2016 Proves Face to Face Marketing is One of Your Most Powerful Tools

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History will record many lessons from the 2016 presidential election—and we’ll leave it to history to decide which are good and bad. But one trend struck us as we watched the candidates meeting and rallying with voters over the past several months: Face-to-face marketing is a powerful tool that works.

In the business of event marketing, we see it all the time. A good convention experience with the right strategy for filling the booth can touch hundreds of members of your target audience at once. And while you might argue that ads reach a heck of a lot more, what kind of engagement are those ads really generating?

A professional presentation or hands-on demo can be much more memorable, while providing that human connection people crave.

Which brings us back to the election. Both candidates clearly knew the power of personal connections as they traveled to strategic states for all-important face time with voters. Social media, the cousin of face to face marketing, provided another way for them to engage directly with people. Both candidates spent less than their 2014 predecessors, with some of their most impactful moments happening at live events.

Companies must decide where to spend their marketing dollars, just like campaigns do. If you’re considering whether conventions and other events are a good investment, then consider how valuable it is to share your story with people who have traveled and invested their own resources precisely to connect with people who offer what you do.

Notice the emphasis on the word “people” in that last sentence? It’s often the missing key to success for companies when they do invest in conventions and trade shows. Face-to-face marketing is what these events are all about, yet we see far too many booths lined with touchscreens that no one touches.

People can interact with screens at the bank or the grocery store. No matter how cool your game or touchscreen experience is, it’s unlikely to generate real engagement unless you pair it with people who can draw in visitors and build connections with them.

Clearly, MPG believes in live presentations – it’s in our name, after all. But we see the power of face-to-face marketing at every show we attend.

It’s the difference between a booth packed from opening to close each day and one that sits empty while the reps watch prospective clients walk by.

It’s relationships that are started with a smile, cemented by compelling information paired with conversation that leads to new business or recommendations.

It’s knowing your complete message was delivered to as many attendees as possible in a way that they’ll remember.

This is something both presidential candidates clearly understood. If 2016 taught us nothing else, it’s that face-to-face is still one of the most effective ways to connect with people. As you think about how to spend your marketing dollars in 2017, give face-to-face another look, then call us to chat about how we can help.

Facebook Live at Trade Shows: Tips for Exhibitors

fblive_grabFacebook’s new “Live” feature became widely available this spring, allowing users to host their own live broadcasts. For companies exhibiting at tradeshows, it’s worth exploring. You can take advantage of the visuals and activity around your booth to showcase new technologies or give a glimpse of how you’re engaging with other professionals on the road.

As part of our social media campaign for Crest and Oral-B at the American Dental Association annual meeting, MPG incorporated a Facebook Live broadcast that garnered the highest engagement of our social media activities at that event.

Here are some tips you might find helpful if you’re considering Facebook Live at conventions.

Test First – Convention halls vary in the quality of their wifi, and providing your own within your booth can get pricey. To make sure you’ll be able to do a good-quality broadcast from the show floor, conduct a test the day before around the same time and under the same conditions using a personal Facebook account.

Be Prepared – Decide in advance who’ll be featured in your broadcast and what their talking points will be. If you plan to move around, then map out where you’ll travel. This will help with our next tip, which is…

Watch Your Background – There’s an element of danger to going live: you never know what could happen. A wise guy making rude gestures in the background won’t reflect well on your brand. If you’re concerned there’s even a remote chance of that happening, then choose locations with a backdrop or that limit views of the crowd.

Time It Right – Think about what time of day your audience is most likely to be on Facebook and schedule your live broadcast accordingly. Make sure you broadcast for a good length of time—at least 10 minutes—to give people time to discover and tune in. Don’t forget to give periodic reminders who you are and where you’re broadcasting from to bring those new viewers up to speed.

Enjoy the Interaction –  Facebook Live allows you to see comments and questions in real time, so don’t be afraid to engage with them. Try doing a Q&A with the viewers at home, or give a shout-out to specific fans. The live format is supposed to be fresh and spontaneous, so have fun with it — as much as your brand equity will allow.

