Five Lessons for Maximising Trade Show Returns

Engage Your Visitors

Converting lovers to needers

IEngage Your Visitors

(Nearly) everybody loves CLIVE but we want website owners to need him!


Our aim is to clearly communicate that CLIVE, for as little as $1K, is the easiest and most cost effective investment for increasing website effectiveness.



Marketing firm Max Media and Entertainment and corporate video production company RidgeFilms, launched a new Internet Video overlay service called in July 2008.  From a business perspective a fundamental requirement for this project was that it had to be cash flow positive and self funding from the very start – “I’ve invested too much time and money in the past on poor performing projects with lot’s of potential” says Scott Maxworthy, Chief Experience Officer of Max Media and CLIVE. “In today’s fickle world if you’re a product or service that doesn’t deliver immediate tangible results in some form to customers then find something easier to sell.”  Maxworthy adds.


Performance: As a customer KPI CLIVE measures both videos served and Click Thru Rates (CTR’s).  CLIVE took 16 months to pass 500K customer videos served, 6 months to pass the next 500K and with current projects on board is in shape to pass the next 500K within the next two-three months.  Average CTR across all customers is 4% with some customers have achieving 18% – a typical good campaign is in the 8-10%.    Chris Schwager, Creative Director for CLIVE, states the core difference is attributed to video message relevance to the audience; good scripts and presenter performance.


Impressive results when you consider a typical website banner has a Click Thru of less than 0.4%.


Business Moving Forward

As a result of CLIVE’s success in March 2010 they were in a position to expand. One the key marketing objectives was to get out from behind their computer screens and phones and get “Face to Face” with more prospective clients.


“In all my years in business one core lesson in any B-B sales environment is that people BUY from people and one of the best, most efficient ways still to get in front of lots of qualified people are trade exhibitions” said Maxworthy.

Trade Exhibitions

Exhibitions – particularly well organised B-B trade fairs are a honeypot of business potential.  From a visitors perspective they can quickly browse, see, touch and talk.  From an exhibitors perspective they are great at building awareness, networking and if everything goes to plan, you end up with hundreds of highly qualified prospects, leads and influencers –in fact it would take you years to get 1:1 in front of all these people.


BUT, a word of warning, with so many options for your advertising and marketing dollar, it always comes down to the best ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment) per event.

Trade Shows – the good and the bad

As you may know exhibitions can be done well and not so well so I’d like to share with you five hard earned key points that I’ve learnt through many expos over the years and later, as a case study, what we recently applied to CLIVEvideo at the Ad:Tech Sydney event.  (BTW which was a great success – having paid for itself in 5 weeks).


Five Lessons for Maximising Trade Show Returns

First and foremost – ROMI (Return On Marketing Investment)

A helicopter perspective – you need to think of each exhibition like a shopping centre or the Internet – tens, hundreds, thousands of products; services and locations all competing for your dollar and scarce visitor and prospective customer attention, $$$$ and loyalty.


As a seller there’s lots of ways of spending money BUT for every event – ask what % are the right potential customers?  – What’s your return?  Is this the best use of your resources?  I don’t believe crappola like “you’ve got to be there to be seen” – just focus on tangible results and if possible negotiate terms to minimise your risks and exposure.

Second – Creative Differentiation

You’re booked in for the gig but so MANY stands appear the same – what are you doing that is different?  What will attract the visitor; engages your audience, helps them remember you and hopefully position a need to buy?  Remember most visitors are like men shopping with their wives (or girlfriend) – that glazed look of information overload – the advertising window wound up tight and the black shades on.  How do you get cut through and stand out?  Are you selling a commodity or YOUR great service or product?  Why would I buy from YOU?

Third – Less is More

What’s your pitch?  Whatever it is it needs to be delivered in 15 seconds or less.  In today’s high speed time poor digital world of unlimited opportunity and instant communications the old adage of “WIIFM” – (What’s In It For Me) has been replaced by “WRWM” (What Resonates With Me) coined by leading Twitter and social media identity Mahei Foliaki (Iconic88).


Your message has to mean more than visitor self gratification – to engage with new brands and services your message has to meet a whole series of potential new customer needs – Will it generate results?  Will it make my life easier?  Does it motivate me? Do I trust them/ you?  How does it connect and resonate with me and my tribe – what’s your website again they’ll ask?   All THAT in the first 15 seconds!


Then, if you pass first base (user opt-in/ attention) you can then provide more detailed information.


REMEMBER – Keep It Simple; have fun (this will keep your staff hyped), and “Entertain to Inform”.


If you want you can risk proving how clever you are later in the conversation/ relationship.

Four – Clear objectives:

Understand most people are BUSY – don’t waste their and your time.  Do the maths.


  • There are say 2,500 potential prospects at the event over two days;
  • You’ve 4 sales people on your stand.
  • Say 25% pass your stand – that’s 625 people
  • =312 per day; =100 per rep; =12 contacts per hour = maximum 5 minutes per contact.

The objective is to deliver your key message and get (permission) for contact details for follow-up. 


  • If ID scanners are available then hire it and have someone dedicated to scanning – that way you don’t interrupt your rep:visitor conversation searching for the scanner. Your visitor will appreciate you not wasting their time.
  • Quickly sidestep time wasters.   Have a code/ hand signal for “help get me away” if you’re bogged down in the trenches with Techno Arnie who wants to talk for hours about the pros and cons of Macs versus PC’s (tis all just hardware)

Five – Follow up.

What’s your event follow-up process?  How many times you’ve been to a networking event or trade show and the leads sit idle for weeks or months after the event.  Have a clear plan of who is going to do what follow-up after the event.


Next blog I’ll put together a case study we did for Ad:tech Sydney 2010.


Ex publican, photographer, musician, entrepreneur and Head of Digital for the Cronulla Sharks.