Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Attendee/Booth Interaction

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Attendee/Booth Interaction category evaluates any entertainment/activity offered at a show booth to engage attendee interaction. Judging criteria includes: creativity and overall appeal of the activity; effectiveness in drawing attendee participation into the activity; and resulting lead generation from booth visits.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Attendee/Booth Interaction category:

Under 75,000 nsf
Meeting Expectations
COLLABORATE 16: Technology and Applications Forum for the Oracle Community

COLLABORATE 16: Technology and Applications Forum for the Oracle Community is where Oracle power users and IT decision makers find practical solutions for today, and strategies for tomorrow. This conference empowers users of Oracle business applications and database software to gain greater value from their Oracle investments through real-world education and networking. Created by and for users, COLLABORATE provides a personalized experience alongside functional and technical insight from peer professionals. Participants can expand their community and gain direct access to Oracle. COLLABORATE is jointly presented by the Independent Oracle Users Group (IOUG), the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG) and Quest International Users Group (Quest). More than 5,500 members of this community engage in over 1,000 educational sessions and special interest group meetings and engage with over 200 partners in the Exhibitor Showcase.

Meeting Expectations, the full-service association management team supporting the OAUG, set out to create an innovative contribution to the show experience at the Exhibitor Showcase. The Exhibitor Showcase is a bustling marketplace packed with over 200 companies offering products and solutions to accelerate Oracle applications. The three independent user groups hosting the conference are also present in the showcase to engage with members, thus the Membership Booth is a gathering place where board members, volunteers and staff interact with conference participants to share the value of membership.

The primary goals of the activity were to attract and engage attendees to the Membership Booth over the course of three days using drones, drone simulations and attendee/exhibitor relations. Additionally, THEgame of Drones set out to attract attendees to key event sponsors who then encouraged participants to visit the Membership booth. The OAUG mission is to enhance members’ use of their technology investments, so to bring a cutting-edge consumer technology into the booth experience gave the OAUG brand a forward-thinking appeal.

The outcome yielded over 800 booth visits from COLLABORATE attendees (members and nonmembers of OAUG) who were able to hear about OAUG membership benefits, network, watch a drone demo or try out the drone simulations. In addition:

  • THEgame of Drones generated $24,000 in sponsorship revenues
  • Partners benefited from increased traffic to their booths
  • The goals of over 800 scanned booth visits and 9 new paid OAUG memberships were met
  • 33 nonmember attendees activated a free 6-month introductory membership, an 83% increase over the previous year

“Our client, the OAUG, was thrilled with the results – both financial and engagement,” said Meeting Expectations Vice President Christine Hilgert, CMP. “We freshened the program for 2017 and have adapted the general concept for other events.”

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
National Association for College Admission Counseling
NACAC 2016

NACAC’s Annual Conference brings together over 6,500 attendees each year for education, exhibits and networking. The majority of NACAC’s attendees split between two groups: secondary members working in high schools with students on their college search, and post-secondary representatives who review the applications for their individual schools and decide who makes up the freshman class. Additionally, NACAC’s Annual Conference hosts 225 exhibiting companies who support the industry with products and services, community-based organizations, and independent school consultants.

The goal for NACAC’s attendee/booth interaction activity is to create networking opportunities throughout the conference. Upon registration, each individual received a card with a numbered button with instructions to add the button to their lanyard. Each numbered button had 99 duplicates, so each attendee had 99 matches to make at the conference. Upon meeting their match, attendees were directed into the exhibit hall to either the NACAC booth or the sponsor’s booth to enter in grand prize drawings. The benefit of the random number assignment is that attendees, exhibitors and board members all receive the numbers, making the conference more approachable for everyone. The exhibitors also have an easy conversation starter with, “Are we matches?”

While conference networking typically happens within groups of acquaintances, NACAC sees the benefit of its match-up program by the number of attendees who meet people they would not have otherwise. Each year, the number of connections has grown in larger increments than the conference’s registration numbers. In 2010, 2,500 matches were entered from 4,800 attendees versus 9,000 matches entered from 7,500 attendees in 2015. Survey results also reflect positive responses to the program.

“The increase in matches has grown the program and drawn sponsors interest,” said Shannon Burke, CMP, Director of Conference and Meetings for NACAC. “In addition, many member institutions have selected the program to add to their admissions and welcome events on campus. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Dana Kirkhart, CEM: 2016 Merit Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Dana Kirkhart, CEM, Director of Client Solutions Manager for Freeman, was nominated by the IAEE Central Texas Chapter for her many years of leadership, encouragement and assistance to chapter members. She began her chapter leadership in 2009, serving for three years as Chair of the Summer Social Committee. Dana was elected to Director-at-Large in 2011, then as Secretary in 2013. She became the chapter’s Chair-Elect in 2014, served as Chairperson in 2015 and Immediate Past Chairperson in 2016. Dana’s leadership is reflected in her vast willingness to assist in various chapter projects, and her outstanding dedication was recognized in 2016 with the IAEE Merit Award.

IAEE: You have been actively involved in your chapter’s leadership for nearly 10 years. What keeps you coming back and why do you feel it is important for IAEE members to dive in at the local level?

DANA: The education and the people are what have kept me coming back for the past 10 years. I consider the education opportunities offered one of the best ways to gain knowledge in our industry. It is a great way for me keep up with what other industry professionals are implementing in their events.

IAEE: What is your favorite part about organizing chapter events, such as the Southwest Showcase?

DANA: Being a part of planning any IAEE event has always taught me something new! When I had the opportunity to serve on the Leadership Committee for Southwest Showcase, it was fulfilling to be able to work alongside a team with so much experience and support such an impactful event for Texas.

IAEE: What are some of the chapter initiatives you are most proud of?

DANA: I really love how committed our chapter is to providing quality education to its members and to staying in constant communication with our members.

IAEE: You’ve served in all the positions available within the chapter leadership. Do you have a favorite and, if so, why?