For more ideas on how to amplify your trade show activities using social media, check out our article on how to execute a fun and successful Facebook video campaign.

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Public Speaking 101: Help Your Team Shine at Your Next Meeting

With these public speaking tips, you can hold the audience's attention like this MPG presenter.

We can’t all be naturally great public speakers. Many people have specialized knowledge that others want to hear about, but it doesn’t mean they know how to communicate their expertise to a live audience.

So what do you do when a major meeting turns the spotlight on team members who are experts in their field but not experts at presenting? Your best minds are on tap to impress with killer content. Their delivery can be just as killer with these tips to bring out the dynamic speaker in almost anyone.

Finalize scripts well in advance. Busy people may balk at an early deadline. Many assume they can rely on Powerpoint to guide them. And some simply prefer to wing it. But requesting that presentations be finished at least three weeks before a meeting allows plenty of time to memorize and practice. It also minimizes the chances of last-minute changes that can throw speakers off.

Consider a professional moderator. A pro can take some pressure off by winning over the audience, adding a fresh voice, and giving speakers a way into their content, rather than making them go it alone. What might have been a dry presentation becomes an engaging Q&A.

Team up. Dual presenters can break up what might otherwise have been a monotonous talk. They can play off each other, give each other confidence, and offer prompts to move on if one starts to ramble.

These public speaking tips can help you hold your audience's attention like this MPG presenter.

As soon as you’ve identified who’s speaking and what they’ll say, start planting the seeds for successful presenting. It’s never too early to get people thinking about how they’ll handle themselves onstage—and often, it helps to further shape the content of their presentations.

Here are some basics all presenters should know:

Less is more. Try using fewer, more powerful words when you speak, and even fewer in your visuals. Slides should back up your script with impactful images and data, not repeat it word-for-word.

“Serve” your audience. Think about the presentation from their point of view. Why do they care? Why should they?

Incorporate anecdotes and personal experiences. It helps put the audience on your side when you can share a real-world example they can relate to.

Own the stage. Use deliberate, purposeful movements and resist the urge to aimlessly “wander.” Try blocking out where you’ll stand, and how and when you’ll move.

Vary your pace and delivery. Don’t be afraid of a little silence at one or two points in the presentation.  Pausing for effect, repeating a key phrase, changing your pitch, planting your feet and squarely facing the audience before emphasizing a key point, can all generate drama, interest and energy.

Don’t forget to smile! Enthusiasm can make even the driest content interesting. If you’re excited about the topic and it shows, then you can get others excited, too.

Presentations don’t have to be perfectly polished in every possible way. But they’re most powerful when they’re well-practiced and delivered with the right mix of energy and pacing. An agency like Moening Presentation Group can add value by helping craft presentations, coaching speakers, and working as onsite producers so everything runs smoothly. To find out how we can help take your team’s presentations to the next level, contact us.

 

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To Glimpse the True Magic of Teamwork, Look Behind the Scenes

Behind the Scenes with MPG at AAD 2016

At the end of every project, we spend several hours sifting through photos. For our clients, we pull the ones that best document the experience. The best of the best go to our website and other marketing materials. And then there are the photos no one else gets to see: behind-the-scenes shots of our teammates in rehearsal, setting up, and having fun with one another.

These images are a testament to the intense preparation that happens before “show time.” Our professional presenters and brand ambassadors are the best in the industry, so they make delivering messages and first-class hospitality look easy. But every day on the show floor represents hours of rehearsal and thought, from the way our talent moves during a presentation to the cut of their jackets and the color of their ties.

Behind the Scenes with MPG at AAD 2016

Browse through these pre-show photos, and you’ll see people running their lines over and over, testing and re-testing demos, tweaking the emphasis of key messages, and collaborating to make sure every team member knows where to be and what to do, even when the unexpected occurs.

Our exhibit designers and technical crew are busy, too. They’re obsessing over lighting, wrapping walls in beautiful printed fabric, tweaking sound levels to perfection in our theater, and setting up displays with the eye of an expert retailer.

