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How Successful is Your Product Theater?

Product theaters are certainly not new to the mix when considering marketing opportunities available at most tradeshows, including those tradeshows in the healthcare segment of the exhibits industry, as Jackie Beaulieu explains.

If you aren’t familiar, product theaters are dedicated engagement areas that provide a learning opportunity to reach a targeted audience, such as clinicians or HCPs. Quality time and meaningful discussions are the hopeful outcomes of producing a product theater. And while many organizations have sponsored a product theater, success is not a given. Some product theaters are successful and some, not so much.

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Product theatres provide a learning opportunity to reach a targeted audience.

As someone that has seen both first-hand, I can tell you that in my experience, the first step to success is to read up and ask questions on the association’s rules and regulations related to its product theater offering. Each association structures its rules differently, so it is not always a “one size fits all” product. Ask questions and make the exhibits manager your best friend. Word of warning, not having a comprehensive understanding the rules can make for a costly and unsuccessful venture.

The most obvious difference is that some associations market, register, promote and provide all the operational logistics, while other associations do not. Many associations essentially offer the meeting space and leave the rest for the sponsoring organization to coordinate and arrange. So be sure to find out well in advance what is required to be successful so there is ample time to prepare and promote the product theater to the desired target audience. While a product theater can be an extension of your exhibiting efforts, it will typically require similar efforts to those of a successful exhibit booth. Set goals, pre-market, create educational content, scan badges, and complete follow-up. Again, a bit simplified, but it demonstrates and highlights many of the very same tasks necessary to produce a successful exhibit booth program.

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A product theater is an extension of your exhibit program and requires similar efforts to ensure success. 

Product theaters are an ideal environment for education in a variety of formats. Depending on the needs of the sponsoring company, product theaters allow for company representatives, researchers or designees to discuss patient educational issues, research, products or to conduct demonstrations. All must have prior approval and availability is usually a first-come, first serve basis, typically available during the day during unopposed hours. Limited availability can make planning and applying for space in a timely fashion, an important part of securing a product theater.

Another important facet to consider are the marketing and promotional materials, both of which must follow the association’s rules as well. Most associations clearly state in the prospectus that all marketing and promotional materials produced by the sponsoring organization include a statement related to continuing education, as well as language that states the association does not endorse the product theater or anything that is related to it in an official capacity. Be sure all of these types of materials are approved prior to printing, and distributed through approved marketing opportunities designated by the association. In other words, read the prospectus and when in doubt, be sure to ask. What a costly and embarrassing mistake to find out at the last minute that a rule has been broken and materials can’t be used.

As alluded to earlier, a product theater is similar to the production of a successful exhibit booth. So it would make sense that additional items to consider related to a product theater are pre-show promotion, signage, speakers, audio visual, meals and lead retrieval. Each of these categories may need different requirements based on the association. Be sure to incorporate each into your overall plan for success. And, if you are giving away a meal, be sure to scan the badges so that CMS Open Payments requirements can be met.

The most important piece of advice is to determine if a product theater will provide the best forum to assist your company in reaching its predetermined goals. When that has been established, read the prospectus and ask questions. Don’t make assumptions. A product theater is an investment and usually includes very specific criteria set forth by the association. So while it is important to work with vendor partners that understand the unique needs of healthcare exhibitors, it is also vital to remember that when there are doubts…ASK! Be sure, either you or your vendor partner develop a strong relationship with the exhibits manager and make them your new best friend…that is a true investment that will pay dividends!

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How to Attract and -Importantly – Retain Millennials

Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers, and Millennials all face one challenge; the differing views, values, and outlooks characteristic of each generation and how to effectively communicate between them. However, while generations past enjoyed the ability to disconnect, the world inhabited by Millennials has broken down all the boundaries of conversation, learning and, perhaps most significantly, business. Eric Troy explains how the workplace is evolving to incorporate the ideas of a new generation, and what you can do to keep these valuable young minds close.

