Think an inviting, informative exhibit space is your only key to trade show success? Guess again. The trade show allows you to tap virtually every component of the marketing spectrum — easily — through a single venue.
Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the buzz-building opportunities you should exploit to make sure your business shines at every show.
Meet the Press: Don’t be your industry’s best-kept secret. Take advantage of a great corporate branding opportunity by scheduling a trade show-based press conference to share your firm’s new product, service or other news. Learn your trade show’s deadlines and provide your show press contact with a short press release announcing your conference topic, date, time, location and speakers. Make sure the show pressroom has your press kit on hand for distribution to the media and public relations professionals who represent new products. Also, ask for a list of expected media and decide whom you want to meet. And don’t forget to ask your press contact for copies of any available video “B-roll” (background footage used during voice-over) that you can send to your local broadcast media along with an announcement of your firm’s big news.
Build relationships! This scheduled time away from the office allows you to put your face-to-face communication and networking skills to work in a high-traffic environment. Reinforce product visibility by being available for immediate contact after press briefings and at your booth.
Become the Authority. Whenever feasible, respond to the venue’s Call for Papers by submitting a polished report of your firm’s most recent research findings or anecdotal industry study. Providing an informative or academic presentation on a relevant business topic will position you as an authority in your field and put you in front of people interested in your subject matter (potential networkers and clients). Be sure to advertise your presentation in advance, especially to your “Top 10” prospects, media and public relations professionals. Leverage your presentation after the fact with a letter to clients and prospects, accompanied by a copy of an informative post-event press release.
Advertise. Enhance visibility by placing your listing or provocative ad in the show’s advance and day-of advertising. Take advantage of communication vehicles, such as the show directory, show daily, lists of events and exhibitors, as well as trade publications that will be distributed at the show. Ask your host for a list of associated advertising deadlines and plan ahead to meet them.
Tap into targeted pre-show mailings. Trade show planners maintain accurate, up-to-date mailing lists of sponsors, exhibitors, and event registrants. Communicate directly with this motivated audience by procuring the list and creating your own advance and post-event direct mail campaigns. Send potential clients and prospects an invitation (and enticement) to visit your booth.
Host or sponsor a special trade show event. Plan your event at a time that does not conflict with major conference presentations or activities, and when the press is most likely to be on hand. Invite the media and prospects to your special talk, breakfast, cocktail party or press briefing. Take advantage of other marketing opportunities throughout the show by sponsoring breakout sessions, seminars or break areas.
Maintain high-level professionalism. Throughout the show, remember that your booth is your business office. Save coffee drinking and eating for personal break times. While working your booth, be fresh and available, putting your customers’ and prospects’ needs first at all times. If you need refreshment yourself, arrange for a colleague to staff your “trade show office.”
Assess the competition. Don’t forget that trade shows provide a great opportunity for you to research your competitors. Collect their information, attend their presentations and see what approaches work best for them. Then decide how you will turn that information to your advantage.
Query and follow-up. As a service, product or solutions provider, you naturally solve problems. As you gather leads, be sure to ask your prospects what would help them do business better and follow up after the show with information, suggestions, and solutions.
Act to hold your gains. To ensure continued top-quality performance, be sure to collect and evaluate data regarding your tradeshow and follow-up performance. Adapt your processes as needed with an eye toward winning the “best in show” award!
About Trade Show Solution Center
Trade Show Solution Center (The Solution Center) is a leading provider of comprehensive exhibit planning, design, production, and marketing services to small and mid-sized businesses. Founded and led by industry experts with a high-level of business intelligence, The Solution Center provides a full array of services to support the entire sales cycle. From strategic planning, message development, and branding, to event management, corporate communications and lead generation, The Solution Center helps clients discover, develop and deliver programs that leverage new, profitable business opportunities. To learn more about Trade Show Solution Center and its portfolio of services, visit the company’s web site at www.tssolutioncenter.com.
For more information on topics we’ve touched upon or for trade show marketing assistance, please call Laura McLeod Palker (631-393-5079).