Exhibiting Your Story

The key to real and sustained success in business is developing strong relationships built on trust. When organizations are viewed as trustworthy and engaging, and they look to partner with their customers in solving day-to-day challenges, the opportunities are limitless. One of the ways for exhibiting companies is to accomplish this goal through content that keeps their brand top-of-mind.

With that fact in mind, AEM spoke with John Hall, co-founder of Calendar. Hall’s been listed as one of the  top guest speakers and motivational speakers. He will be a keynote presenter at AEM’s upcoming CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE Exhibitor Meeting, about customer engagement through content. According to Hall, exhibiting companies need to find proven methods for developing digital content that will not only help them connect and engage their customers beyond the trade show floor, but also increase their revenue and growth year-round. 

AEM: What are some of the key considerations exhibiting companies should keep front-of-mind when it comes to “exhibiting their story” and engaging prospective customers via content?

Hall: It all starts with embracing a check-the-box mentality. Certain exhibitors will either do what their peers do or what they themselves have done in the past and say, “Okay, I’ve checked that box.” And they never stop to consider how they can differentiate themselves.

For example, if a company is preparing for a specific event, there are things to be done – both pre- and post-event – with content to engage with people. More important than that, however, is to consider what can be done differently from everyone else.

It’s incredibly important for exhibitors of all types and sizes to possess the capacity to take a step back and be able to ask themselves if there’s anything they can be doing better. Not only that, they need to determine how best to engage their intended audience before and after an event to maximize familiarity and trust. Ultimately, the goal is to be in their long-term memory.

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AEM: Technology has given exhibitors of all types and sizes opportunities to get their name out there through content. What platforms, outlets or strategies are out there for companies to use content to stand out from their competition?

Hall: Exhibitors need to find out where their intended audience is. But exhibitors don’t drive that decision. They locate their audience, and then they act accordingly.

From a standpoint of utilizing different technologies to reach different audiences, it all comes down to what platforms are available. For example, there are many companies that need to hyper-target through Facebook, because it allows for getting the exact people the appropriate messaging at the proper time. Others, however, take a more professional approach and employ LinkedIn – which often leads to better quality. However, everything depends on the goal and where a company’s intended audience can be found.

AEM: What are some of the benefits that exhibitors can see from engaging some of these tactics and leveraging content well?

Hall: The greatest impact is that impact on sales can be tracked. While sometimes it takes a little while to track the data, the information is out there. More importantly, however, exhibitors are going to see greater engagement, more trust and – hopefully – additional dollars, referrals and relationships capable of bringing more sales meetings or other opportunities to their respective brands.

AEM: What should exhibiting companies keep in mind as they commence with activities and efforts associated with customer engagement?

Hall: When it comes to marketing and engagement, exhibitors are playing both the long and the short game. Every strategy should consider both long- and short-term benefits. Companies shouldn’t just focus on one or the other, and they should emphasize activities and strategies that positively impact both. 




It’s about empowering individuals to develop habits and qualities to train themselves to be more engaging, think about others, and – most importantly – connect with people,” said John Hall, co-founder of Calendar 


AEM: It’s very important to not only establish strong relationships, but also keep them. Is that something many companies are good at, or is it an area of improvement in many cases?

Hall: The vast majority of organizations could use some improvement when it comes to fostering and developing relationships. They require effort, and success often comes down to building trust. Trust is one of the most difficult things to earn in life. And once person earns trust – even if it’s just a professional relationship – he or she should try to nurture it.

Securing a new client and closing a new sale is exciting, but organizations should remain focused on nurturing. Those that do are not only going to be able to amplify the trust they gain, but that trust will ultimately turn into referrals.

The new client and the new sale is exciting, but if organizations focus on nurturing, not only are you going to amplify that trust, but that trust is going to turn into referrals. That’s because nurturing helps customers move from their short-term memory to their long-term memory, if exhibitors position things the right away and engage people consistently.

AEM: Ultimately, what is the most important thing for exhibiting companies to know to help them “keep their story top-of-mind?”

Hall: It’s not enough for exhibitors to employ quality professionals. They need to employ engaging people. Why? Because when it comes to engaging people and thinking about how to develop relationships, it’s not a matter of flipping an on-off switch. It’s about empowering individuals to develop habits and qualities to train themselves to be more engaging, think about others, and – most importantly – connect with people. 

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