has to be a solid foundation supporting the preparation process so that the results justify the expenditure. Our next few blogs will address ways to bump up your tradeshow preparation game.

Generally marketers think of leads as primary outcomes of tradeshows – and they’re right. But the planning process includes ensuring qualified leads by developing and implementing a clear model of your desired customer characteristics.

Today’s blog is about what’s called a Universal Lead Definition (ULD).

Leads or Inquiries? Which Are You Generating:

According to Marketing Sherpa’s 2012 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, 61% of marketers don’t have a ULD.

What does this mean? It means that a large number of leads go to Sales and Marketing departments without being qualified – because there’s no set of criteria against which to qualify them. This makes them inquiries, not leads, and the difference is critical, not just to tradeshow results but also to your overall marketing mix.

What Does a ULD Do?

  • Delineates the responsibilities of the sales and marketing organizations
  • Improves the efficiency of sales and marketing by:

       o Driving your pre-tradeshow promotion campaign

       o Making prioritization of leads easier for sales and marketing efforts  downstream of the tradeshow

       o Reducing the number of rejected leads

       o Increasing accountability for the tradeshow-to-sales and marketing transfer

How Do You Develop a ULD?

  • Involve your company’s sales and marketing organizations in face-to-face sessions to define what constitutes a qualified lead. This includes creating a feedback mechanism so that marketing can refine the marketing mix and sales can be accountable for acting on leads.
  • Summarize and obtain consensus on the resulting elements of the ULD
  • Follow up, formally via sales and marketing meetings and informally person-to-person

So Now Everyone on Your Team Understands that the “Ideal” Customer:

  • Fits your ULD profile
  • Needs your company’s product or service
  • Is a decision maker or key influencer
  • Is likely to evaluate your product or service and make a purchase within an acceptable timeframe

Click HERE to download our FREE comprehensive Trade Show Planner.

Click HERE to contact us about your trade show needs.

Illustration courtesy of Marketing Sherpa
For more information click here and here

Tradeshows Yes or Tradeshows No? How to Justify Exhibiting at a Tradeshow

Posted By On Thursday, September 12th, 2013


Potential customers attending a tradeshow are actually paying for the opportunity to meet you – so capitalize on that opportunity!

Where else can you ensure understanding of your products/services; communicate and demonstrate features and benefits, identify and correct misperceptions, and distribute samples all in one place?

Your first hurdle may be “selling” your company’s decision makers on the idea of incorporating tradeshows in your marketing mix. They may ask “what can trade shows do for us that we aren’t already doing?” or “how do we know potential customers find them useful?”

Exhibiting at industry-appropriate trade shows means face-to-face interaction with potential customers that meet your target profile – something that is tough to achieve any other way. Here are a few points that can answer questions your colleagues may raise:

  • You can engage customers face-to-face and learn more about what attitudes and factors are driving their buying decisions.
  • By engaging customers face-to-face, you can:
    o Generate and qualify leads
    o Close sales
    o Identify customers that may become ambassadors for yourproducts/services
    o Create/increase understanding of your company’s products/services

Here are some recent statistics about tradeshow attendance, attendees, and exhibit performance that can be helpful in your tradeshow pitch:

  • 84% of attendees had power over purchasing decisions, a rate last achieved in 2004.
  • 49% of tradeshow attendees surveyed planned to purchase in the next 12 months, up from 47% in 2011.
  •  32% of attendees were more favorably disposed to purchasing after attending the tradeshow
  • Attendees spent an average of 9.1 hours on the exhibit floor, an increase from 8.3 hours in 2011 and the highest average since 2000
  • 38% of attendees were first-time attendees, so it can be worth exhibiting at a productive show more than once
  • 45% only attended one tradeshow in their respective industry, so you can expect them to make the most of the opportunity

Find more helpful statistics at

You’ve made your case and gotten your approval. Now the planning process begins. See our next blog for tips on how sales and marketing can work together to develop a profile of the “ideal” lead.

Click HERE to download our FREE comprehensive Trade Show Planner.

Click HERE to contact us about your trade show needs.