How To Stand Out At Cloud World Forum
A lot of time, effort and creative thinking goes into preparing for an event – you want your stand to…well, stand out from all the others.
Here at Octopus Group HQ, we’re busy preparing for Cloud World Forum 2015 and speaking to exhibitors. In this blog post I’m going to share my tips on how exhibitors can stand out before, during and after the event.
Before Cloud World Forum starts
1. Let the industry know you’re going
In the days leading up to the event, post on Twitter and LinkedIn that you’ll be there and ask who else is going. Or maybe ask others if they know a good place to grab lunch or a coffee near the Olympia. A lot of people like to give recommendations so you’re likely to get a warm response, and it could open the door to gaining a new business contact.
2. Get involved in the cloud conversation
Did you know there’s a LinkedIn group about Cloud World’s conference series? Well, if not, you do now! Head over to the group, request membership, then introduce yourself, see what others are saying and contribute to the conversation.
3. Get familiar
Know. Your. Delegates. Spend some time refreshing your mind about the demographic of those attending. Cloud World Forum has an insightful page on its visitors, showing industry, buyer and job level breakdown. For example, 42% of visitors are at C-Level, president, chairman or director level.
4. Make your stand irresistible
…But still relevant. There are many ways exhibitors try to attract delegates to their stand.
Many conference visitors expect free branded merchandise and lots of exhibitors have it in their arsenal, but what else can you do?
You need to not only think what visitors would want, but also what they can’t get from other stands.
For example, I attended an event once where a company stand had free cookies and a TV showing a live match from the football World Cup. Now there’s nothing wrong with going a little off-topic, it brought a lot of people over but some quickly left or just got absorbed in the match. It made the exhibitors’ gradual transition into work-related conversations slightly awkward, so you need to be prepared for how you’re going to engage stand visitors.
Try to think of something that others wouldn’t think to do.
5. Do shiny things get you attention?
Maybe so. In the book Why We Buy: the Science Of Shopping by Paco Underhill, a study is discussed, which found that pedestrians automatically slow down for a shiny store front. Would the same work for a gleaming exhibitor stand…who knows? Try it and let us know!
During the event
6. Make the Twitter stream visible at your stand
Got a big screen on your stand? Excellent! You can display the #CloudWF hashtag stream on it and draw others to your stand.
While live tweeting has become a staple at events, it’s useful for you and others to see what people are posting. When you’re composing that perfect tweet, the last thing you want is to be toggling between views on your mobile device…a large screen is useful for both exhibitors and delegates.
7. Vine can give delegates a sneak peek
Brevity is vital here. It’s difficult to say and show everything. At only six seconds of video, Vine is a great way to provide a teaser of what attendees can expect at your stand, giving them a seed of curiosity to visit you and learn more.
8. Use video to live stream what’s happening at your stand
You can’t demo to everyone at the same time at an event. Actually, scratch that – you can. Apps such as Periscope and Meerkat let you broadcast a live video stream (either via the app or Twitter), and are a great way of showing delegates what’s happening at your stand…regardless of whether they can be there at that precise moment.
One of the key differences between the two apps is that Periscope saves the stream, so your followers can view them for up to 24 hours, while the Meerkat video disappears once you end the broadcast.
9. Creative photo opps
Event backdrops have become par for the course – delegates can pose in front of them with colleagues and contacts, but sometimes the exhibitor space (and budget) for this just isn’t there. So what else can you do?
Maybe there’s a fun, but small to fit your stand, poster or prop that you can use instead. You’ve got to be creative with this and think of something that delegates would want and others wouldn’t think of.
Post-event activity to keep the conversation going
10. A recap article
Writing a quality post-event blog requires effort, but it’s worth doing. Bear in mind that not everyone who wanted to attend the forum could – other commitments come up so sometimes people miss out…make sure they don’t miss out completely. Even those who attend don’t get always get a chance to catch everything.
A recap article gives you the chance to inform those people of the key industry issues that were discussed, and also gives your company the chance to give your take on them.
11. Summarise what the speakers said
When you attend an event, you often don’t get the chance to listen to every speaker you want to listen to.
And have you seen the list of speakers at Cloud World Forum this year? Check it out. It’s huge.
Identify the ones that are most relevant to your prospects, attend their talks, summarise the key takeaways from them, then present them in an easy-to-digest way, such as a SlideShare.
12. Visual formats to show the human side
Writing a blog gives you the chance to demonstrate thought leadership, but don’t let yourself be limited to that format.
Posting a video on YouTube lets you capture the feel of an event in a different way to written content. It could be a quick interview, a demo, or perhaps a highlights reel of the two days of the event.
Check out this quick interview with a delegate from the 2014 event.
13. Promote your recap
Whether your recap of Cloud World Forum is a written blog, SlideShare, video, or photo collection (or a combination of them), ensure that others know that you don’t just talk the talk, you walk the walk.
You didn’t just exhibit, network, and then leave. You actually put time and thought into creating this valuable content because you’re invested in the industry. Let your key buyers know about it by sharing it on social media and emailing your contacts about it.
14. Have an evaluation
After doing some, or all, of the above, book in a debrief meeting with the rest of your team who exhibited with you. In fact, book two. One soon after the event, then another a few weeks after your post-event content has been published, promoted and measured – that second one will be more reflective and provide some new takeaway thoughts.
Discuss what did and didn’t go well and why, talk about what other exhibitors did effectively and whether you could adopt similar initiatives with your own, original spin – all of which will be excellent planning to ensure that you’ll have an even more successful event next year.
Good luck for the show!