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Marketing tips from AFIDA Congress

  1. Acknowledge where you are:
    When traveling internationally, begin presentations with a few words of thanks in the local language. This is consistently met with applause and personal thanks after the presentation. In the business of face-to-face, making the extra effort to acknowledge the audience goes a long way.
  2. Communicate destination information:
    Don’t assume that attendees know anything about the destination. People are increasingly time poor and may not have much time to prepare for their travel. Any information about travel visas, vaccinations, transportation, entertainment, etc., should be communicated early and often.
  3. Content leads:
    Although AFIDA offered its attendees meals and entertainment, attendees valued the conference sessions most. The AFIDA team added an interactive component to the program with live voting, which was well received and correlates with active learning. When asked about their favorite part of the Congress, delegates chose the education sessions.
  4. Before drawing up your next floor plan, visit Ikea:
    Paul Woodward, managing director, UFI, reminded attendees that the basic tradeshow floor plan hasn’t really changed in about 150 years. He challenged attendees to consider moving anchor exhibitors away from the front doors and to create a path of discovery through the expo hall in a way that contributes to the attendee experience.
  5. 3D printing is coming to tradeshows:
    The advent of 3D printing was mentioned by a couple of speakers. Whether in terms of décor or the potential for exhibitors to print a 3D sample on site for a customer, 3D printing will have a significant influence in many shows in the coming years.
  6. The exhibitor value equation:
    Lauded author and executive chairman of AMR International, Denzil Rankin, defined exhibitor value as: Exhibitor value = quality + quantity + time = time with quality visitors. Tradeshow organizers and marketers are constantly faced with the issue of addressing both quantity and quality of attendees. But it’s increasingly important to provide compelling content, event highlights, exhibitor product information and benefits messaging in order to keep attendees on the show floor—and to bring them back for a second day.
  7. Re-evaluate your pricing scheme:
    Several speakers addressed stagnant pricing models for tradeshows. Rankin shared case studies of successful shows that had dramatically increased revenues through price optimization. Woodward challenged the audience to consider a version of the cost per click—or cost per lead—model for tradeshows. Value-based options also apply to attendee pricing in terms of one-day conference passes and online access to resources.
  8. They haven’t forgotten about going green:
    Tradeshow venue La Rural in Argentina has set the benchmark standard for Latin America in terms of exhibition venues. When asked how it was able to get all of vendors to adhere to strict sustainability guidelines, PR Director Juan Pablo Maglier, emphasized that the venue started the process well in advance with workshops and meetings so that the vendors were part of the movement and included in the plans.
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