Behind the Scenes with MPG at AAD 2016

All of these are represented in photos from the P&G skin care booth at last month’s American Academy of Dermatology Meeting. Our team and brand partners set a new bar for excellence with a freshly updated environment, a science-focused main presentation, and demos that brought brand science and benefits to life. More than 4,100 dermatologists spent an average of 15 minutes in our exhibit space. 95% reported that the content they received was relevant to them and their patients. And on average, 90% said they were more likely to recommend the featured products after visiting our demo stations.

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But something else comes to life when you look at behind-the-scenes photos from this show and others. You see the friendships that allow us to trust and help one another be our best—which means our clients are represented at their best. You see the fun, which not only propels us through long days but keeps us coming back show after show. Those unguarded, even silly, moments form the foundation of a team that is completely and joyfully committed to delivering memorable experiences for our clients.

This is why we look forward to post-show photo reviews. The polished and posed images capture the excellence. But those backstage moments are often where the real magic happens.

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Social Media at Events: Try These Tips for a Fun and Successful Video Campaign

We created a series of Facebook videos for Crest + Oral-B's convention experience.

Making the most of social media at events is critical for today’s marketers. Posting content to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other channels lets you extend the experience to a broader audience while giving attendees additional ways to engage.

For convention clients, we craft social media campaigns that invite participation beyond the trade show floor. One of our favorites is a video series for Crest + Oral-B’s professional Facebook page. Titled “On the Road with Crest + Oral-B”, the series capitalizes on the travel theme the oral care brands have been utilizing this season, along with the fact that the brands visit several conventions within one year.

The videos are a natural for dental professionals. They want to feel appreciated, they like to share their wisdom, and they’re always up for a laugh. So we developed a schedule of topics that would let them be funny, wise and inspirational—sometimes all at once! (Check out a few examples: Your Best Oral Health Advice in 3 Words… Go! What song gives you a big healthy smile? and Reasons Why I Love Being a Dental Professional)

The videos are simply made: A brand ambassador with a GoPro roams the Crest + Oral-B booth, inviting attendees to answer a question. The videos are quickly edited, with at least one posted per convention day. Each is accompanied by a post that invites viewers at home to contribute their own responses. Three-quarters of the way through this convention season, our videos are averaging around 3,000 views each with dental professionals liking, sharing and commenting on their favorites.

Are you interested in a Facebook videos for your next event? Here are some tips.

Create a theme. It should tie to your event but be interesting and relevant to people at home. Use the event as a springboard: What’s going on that viewers might like to see no matter where they are, and how can that spark a broader conversation?

Make it shareable. People share content that is funny, tugs their heartstrings, or offers information they find useful. Approach video on social media as a way to provide something people want vs. a way to get your message out. For example, capture attendees with their guards down, ask for touching anecdotes, or have company experts provide byte-sized tips and insights.

Get permission. Ensure that everyone who appears on camera is OK with it by having them sign a release form.

Keep it short. According to a Socialbakers study, videos on Facebook have decent completion rates (meaning people watched them until—or almost until—the end) when they’re under 115 seconds. 61 seconds garners a good completion rate, with the best completion rate occurring for videos with a length of 21 seconds.

Invite participation. Post topics that inspire people at home to contribute questions, stories or advice. Make sure to include a call to action inviting comments.

Post within the platform. A BuzzSumo analysis of Facebook posts found videos get much better engagement when they’re uploaded directly to Facebook vs. embedded from YouTube.

Tell them how to find it.  People who’ve appeared in an event video are your best prospects for sharing, liking, tagging, etc. We hand out business cards with the name of our Facebook page and other social media channels where our content can be found. A hashtag can also help people find themselves, in addition to gathering all related content in one spot.

Test and tweak. Facebook provides detailed insight into how your content is performing, including how long people view a video before dropping off. Use this data to help refine future videos for maximum view time and engagement.

