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Sushine Act Compliance at Medical Congresses

Sushine Act Compliance at Medical Congresses

Beware: Sunshine Act Fines are Severe

Pharma and Medical Device manufacturers beware: if you exhibit at trade shows where the attendees are physicians and other HCP’s, you can’t give them anything over $10 in value unless you report it to the government in a very specific format.And if you already have  given a doctor more than $100 in value this year, you must report even items under $10.  And if you think you might give a doctor and aggregate of more than $100 this year, you must report items under $10. CMS expects you to know all of this at a busy trade show or medical meeting, so why not just report everything and play it safe?  Some companies do exactly that, but wait until after the show to find the correct CMS reporting data for each HCP. This is not only time consuming but also highly inaccurate: many HCP’s have not updated their NPPES (CMS) record so the address is hard to find. The barcoded attendee badge with the HCP’s information is this not the information required by CMMS–it’s the HCP’s listed practice address that is required. Post-show matching an HCP’s badge scan (their attendee badge address might be their home in New Jersey) with the CMS data (the HCP works across the river in Philadelphia) is difficult and erroneous. If you don’t correctly report,, your company can be fined from $1,000 per HCP (for inability to match or other mistakes) to $10,000 per incident (for ignoring the rule and not capturing or reporting). The fines can be , just over $1 MM per year.

What Reporting Data Must You Collect?

The Sunshine Act says you must collect the HCP’s official designation (MD, NP, DDS, etc.), the HCP’s NPI number, the sate(s) in which the HCP is licensed and the and the associated numbers, the practice address (as is listed in the CMS database even if it is out of date) and the HCP’s primary taxonomy number.  You must also report the amount of the item, the type of event, and many other data points.

Free NPI Overview PPT

What is Required by Law

Anything valued at $10 or more that you give to a Health Care Professional (HCP) who is an MD, DO, PA, NP, Dentist, Orthodontist, Podiatrist,Chiropractor or Optometrist must be reported as a Transfer of Value (ToV). The exception to rule is if the food is given to everyone at the congress regardless of who they are and only IF the participants are not readily identifiable (if they don’t have a name badge with MD or if the name badge does not have a bar code to scan that would easily reveal their identity).

Why is this so difficult?

Many HCP’s register for conferences and medical meetings using their home address.  Others have recently changed practice locations or hospitals. Still others have forgotten to update their CMS record for some time. When an HCP’s conference attendee badge is printed, a bar code is included on the badge which contains the information that was provided in the registration process. It never contains the four fields required by CMS and the trade show rental scanners merely capture the bar code data and store it to a file. After the show, the research begins for each HCP to locate the i the CMS database, extract the data required by CMS and place it in a report.  Abysmal match-up rates of under 25% are common and outdated, inadequate reporting templates are often used. If you were audited, the results would be disastrous.

Clearly, the best way to find an HCP’s information is to locate it at the time of the badge scan.  It is the only way to know for sure since the HCP can view the match choices and verify which one  belongs to them. To do this requires an up-to-date database of every HCP in the United States (more than three million records) and a very fast matching algorithm to find matches in less than a second.  But how can this be done if the addresses often do not match and many times are in other states than what is listed in the HCP’s bar code?

Free NPI Overview PPT

Matching Data On-Site in Real-Time with NewLeads

The best way to find the NPI numbers and the rest of the government-required data is is to scan badges and find matches on-site, in real time. The NewLeads NPI Match system uses an optimized proprietary database that includes all of the CMS reuqired data and every HCP in the US.. Using filters, organization and data optimization, NewLeads can match a doctor’s home address (on the HCP’s conference bar coded name badge) with their practice that is 60 miles away–in less than a second. Once the match is made, all of the required government data is retrieved from our database, including the NPI #, the state and license number, the practice address and the primary taxonomy number. Here’s a real snapshot of an actual badge scan and what the system looks like on an iPad.  The google map was added to provide a visual of where we found the HCP’s practice:
















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Bring your own WiFi–the FCC fines Smart City $750,000!

