In Part 1 of our Trade Show Marketing Strategy blog, we highlighted the importance of quality pre-show planning to maximize return and objectives for show attendance. In Part 2 we will discuss some things you can do while at the show to meet your objectives and improve your visibility. If you missed Part 1, click here to learn more about pre-trade show planning.
While a big part of pre-show marketing strategy is to develop a meaningful show message and outreach program to drive traffic to your booth, there are a number of at-show opportunities to enhance your presence (see our ‘At Show Marketing Check List’ below). Client/prospect meetings, media relations, sponsorship opportunities, and speaking engagements are useful strategies to increase awareness and maximize return.
One of the easiest and least costly at-show strategies is to have pre-set meetings with your current clients or prospects, especially those from other parts of the country that you rarely see face-to-face if ever. While exhibiting at the show enhances your credibility, taking the time for personal meetings goes a long way to developing and solidifying relationships.
Managing media relations is another way to get the most out of your trade show attendance. Like every other aspect of show planning, there is much leg-work that can be done before the show even starts. Identify the most prominent industry publications and find out who is making the editorial decisions and what the hot topics are. Be sure you know where the media/press room is at the show, and go to the show armed with plenty of press kits.
Every show presents a multitude of sponsorship opportunities – big and small. Generally the big guys with enormous budgets have the big events covered – receptions, keynotes, and the like – but there are smaller, less costly options that can help get your brand out there. Similarly, speaking engagements are a tremendous way reach many show attendees and establish yourself as an expert in the field. Be mindful that topic submissions for speaking opportunities are typically due a full year or more before the actual show – and of course, your topic must be relevant.
Another great way to get your message out and make it last is through the use of QR Codes. Often attendees do not have the time to stop in your booth for a chat, and generally don’t enjoy amassing a pile of literature to lug around. QR Codes provide a convenient way for attendees with smart phones to capture your information for later viewing. It is important to note that you should invest the time and money to develop a mobile app, as linking direct to your web site can be cumbersome for the user.
In support of all these activities, it is imperative that you are adequately staffed for the duration of the show. All of these strategies take place outside the booth, and you want to have full coverage. And during slow periods, additional staff can work the floor- networking with other exhibitors.
The At-Show Trade Show Marketing Checklist
1. General Marketing Support: This includes assuring the booth is setup and is ‘communicating’ the message and image that has been determined for the show. Additional, general marketing support items will include:
a. Working with booth personal to ensure proper booth coverage during show hours
b. Working with show personal should there be an issue with any booth or show items
c. Monitoring product literature to make sure adequate levels are on hand
d. Gathering and securing show leads at the end of the day
e. Meeting with show personal to select booth space for the next year’s show
f. Verifying that booth teardown and move out has been arranged
2. Trade Press Support: This includes meeting with key trade press personal, scheduling meetings with the proper marketing person, providing press kits and being on hand during the interviews or press conference.
3. Competitive Intelligence: This includes meeting with competitive providers of products and evaluating their booth and marketing message. You should note strength and weaknesses and areas where you can differentiate your products and services over them. Additional, you can gather competitive literature where possible. This literature will be evaluated by the marketing team and then distributed to the proper product manager.
4. Acquisition Identification: This includes evaluating and meeting with target acquisition companies to determine possible fit. You can identify the company, products / services, key personal and any other data gathered in a personal interview.
5. Vendor Identification: This includes evaluating and meeting with target vendor partner companies to determine possible fit. This should include identifying the company, products / services, key personal and any other data gathered in a personal interview.
6. Customer Identification: This includes evaluating and meeting with target customers companies. This should include identifying the company, products / services, key personal and any other data gathered in a personal interview.
7. Summary Report: Upon conclusion of the show, you should create a summary report of all activities defined above. This report will identify actions required as follow-up. The report should also include notes regarding measuring the success (or failure) of the show and an estimated return on investment.
Need trade show marketing ideas or trade show marketing services? Click here to read the Trade Show Marketing Strategy e-book. To contact one of our strategic creative services professionals, leave a message below or call 440- 449- 6800.