For more ideas on how to amplify your events with social media, check out our tips on using Facebook Live at conventions.

 

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Making Messages Memorable at a Big (And We Mean Big!) Tradeshow

An MPG professional presenter details the benefits of Trimble's Connected Farm software for a packed audience at Farm Progress 2015.

When Trimble Agriculture exhibits at a trade show, it’s big! Big booth. Big audiences. A big variety of solutions to share. And the shows themselves are enormous. Farm Progress, billed as the nation’s largest producer-attended outdoor agriculture event, encompasses more than 2,570,000 square feet with an average attendance of about 160,000.

With so much competition for the attention of farmers and advisors, how does Trimble stand out? With a new live presentation introducing all that Trimble has to offer.

Trimble had already experienced success with MPG brand ambassadors, who welcomed visitors and helped detail Trimble solutions at earlier tradeshows. For Farm Progress 2015, Trimble asked us to create a presentation that would open the booth experience. The goal: let visitors know about the breadth of Trimble’s offerings, focusing on the agriculture management software that brings it all together—Connected Farm.

Trimble is best known as an industry leader in guidance and steering, helping farm equipment operate efficiently and thoroughly in the field. Connected Farm brings the data collected by that equipment into one place, allowing growers and their advisors to make better decisions.

MPG’s theme, “Expect More with Trimble,” allowed us to challenge the audience’s prior knowledge of Trimble, then demonstrate how Connected Farm technology can help them get more out of their investments.

Our professionals gave back-to-back presentations throughout the three-day show. Our brand ambassadors, meanwhile, continued to welcome newcomers, direct traffic, answer questions, and put a friendly face on the Trimble experience.

“The MPG team was a pleasure to work with,” said Trimble Event Coordinator Ashley Limoges. “They pulled our marketing materials into one memorable message. Then, they delivered a great experience at the booth. The professionals presenters set the stage for our representatives to have meaningful conversations with our visitors. And the brand ambassadors made sure everyone felt welcome. As a result, we had increased booth traffic which led to new customers and higher post-show sales. We felt like we were in great hands.”

To see MPG in action at Farm Progress, including selections from our live presentation, check out our video. To learn more about our trade show and corporate event services, visit here.

MPG Video Production: Capturing HD Passion for an HD Innovation

MPG’s production team shoots a video featuring Paul Sagel, inventor of Crest Pro-Health [HD].

Sometimes, you’re so proud of a project you want to tell people yourself why it’s so great. Forget slick commercials and carefully crafted benefit statements. Sometimes, the only way to communicate your passion is to speak directly to your audience—raw and unscripted.

That’s how P&G scientist Paul Sagel felt about his latest invention, Crest Pro-Health [HD]. The first-of-its-kind toothpaste and gel system has been wow-ing consumers since it was launched in January—which wasn’t a surprise to Paul, since the product wow-d him while he was developing it.

Ads for the product were doing fine, but Paul felt they were missing the story behind the innovation. He wanted to communicate just how incredible the results are. And he wanted people to see and feel that excitement, directly from him.

When he called us to the lab to discuss his idea, we wished we’d brought a camera to capture the energy as he talked about Crest Pro-Health [HD]. It truly was infectious. And we couldn’t wait to help make his vision a reality.

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As we prepared for our shoot, the idea evolved from the original completely unrehearsed concept. We suggested filming in an electronics store to help illustrate that Crest Pro-Health [HD] really is HD for your mouth. And we devised a one-take lab-to-store idea that allowed Paul to set up his scientific credentials while maintaining an element of fun.

As for the script, we helped organize the talking points, but in the end it was all up to Paul. And he delivered! The video has started making the rounds of Crest’s social media outlets, and so far the response is great. Take a look. If you’re as excited as we are, share the video and try Crest Pro-Health [HD] yourself!

A+ Tips for Effective Trade Show Exhibits

We love getting great report cards as much as anyone this time of year. And we believe in celebrating success, which is why we’re trumpeting our latest A+ scores like a proud mom on Facebook.

