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State of Engagement: Cannabis Business Summit 2019

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State of Engagement: Cannabis Business Summit 2019

San Jose, CA- Evolving regulations and increasing investment have created a rapidly maturing Cannabis B2B trade show industry. I visited the Cannabis Business Summit and Expo in San Jose on July 23 and 24, 1019 to check out the state of booth engagement in this burgeoning industry. CBS is produced by the NCIA, the National Cannabis Industry Association, so advocacy and B2B commerce were heavily focused upon.

hardware at cbs

As this was my first cannabis trade show, I was surprised to find it to be primarily a heavy equipment manufacturing product show, with booths consumed by giant gleaming steel machines and elaborate corporate farming lighting systems. Although there were a few booths staffed by stereotypical overall-wearing farmer-types, many of the larger booths showed growing sophistication in the trade show engagement landscape.

In this edition of my ongoing series of post-show tactical analyses, I offer up a brief overview of some of the engagement techniques I observed at CBS 2019. I hope you can use this info to increase booth effectiveness while saving money and time wasted on unsuccessful tactics.


Hardware

chemistry at cbs 2019

Giant gleaming high-tech agriculture machines dominated booths throughout the floor at CBS. Most of these booths seemed to have an engagement strategy of simply rolling out their giant machines and then letting prospects wander in and ‘kick the tires’ without assertive engagement. Reasons for this laid back approach included “long sales cycles,” “people who want us come and talk to us,” and “we’re just here for brand awareness.” I would highly recommend a re-evaluation of marketing budget in cases like these to judge ROI. If a trade show presence makes hard financial sense, then booth staff training for assertive engagement is critical to make it worthwhile.

Rating: C


Booth Promotional Models

Unfortunately, a few booths utilized skimpily-attired promo models to promote their brand at CBS 2019. Although this tactic undoubtedly works for a small subset of prospects, this somewhat cringey throwback evidences a still-maturing industry trade show environment. There is a clear disconnect between utilizing promo models and delivering use case-specific messaging to prospects. If this industry hopes to continue growing in legitimacy and sophistication, I hope it will redirect engagement budgets to more effective means like booth engagement training and professional presentations.

Rating: D


Social Media Portraits

linkedin portraits

A couple of CBS 2019 exhibitors provided professional portrait photographer services in exchange for leads. As one of the few truly useful giveaways on the floor, this tactic successfully lined up prospects at booths. Although not directly related to the solutions provided, as long as booth staff properly engaged and qualified prospects, sales will be in good shape on the back end.

Rating: B-


Recommendations

As a relatively young industry in the process of gaining legitimacy and learning to take itself seriously, Cannabis B2B offers many growth opportunities for trade show marketing managers. A few recommendations:

Industry-Specific Giveaways

I noticed fairly standard giveaways like can coozies and fidget spinners at CBS 2019. A clever marketing manager could easily create buzz by creating a industry specific branded giveaway. A small tool used in cannabis production that could be branded, perhaps?

Hourly Raffles

Ongoing raffles of low-cost prizes are an easy way to create all-day traffic at a booth. However, traffic is only as good as the conversations generated by booth staff, so ensure that staff is prepared to engage and qualify the crowds.

Booth Theater Presentations

At a show like CBS with obvious experts manning the booths, why not have them add value for attendees by offering scheduled expert presentations in the booth? Just ensure that your experts are properly prepared to present in the distracting trade show environment. If a brand overview is relevant, consider a professional presenter, who will not only deliver your messaging in a compelling way, but will also pack your booth all day long.

Until next time, best of luck planning your next event marketing initiative. We’ll see you on the show floor!

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State of Engagement: Dell Technologies World 2019

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State of Engagement: Dell Technologies World 2019

Dell tech world logo trade show consulting

Las Vegas, NV- The Dell Technologies World Conference was originally focused completely on storage, but these days this conference has broadened slightly to include many more aspects of the IT landscape.

caricature artist

On the show floor, booths are hard pressed to compare to the massive engagement expenditure put out by the conference itself. From caricature artists, to rescue dog petting stations, to a giant e-sports arena, its enough to make a Events Marketing Manager just give up.

sweets on the floor

And did I mention the non-stop food, coffee and booze? Its tough to even recognize the Sands Expo floor with this conference’s black ceiling and uplighting- dare I say… theatrical? Theatrical or not, in this edition of my ongoing series of post-show tactical analyses, I offer up a brief overview of the some of engagement techniques I observed at Dell Tech World 2019. I hope you can use this info to increase booth effectiveness while saving money and time wasted on unsuccessful tactics.