In 2014, thirty six percent of the workforce consisted of millennial employees. By 2020, this will have risen to fifty percent, while by 2030, an anticipated seventy-five percent of the workplace will be comprised of individuals born between 1982 and 1996. It is an inevitable future. Just as the Traditionalist generation passed the reins to the Baby Boomers, and they to Generation X, so too must the Millennials learn from their predecessors, and vice-versa.

You want the best the Millennial generation has to offer, but in order to attract and retain those shining representatives you must first ask a question:

What do they want?

Millennials see the workplace as more than simply a means to an end. They want to be involved with something bigger than themselves. They want to feel of value to the organization and not like just another cog in the machine.

  • They want to be involved with something bigger than themselves.
  • They want to feel valuable.
  • They want to progress.

How do you do that?

Show them what your organization does to engage its employees.
Company events where employees of all types congregate are a great way to show this upcoming generation that your company wants its employees to share more memories than their workday trials and tribulations.

These events show that there are open lines of communication between all employees, not just immediate co-workers. They help create a more cohesive and less daunting work environment which appeals to the team-oriented, collaborative views of Millennials.

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Millennials are collaborative and team-oriented.

Inform them of training and development opportunities
Millennials are always looking toward the future and how they will shape it. They have grown-up in a time of immense technological advancement, and have had to constantly adapt their minds to keep up with each new form technology has taken. This makes Millennials keen and continuous learners that not only thirst for new information, but thrive on it.

Be sure to make apparent the opportunities for further training and advancement your company offers to its employees. Let them know that you are willing to invest in their skills and that employment in your company isn’t just a way to pay the bills. It’s a place where they can better themselves and strive toward future goals.

Allow them to be casual (within reason)
According to the Society for Human Resources Management 2015 Employee Benefits Survey, 62 percent of organizations allowed casually dress once a week, while 36 percent allowed it every day. Why? Physical comfort creates a more welcoming workplace, and Millennials prefer an environment where suits and ties are replaced by jeans and fashionable gym shoes.

However, disciplined mindsets are also important for a successful business, so be sure to implement boundaries. No flip-flops and pyjama pants!

Mix It Up
Variety is the spice of life, and as Steelcase reports, it’s not just a Millennial thing. People of all generations crave informal, casual and authentic spaces at work. Inspiring, breakout spaces can benefit the holistic well being of workers while helping to promote employee engagement. Add the occasional day when employees can work from home, and you’ll be right up there with the most desirable businesses. Oh, and don’t forget… free food. A few $10 pizzas can go a long way!

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Inspiring spaces, like the BlueHive lunch room, create holistic wellbeing, as well as encouraging community.

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Five Key Pointers for Exhibit Staff

Whether you are attending your first trade show, or are a seasoned veteran of the show floor, these top tips can help steer your experience towards even greater success. 

1. Educate, Entertain and Reward! Attendees are there for value. Provide them with a clear understanding of what you do, deliver a memorable experience, and offer a giveaway that reminds them of your brand.

2. Smile! Attract attendees with a friendly demeanor. 48 percent of people state that a smile is what matters most in making a first impression.

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Always remember to smile!

3. Know Your Brand! You are going to be asked all manner of questions about your company and your product. Make sure you are up-to-speed on the latest.

4. Wear Comfortable Shoes! You will be on your feet all day, make sure they are treated well. Top Tip. NEVER sit down, it reflects badly.

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You will be standing all day… make it easy on yourself!

5. Know the Rules! Every exhibit hall and association has certain rules and regulations about what you can and cannot do. Make sure your actions don’t come back to bite you!

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What can we do… what can’t we do?

Written by Amadeus Finlay

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Trending Technologies that will Benefit Your Trade Show Performance

Exhibitors are like gardeners, and the plants to which they tend are the partnerships created in the halls holding the event. For exhibitors to maximize the crop of commerce they hope to cultivate, utilizing trending technologies in booth design and incorporating them into their marketing strategy is essential. Below are three great technological tools that can help benefit your next tradeshow outing.

1. Phone Charging Stations
There are certain items we don’t dare leave the house without. Wallets, car keys, coffee perhaps, and my number one essential, the cell phone.  This is a necessary tool in the businessperson’s arsenal but, such a valuable tool is rendered useless without a charged battery. How thankful and fortunate a person would feel if they found a station where they could recharge their battery! To whom would they show their appreciation? Who else but the representatives of the company working the booth of course! It’s not surprising to see that phone charging stations are on the rise in the tradeshow business. Charging stations are a sure way to attract attendees to your booth!