USA Today (click here for story) reports that Smart City, a major internet and WiFi provider at trade shows across the country, has been fined $750,000 for jamming WiFi signals and forcing exhibitors to pay fees to use their own WiFi. “It is unacceptable for any company to charge consumers exorbitant fees to access the Internet while at the same time blocking them from using their own personal Wi-Fi hotspots to access the Internet,” said Travis LeBlanc, chief of the Federal Communication Commission’s enforcement bureau, in a news release”

NewLeads has fought this practice for several years and finally, thanks in large part to the hard work of exhibitor-rights advocate Ian Framson of Trade Show Internet (TSI), a provider of WiFi kits for exhibitors. The FCC investigated a TSI formal complaint and found Smart City to be in violation of jamming TSI customers in several instances. This is the second FCC crackdown on WiFi jamming in a year; the previous $750,000 fine was levied against Marriott nearly a year ago. Thanks and kudos to Ian Framson and TSI for taking the time and spending the money to fight this illegal practice, Please send him a congrats and your thanks to: ian@tradeshowinternet.com. Great job, Ian; this is a win for all exhibitors.

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FCC Fines Conv Ctr for Jamming WiFi HotSpots

In a HUGE victory for NewLeads exhibitors who use our WiFi, the FCC has fined the Gaylord (Mariott) convention center in Nashville a stinging $600,000 penalty for breaking the law by jamming attendee and exhibitor WiFi hot spots.  NewLeads has had to continually fight against this illegal practice in place at many exhibit halls around the country to enable our customers an uninterrupted WiFi connection to our servers. Finally, the FCC has made it clear: jamming WiFi will result in big penalties!  Read the story here.

The FCC has also created a NO JAMMING hot tips page at http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/jammer-enforcement and added this alert:

Federal law prohibits the operation, marketing, or sale of any type of jamming equipment, including devices that interfere with cellular and Personal Communication Services (PCS), police radar, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and wireless networking services (Wi-Fi).”

Ask NewLeads today how our military-grade WiFi network leverages leads across your entire booth and increases your quantity and qaulity of sales ready-leads.

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Trade Show iPad® Sales Lead System Now Available on Outdoor Kindle Paperwhite

For trade shows held outdoors, the Kindle Paperwhite is perfect for scanning badges and qualifying leads even in the brightest sunlight.

OXNARD, Calif. – – December 10, 2013 – – Heavy equipment manufacturers spent more than $500 million exhibiting at the World of Concrete and CONEXPO trade shows held in Las Vegas in the first quarter of 2013. However, due to lagging sales lead technology that didn’t work outdoors, many of the sales leads were left on the table or totally unqualified, costing exhibitors tens of millions of dollars.

To address the need, tradeshow technology leader NewLeads announced today that their iPad cloud server leads system is now available on the Kindle Paperwhite platform, allowing exhibitors to scan, view and qualify leads in the brightest sunlight. The Kindle Paperwhite fits easily in a coat pocket and has a battery life exceeding the length of the show, ready for both World of Concrete and CONEXPO 2014.

“Scanning leads outdoors has always been limited to contact information and handwritten notes, because it’s impossible to see an iPad or even a laptop screen,” says NewLeads CEO John Hasbrouck. “Scanned names are little better than cold calls, but field reps need to know product interest, timeframe and other key factors.” Hasbrouck added that using Kindle Paperwhites on the NewLeads cloud server “finally lets exhibitors qualify attendee interests with a CRM-matched sales survey, gathering answers about product interest, timeframe to purchase, and size of opportunity.”The system is completely customizable to the sales questions each company requires, and Hasbrouck notes that every CRM system has a unique set of questions and answers.

How it Works!

Attendee badges at this year’s shows are printed with postage-stamp-sized QR codes, which are scanned at scanning stations in the booth to instantly appear on the Kindle Paperwhites. After correcting missing information (like phone number and email address) on the Kindle Paperwhite’s screen, exhibitors can tap on survey answers reflecting attendee interests and take notes. Once the information is saved, the attendee gets an instant email with links to the literature of the products they requested.

The NewLeads cloud server system on Kindle Paperwhite is an adaptation of the long-running NewLeads iPad cloud system, used inside trade show halls by some of the world’s largest exhibitors. As a third-party alternative to the trade show lead retrieval system, the NewLeads iPad system includes:

  •    √   trade show badge scanners,
       √   an integrated program to show videos and literature,
          a “hot leads” email sender,
       √   and a live dashboard report, indicating all metrics of sales leads being collected.

Systems are customized and rented to exhibitors on a per-show or contractual basis.

More information may be obtained by calling NewLeads at 805-604-4444 ext. 113, by emailing sales@newleads.com, or visiting their website, www.newleads.com.

