How to Avoid Empty Results at Your Conference

CadmiumCD’s Innovation in Orlando: Decorating an Excellent Expo Booth Under Pressure

Back in January, CadmiumCD sponsored ACEHP’s 2014 Innovation in Orlando annual conference. The team got off the plane, got to the trade show floor, and were very excited to set up their 10×20 sponsor booth, but unfortunately there were a few setbacks. As representatives of CadmiumCD, a company founded on building software solutions for real world problems, the team tapped into their resourcefulness and built a booth that surpassed all competition.

Michelle, CadmiumCD co-founder and director of sales & marketing, and Eva, midwest sales director, realized they had problems after cracking open their booth decor shipments. A few pieces they had used for past events had been damaged in transit and were no longer adequate for use.

What did survive wasn’t enough. Michelle and Eva threw down the bamboo floors they had, put up their booth table, and hung their CadmiumCD promotional banners. It was barely suitable for a 10×10 space (and, most importantly, lacked flair and style). It was EMPTY.

CadmiumCD is a company that designs beautiful mobile event apps, trade show floor plans, and a host of other educational event technology and conference management software solutions, not trade show booths. But the girls weren’t about to compromise. They put their heads together, got a spark of inspiration, and scoured Orlando for the perfect booth decor.

When things seemed to be going wrong at the conference, the CadmiumCD team tapped into their creative insight and built a expo booth design that was anything but empty.

Their journey finally led them to a retail store where they picked up a mini leather ottoman, a chic table lamp, two comfy chairs, two outdoor side-tables to use as a coffee table, and a small area rug. On the way back to the JW Marriott Grande Lakes where the ACEHP’s 2014 event was held, they stopped at a home improvement store and bought two beautiful plants. Total, everything cost less than one couch rental from the conference hall.

An Outstanding Response from Conference Attendees

Back at Innovation in Orlando, Michelle and Eva brought the furniture together into one inviting, modern environment. The complements kept coming for the duration of the event and attendees were happy to sit down and chat in style while they learned about CadmiumCD’s very stylish conference software solutions.

What was once a wondrously EMPTY space became full of life as attendees began pouring in to the trade show floor. All thanks to a little resourcefulness.

CadmiumCD uses the same approach while designing event technology and conference management software. We identify the problem, build a solution quickly and within budget, and share the solution with our friends and colleagues at a price they can afford. And we never, ever compromise on design and usability.

Michelle and Eva thought about their situation and how it relates to work back at the office. They came up with three valuable tips for avoiding empty results at any conference:

The worst thing you can do when things go wrong at your conference is worry!

1. Don’t Worry, There’s Always a Better Way

Michelle and Eva knew the worst thing they could do was panic or get discouraged when they realized just how empty their booth space was. In a situation like this, nerves are the bane of success. Time is limited, pressure’s on, and there are a flood of attendees waiting to be wow’d by what you have to offer.

So they took a deep breath, kept their cool, and put their heads together.

At CadmiumCD we’re very familiar with this type of problem. We work with hundreds of meeting planners each year, and many still use traditional email and spreadsheet tools to manage their events. That means manually entering hundreds (sometimes thousands) of speakers, exhibitors, and event details.

They often feel overwhelmed by all this data and realize that their process yields disappointing results. In essence, it consistently comes up EMPTY. This is when they begin to brainstorm and think of other options.

Even if time is ticking and your event is approaching, it’s better to take a moment to search for a solution to your problems than continue to let them pile up.

CadmiumCD always remains creative and innovative in its conference management software and event technology solutions. You should do the same when you're trying to bootstrap some like an expo booth or successful conference.

2. Be Creative, The Right Solution is Out There

Meeting professionals are naturally gifted creative geniuses (we don’t mean to brag). They are salesfolk, designers, and managers that represent companies founded on innovation and creative solutions. Eva and Michelle tapped into this prowess and together came up with the perfect solution: “Let’s go shopping!”

They knew where the deals were, hit the strip, and used their creativity and sense of style to craft something attendees would remember. They visited six stores before finding the perfect solutions at the right budget. Once they discovered what they were looking for, they knew they had a winning booth.

The same is true of conference management software. Once the meeting planners that come to CadmiumCD seeking a better solution realize what they’ve been missing, it’s hard for them to ever go back to the same old broken processes they were used to. They see the value of using software that will streamline their processes and engage attendees for both their companies and themselves.

The best solutions are always found by networking, shopping around, and choosing the best products through a little creative tact.

Conference management software, booth design, and event technology all have something in common. Their quality should never be compromised!

3. Never Compromise, Always Strike a Balance

It would have been much easier for Michelle and Eva to throw their hands up and settle for rented furniture from the conference hall. But they know the importance of standing out, and renting the same furniture everyone else was renting would have been the best way to blend in and fall through the cracks.

In addition to style, they’re also business savvy. They like to keep things under a tight budget so they can maximize CadmiumCD’s ROI. Couch rentals from the conference hall can run up to $1,000 – sometimes more. The girls spent well under that and used the remaining funds to ship the furniture back home to the office. Not only did they hit a home run at the show, now they can bring their style home and share the wealth with the rest of the team.

The same is true for event technology and conference management software. It’s important to shop around for the best solution. Getting caught with a trade show floor plan that looks like its from 1999 can really hurt an association’s image. Paying too much for a mobile event app can really hurt an association’s budget. Yet there’s a fine balance of cheap and quality.

It’s important to find something both beautifully designed, easy to use, and affordable. That way everyone involved will be happy – planners, managers, sponsors, and attendees.

Relax, tap into your creative insight, and never ever settle for second best for your conference. Done successfully, you'll have easily avoided empty results at your conference or trade show.

Kick Empty Results to the Curb at Your Conference

At ACEHP’s Innovation in Orlando existing clients and new friends remarked how nice CadmiumCD’s decor was. During breaks attendees were found lounging on the chairs, sipping wine, and chatting it up in style.

CadmiumCD crafted a booth that stood out despite what seemed to be dire circumstances. They were able to do it on short notice and well within a reasonable budget.

So next time you find yourself in a similar situation, jumbling broken pieces of an empty process, don’t despair. Remember to relax, tap into that creative insight and style you’re gifted with, find the right products that solve your specific problems, and never settle for less than what organizers, exhibitors, and attendees deserve.

Establish your budget, define your goals, and results will follow your hard work and innovation. Always strive for an attractive and adaptable solution. Pretty soon you’ll be experiencing compliments from clients and attendees, as well as increased interest in whatever it is you’re passionate about sharing.

How do you solve your conference planning problems? Tell us about a time you avoided empty results at your conference.

Do you have an interesting story about an expo booth design you or one of your sponsors created? Was there a time you found an innovative way to solve an event related problem under pressure? Tell us about it in the comments below, or connect with us on Twitter @CadmiumCD.

Written by Mike Doane