Thank YOU – a little note from us to you

Since September – when we received this project – we have been working countless hours, non-stop to make this trade show come to life. We’ve attended many meetings, connected over the phone, and sent hundreds of emails. We’ve planned, refined, and then planned some more. We’ve been counting down the days and have had sleepless nights. We can’t believe the day is finally here! To say we are nervous is an understatement – but with the nerves come seas of excitement and of hope.

You see, we were handed this trade show as a project, but it has become much more than that for us. We have been presented with many challenges whilst organizing this trade show; a global pandemic, being stuck inside, uncooperative technology, the list goes on…but we never let it get to us, because this trade show is fueled by a passion to do something different and something innovative. COVID-19 presented us with a unique opportunity to take this online for the first time ever, and it was a challenge we were eager to take on! Rather than seeing this as a loss, we viewed this as a chance to make this bigger and have more people attend. Sure, it won’t be in person, but having it virtually means anyone who wants to attend can!

Our vision has been to make this a learning experience for us as organizers, but also for our wonderful vendors who have been working hard to allow you the opportunity to learn more about their selected charity. Behind the scenes we have been navigating our website, created from scratch, to make it flow well and make it user-friendly so it is easy for you to use. We have made pages and refined them, done whole system updates, and done a trial run to ensure everything is perfect. From the first day we have learnt so much. So firstly, we want to thank all our vendors for being patient and working with us, and for giving us the opportunity to gain this experience on how to create and have a virtual trade show in the middle of a pandemic.

We have rigorously emailed local businesses asking for sponsors, and we have had an overwhelming amount of replies. It has been so heart-warming to see how many people are keen to support our learning as we do something for the first time ever. So secondly, we would like to thank all our wonderful sponsors, without whom this trade show would certainly not be the same.

We’ve had meetings upon meetings with our professor, we have emailed him and messaged him over and over. So thirdly, we would like to thank our professor for supporting our vision and for entrusting us with such a big project. We also want to thank all our faculty who have been advocates for this trade show and for showing their support and excitement.

This trade show is to help us learn, but it is also in place to benefit charities picked by our vendors. We really hope through this trade show you are able to learn something new and connect with a charity and help them during this tough time. We would like to thank the charities for allowing us to work with them and for supporting us in our project.

We have posted on Instagram, on Facebook, on LinkedIn, we have emailed, and we have reached out to media outlets in order to get the word out and build an audience. So, finally, we would like to thank you for registering and allowing us this opportunity to learn, without you this would not have been possible.

So whether you are a vendor, a sponsor, a professor, faculty, a charity, or a registered attendee, we want to thank you for allowing us to use our creativity and innovation to make a unique online trade show. We have been working on this for months and it is so exciting to see all our hard work come to life. We hope you enjoy the Marketing for Good Charity Trade Show, and thank YOU for giving us this amazing opportunity.

– from Terry, Emily, and Bismah

Behind the Scenes Uncategorized

Finding the Perfect Balance: Booth Layout

Whether it is online or in person, the design of a trade show booth or page is pivotal to bringing your audience in. There is a lot of thought, organization, and customization that goes int creating the perfect trade show booth. It is an art in itself. In today’s blog post we will explore ways to design the perfect trade show booth.

Understand Your Target Consumer

The trade show booth is designed to bring in your consumer, therefore it is important to understand your target consumer. Are they male, female, or both? What is their age-range? What are their interests? It is important to research and to establish your target consumer so you can design a booth that appeals to them.

For example, if you are designing a booth for accountants aged 25-30 you may go for sleek and professional looking colours such as black, white, and a dark blue; these stand out and have good contrast but still look professional. You would not pick the same colours for a music trade show with emerging artists as the target consumer. For them you would go for a brighter, bolder colour which would make your booth stand out – such as electric purple or yellow.

Find Your Purpose

When designing a trade show booth or an online page you must know your purpose and design it according to that. Think about how will a consumer benefit from visiting your trade show booth? Is your booth there to teach the consumer more about your product/service? Is your purpose to provide the consumer with an unforgettable experience? It is to make more sales? Knowing your purpose for your booth will help guide you to design the best booth.

Know Your Budget

It is important to know your budget and plan on how to use it for your booth. How much will you spend on renting the booth? How much will it cost to decorate your booth? Do you need technology? These are all important factors to look at when designing a trade show booth.

Go With the Flow

No one likes a squished up, closed in trade show booth; it is difficult to move around and difficult to focus on any activity at the booth. It is essential to design a trade show booth which has an open flow and is easy to move around. Each station at your trade show booth should have a purpose to be there. Don’t overcrowd your booth with unnecessary stations and only have what is needed. This will help bring the consumer in to your booth as they will be able to easily see all your stations and will be able to easily access everything.