DANA: I really enjoyed serving as Chapter Chairperson. It challenged me to work beyond the borders of my comfort zone and helped me grow professionally. It is also a position where you have to be very engaged, and I enjoyed always knowing what was happening in our chapter.

IAEE: What advice would you give to someone considering joining his or her local chapter, and/or considering taking a step into chapter leadership?

DANA: If you are on the fence about joining, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining. You can’t put a value on the experience, education and connections you will make while being a member of IAEE.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Merit Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Attendance Promotion Campaign

The IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s Attendance Promotion Campaign category evaluates a series of pieces used in a marketing campaign to promote attendance at a show (attendance promotion brochure, printed/digital ads, website, mobile app, etc.). Judging criteria includes overall presentation, visual appeal and creativity of the campaign; clarity of information, overall message and content usefulness; how each piece plays into the “big picture” (how it suits its intended role in the campaign); how the campaign relates to the overall “theme” of the event; and how well the campaign met its intended goals.

In today’s IAEE Blog, we highlight the winners of last year’s Attendance Promotion Campaign category:

Under 75,000 nsf
Frank Strategic Marketing
TRANSACT 16

TRANSACT 16 is the event for payments technology. It is produced by the Electronic Transactions Association (ETA), the world’s largest payments industry trade group. TRANSACT 16 is where attendees make connections, secure partners and funding, and leverage emerging technologies. At TRANSACT 16, there were more than 4,000 attendees including ISOs, VARs, ISVs and Tech Startups that are driving innovation and responding to consumer demand at the POS. TRANSACT focuses on the payments technology industry, and It is where everyone in payments – all the big players and the latest tech companies – come together to meet, partner and drive innovation.

ETA positions the event as one for the leaders, titans, innovators, and the newest players changing the game; it is the one event where its target audience can see and meet everyone they need to in order to make things happen and move their company forward. The goal for TRANSACT 16 was to communicate the idea that this is where the “old/new” and “slow/fast” come together to create mutually beneficial partnerships. The campaign intended to help stalwarts understand that technology is nothing to fear or be intimidated by; and for start-ups/tech community to see that there is value in partnering with those experienced in the field. To that end, the tagline for TRANSACT 16 was “Connecting the Payments Technology World” – as it is the one place where the global payments and transactions ecosystem come together. In more than 60 sessions and five keynote presentations, speakers dug into big topics such as mobile payments, omni-channel commerce, security and fraud prevention and much more.

“This is a tremendous time of growth and change in our industry,” said ETA CEO Jason Oxman. “TRANSACT 16 brought together thousands of payments game-changers from traditional payment leaders and investors to innovators to chart the future of commerce.”

Between 75,001 and 200,000 nsf
Texas Nursery & Landscape Association
2016 Nursery/Landscape EXPO

For more than 60 years, the Nursery/Landscape EXPO has annually been produced by the Texas Nursery & Landscape Association (TNLA). Over 6,000 participants attend EXPO’s annual B2B trade show covering 150,000 nsf and featuring the latest products the industry has to offer. Participants include buyers representing various segments of the “Green” industry: retail garden centers; landscape and irrigation professionals; growers; arborists; and suppliers, brokers and distributors of nursery and landscape products.

The goal for this campaign was to brand the show throughout the year in order to reach current and new attendees. The western theme of “Saddle Up” encouraged the nursery and landscaping industry to get ready to build their business at EXPO. As the theme evolved and with the city of Houston as the destination, creative inspiration was derived from vintage rodeo imagery, incorporation of industrialism in Houston, the oil boom and skylines.

“Each year, TNLA brainstorms and develops a new theme and marketing campaign to brand EXPO to returning and potential attendees,” said Sarah Riggins, CEM, Director, TNLA & EXPO Marketing/Communications. “We review previous years of data and set benchmarks based on different aspects of the campaign to raise attendee’s EXPO brand awareness. To help further brand EXPO, the team utilizes a variety of marketing vehicles and tracks impressions from email open rates, website content click-throughs, social media ‘likes’ and EXPO’s mobile app downloads. One of the most important things we continue to place high value on throughout the entire marketing process is strong content, making sure that we are providing messaging to answer the question, ‘What is in it for the Attendee?’”

Over 200,001 nsf
Tarsus Group
Labelexpo Europe 2015

Founded in 1980, Labelexpo Europe is one of Tarsus’ flagship shows and a leading exhibition

brand. Held biennially in Brussels, it is widely acknowledged as the label industry’s leading and largest dedicated event. With a global audience, its exhibitors are machinery/material suppliers and visitors label printers who produce labels and packaging for the food, drink and pharmaceutical markets. The show is pretty unusual with its large scale, complex and technical exhibits of live working print machinery and high level buying audience. Dominating a niche market, it has no direct competition within the label sector, but does share a target audience/purchasing opportunities with general print industry shows like Drupa.

Despite many print shows suffering over the past few years, Labelexpo set the following key objectives:

  • Increase visitor numbers
  • Promote creative printing technologies
  • Expand the show by targeting other groups (e.g. flexible packaging)

The theme was intensively drilled down to every possible and conceivable touch point for the show visitor. From marketing collateral to registration, venue signage and ultimately the show floor, every aspect of the show echoed the fairy tale creative. It was because of this attention to detail and the very high quality of the printed materials, that Labelexpo Europe 2015 broke all previous records. Exhibitor, visitor and even press feedback all resonated around the quality of the show and how eye catching and imaginative the campaign and show look had been.

It was hugely influential in 2015’s show being the most successful in its 35-year history:

  • Highest visitor attendance ever: 35,739 (up 12.4% on 2013)
  • Increase in proportion of visitors from the flexible packaging sector (up 9.4%)
  • Highest number of exhibitors ever – 650 (600 in 2013)

“Creative, challenging and engaging, this particular campaign pushed our team to new limits and delivered excellent results,” noted Michael Hatton, Director of Marketing at Labelexpo. “It achieved more than the budget would suggest, because it caught the imagination of the Labelexpo community and wider printing world. It made people smile, talk about it and most importantly attend the show to find out how to improve their own business. We set out to separate our brand from the pack and we succeeded.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries! You can also view all of last year’s winners and honorable mentions here.

