ometimes we get asked a question along these lines: If I’m exhibiting at your virtual show and doing demos, why should I buy PMMI Media Group’s Live Demo Planner? Isn’t my investment in the virtual showroom enough? Why the extra charges? Others ask, why buy Live Demo Planner (where Featured listings are displayed alphabetically) if my company name is toward the end of the alphabet?

In today’s post I’m going to tackle all of these questions. First, a quick explanation of the product. While you can find details and mockups here, Live Demo Planner is an outbound promotional vehicle designed specifically to take your demo topic and push it out to the target audience, over and over. It is published in print twice (for those who made the Sep. 3 deadline). But the real value is the digital promotion. An electronic version of Live Demo Planner is emailed repeatedly to registered and prospective attendees. Where possible we personalize the link to the product categories the attendee has specifically expressed interest in. This counts a lot when it’s your product category that they are interested in.

Aside from consisting of outbound promotion (as opposed to waiting to be found on the show website), Live Demo Planner has a second, and I would argue, more foundational value: de-duplication of listings. On the show website, demos will be listed by start time. Many exhibitors are repeating demos across multiple time slots to maximize the chances of reaching their target audience, a recommended practice. Let’s use an example: If there are, for the sake of discussion, 600 demos scheduled across all five days in your product category, it might be that only 300 are unique. On the show website, we can and must list all 600 because it is organized by time slot.

But when people are planning their experience ahead of time, Live Demo Planner deduplicates listings to a smaller, more manageable number. We do list, for the first 500 exhibitors, ONE demo at no charge, under “Additional listings.” However, exhibitors can purchase a featured listing, which buys you more space and puts you ahead of the free listings. To the extent that your demo crosses over categories, you can buy a “repeat” listing in a second category. And you can even promote your demo in the context of speciality promotional categories including sustainability and e-commerce.

In short, Live Demo Planner is easier to absorb for someone in planning mode, containing a digestible number of demos, and is sent to them, rather than waiting for them to come find it in a listing of 500+ demos in your category (or whatever the number may be). The show website is designed around at-show usage, where navigating by time slot is more important. Live Demo Planner is designed more for researching demos in advance to decide which to attend in the first place. For pre-show research, the "what" is far more important than the "when."

So as you can see, it really does not matter whether your company starts with “A” or “Z”. It’s more a question of being in Live Demo Planner, which is actively pushed out to would-be attendees when they are more in the mindset of researching demos to attend in advance.

The cost of a featured listing is only $1,500 despite consisting of a multi-channel print, online and e-mail promotional campaign for your demo. (PMMI members receive a 10% discount.) It’s an insanely good deal; a lot of outbound media for the money. It also represents a deliberate decision of ours to keep prices low.

Which leads me to the second question. Why isn’t exhibiting enough? Why pay for people to come to your booth? This one is as old as the hills, and frankly applies to the physical show as well. The easiest way for me to answer is to ask my own questions back to you: Do you need to purchase pre-show marketing to have people show up at your live demo? No. Will you maximize your chances of getting more leads by purchasing pre-show marketing? Absolutely. That’s why hundreds of exhibitors have already purchased Live Demo Planner. (And why hundreds purchase Game Plan and Showcase every year from PMMI Media Group.) It can make the difference between an okay show and a good show, or a good show and a great one. You are doing all the work to put on a show. Why wouldn’t you promote your exhibit? Outbound marketing is even more important for a virtual show than it is for a physical show.

We’ve followed our own advice. To produce PACK EXPO Connects, we have far fewer expenses relative to a physical show. Just like you. But we are spending in excess of 50% of our budget on marketing, which is more than double the share of total expenses compared to a physical show. And so it is that we recommend to our exhibitors: It’s not enough to just to plan your showroom and wait for people to show up. You’ll get a few for sure, and we wouldn’t be a show worth our salt if we didn’t deliver some folks. But the most successful exhibitors are spending 2X to 4X of their virtual showroom costs on marketing their presence. An important piece of that is Live Demo Planner.  

A final thought. Remember: You’re not spending on hotel, travel, shipping costs, your booth display, etc. Your two cost components are the cost of the virtual showroom, and marketing. The economics of exhibiting at a virtual show are completely different than a physical show.

If I have failed to convince you, that means you have more fundamental questions about the value of marketing. If that is the case, I urge you to read my post on why outbound marketing at a virtual event is even more critical than at a physical event.


Aug 27, 2020
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