Trade Show Marketing Works If You Work At It
show "business" consists of close to $1billion a year in sales and
expenses by companies just like yours and mine. Every day there are a
great variety of shows going on in major show cities, convention
centers and resorts all around the globe. For most companies, these
shows represent a tremendous expense. Getting maximum return for your
investment and minimizing waste time and money is key for not only the
exhibiting company but also those attending to visit with the
you are an exhibitor or a visitor, knowing a few tips and techniques
about trade show marketing will definitely make your participation
more than just another trade show. A lot of the tips of techniques are
common sense. A lot of this common sense is experience learned from
attending previous shows; what works best, what doesn't; how to be
efficient and asking yourself, " How can I bring something of value,
back for my company to use or follow up on."
conference and/or trade show has a theme. Many times it's the obvious.
As an exhibitor you want to make sure those attending will be prime
prospects for your products. As a visitor, you want to focus on those
things unique to you and your business and stay clear of time wasters
that are not related to your business.
companies devote departments, staff and a tremendous amount of money
to just this one area of marketing. Others are smaller and don't have
budgets or resources to do this. Regardless of size, intent should be
have written about setting goals, booth appearance, color selection,
layout, positioning at the exhibition, etc. I would like to
concentrate on the "engagement of the people: customers and
prospects." This actually starts before the show.
shows are ideal places to launce new products, new services, new
people and new "looks". These are also ideal topics for press
releases. They are newsworthy and appealing to editors. Pre-show
marketing consists of the following:
press release to announce or inform the audience/target market.
letter, postcard or some other direct mail piece, not once right
before the show but periodically before the show. Contacting a
prospect/customer 3 times consistently with your message will cause
them to remember you more, when they see your booth or interact with
Invitations to your largest customers inviting them to an invitation
Other pre-show marketing can consist of submitting expert written
articles on pertinent subjects and issues, advertising in the show
program and using flyers or printed door hangers at the hotels of
visitor to the exhibit, be on the lookout for pre-show marketing. This
is usually a reminder to try and obtain an exhibitor list before
going. Mapping out those you have to see, those you'd like to see and
those you'd rather miss is essential in getting the most out of your
trade show visit.
actual show interaction is the number one focus. Notice I didn't say
presentation. Moving, talking, asking, and having customers
participate in demonstrations will do more for trade show exhibitors
than graphics will. Nobody likes to walk past a booth and hear, "Is it
raining outside?" or "How about that French Restaurant down on the
corner". Putting a customer/prospect at ease is one thing but small
talk is inefficient as an opening line in this setting. All sales
people, senior managers and other boot attendees need to plan,
rehearse and focus on their approach with those passing by. It's just
like the marketing that we all do in our businesses, everyday.
important in obtaining those prospects is creating attention,
interest, desire and then action. Think about the tradeshows that
you've been to that you liked or the specific booths that you've
liked. Those with celebrities, magicians, clowns, caricature artists,
etc. really got your attention. If you were interested
in the product being displayed or marketed, you usually stuck around
to talk with representatives from the company. Then if you really
desired what was being marketed, you got serious and maybe went
around back to a worktable or a private conference. Action was
as simple as setting a follow up date to further discuss the
finalization of a contract or as glorious as actually finalizing the
contract right on the expo floor. That sounds simple but that is the
essence of successful trade show marketing. In fact that is the
essence of successful marketing of any kind.
Unfortunately what we find sometimes are several people who stand at
the side of their exhibit with their arms folded wondering why
customers and prospects pass by. They certainly haven't presented any
attention; in fact they have marked their territory and have inhibited
prospective visitors. Only aggressive passer bys, prospects that have
targeted those particular exhibits or the most needy, approach the
the exhibit it is important to control the situation as an exhibitor.
Activity and interactivity is key here. That will spark desire and
cause the action like described above.
discussed pre-show planning, show activity, now comes the
all-important post-show activity.
like any sales call that we all make or any other important prospect
meeting that we have, follow up is key. If we just met with one of our
top targeted prospects, we would send a follow up thank you note,
thanking them for the time, interest and information and confirm next
steps. Trade show prospecting is no different.
Collecting prospect names, company information and contact information
is done at all trade shows. Do not let this valuable information go to
The sooner you follow up and send out thank you notes, the more you
will stand out from your competitors. Most people wait for weeks and
sometimes don't follow up at all. This gives you a tremendous
advantage if you are efficient in your efforts here. Consider the
power of e-mail as well. In fact some pros will email that evening to
really make the impact of timeliness and efficiency. Imagine
encouraging a visit the next day with a simple inviting follow up
email to those who happen to view email after that day's show.
An immediate follow up will make you appear efficient and go a long
way in building that trust and confidence that is so key in today's
show marketing and participation is really not much different than
other marketing that we do for our companies, products and services.
Being efficient and timely will put your effort above the competitive
effort and justify your contribution to this $1 billion industry.
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