Art of the Show Competition Winners Circle: Ontario Hospital Association

2016 Best of Show Winner for HealthAchieve

Each year, an overall “Best of Show” winner is selected from the winners of the IAEE Art of the Show Competition’s 15 categories. Last year, the Ontario Hospital Association (OHA) took this honor with its entry in the Social Media Campaign: Under 75,000 nsf category for its HealthAchieve conference and exhibition held on 2-4 November 2015.

The signature conference and exhibition of the Ontario Hospital Association for over 90 years, HealthAchieve is an award-winning event that has long been one of the largest and most respected health care events in North America – the preeminent gathering place for health care and business leaders. HealthAchieve continues to inspire ideas and innovation by providing global health care and business leaders with an unparalleled opportunity to learn from each other, share their ideas and evolve their perspectives.

The event targets two distinct audiences: prospective attendees and potential exhibitors. The prospective attendees are made up of international health care and business leaders. The potential exhibitors are made up of medical suppliers and commercial vendors from across the globe. HealthAchieve provides the platform for unlimited networking opportunities between the two distinct audiences, and would not be the distinguished event that it is without ample participation from both.

Here, OHA shares with IAEE some of the marketing strategies it employed in its award-winning social media campaign.

“We continually strive to enhance both the HealthAchieve online and on-site experiences” said Craig Swatuk, Director, Brand Strategy and Marketing, Ontario Hospital Association. “And social media plays a key role in our ability to add more value for delegates, exhibitors and sponsors.”

Set Clear Goals and Objectives

The goal of HealthAchieve’s social media campaign was to increase awareness and registrations pre-event; to encourage dialogue and online interaction during the event; and to keep the inspiration and momentum going post-event. The objective was to deploy various tactics targeting the event’s two target audiences: prospective attendees and potential exhibitors.

Variety is Key

Keeping with HealthAchieve’s theme of inspiring ideas and innovation, OHA maximized social media with diverse offerings across various channels:

  • Delegates were encouraged to share their key takeaways for a chance to win “most notable tweet” contests from different sessions.

  • A content calendar was developed to share inspirational snippets of event information.
  • An online scavenger hunt game for a chance to win encouraged exhibit floor traffic.
  • A ‘best photo of the day’ contest was promoted on Instagram.

  • A social media destination on the exhibit floor was developed that featured a live social media wall for attendees to see their posts on the screen; a photo booth for attendees to instantly upload fun event photos to their social media channels to see live on the screen; and a lounge area with charging stations for mobile devices.

Be Sure to Track Results

The results were quite remarkable:

  • On Twitter, OHA saw a 39% increase in followers.
  • Facebook likes increased by 5%; and Instagram followers increased by 111% from the previous year.
  • The #HealthAchieve hashtag received over 11.2 million impressions – which was a 70% increase from the previous year – and it achieved its first-ever 1st place trending hashtag ranking in Canada on the Monday of the event, and moved between 3rd and 4th place rankings on the Tuesday and Wednesday.

“We’re very proud of these results and it’s an honor to be recognized by IAEE,” said Mr. Swatuk. “HealthAchieve’s digital engagement has realized terrific growth over the past few years, and we recognize the need to continually evolve our social media practices.”

The 2017 IAEE Art of the Show Competition is now underway – you have until 31 August 2017 to submit your entries!

How to Lower Stress at Work

Originally posted by Lindsey Pollack 24 March 2017

What stresses out your employees? Deadlines? A never-ending to-do list? An overflowing inbox?

While the concept of work-life integration is designed to reduce workplace stress, sometimes it can have the opposite effect, as schedules become blurry and we try to cope with being “always on.”

And of course, stress isn’t limited to our schedules. Work itself can be a pressure cooker – a 2017 survey by the American Institute of Stress (yep, there is such a thing!) found that 80% of workers reported feeling stress on the job. And while the Institute is often asked to put together lists of the most and least stressful occupations, they note that everyone has a different take on what makes a job stressful: Some people thrive on deadlines and challenges; others just want to feel successful in their day-to-day environment.

Whether your team is dealing with stress brought on by the work environment or their personal lives or both, managers can take steps to help people cope. I hope the tips below will help you create an environment that generates less stress.

Learn to Recognize Stress in Your Workplace

“[I]f you’re an employer or a manager, you might recognize the variety of clues that excessive stress is present in your work environment: Employee productivity is sliding downward despite long hours logged in. Absenteeism is rising; your employees are taking more sick days than they used to. Tolerance for each others’ shortcomings is thinner and tempers are flaring more easily; humor is hard to muster in meetings.” — Read more at Monster.

Reduce Stress at Work by Giving Your Team as Much Autonomy as Possible

“Though it is not one of the most cited issues, feeling like every tiny movement is controlled and monitored is a quick way for employees to become burned out from stress. As the millennial generation becomes the biggest demographic in today’s workforce, it is important to understand how their minds work. One of the most important factors millennials consider when in search of a job is the workplace environment. They want to have at least some control over what they do, and how they do it.” — Read more at Entrepreneur.

Help Your Employees See Perspective

“When you’re bogged down with stress-inducing projects and deadlines, it can be difficult to see beyond them. Even long-term assignments end eventually, so you just need to keep going and remember that the challenges you’re facing now will seem small and insignificant when you’ve finally overcome them. ‘We can all recollect instances that we thought at the time were real deal-killers, only to have them turn out to be a small anthill,’ [John] Koeberer, [author of
‘Green-Lighting Your Future: How to Manifest the Perfect Life’], said. ‘Adopt the thought that this, too, shall pass.’” — Read more at Business News Daily.