About NewLeads, Inc.

Since 1996, NewLeads, Inc. has served as an industry leader and market pioneer in developing, launching and supporting innovative solutions for exhibitors who seek better-qualified, sales-ready trade show leads for their CRM. From its inception, the company has been first to market with award-winning products and solutions, supporting Fortune 1000 companies that exhibit at trade shows in markets such as health care, high tech, scientific, and telecommunications. NewLeads’ time-tested solutions have been used at over 30,000 shows in North America, Europe and Asia. The company is privately held with headquarters in Southern California, and additional service teams in Dusseldorf, Germany.

*iPad® is a registered trademark of Apple. Kindle is a trademark of Amazon.com, Inc.

Media Contact:  Laura Burton, laura@newleads.com, 1-805-604-4444 ext. 114



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Why QR Code Trade Show Badges Hurt Exhibitors

Why QR Code Trade Show Badges Hurt Exhibitors

QR Code Trade Show Badges–Bad News For Exhibitors?

Imagine you just returned from your most important trade show or convention, and everyone is waiting for the leads. You open your leads file from the lead retrieval company and discover many missing phone numbers and email addresses, even on your hottest leads. Sales is not happy and demanding the information! Sounds like a nightmare; unfortunately, with most QR Codes, it’s reality.  Although larger registration companies are using QR codes to allow you to retrieve all of the attendee’s registration information from a cloud server, they also have an “off-line” mode in case your mobile phone or tablet does not have good cell service at the show. If you’ve ever been to a crowded show and had problems using your phone, this is the same technology that is required to make these QR code systems work. “Off-line mode” just collects a name and company that is in the QR code and the rest of the data is “synced” later. When the data is synced and not in real-time (due to lost cellular data connections with the registration server), this is where the quality of contact information becomes less reliable.

You may know how to scan QR codes with your iPhone or Android to get product information from an ad or at the store. If you’ve done this, you’ve seen it’s easy way to pull up a web site on your smart phone. It seems like a good thing for exhibitors: use your iPhone and scan badges. Unfortunately, trade show vendors and organizers with limited technical knowledge have not thought this through from either the technical or exhibitor standpoints. 

When you scan the QR code on an ad, you’ll notice the QR code is rather large yet it only contains a tiny URL link.  This raises a BIG question: How will they fit all your contact information–with five times the characters as a URL link–in that QR code for a trade show badge? The answer is they can’t or the badge is so dense with dots that it’s extremely hard to scan.

That’s why you only get partial information on a QR Code badge scan and the rest you have to get AFTER the show. That’s when you have the surprises of inaccurate and missing contact information, because, as you already know, attendee data given at registration is often inaccurate, either accidentally or deliberately. Maybe Joe or Sally chose not to put their real email address or phone number on the registration page. And beware of the person who registered on site when the line was long–they got rushed through the line and you’ll only get their name, company, city and state, with no contact information. You’ll wonder why that great lead has no email or phone, but you’ll never know it when you scan the badge because QR codes don’t show you all the information at the point of scanning. The missing information that didn’t fit on the badge is usually added to the record after the show, long after the attendee has left your booth.

So why are trade show organizers pushing this? Because QR Codes are in fashion and they can be read by your smart phone (so can other bar codes). But this is a step backwards for exhibitors needing attendee data. Back in 1997, the Trade Show Exhibitors Association conducted a survey about lead retrieval. The number one requirement of exhibitors? Be able to see all the contact information at the point of the scan. This is still true today. Since then, 2D bar codes–mostly PDF417–have flourished. In 1997, 80% of shows were mag stripe plastic cards. Today, 80% of shows are PDF 417 bar codes. All of your data (and then some) can easily be packed into these codes, so, when you scan, you see all of the contact information. 

Square Bar Codes Other Than the QR Code

For a while, at least one registration company started using a different type of bar code that competed with PDF 417.  It was square, like a postage stamp, but you could free-up space on the name badge by printing it in a corner of the badge. It, too, contains all of the contact information. It could still be used today and it’s no larger than a QR Code but it’s designed to handle more data. Here’s the QR code on the left and an Aztec bar Code on the right. Notice how much more dense the QR code is with the same amount of data, making it harder to print clearly and therefore harder to scan (especially through plastic).