Hardware

On the show floor at this show, booth space is dominated by hardware manufacturers. Here a rack, there a rack, everywhere a rack-rack… Most of these booths seemed to have an engagement strategy of simply rolling out their racks of technology then letting attendees wander in and ‘kick the tires’ without assertive engagement. I assume this is due to the long sales cycle for these products, making it more of a challenge to show exhibit ROI, so they’re going for the non-measured ‘brand awareness’ objective. In situations like these, I wonder if booth space is the best use of live event marketing money. Perhaps either some booth staff training, or spending more on logo presence throughout the show and foregoing the somewhat underused space may be a better spend.

Rating: D


Booth Theater Presentations

A few booths at this show utilized the crowd gatherer/presenter model of engagement to good effect. Attendees seemed willing to sit through a presentation in order to be eligible for a raffle at the end. Although the “qualified-prospect” to the “I-just-want-the-prize-attendee” ratio can be dubious in these situations, its better than an empty booth, and can certainly drive demos. The challenge could come on the backend, when marketing forwards sales hundreds of scans with no qualification notes. Possible solution? Quicker, flashier on-going presentations with no scan required including a hard call-to-action to the demo stations, where attendees are qualified, scanned and provided a use case-specific demo.

Rating: B


Spin to Win

I saw multiple versions of the classic ‘spin to win’ wheel engagement concept on the floor at Dell World, and each one had massive lives down the expo floor aisles. Each had chances to win products like game systems, high tech backpacks, bluetooth mice, speakers and headphones. All good, expensive stuff, so no wonder attendees were lining up. I like the honesty here- this tactic doesn’t even pretend to be connected to the booth messaging, which is fine (but not terribly creative)! It works, as long as booth staff is trained to engage and qualify everyone in the line so sales knows what they’re getting on the back end.

Rating: B-



The somewhat standard booth engagement offerings at Dell Technologies World offer a big opportunity for exhibitors willing to take a chance on a game show or character concept next year. Also, booth staff training could help less engaging hardware-focused booths increase their show ROI.

Until next time, best of luck planning your next event marketing initiative. We’ll see you on the show floor!

trade show presenter at dell

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Technical Demo Presentations as Trade Show Presenter for Varonis at Dell Tech World Trade Show

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Technical Demo Presentations as Trade Show Presenter for Varonis at Dell Tech World Trade Show

Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show presenter Don Colliver returned to once again deliver data security presentations for Varonis at the 2019 Dell Technologies World Conference in Las Vegas, NV.

From April 29th through May 1st, 2019, Don packed the booth with crowds, handled prize giveaways and presented two 15-minute presentations per hour with PowerPoint. Dell Technologies World was held at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Varonis booked Don through Promo Talent, a trade show presenter agency.

trade show presenter for varonis
trade show presenter for varonis

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Maximizing Demos as Trade Show Emcee for Trend Micro at AWS re:Invent 2018

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Maximizing Demos as Trade Show Emcee for Trend Micro at AWS re:Invent 2018

Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show emcee Don Colliver once again drew crowds of qualified prospects to watch the farewell voyage of the exciting xGen Sci-Fi marketing video for Trend Micro at the AWS re:Invent Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV. Four times an hour, Don gathered attendees with help from crowd gathering expeditors and then energized the standing room-only theater with on-message sci-fi banter before forwarding interested prospects to the demo stations. Don handled exciting prize giveaways and delivered packed booth audiences to Trend Micro expert presenters for their presentations.

From November 26th through 29th, 2018, Don emceed at AWS re:Invent at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Trend Micro booked Don through Sparks Presentations, a trade show presenter agency.

Don Colliver professional trade show presenter for Trend Micro
Don Colliver professional trade show emcee at AWS re:Invent

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Generating Leads as Trade Show Presenter for Varonis at Dell Technologies Trade Show

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Generating Leads as Trade Show Presenter for Varonis at Dell Technologies Trade Show

Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver delivered effective and exciting Information Technology Security presentations for Varonis at the 2018 Dell Technologies World Solutions Expo Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.

From April 30th through May 2nd, 2018, Don presented three 14-minute presentations per hour with powerpoint. Dell Technologies World was held at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

Varonis booked Don through Promo Talent, a trade show presenter agency.

Trade show presenting with the Varonis crew.JPG

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Bringing in Crowds as Trade Show Presenter at Vegas Technology Trade Show

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Bringing in Crowds as Trade Show Presenter at Vegas Technology Trade Show

Las Vegas, NV- Professional trade show booth presenter Don Colliver delivered effective and exciting information technology security presentations for Varonis Systems at the 2017 Dell EMC World Trade Show in Las Vegas, NV.

From May 8 through May 10, 2017, Don delivered 4, 13-minute presentations an hour with powerpoint. Dell EMC World 2017 was held at the Sands Expo Conference Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Varonis Systems booked Don through Promo Talent, a trade show presenter agency.

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