Model Good Behavior to Help Your Employees Reduce Stress at Work

“In 2016, Kronos adopted an open paid-time-off policy. And while some ‘unlimited’ time-off policies have gotten negative attention because employees tend to take less time off, [Joyce] Maroney, [director of the Workforce Institute at Kronos], says that’s not the case at Kronos, because senior leaders take time off and the human resources department provides managers with guidance on how to take time off. That kind of role modeling and prioritization makes a difference, she says. ‘Ultimately, employees look to their managers to set the example. If a manager is sending emails on a regular basis after hours, employees will feel pressured to do so, too. Conversely, if a manager treats a day off truly as a day off by unplugging and trusting their coworkers to step up in their absence, their employee will be much more likely to do so, too,’ she says.” — Read more at Fast Company.

Do you think your employees are overly stressed? I’d love to hear the changes you’ve made to help everyone reduce stress at work.

 

Get in on the Secret to Great Parade Giveaways

Originally posted by 4impint 3 April 2017

It wouldn’t be a parade without the big-brass bands, unicyclists, local dignitaries shaking hands and parade giveaways.

Nonprofits and entrepreneurs are spreading the word about their products, services and organizations with more than the customary candy toss. Distributing promotional parade favors is a terrific way to share your information with the awaiting crowd. If you’re looking for inspiration, set yourself apart from other parade entries with these show-stopping ideas.

Parade giveaway ideas for themed parades

Have you ever attended a Fourth of July parade? One for St. Patrick’s Day? Or for a school’s homecoming?

Everyone’s Irish at a St. Patrick’s Day parade. Give attendees a long-lasting memory of the event with a Shamrock Soft Key Tag. Parade goers venturing out in the evening might appreciate the added visibility of attaching a Flashing Shamrock Pin to their jacket.

Themed parades are a great opportunity for you to get in touch with the crowds. For added memorability, pick favors that keep with the theme. When accompanying your float through an Independence Day parade, stick with the red, white and blue décor, and hand out Patriotic Beach Balls and Stars and Stripes Lip Balm for surefire summer fun in the sun.

Get in on the homecoming parade’s fall fun with football-themed parade handouts, such as Foam Cheer Noodles or Rally Pom-Poms. Or add to the thundering crowd noise with a Football Clapper.

Other clever giveaways for parades

You don’t always have to tie into the parade theme to get your brand noticed. Choose unique parade giveaways that reflect your organization and (literally) put them in the hands of your prospects.

Hand out promotional products that link back to the services your business or organization offers. For example, if you’re a dentist or orthodontist, putting your brand on a mouth-shaped Mighty Clip is a handy way to be remembered by the crowd (especially when it’s clipped to their refrigerator or favorite bag of chips). A travel agency could give out Balsa Gliders, or a beauty salon could share Nail File Key Tags for convenient, portable fingernail fixes.

Parade spectators always need something to hold their candy and swag. A basic tote bag with your high-visibility logo on the front is a perfect parade favor. With bags generating more impressions in the U.S. than any other promo item, your logo will get lots of exposure.

Other great parade giveaways tie in to current weather conditions. Walk along a summer parade route with a cooler full of logo’d Bottled Water to help keep people cool and hydrated. Attendees will appreciate Foam Sun Visors to shade their eyes and Paper Fans to generate a breeze. If the forecast calls for rain, you can be the hero when you hand out branded Pronto Ponchos.

To really distinguish yourself from the competition, selectively hand out the ever-popular KOOZIE® 6-Pack Cooler. This portable insulated bag is just the right thing for your newly minted brand champions to tote around all summer long.

Keep your parade giveaways relevant and useful

Keep this in mind: When people are deciding whether or not to keep a promotional product, the item’s usefulness outweighs attractiveness by at least five to one. Why does this matter? Your brand won’t be remembered long if your giveaway ends up in the morning trash. Keep your name around by opting for giveaways that blend uniqueness and usability.

Have fun at your next parade!

SOURCE: Get in on the Secret to Great Parade Giveaways

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Alex Land, CEM: 2016 Young Professional of the Year Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Alex Land, CEM serves as Sales Executive for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority. He has advocated for IAEE on local and national levels by serving on IAEE’s Young Professionals Committee as the Chairperson, as well as chairing the Washington, D.C. Chapter Young Professional Committee. Alex has also served on the IAEE Education Committee and the IAEE Future Trends Task Force.

In addition to his service to IAEE, he was a 20 Under 30 honoree in 2014, attended the IAEE Krakoff Leadership Institute in 2015 and achieved his CEM designation in October 2015. His initiative, motivation and dedication to IAEE earned him the 2016 IAEE Young Professional of the Year Award. Here, Alex shares with IAEE how he continues to learn the most he can about the industry, the value of great mentorship and why our YPs would conquer any “Battle of the Young Professionals” competition.

PHOTO CAPTION: Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Alex Land, CEM; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: How did you become involved in the exhibitions and events industry, and what has surprised you the most about a career in this field?

ALEX: Three experiences growing up led to my interest in the industry.

First, I was a pretty nerdy kid growing up. I remember being so excited for the June/July editions of GamePro Magazine, where they’d talk about all the wild new announcements at E3. I’ve still never seen the show but it’s a major bucket list expo for me. Every time I read about the show I get that same nostalgia of rushing home from school to read about the show back in the 90s.

Secondly, in high school I had a friend who worked at a surf shop in Florida. He attended Surf Expo every year on behalf of his shop. I tagged along one year and we had an absolute blast. That was the first time I fell in love with the concept of trade shows as a place where people around the world get together to do business and celebrate their niche, whatever it is.

Third, I went to college for Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida. During my junior and senior years, I interned at a DMC (destination management company) that handled transportation programs for pharma clients. Essentially, I worked at a company that manages the drivers who stand at airports with your name on a sign. It was an incredible opportunity to travel the country as a student and learn about the importance of business travel and meetings. I remember a particular trip when we worked the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) convention in Chicago. My boss got me a badge and told me to take the day to walk the floor. ASCO was basically the exact opposite of Surf Expo – people in suits vs. people in flip flops but the commonality of people there to conquer their world was so striking.