QR-Code-For-Trade-Show-AttendeesAztec 2D Bar Code for Trade Shows

Ironically, the biggest losers are the biggest exhibitors–their biggest customers–who own or rent sophisticated lead systems that rely on complete and accurate information.


How to Overcome Problems at QR Code Shows

  • Always ask for a business card. Use them as your reference to fill-in the missing pieces after the show.
  • Create a small lead form that has name, phone number and email address in case the attendee has no business cards left.
  • Ask your show organizer to use vendors who will provide PDF 417 bar codes or other 2D codes that show all the information at the point of the scan and require no post-show process to complete the information.
  • Use a custom system like the ones offered by NewLeads. You can take leads on a laptop, a table-top “kiosk”  touch screen or a wireless networked iPad system. With each one of these options, you can scan QR Codes, see the contact information immediately and add missing data such as email and phone number. Our systems also allow you to ask your custom survey questions, take notes, and see great reports on the quality of leads. Since your needs are specific, you can also add a host of features, ranging from integrated collateral viewing and instant e-lit fulfillment to matching client data from your database to the lead. Click here if you’d like to see a demo or just discuss your needs. If you’d like to talk right now, call us at 805-604-4444 ext 125 or 102 between 7 AM and 4 PM PST.

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Using Your Own iPads for Trade Show Leads

The question is often asked, “May we use our own iPads for your leads system”?  Seems like a logical assumption, since iPads are iPads, right?  Well, yes and no.

The answer, of course, is yes, but understanding the risk and trade off is important in making such a decision. Let’s take a look at standard apps offered by lead retrieval companies. Many trade show lead retrieval providers offer apps for iPads, iPhones and Android devices.  Each system requires a cellular data connection where you often type in a badge number and you either see the leads immediately or (typically) later that night on the internet.

If you don’t need to always see the attendee’s information at the point of entry and if being able to share the leads with all of your reps is not important, then this is a great system to use. If you know that your cell phone connection is flaky, this is not the way to go. If you are at a heavily attended show, your cell phone may work intermittently; this is due to over subscription of the networks.  A local cell tower can only handle so many concurrent calls and everyone else must wait.  This traffic jam is also true when trying to connect to the internet via your cell phone or iPad, which means the rented lead retrieval system will not be reliable. You will not know that the attendee badge you scanned during the day was missing critical phone and email information until you log in to view your leads at night.

When you make a decision to use an enterprise solution from NewLeads, the standards are much different in order to meet the requirements: a networked, real-time system that is always connected and never fails.  This is no small task in a trade show environment where most booths are broadcasting a wireless network in addition to the 10 or more exhibit hall channels. The wireless network must be enterprise-class, the bluetooth scanners must be rock-solid, and the iPads must be dedicated to their private and secure connection.  Let’s say your rep brings his own iPad to the show.  What’s on it?  Angry Birds? iTunes? Words with Friends? Personal email or Facebook? Home-made collateral and power points?  Not only do those programs provide your rep with temptation to goof around but also with the built-in technology to search the internet for app updates.  Auto-updates like these create a drag on the system, disrupt local wireless connections and may cause your iPads to drop off the network when you need them for taking leads.

Aside from the connection issues are the content issues.  Which collateral would you like your reps to show attendees in the booth?  If you prefer to select the best collateral suited for a trade show environment, you can lock that down on our system and prevent “message freelancing”; you can even track collateral viewing habits with our system, send instant emails with collateral links and view open and click rates by each piece of collateral. The technical setup for each iPad sent with our system is rigorous; each system is streamlined for our wireless network and optimized for trade show use.

Although it seems easy to use your own iPads, it’s like many things in our industry: if it’s designed and built for trade shows, it’s going to give you the superior results you demand.  Let’s have a discussion about the big picture and see how we can deliver superior results with a turn-key system that’s guaranteed to work. After all, it’s the leads system that matters; the iPad is just one of the components.

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The Problem with Lead Solutions that Depend on Wireless Connections–no problem

The Problem with Lead Solutions that Depend on Wireless Connections (is not a problem with NewLeads)

A desperate competitor recently posted an article trying to scare exhibitors away from iPad solutions that rely on internet and wireless connectivity, saying that there is a problem with lead solutions that depend on wireless connections.  Ironically, the competitor’s iPads ultimately rely on internet connections so that the leads can be “synced”. Perhaps the blog post goes under the category of “open mouth, insert foot”.  But it raises an important topic, nonetheless: what is the problem with lead solutions that depend on wireless connections?