But we also believe in sharing our secrets. Because the effective trade show strategies that earned our client, Crest + Oral-B, such great results at the Chicago Dental Society’s Midwinter Meeting are tactics all exhibitors can learn from.

Here’s what the Exhibiting Effectiveness Evaluation, conducted by Competitive Edge and Trade Shows Plus, had to say about the Crest + Oral-B  experience in Chicago, PLUS tips on how you can get similarly great results.

Our booth for Crest + Oral-B included a hands-on science demo area, brushing stations for sampling, and a live presentation theater, where two professional presenters delivered a news-themed message about Crest and Oral-B's latest innovations.

Our booth included a hands-on science demo area, brushing stations for sampling, and a live presentation theater, where two professional presenters delivered a news-themed deep dive into Crest and Oral-B’s latest innovations.

The overall experience scored 100% compared to all other exhibitors at the show.

OverallUseThisExhibit Presentation

This category evaluated the general impression the exhibit made on the show floor, and our scores were nearly perfect. Here’s a sampling of comments: “Theme was effective/creative. Good overall exhibit design. Good graphics. Good lighting. Good use of A/V. Creative/Imaginative approach to exhibit/messaging. Wow. Amazing.”

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How can you get similar results?

Invest in good booth design. Create something inviting that brings your brand to life with smart use of equity colors and graphics. But keep it versatile. The goal is to get multiple years of use out of your booth with the ability to switch out themes and change up the experience each year.

Be bold, and be seen. We can’t stress enough the importance of a big, eye-catching overhead banner, along with  branded signage high enough to be seen over other exhibits.

Don’t skimp on lighting. Even the best-lit convention hall won’t make your exhibit look its best. Good lighting not only helps your investment shine, it actually enhances the experience for your guests.

Layer in a theme. Since Crest + Oral-B had so many new innovations last season, we carried a news theme throughout the booth. Theming is an extra step that can help you avoid dry, boring presentations and demos.

 

Product Presentation

Here, our scores were 5s across the board. Comments included: “Theater is Disney-off-the-chart. Product innovation demos are excellent. Staging is incredible.”

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How can you get similar results?

Do a presentation or demo – or both! Of course we love live presentations — they work! And for many products, a demo should be a no-brainer. Here are some ideas for doing them right.

– Be entertaining. But don’t feel pressured to do Disney. Our audiences have come to expect nothing but the best from Crest + Oral-B, so we’re constantly raising the bar on our theater experiences. The real lesson is to incorporate some element of entertainment, whether it simply be multiple monitors, a storytelling approach, or that fun theme we mentioned above.

Use professional presenters. Giving a great presentation at a corporate meeting is different from engaging and entertaining crowds four times an hour for three days straight. Professional presenters will deliver your message with flair every single time.

 

Exhibit Staff

Our scores were A+ here, too. Just look at those comments!

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How can you get similar results?

Go pro. Hire seasoned hosts with the energy and know-how to represent your company with class. Or at least provide your internal team with training on how to be as engaging and helpful as possible on the trade show floor.

Create a uniform look. Matching shirts, ties, and other clothing items not only make your team look good, they make it easy for guests to figure out whom to approach when they’re ready for a conversation.

The final lesson? With good planning, great staffing, and a touch of entertainment, you can create a more effective trade show exhibit that earns top grades from your target audience. Interested in seeing how MPG can help? Check out our Work and our Services.

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Great Tradeshow Exhibits

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Photo courtesy of Chiot’s Run, via Flickr

Winter is over, and many of us are wrapping up a successful trade show season. Now is the perfect time to review your exhibits and related events. Could they be fresher, more efficient, and more relevant to your audience?

Spring cleaning doesn’t have to mean an overhaul. Just make sure you’re getting the most out of every piece in your program, starting with clearing out clutter. Keep an eye out for:

Meaningless Jargon – Everyone offers an innovative, cutting-edge solution. And these overused terms are classic examples of “telling” rather than “showing.” We might not be able to trim all of these filler words out of presentations, graphics and related materials, but we can be mindful of falling back on them when a richer, more precise story could be told.