The thing I’m continuously surprised by in our industry is the respect you’re given as a young person. In my experience, successful people in our world look for inspiration from everyone. I’ve been to industry meetings where I’m half the age of everyone else in the room.  These men and women, who have built incredible organizations and events over their careers, are all focused on seeking new ideas and disrupting the successful models they’ve built over decades.  It’s awe inspiring and something I know my generation will continue to build on.

IAEE: What IAEE program(s) have you found most beneficial to you as a young professional, and what impressed you about it?

ALEX: I wouldn’t be here at Las Vegas if I wasn’t selected to be a part of IAEE’s 20 Under 30. It is my de facto favorite program that IAEE runs. It’s a wonderful opportunity for young people to attend Expo! Expo! who may not be able to budget for it otherwise. It is hard for your organization to refuse to buy the plane ticket when IAEE is fronting the registration cost.

I don’t think you can really be an IAEE advocate until you go to Expo! Expo! – it’s the industry’s Super Bowl! After attending Expo! Expo! as both a client and a vendor, it’s one of those events you have to experience to believe.

I haven’t attended the Krakoff Leadership Institute in its current form; but the former version, split out between KLI and Advanced, was awesome. It was a powerful experience to listen to Megan Tanel, CEM interview Lawson Hockman at the Dinner with a Legend. The cross-pollination of industry powerhouses with an impressive collection of aspiring future leaders gave me something to eagerly anticipate as I progress in my career.

IAEE: What is the best asset you think YPs bring to the table?

ALEX: Young professionals bring new ideas and a ton of work ethic. Young people, especially on the sales/vendor side, are always up for that dinner or drinks after an event and, honestly, that’s where industry bonds are forged. Let your younger salespeople do their thing, and help them feel confident in themselves and what they are selling.

Regarding work ethic, organizations really should be empowering YPs as hard-working, relatively cheap assets. I’m only 30 but I’ve been working in this industry for nine years now. It’s pretty incredible to watch the people I’ve grown with in this world go out and do amazing things within the framework of their jobs. Look at Bill McGlade, CEM; I call him “Trade Show Steve Jobs” now and it’s because he’s worked for an extraordinary set of people who let him spread his wings.

IAEE: Imagine you are in a “Battle of the YPs” across various industries. Do you think exhibitions and events YPs would take the win, and if so, how?

ALEX: Remember the battle royale from Anchorman? Look, all I’m saying is if we can get the GES and Freemans of the world to bridge the gap there’s no way we lose. Our industry partners work with blunt objects all day! Plus, I’ve seen Brooke Pierson ”irritated”; no way some CPA is taking her in a fistfight.

IAEE: What is the best advice you have received so far from industry veterans?

ALEX: There are four pieces of personal/professional advice that have guided me in my career. Scott Crawford taught me to ask questions the right way. Ryan Brown taught me to say ‘no’ without saying ‘no.’ Dan Cole taught me to create and embrace moments of serendipity. Andy Ortale taught me how to make an impact without getting lost in the weeds. There is always something valuable to learn from leaders before you. Spending five minutes in a room with the incredible leadership I have in in Vegas drives home how much I need to learn in business and as a person to get to the level of a Chris Meyer who has impacted so many people and even served as IAEE chair. The advice I’ve received along the way guides me constantly.

IAEE: What advice would you offer to someone considering entering this industry?

ALEX: Jump in with a winning team. Young people are expected to move around before they find their home, career wise. Find your winning team and don’t settle for less. The best organizations will see your potential and build you up to be an asset to their entire mission, not just someone who audits floorplans or takes care of menial tasks. Do not settle. Find your mentor, find your winning team. I was always told

Your Guide to 2017’s Top Executive Promotional Products

Originally posted by 4imprint

Executive promotional products are a great way to not only look good to execs, but to make them look good as well. To get an idea what corporate giveaways will really win them over this year, keep reading.

For high-tech executive gifts, you can’t miss with Bluetooth® audio.

Wireless audio is a great giveaway for tech-savvy execs. In the first half of 2016, Bluetooth headphones drove more dollars than wired headphones, making it clear that people are taking their music everywhere they go and leaving the wires behind. With many top-end smartphones dropping their corded connections, the perfect personalized executive gift is a set of Mojave Wooden Bluetooth Headphones. They’re just the thing for catching productivity podcasts on the go. Or pump the tunes on the pint-sized yet powerful Addi Bluetooth Speaker.

Travel gear is an always-welcome corporate giveaway.

Outfit executives so they can travel in style.
With an estimated 457 million domestic business trips taken in 2016, busy executives are constantly on the go. Many executive promotional products are designed to make their lives just a little more comfortable. A Kinney Packable Jacket resists wind, rain and cold, yet rolls up into a convenient, compact size, just right for stashing in a travel bag. Speaking of bags, give a personalized executive gift that doubles as an office on the go–a fashion-forward Kenneth Cole Colombian Leather Dowel Laptop Bag or Isaac Mizrahi Sloan Laptop Tote.

Keep executives moving with terrific tech toys.

Portable tech is perfect for executives always on the go.
According to Pew Research, 68 percent of Americans own a smartphone. If the executive you know is always running out of cell phone power, give him or her a sleek yet powerful Dual Power Bank. It carries enough power to charge most cell phones—twice! Or if someone is counting not only calories but also their daily exercise, a Smart Wear Bluetooth Tracker Pedometer may be just what the doctor ordered.

Use personalized executive gifts to be remembered in the office.

Useful, professional items often find a home on an executive’s desk.
Because the average worker spends 35 percent of his or her time behind a desk, keep your name within clear sight every day with executive promotional products just for the office. An Executive Desk Pad exudes a first-class business vibe. To keep an exec’s favorite tech tool nearby—a cell phone—make it stand tall with the Brando Clock Desk Organizer. Or for a sleek and stylish way to get your name in front of everyone, hand your favorite executive a Prestigious Business Card Holder.

Some of the top executive gifts deliver a welcome break from work.