There are two ways to use wireless at a show: one is with an internet connection and the other is with a local wireless cloud network (the latter of which is used by NewLeads.) Anyone using their smart phone at a trade show knows about internet and cell phone “flakivitiy”; some places are great for Verizon and At&T but Sprint has no signal and vice-versa (be it phone or broadband card).

Some lead collection systems rely on the internet, either directly or by periodically syncing the leads, both of which are flaky at best. Not having an internet connection–intermittent or permanent–means either no lead collection or no syncing of locally gathered leads at your show–none at all. Clearly, relying on an iPad’s connection to the outside world is a huge gamble at any level.  Even if you buy an internet drop and pay for wireless IP addresses for each iPad, the system is now only as good as your wireless system and your speed is only as good as the amount of shared traffic by other exhibitors.  It’s like rush hour traffic; you’ll still have a problem even if you are connected.  And did I mention how expensive are those internet drops?

So what is better about the NewLeads BlackBox trade show iPad cloud server in the booth? Why do we absolutely guarantee it, knowing that failure would mean the loss of a client? Instead of hoping for an internet connection, we avoid it, putting the wireless right in you booth.  This is the only system NewLeads has deployed for 18 months to Fortune 1000 exhibitors and nobody has ever lost a wireless connection with our iPads (except for a physically damaged unit in shipping). While we won’t divulge the secrets behind our technology, we can tell you that our system is personalized to every iPad in the booth and does not try to compete with other wireless networks.  Each iPad is fine-tuned to our network and our secure access point knows every connection.

The beauty of this live iPad network design is that information is instantly shared across all iPads in your booth. It even works with business card scanners and RFID badges, so you can rely on it for every show.  Let’s say that attendee/prospect Taylor speaks with Avery on your staff who takes notes on the iPad and ticks off some lead survey answers after the conversation.  Later in the day, Taylor speaks with a different rep in another area of your booth. With the NewLeads in-booth wireless network, Taylor’s information is easily recalled and the lead is merely updated with new or corrected data and interests.  This is true even if the re-visit is two days later.  The NewLeads iPad BlackBox network eliminates duplicates and conflicting lead data.  Best of all, it provides rapid sharing of leads and data among all reps in the booth.  It also gives managers the ability to see real-time booth activity in dashboard  reports  such as leads per hour, collateral viewing trends, leads per sales rep and so forth.

To understand why a NewLeads wireless system in your booth will always work, you need to know how everyone else tries to do this and why it is unsuccessful.  The way most wireless networks are deployed at trade shows is with “volume”.  It’s like my twin boys, now 16; when they are together and in a conversation with someone else; they keep interrupting each other and raising their voices to be heard, louder and louder, until eventually they hear a frustrated parent say (in a loud and stern voice), “Keep it down!”  If they are in a room with 50 other teens, it’s impossible to hear a conversation across the room.   It’s all just noise with no ability to  distinguish one conversation from another. So it is with wireless networks at trade shows; lots of noise and no distinction. The NewLeads wireless networked cloud is like a pair of Bose noise-cancelling headphones; it does not use power to overcome the other networks but rather uses precision and exclusive communication channels to filter out the noise. After 18 months, it still works flawlessly and is more reliable than a hard-wired network.

So what is the design  flaw in “syncing” leads?  In 1996, long before anybody was in this business, NewLeads created a syncing solution which revealed many flaws over the years.  Consider what it means and does: synching leads combines leads from all iPads into one database.  But if you are like most exhibitors, you have a return visitor rate of 20% or more.  What if Taylor comes back to the booth and does not speak with the same sales rep?  The lead can’t be updated unless it has been synced, so a second scan is done.  What if the answers to the sales survey questions have changed?  Which record will the sync use? Combining records is not accurate; many answers are single pick only.  What if the attendee information is slightly different? Which record is correct? Will you allow software rules to randomly make this choice?

If you don’t need your leads right away and you can wait for a week or two for the iPads to get back to the vendor to upload and sync, then syncing is an acceptable solution. Otherwise, get a real-time networked cloud solution and see how the NewLeads trade show iPad solution can triple your sales ready leads.

Meanwhile, get all the tools you can to bring more sales-ready leads to your company.  Here are some free white papers you might find useful to download: Increasing Attendee Engagement at Trade Shows and Aligning Trade Show Leads With Your CRM.  If you’d like more information, please click on the information request here.


