It’s round two for Minute on the Clock, as we unlock Alejandra Pardo’s treasure chest of exhibiting wisdom.
Read on to discover Pardo’s role in the exhibiting world and the tips and tricks she offers for ambitious business owners looking to conquer their next trade show.
Who is Alejandra Pardo?
The company has already trained over 1,500 organisations from over 51 countries and is especially active in the UK, USA, Mexico, France and Spain.
The company takes learning to the next level by ensuring greater effectiveness of training. This is achieved by merging top-quality theoretical content, advanced simulators and gamification elements into a single format: a video game.
Gamelearn’s widespread success is attributed to its unrivalled innovation in serious gaming. It’s also a direct result of the company’s exhibiting efforts. Since its inception ten years ago, Gamelearn has been wowing people on the trade show floor.
Alejandra Pardo commandeers Gamelearn’s trade shows, working with her team to develop first-rate face-to-face exhibiting strategies and manage expo performance from start to finish.
Expo Stars has been working with Gamelearn since the beginning, helping the business fine-tune its approach to trade shows. We got in touch with Pardo to share with you her greatest exhibiting insights from years of experience.
A Personal Account of Modern Exhibiting
How important is face-to-face marketing to your business?
Alejandra Pardo: Face-to-face marketing is, and always will be, essential to our business; especially given the unique character of our product.
More can be achieved in a two-minute face-to-face meeting than in a thousand emails. The fact that our product is difficult to explain to people not familiar with gamification or game-based learning makes it even more critical to attend exhibitions.
Trade shows allow us to establish ourselves as the top provider for those looking to improve their corporate training via stand-out innovation.
How many trade shows do you attend per year and where?
A.P: It depends on the year. Some years we go to 21 shows across the globe, and others we exhibit half a dozen times: it always boils down to our goals for the year.
We try to go to a minimum of two shows (picking the biggest in our industry) in each of the countries our teams are based: Germany and Austria, Benelux, Switzerland, France, UK, USA, Mexico, Spain and Portugal. This helps us maintain a presence and reach customers in many parts of the world.
How have Expo Stars supported you and what value do they bring to Gamelearn?
A.P: Expo Stars has been with us since the very beginning, when they started to work with our founder, Maider Apraiz, in helping her reach out to clients in different exhibitions throughout the world.
They have always been quick to answer any queries and have solutions to all kinds of problems.
Expo Stars provide friendly and professional teams to help us exhibit. The booth staff we gain are experts in their own right, always well prepared, and brimming with knowledge.
Certain team members have worked repeatedly with us through the years and are as knowledgeable as our own people.
What changes have you seen in the exhibition industry in the last five years?
A.P: From walking, talking robots to all kinds of lead capture apps and systems, technology has transformed exhibiting through mind-blowing advancements.
The attendees have changed too. They are much more knowledgeable and expect to be wowed at tech-based trade shows.
But no amount of eye-boggling tech can compare to effective face-to-face marketing. That will never change. Exhibitions will always be about engaging with people in person and capitalising on the opportunity to do so. The fact that, with every new show, more focus is dedicated to improving networking – such as arranging speed networking places, “work dates” and 1-to-1 meetings – proves this to be true.
How have you improved or modified your exhibition strategy over the years?
A.P: Our strategy’s evolution is aligned with the company’s progress. We regularly change its focus from 100% lead generation to branding and establishing our names in new markets. Upgrading our relationship with clients can also take precedence, as can delivering content marketing through presentations or workshops.
How do you measure trade show ROI?
A.P: We measure ROI in two ways:
We have a CPL (cost per lead) indicator that tells us how much money we need to invest to get a lead. It is a simple indicator, done by dividing the full cost of the show by the number of new leads we take in.
Our other method is measuring opportunities generated in each show, and later, the opportunities won for those shows. This is done using Salesforce (CRM software) to help us manage our marketing campaigns and harvest important data.
Do you have any funny trade show stories or mistakes you’ve witnessed from other exhibitors?
A.P: Once, there was a company that built an enormous candy wall where people could grab candies in a bag (like they can in cinemas).
Well, it was a huge success for the wall. Who doesn’t love candy? But I don’t think it was good for the company itself since the most asked questions were: “Is the candy free? and “Do you have more gummy bears?”
It was a perfect example of companies that lose sight of why they’re exhibiting in the first place. Freebies are great and all, but if you aren’t driving your brand’s USP effectively, it’s a waste of resources.
What would be your three pieces of advice for businesses looking to improve their trade show marketing?
- Focus on what you want to achieve: meetings with clients, more leads, branding etc. But don’t try to meet all of your targets at the same time – it makes life very difficult for booth staff and you won’t get good results.
- Sometimes less is more: have a clear message free from waffle.
- Get partners you can trust: be it a booth construction company, the hotel where your team is staying, the lead generator recruitment agency … the list goes on. With such allies by your side, you’ll have the support needed to achieve amazing results at your next trade show.
Our next interview with a renowned trade show expert is just around the corner. Until then, here’s a bucketload of expo insights to feast your eyes on.