Cluttered Messaging – Are your presentations too long? Graphics laden with copy? Can a visitor look at your booth and immediately tell what you do or sell? Streamlining, shortening and creating areas of clear focus will create a more enjoyable experience for your guests, not to mention a more successful showing for your company.

Pieces that Aren’t Pulling their Weight – Do you have monitors that have gone ignored? Are there touchscreens no one touches? Consider working neglected technology into a demo. Or, transform dead spaces into a presentation area.

Shows that Aren’t Showing a Return – Most of us have at least one convention or trade show that seems to require more energy than it’s worth. If you trimmed it from your schedule, would it free up time and budget that could go toward shows that really improve your bottom line?

Now that you’ve cleared out some dead weight, it’s time for the next step: sprucing up. How can you give your program a fresh face without re-doing everything?

Fix wear and tear. If your exhibit house hasn’t done this already, have them repair scratched paneling, scuffed corners, dingy carpeting and other damage caused by months on the road.

Update graphics. Strategic re-skinning can give your booth a whole new look. Or focus on a few of your most impactful graphics to make branding more cohesive, freshen your messaging, and better showcase featured products.

Add interactivity. Bring your story to life with a live presentation. Let visitors experience your product with a hands-on demo. Find ways to work human interactions into your booth, vs. passive videos and displays. Even the small step of hiring professional hosts to welcome visitors to your booth will set you apart and set the stage for a better, fresher experience.

For more ideas on updating your booth without breaking the bank, contact us. A live presentation may be the key to breathing new life into an existing exhibit.

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8 Tradeshow Tips to Win Over Anyone

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With Valentine’s Day coming, we’ve been thinking about how live events—especially trade shows—are a lot like speed dating.

Surrounded by primped and primed competition, you have just moments to stand out. You must intrigue your audience, build trust, and make them want to take the relationship to the next level. You’re creating connections with the potential to turn into much more.

Whether your field is serious, technical or more conducive to fun, we’ve got a formula—a love potion, if you will—that can give you an edge over the others:

#1. Be attractive. Great booth design is important. You don’t have to be the biggest on the floor, but do invest in looking your best. That includes staffing. In addition to your most personable team members, consider hiring professional hosts to welcome visitors into your space. From the minute they step onto your footprint, your visitors should feel taken care of and valued.

#2. Offer an experience. Don’t just tell why your solution is best. Let your audience try it for themselves through guided sampling and hands-on demos. If visitors can’t experience your product live, create an activity that demonstrates the benefits in a unique way.

#3. Be emotional. Create a journey connecting your product or solution to your visitors’ everyday needs and desires. Demonstrate how your brand improves lives. Tell a story that tugs at the heartstrings, and help your audience envision a bigger picture.

#4. Make it fun. Or, if you’re striking a more serious tone, be powerful. Impactful. Interactive. All of this adds up to enjoyable, which will make your audience glad they decided to spend time with you.

#5. Be real. Amazing technological advances aside, it’s still hard to fall in love with a touchscreen. So make sure your experience has a healthy amount of human interaction. One-on-one encounters are one of the best reasons to exhibit at tradeshows, so don’t leave your visitors in front of machines. Engage them the old-fashioned way – with a handshake and an offer to share more.

#6. Create an easy traffic flow. Good storytelling has a sequence, and a great experience includes not having to jostle through crowds or guess what to do next. Combine booth design with signage and professional hosts to help visitors make their way smoothly through your space while getting the most from your message.

#7. Be memorable. If you’ve done all of the above, visitors should walk away remembering you. But don’t leave it to chance. A unique, high-quality parting gift can be the spark that reminds someone to seek you out for more in-depth talks.

#8. Make it a snap to follow up. Now that you’ve captivated your prospects, don’t let them leave without a clear invitation and a way to contact you. Nurture the relationship by following up and staying in touch.

For more on the benefits of face-to-face marketing, check out our post on the power of a great live presentation.

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