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NewLeads Announces New Trade Show Lead Solution App for iPads, LeadPad

OXNARD, Calif. – May 9, 2012 – In an innovative move, NewLeads announced its latest trade show iPad lead solution that allows exhibitors to not only increase the quality and quantity of their sales leads, but also combines instant access to rich media and collateral, delivering unprecedented attendee engagement and behavioral metrics. This new solution is aptly named “LeadPad” and is the successor to last year’s award winning iPad Lead Solution.

The NewLeads iPad Lead Solution first launched in the fall of 2010.  Top tier exhibitors who had used NewLeads for years, were calling for an iPad solution to get away from PC-based lead systems and utilize the mobility and booth rep friendly attributes of iPads. This premier app solution release brings the advantages of a literature kiosk in sync with a lead detailing station, coupled with features like instant email and literature fulfillment.

Booth reps will now use the LeadPad not only as an effective lead solution, but also as a robust sales tool in the booth with access to videos, documentation, photos and other applications, all in one easy-to-use, trade show friendly application.  Health Care exhibitors will be able to track literature and collateral viewing details and behaviors, as well as see the engagement times and patterns of their booth visitors.  Exhibit mangers will have access to real-time dashboard reports, tracking leads taken by the hour, by booth rep, by product interest, by collateral viewed and by many other key measurements on leads detailed in the booth.  Attendees can receive instant emails with their specific collateral requests and your sales force can receive their leads faster, with complete booth engagement information, to help them follow-up more effectively on their show leads.

NewLeads President and CEO John Hasbrouck says feedback on the LeadPad is exceeding expectations, saying “This new solution is exciting on so many levels.  Clients are relieved to leave printed literature at home and medical exhibitors are able to match badge scans with NPI numbers and current customers instantly.  The iPad is immediately embraced by sales reps who love the user friendly interface.   They finally have a leads system that does it all!”

The NewLeads LeadPad package comes standard with customized key survey questions, product pick lists, an integrated rich-media collateral library, instant dashboard reports and an instant email response engine. All LeadPad systems are custom configured for each client for each show, giving exhibitors a precise ability to target conversations, while matching CRM data needs.

The LeadPad system is built on a private wireless cloud and is not Internet dependent, eliminating the need for an internet drop in the booth. “We’ve deployed our private wireless cloud technology for the last 18 months and out of hundreds of iPads shipped, we have a 99% up-time record”, declared Karl Becker, COO. ”Our wireless equipment is so good it is better than a wired network.”

About NewLeads, Inc.

Since 1996, NewLeads, Inc. has served as an industry leader and market maker in developing, launching and supporting innovative solutions for exhibitors who seek better qualified, sales-ready trade show leads for their CRM.  From its inception, the company has been first to market with award-winning products and solutions, supporting Fortune 1000 companies that exhibit at trade shows in markets such as health care, high tech, scientific, and telecommunications. NewLeads’ time-tested solutions have been used at over 30,000 shows in North America, Europe and Asia. The company is privately held with headquarters in Southern Calif., and additional service teams in Dusseldorf, Germany.

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Tradeshow Wireless Internet Pricing Rip-Offs–$3,500, REALLY??

You ask for Internet access in your hotel room; that’s $24 for 24 hours. Two computers? Double that. Need it on a plane? That’s $10 to $25 per flight. Seems pretty expensive until you order trade show wireless Internet as an exhibitor for your booth (cue the horror flick music).

How about five PC’s accessing the Internet for your booth? Are you sitting down?  Have you taken your blood pressure medicine today?  How about $3,500?  REALLY? Are you (insert your frustration-based adjective(s) here) kidding me? I wish I were kidding. It makes me feel good about that first text message bill for my daughter’s new cell phone many years ago. It was $200. Chump change by comparison.

There was a time not long ago when the only option to show labor was floor labor. You didn’t even think about screwing in your own light bulbs. There was a time when lead retrieval was also “take it or leave it” until NewLeads changed the game in 1996. And there was a time before we all had iPhones, Androids, iPads, personal Internet access points (MiFi) and broadband USB sticks.