Executive gifts like games can create precious time with family.
Everyone needs to take their mind off their job sometimes, and busy executives are no exception. This is especially important when it comes to people with families. The Pew Research Center® says 39 percent of working moms and 50 percent of working dads say they don’t spend enough time with their kids. So, grab the 7-in-1 Traditional Game Set and have a family fun night. Or, for some fast-paced sports action, get your competitive juices flowing with an Air Hockey Desktop Game.

If you need to connect with those in leadership roles, executive promotional products can be a great way to leave a great impression that lasts long after the handshake.

 

SOURCE: Your Guide to 2017’s Top Executive Promotional Products

IAEE Awards Spotlight on Jacqueline Russo: 2016 Woman of Achievement Award Winner

By Mary Tucker, IAEE Sr. PR/Communications Manager

Jacqueline Russo, Vice President of Kuehne + Nagel, Inc., has been a dynamic leader within IAEE with more than 25 years of consistent service and heavy involvement across many capacities. She has served as a mentor to other women as they entered the industry, and is well known both nationally and internationally as an asset to the exhibitions and events community.

In 2016, she was recognized for her contributions to the advancement of women in the exhibitions and events industry as the recipient of IAEE’s Woman of Achievement Award. Here, Jackie shares with IAEE her perspective about what she has learned over the years, being actively involved in IAEE’s chapters and committees, and the rewarding experiences that come from getting to know your colleagues.

jackie-russo-awards-blog_01232017
Awards presentation during the Networking Luncheon at Expo! Expo! IAEE’s Annual Meeting & Exhibition 2016 in Anaheim, CA. From left to right: Representing the IAEE Awards Committee, Randy Bauler, CEM; Jackie Russo; and IAEE President and CEO David DuBois, CMP, CAE, FASAE, CTA.

IAEE: How did you get your start in the exhibitions and events industry, and at what point did you realize you were “in it to stay”?

JACKIE: Like many in the exhibition industry, I fell into it by working for a company that was scheduled to be an exhibitor in Fire Asia, Singapore.  A fire/safety show, it was my task to ensure all of our materials were sent to the show and would be on site and ready to use when our team arrived. I was terrified and called the official logistics company to assist with my transport and delivery. I spent countless hours working on the paperwork and even went to the logistics company’s office to check the goods. After the show was a success, logistics company offered me a job.  My goal was to do international business and see the world.  The exhibition industry offered me the chance to do both.

 IAEE: How have you seen the role of women in the exhibitions and events industry evolve over the course of your career, and are there developments you would still like to see?

 JACKIE: The most exciting growth has been women in management roles. We have many female business owners of all sized companies. Additionally, many traditionally male jobs are now also female roles.  I would like to see more young women recruited to begin a career path within exhibition organizers and suppliers. If we codify the opportunity and provide a path, we will allow women to shine.

 IAEE: You have been recognized as a generous mentor within the industry. What do you most enjoy about sharing your knowledge and experience with those new to the industry?

 JACKIE: That is large question. I have open arms and open mouth to anyone who is interested to listen. It is not just young persons; but all career people need an ear and an unbiased opinion/advice regarding their careers. Hearing the facts and discussing strategy allows individuals to seek those roles or solve those problems which are most important to them. It also allows people to see opportunities they may not believe are available for them.

 IAEE: You have served on various IAEE committees and task forces. Why is volunteerism important to you, and what tips do you have for those considering serving on a committee/task force?

 JACKIE: Volunteering in IAEE has been the best decision of my career. We often discuss team in the description of our careers. There is no better team than a committee or task force whether on the local or national level of IAEE. The other volunteers are extremely professional and bring knowledge, points of view and a willing spirit to the group. It is possible to grow and individual and as a business person. My closest friends and even close competitors are all colleagues when we work together on a committee or task force. When choosing the type of volunteering, it is important to choose those opportunities about which you have an interest, expertise or concern. Even if you do not know anything about the topic, it is a way to learn and grow while contributing. Volunteering takes time. It is imperative that you do not make a commitment that you are unable to fulfill. The other members are counting on you and your help. Make a lifelong friend!

 IAEE: From a woman’s point of view, what do you find most challenging about a career in the exhibitions and events industry? What do you find most rewarding? (whether from a woman’s view or overall)

 JACKIE: My challenges have been less gender related and more career related. We all talk about balance. Balance is tough and sacrifices have to be made if the goal is to reach pre-chosen targets or titles. In this current environment “we have an app for that” means there is a lot more clerical work; we do our own proposals and presentations and travel and carry them in our bags and go through security and wait and wait. This is the tough part for all career persons.

Most rewarding, everything else. We have a sense of accomplishment daily. We work on high-performing teams that meet at 5 a.m. and leave each other at 10 p.m. mostly with a smile. I help non-U.S. individuals make their way through the U.S. system of exhibitions. We share a laugh even when we don’t speak the same language. It is human. I share a department with people who know the value of a good job and a strong employer. Friends.

IAEE: You have been a member of IAEE for more than 25 years. What is your favorite part of being an IAEE member and what advice would you give someone who has just joined the organization?

JACKIE: My favorite parts of IAEE are the members, the local chapters and the experiences. If you have an open mind, it is possible to take yourself and your career to the next level. Participation may take you out of your comfort zone. It took me out many times and this was just what I needed to grow. It is good to be uncomfortable with yourself sometimes. After all of the hand-wringing, you are stronger and ready to take on the next challenge.

IAEE is accepting nominations for the 2017 Woman of Achievement Award! Click here to learn more about the IAEE Individual Awards and submit your nominations today!

Platform Overload—Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

Originally posted by 4imprint

Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business

First came the inaugural class of social media platforms: Facebook®, Twitter® and LinkedIn®. Then came the second wave: Instagram®, Snapchat® and Google+®. Now, there’s an entirely new team of social media players with an ever-evolving list of ways for people to connect, share and promote what matters most to them. From a user perspective, it’s a veritable buffet of delicious options. Choosing is as simple as finding where your friends or professional contacts are or selecting the venues that interest you most.

