In Parts 1 and 2 of our trade show marketing blog we touched on the importance of pre-show planning and at-show strategies that can make or break trade show success. In Part 3 we will cover some post-show activities that are imperative to meeting the show objectives spelled out in your Pre-Show planning. If you missed Parts 1 and 2, click here to review pre-trade show planning and at-trade show strategies.
The show is over, your display is packed and shipped, and your sales team is at the airport heading back to their respective offices…now what? All of the pre-show planning and at-show strategies are for naught without well-organized post-show actions. Lead management is without question the most important, but there are other things you can do depending on your show objectives. Post-show mailers, emails, and advertising should all be pre-planned and ready to go. It is also important to maintain your show attendance electronically through your web site, e-newsletter, blogs, and social media channels.
Lead management has come a long way from the days of sifting through a giant bowl of business cards. Sophisticated lead-retrieval devices are available for rent at most shows, the best of which are wireless and actually transmit contact information and notes into the cloud the moment it is captured. This allows for you or an admin to immediately begin to organize, prioritize, and even respond to contacts made at the show. It is helpful to rate contacts right then and there on the show floor so you can start working your strongest leads first.
If creating brand awareness is one of your goals, you may consider purchasing the post-show attendee list from show management. This will allow you to send a follow up mailer to everyone who attended. Additionally, you should consider advertising in the industry-leading publications, as they always do a show review in their first edition after the conference. If sales generation is your goal, you may want to stick with your leads from the show and specifically targeted attendees that may have missed your booth. In any case, it is imperative all of these activities take place promptly after the show, while the topics are still fresh in the minds of attendees.
Beyond direct solicitation of contacts and attendees, you can also get decent run out of content marketing and social media channels. Keep a link to the show site on your web site for a month or so – often times there is valuable post-show information about the conference. Offer show specials for visitors to your site that attended the show. Write a blog about the value of the show and link up with your social media sites. All of these things help to continue the momentum from the show, and further build your credibility as a player in the industry.
Finally, after every show you should schedule a post-show debriefing meeting with sales to ensure proper lead follow up and evaluate pre-show planning and at-show strategies and how this may feed into next years’ participation. It is also important to forecast the return on your investment as soon as possible. The earlier yo
u decide to attend next years’ show the better. Early commitment to booth space can get you better positioning on the show floor. Also, if you are gunning for a speaking engagement or major sponsorship, now is the time to act – before the opportunities are gone.
Need trade show marketing ideas or trade show marketing services? Click here to read the Trade Show Marketing Strategy e-book, or contact John Kallmeyer in Skoda Minotti's Visual Marketing Services at 440-449-6800 for more information.