The Berlin Wall in trade shows has already fallen, and show labor is no longer a monopoly. Lead retrieval is often substituted with third party vendors, and it’s high time for the “Wicked Wardens of WiFi” to step down and stop abusing exhibitors. Time for a Trade Show Spring. Time to use your own MiFi and broadband cards or choose a third party for Internet access. Time for some good old American capitalism to work in a free market where competition drives prices down and quality up.

Aside from the forklift driver services you buy that equate to $500 an hour (known as drayage), is there anything more egregiously priced than Internet access for your booth? If it makes you irate, you are a sane and rational person; if it doesn’t, consult your psychotherapist, rabbi or priest at the next possible juncture. Better yet, aim your frustration at the party that allows this to happen: your industry association or trade show organizer/owner.

For years, transparent pricing has been discussed in both HCEA and TSEA circles. And you know what is said about talk: It’s cheap. Lot’s of gab and no results. A long time ago, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton declared, “The pen is mightier than the sword!” and American humorist Josh Billings declared (paraphrasing), “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” This is about your anger turning to progress: writing a letter. Notice I did not state “email” or “phone call” or “face-to-face battle” or “grab a drink or a cup of coffee” (although that last one could be part of the plan in addition to the letter).

A letter–that old-fashioned thing that nobody writes anymore because email is ubiquitous–is all the more powerful today than it was ten years ago.  A well-worded letter sent registered mail will have a great impact. Individual letters from your colleagues will magnify the impact. Withdrawing your sponsorship from a trade show will make an even bigger statement. And while you’re at it, send a letter to the association that is purportedly representing your interests as an exhibitor or meeting planner. Can’t they spend some of those dues on advocacy? A letter is a powerful thing. Write it, send it registered mail, don’t accept the abuse any longer. And just think for a moment: what would you do with an extra $3,500?

Or you can just keep paying the Politburo.


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Effective iPad Lead Retrieval Strategies for Trade Shows

Running to get the latest iPad for your trade show booth is a great concept, but make sure you create a plan to go with the device.

It’s so easy to think we can push a button and hear “that was easy!” and really have the problem solved. But like our parents told us, and we tell our kids, “the best things in life take a lot of time and hard work. There are no shortcuts to success.” This is true when using iPads. You’ll need a plan to create effective iPad lead retrieval strategies for trade shows, not only for use and implementation but also by setting some measurable goals and exciting your sales team excited about using iPads in the booth.

Start with an overall idea of what you wish the iPad would do to improve your trade show marketing process. Is better lead collection what you need? (Click here for the free white paper, “What Questions Go On My Lead Form?) Using an iPad for trade show lead capture is a great method, so make sure that it will work at all of your shows, not just a few. If you can’t use it at least at your tier one and tier two shows, then you still have a broken business process.

Beyond lead collection, what are the iPad lead retrieval best practices? With a device still so new, this is being redefined at every show. So, what else would you like the iPad to do? Using the iPad to show collateral is an obvious choice. Make sure you optimize the iPads for your trade shows. Using iPads for e-lit fulfillment will save you a lot of time and money and will be a great, Eco-friendly alternative to printing and hauling collateral to shows. With e-lit, you get a much stronger pass-along rate, so why not put that in your goals?

Next, think about what’s in it for the reps in the booth? If you position this as something you got for them, then your user adoption rate will be much faster. Find a few reps who already have iPads and pick a few test shows where they will be working. Get the iPads in their hands as “beta” users; seek their input and watch how fast they tell everyone in your organization about it. Certainly they will give you some insight into the way they use the iPads in the booth; perhaps they had a hard time finding collateral, maybe the process of correcting badge data was not intuitive. You’ll get great tips on how to tweak the iPads before your official roll-out.

Once in place, get a contest going between your reps. At our last show, Exhibitor 2012 (a trade show for trade show managers), we had a live dashboard with various metrics of booth activity. See the dashboard here. One of the little pie charts showed how many leads each rep had qualified. Just having the pie chart to view was enough to spur great competition among a team of five. By the end of the show, we were almost even in leads per rep.

Finally, you’ve got to align your trade show lead export file with your CRM. (Click here for a free white paper on “Trade Show Lead Alignment With CRM’s”). Collecting lots of sales-ready leads is a great start, but if you don’t have a process to give the leads in a “CRM-ready” file to your CRM team, you could see those leads just wither away.

If you’d like more information about iPad lead retrieval for trade shows and best practices, contact us for a discussion about your needs. Let’s dream together about what it could be and then create a great solution for you and your company!

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