From a company perspective, it’s much more complicated. How do you choose the right social media sites for business? Bottom line: if you’re overwhelmed and don’t know which platforms to choose, we can help.

The importance of social media for companies

The truth is, social media for companies isn’t negotiable anymore—it’s almost an expectation and an issue of legitimacy and sustainability. Businesses that don’t have a social media presence are missing opportunities to engage key stakeholders, customers and employees, and are ignoring a potentially powerful pipeline for sales conversions and future success.

But where do you start? And more importantly, where do you draw the line?

Whether you work at a large company, or are seeking social media for small businesses, consider your budget. Resources often require businesses to focus their social media efforts. After all, the only thing worse than having no presence is having poorly-managed social media profiles. The implications can be widespread and potentially damaging to an organization’s reputation.

Managing social media for companies effectively depends on focused efforts on strategically chosen platforms. Don’t worry, we’ve simplified the legwork for you. Read on for your five-step guide to finding the right social media site(s) for you.

Step 1: Determine which social media sites your target market uses most

You already know who you want to reach, right? (If not, it’s time to define your target markets and/or develop your customer personas.) The first step is to figure out where your target audience is spending time on social media—and where they are active. In “Which Social Media Accounts Really Matter and Why” marketing expert Neil Patel explains that it’s important to look past big user numbers on social media platforms. “For example, there are over 1 billion Google®users, but only 35 percent of those users were active in the past month. Twitter, too, has a lot of members with [a] relatively low number of active members … A social media user needs to be active on a social media site in order for them to be of any use to you.”

That’s a key consideration when developing your social media business strategy. You can determine which social media platforms your target market is actively using in a number of ways.

Ask them.

It seems so simple, doesn’t it? You can survey your existing customers, clients and contacts by using one of the online free survey sites, or by polling them via your email list. Or, you can simply ask them when they enter your brick-and-mortar business or at checkout online.

Look at the research.

Social media demographics are widely available online, and the data is robust. You’ll want to know the demographics for your current clients and the target markets you wish to reach. Information like age, gender, income and education can be helpful in your decision-making process.

In “Social Media Demographics to Inform a Better Segmentation Strategy,” Michael Patterson says in-depth information is available about market demographics for many of the popular sites: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest® and Snapchat. Use that data to determine where the majority of users live, their income levels, their gender and much more. From there, you will be able to glean insight into which platforms your target markets are most likely using, and which social media sites for business are right for you.

This offers you a strong starting position, according to Dominique Jackson in “How to Find the Best Social Media Channels for Your Business.”

“For instance, if you’re primarily targeting women over 50 years old, Instagram probably isn’t the best option. You’re better off with Facebook or Pinterest,” Jackson says.

This is just the beginning of your process, but it’s a vital step. Patterson points out that the strategy you develop based on this data shouldn’t be written in stone. Rather, consider it an organic, ever-changing plan. “Smart marketers constantly tinker with their segmentation strategy, working tediously to ensure that the right message is reaching the right people at the right time,” he explains. “With the rise of so many platforms across the vast social media landscape, this has never been more important—or more challenging.”

Find where your content, or similar content, is already being shared.

Even if you aren’t on social media, chances are your name is there. Consider logging on to various sites and searching for your company name, related product lines, competitor accounts or areas of interest among your target audiences. Look for places where that conversation is happening: your target audience has a presence there that you can work with. As a bonus, you may also learn what your audience thinks of your business, what they wish you would consider tweaking, what they love about your products and services, and even how your staff is performing from a customer service standpoint. Jackpot!

But having the demographic data isn’t enough, Jackson says. “In addition to these statistics, you should also do a manual review of the social networks where you’re interested. Look at the content being published, and who are the actual content creators. If content related to your industry seems to resonate well, it’s a good sign.”

Lastly, consider which social media sites are already driving traffic to your business. You can do this with the help of Google Analytics. Jackson suggests checking out the data under Acquisition. Then choose Social and Network Referrals.

Step 2: Define your social media for business capabilities within the resources you have available

You know it. We know it. Everyone knows it. Resources—both time and money—are limited. Obviously, managing both wisely is important, especially when considering your social media strategy. So the question is: what is your team capable of doing within budget and scheduling limitations?

It goes without saying—poorly-used resources could result in a very low return on your efforts. Spread your time and staff too thin and your audience engagement could suffer. A single person with an existing full-time load of responsibilities likely won’t be as responsive as your social media audience would like. And at its core, that’s the point of social media: it’s a conversation, and it’s about building relationships. If it’s a one-sided conversation and customers can’t reach you, you may send the message that your business is not interested in providing excellent customer service. Customers have become accustomed to nearly immediate responses and online customer support with a real person on-demand.

In “6 Social Media Trends That Will Take Over 2016” Jennifer Beese said, “Social media thrives on real-time engagement, but each year the window for response becomes smaller and smaller.” According to Search Engine Watch, 70 percent of Twitter users expect a response and 53 percent want a response in less than an hour. That jumps to 72 percent when they have a complaint.

Allocating the right resources to the right platforms is essential. No one wants to wake up to negative reviews of their company. Make sure you have enough staff to stay on top of issues and address concerns. In 2014, consumers took to social media to complain about brands 879 million times, according to www.sproutsocial.com. Worse, the majority of those messages went unanswered, even after three days. The good news is that there are tools out there that can help. Automation and social listening tools can help you streamline your efforts and provide useful data to hone your strategy. Overall, they can help make the most of the time and money you devote to social media.

The bottom line: by strategically choosing your platforms and taking time to calculate what you can realistically do with your resources, you can maximize your return on investment (ROI) and delight your customers when they engage with you on social media.

Step 3: Decide what kind of content you will share

So far, you’ve considered how much of your staff and financial resources you can dedicate to your social media strategy. But don’t stop there. It’s vital to consider your strengths. Each social media platform has a unique set of capabilities, and some will be more applicable to your business than others. For example, if you run a professional photography school or an art studio, photo sharing sites like Instagram would provide a great platform to showcase the visual aspects of your business. If you provide drone videography services, you may find sites like YouTube® work better. Look at each channel and consider how they will work with your business. 