The Visual Appeal Factor

Trade shows are highly competitive environments where, just like you, every booth is competing to get the attention of the consumer. This is why it is important to make your booth visually appealing. To do so there are many tools in your arsenal, for example you have colours, there is lighting, there are product displays, and much more. Plan out your trade show booth to be visually appealing to your consumer so you can stand out.

Keep it Consistent

Consistency is key when designing a trade show booth. For example it is important to be consistent in the branding instead of having a lot of it in one area and none in another. The booth should feel like one with all the stations rather than being all over. It should feel like a family and the consumer should feel like they are still in the same booth.

It’s an Experience

Successful trade show booths provide the consumer with an experience. Go beyond just talking, show them your product, give them a chance to use it. Hand out swag. Genuinely interact with them. Create an experience that they will remember.

There is a lot that goes into designing a trade show booth and a lot of aspects meet to make one that is perfect. Your target consumer should have a memorable and interesting experience that will push them along the consumer journey and keeping these tips in mind you can do just that!

To register for our trade show please click here.

Behind the Scenes

Treating Vendors Equally: Online Trade Shows

The Covid-19 era, as some would say, has thrown a lot of things for a loop. Now more than ever, have we been using technology to our advantage to connect with people. Everything is online now, whether it’s teaching classes, meetings, and the most significant change of all, online events such as trade shows. The event industry has taken a massive hit during this pandemic, but we aren’t letting that stop us.

Trade shows are probably the most in-person event out there for companies to meet and demonstrate their services and products to prospective buyers. Now with in-person trade shows, each vendor is treated equally. Each vendor pays for their booth space and location with a table and chair included. The rest is up to them to make their booth stand out in the crowd.

How does one do that in the virtual world? Throughout our planning and brainstorming of our trade show, Marketing for Good: Charity Trade Show, we had to develop a way to give each vendor equal spaces. Here is what we have found:

Trade Show Landing Page:

Landing Page for Marketing for Good: Charity Trade Show

When people come to our page, how will they find links to the vendors that we are showcasing? We came up with the idea of thumbnails. Each vendor gets the same sized thumbnail on our landing page, along with a little blurb of who they are.

Why you might ask, well, we want people to know as soon as they “arrive” what we are offering them. We give each vendor an equal opportunity to be picked by the visitor by offering the same description space and thumbnail size.

When looking into where to place the thumbnails, we turned to eye-tracking research. During our search for specific research related to eye-tracking, we found 7 Marketing Lessons from Eye-Tracking Studies. They provided different visuals (how appropriate) on where people’s eyes go first on websites. When there was an image associated with a little blurb, people’s eyes were drawn to the picture first, then the supporting text. We also learned that people follow an “F” pattern when scanning a webpage. They go from left to right, back to the left side, down, then left to right until the page ends. 

We made it so that each vendor could buy their respective thumbnail spots on the landing page, so you still have the feeling of picking your booth location as you do with in-person trade shows. If they decided not to buy a specific spot, their thumbnail location would be picked randomly by our team. The main struggle with an online trade show is having it come across as you still get to travel to each booth and conveying the actions of what you do at an in-person trade show to a virtual one.

Vendor “Booth” Set-up:

Students collaborating on project

If you don’t have a booth, are you really at a trade show? In our case, yes, but the booth isn’t what you think of when someone says trade show booth.

We chose a webpage as our booth. Now creating a booth means all vendors have access to one, so we did exactly that. Each vendor was provided a log-in for their charity’s webpage. We are giving them full reign of the webpage on our website.

We went back and forth on limiting what they could place and link, but we found that it took away from the creative side of designing your “booth” to stand out. We have specific items like the ticker message, the header, and footer that will be the same on all pages, but the rest is up to them.

They each have full access to widgets, embedding links, and so much more to personalize their page to their charity and what they want to showcase. We found this was the best bet because vendors can choose their booth’s objectives, whether it’s gaining donations, getting people to sign-up, bringing awareness, and the list goes on. 

We didn’t want to impede their creativity and design, let alone give them a disadvantage because all the pages would look somewhat the same. We had to make it equal, just as if they were given an empty space of a booth. You don’t see trade show organizers demanding booths to be set up a certain way. They provide the vendors with a blank canvas and say do what you want.

Thinking outside of the box

Creating an equal playing ground for vendors of an online trade show will be challenging because you have to think outside of the box to provide the somewhat of the same experience. Of course, somethings will be different when comparing in-person and online trade shows, but that is just how things are during the Covid-19 era. Creating events for online experiences is a whole new skill set involving problem-solving and creative thinking.