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Charging stations are sure way to attract attendees to your booth!

2. Mobile Apps
Walking into a tradeshow, you are immersed in a sea of booths and representatives of the many companies present. But since time is of the essence at a tradeshow, how will attendees find you? The more time your client has to spend looking for you, the less time you have to share conversation and create the foundation of a prosperous business relationship. Apps can send messages to smart devices of nearby users alerting attendants that your booth is nearby, and since smart devices are ever-present in the hands of most individuals, what better way to assure you are found by your clients than to send a notification directly to their phone?

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People are always on their phones! Make sure your message reaches them.

3. Wearables
If you have been to a tradeshow, you surely will have noticed the number of people with lanyards around their necks, a name tag hanging at its bottom. Tech companies have been developing new and creative accessories that accompany those nametags, allowing users to transfer data with ease, thus streamlining the lead generation process.

One product on the frontier of wearable data transfer device is called Poken. Poken is a compact device that attaches to your nametag and, by simply touching two Poken devices together, users exchange virtual business cards. Taking it one step further, an exhibitor is able to share more detailed digital information with attendants by use of the Poken Touchpoint, a small stationary device that can be placed in your booth.

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Lanyards and cell phones are learning how to communicate.

Another wearable data-transfer device is the RFID chip, and can be used to track consumers behaviors. The information garnered by the chip will allow you to recognize and analyze patterns in your target market, granting insight into consumer trends and enabling you to develop a marketing strategy that caters to your clients.

 

Written by Eric Troy

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5 Things Your Boss Wishes You Knew about Trade Shows

1. Attending a tradeshow is not the same as utilizing it.
Having a display at a tradeshow alone may land your business a few leads but, to have the successful outing you desire, simply being there isn’t enough. You’ve got to entice potential prospects and those who pass by your booth. Consider your trade show exhibit’s design and the experience your soon-to-be clients will have while there. Create something that people can’t help but be interested in! 

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Create an experience at your exhibit! Provide a “wow factor” nobody can forget!

2. Create a lasting impression.
As soon as a potential buyer leaves your booth you run the risk that they might forget it ever existed. It is therefore essential to create an experience that makes a lasting impression. Know how to ask the right questions, gather crucial information in your conversations, and plan for future contact. Having promotional items that represent your brand is a great way to remind those potential buyers of your services and their experience with you!

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Provide your visitors with promotional items so they can remember your brand even after the show is over.

3. Never start with a sales pitch.
“But I’m at the trade show to sell!!!” I know, I know, give us a second here. Your ultimate objective while at the trade show is to generate new sources of revenue for your business. But the fastest way to deter these new sources is by starting with a lengthy sales pitch. Don’t make your audience feel forced into listening. If they appear interested , talk to them and create a comfortable atmosphere between yourselves before turning the conversation to the side of business.

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Create a comfortable environment for your visitors before starting to sell.

4. Trade shows are expensive… but they are an investment well worth making!
Consider all your company has invested to present itself at the show. Costs from the booth to the shipping, the time of the employees representing your company, workers who set-up the exhibit, internet access… the list goes on. But ask yourself, “where else could you gain the exposure you can at a tradeshow?” Your brand will be seen by thousands of people looking for just the right company to help them achieve their goals. Being at a tradeshow offers you a perfect opportunity to develop new contacts and clientele. There’s no place to generate leads on new business like a tradeshow!

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Your brand will be seen by hundreds, maybe thousands, of people in real time.

5. Enjoy yourself!
It is always important to present yourself in a professional manner… but this doesn’t mean your booth can’t be a fun and energizing place! Create a game that showcases your brand and presents your products to the audience in a way they will enjoy! Give them something to remember. When you have fun you create a more enjoyable experience for your prospective clients… and what better start could a new business relationship have than one initiated with a smile?

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Have fun at your booth! Remember to smile and create relationships that last!

Written by Eric Troy