In “How to Choose the Best Social Media Platform for Your Business,” author and online marketing expert Scott Levy suggests, “When it comes to choosing which social media platforms you’ll utilize, select those that offer the best potential for reaching your ideal audience and broadcast the type of media you’ve decided is best suited for your company.” When it comes to selecting social media sites for businesses that are large, or social media for small business, most companies don’t have the resources to be successful on every platform. So, instead of having lackluster representation in a lot of places, be amazing on a few of them.

Here are some popular platforms and the type of content they work best with, according to Levy. 

Pinterest

This online bulletin board is great for content sharing because it allows users to save items for future reference—pinning—and share them. Pins are image-driven, so strong visuals are important. Users can comment on pins, and click on pins to access external webpages. Says Levy, “If you focus on wedding planning, travel destinations, interior decorating, fashion or foods, you can say a great deal about your products and services through your stunning photos or videos.” 

LinkedIn

According to Levy, LinkedIn is great for connecting people, engaging in group discussions about specific interests and showcasing your expertise. LinkedIn is also a popular publishing platform. It is a great option to get exposure for your original content, and to position yourself as an expert in your industry. 

YouTube

YouTube is a great sharing site for videos. The key, says Levy, is to make your video engaging, as no one will watch a boring video. But that doesn’t necessarily call for high-end production. What makes a video good? Levy explains, “It’s a good idea to watch a number of YouTube videos and see which ones generated hundreds of thousands (or even millions) of hits. Videos that show people how to do something, demonstrate your product or service, or introduce a new or unusual (visual) product can help you benefit from YouTube.” 

Twitter

This platform provides a continuous real-time conversation in short, text message-like posts. It’s ideal for companies that want real-time engagement with their audience and are willing to put in the effort to maintain it. “If you have breaking news, updates, questions for your followers, or if you want opinions now or even need to announce a recall, Twitter is the way to reach out to people,” Levy said.

Facebook

Facebook has extensive reach and power. Its worldwide user-base is enormous. While there is some sense of immediacy, Facebook doesn’t have the same rapid-fire vibe that Twitter does. It’s more about building a relationship with the audience. “Almost any business can benefit from having a Facebook page,” says Levy. “But Facebook isn’t about selling. Your goal in using Facebook for business is to let customers get to know the people behind the logo … If done correctly, your fans become loyal followers and Facebook can be a very significant lead generator.”

As you can see, the type of content you want to share has a big role in choosing the right social media platforms.

Step 4: Consider large, medium, small and niche platforms

The temptation for many businesses is to focus on the largest social media platforms, like these:

Big Social Networks’ Monthly Active UsersFigure 1: Big social networks’ monthly active users

Depending on the size and scope of your business, going for the most popular platforms could be a valid choice. But social media is about more than the number of users. It’s important to remember that the bigger the site, the more competition you face. A social media campaign that could easily get lost on a popular site could gain real traction on a niche site. So when you’re considering platforms, dig deep. It may require a little legwork, but you could see a huge payoff in market saturation. Here’s how to go about it according to Patel.

  • Consider joining what Patel calls the big four: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Patel says Google+ is a social media game changer. “When you combine Google authorship with the world’s dominant search engine, and create a social media platform that integrates them, it’s no wonder that Google+ is turning up as a dominant form of online social interaction.”
  • Consider what Patel calls the lesser three: Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. You may also want to consider location-based sites, such as Foursquare® and Yelp®, particularly if you have a brick-and-mortar presence.
  • Consider even smaller sites. Patel clarifies that these sites are still massive, but they appeal to people who have shared interests. These sites include Tumblr®, StumbleUpon® and Reddit®.
  • Lastly, explore niche sites. A social network that is specifically created for your target market may provide more return on your investment of time and energy. How do you find the right niche social site? Patel recommends simply putting your keywords, along with the words “social network,” in a search engine to see what’s out there. Niche sites won’t have the big user numbers that Facebook has, but you’ll get a more accurate sample of your target market when you find the right group.

Step 5: Research future social media platform capabilities and rise to meet them

Remember how we said your social media strategy shouldn’t be set in stone? In “The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends Dominating 2016,” author Jason DeMers says it’s helpful to look at the trends that are taking center stage in social media right now. This information allows you to tweak or even overhaul your social media strategy to capitalize on current conditions. Here’s what’s trending:

  1. Hyper-relevant content rules. Users are beginning to prefer in-the-moment content, and most platforms sort posts by relevance. That means better posts get better play.
  2. Live streaming is gaining momentum. Video has been increasingly popular on social media, but these days, users want more. With the advent of Facebook Live, chances are, demand for live-streaming content will only increase.
  3. Social interaction is changing. New types of interaction are emerging, including one-sided conversations on Snapchat and applications like Messenger for Business on Facebook, aimed at customer service. The range of options is constantly growing and new capabilities are emerging. Staying on top of this can put your business on the cusp of the next big thing.
  4. A more personalized experience. As we mentioned, users want content that is relevant. Social media platforms have heard the demands for customization, and they’re doing their best to meet those demands.
  5. Social media apps are trying to keep people in-app for as long as possible by offering greater functionality. Experts say this trend will increase as it relates directly to app revenue. “Some of these functions include in-app search functions, embedded content, and in Facebook’s case, even a personal digital assistant,” DeMers says. Savvy marketers don’t have to adopt all of them, he says, but will want to recognize that broader app functionality is a trend that will likely shape the future of social media marketing.

So, there you have it: five steps to finding the right social media sites for business. Once selected, you’re well on your way to discovering success in user engagement, sales conversions and brand loyalty. Remember, you don’t have to do all platforms well; the key is to select the platforms that work best for your business. Focus on communicating effectively. In time, armed with a thoughtfully-developed strategy, your business can experience measurable ROI, improved customer relationships, and business growth through the power of social media.

SOURCE: Platform Overload—Choosing the Right Social Media Sites for Business