Making Trade Shows Work
Happy new year, everyone. Looking out over a changing business climate, as more and more sales and marketing move to the online world, it’s easy to overlook the traditional channels. But across a wide spectrum of industries, the trade show is still a key element in the marketing mix. As a promotional marketing company, APTCO works with them to make the experience successful. January is one of the biggest months of the year for trade shows. Here are some tips to make sure your investment doesn't go down the drain.
Trade-show marketing derives much of its success from the personal aspect of the marketing tactic. Both exhibitors and attendees cite face-to-face personal interaction as an important reason to exhibit and attend shows. As more and more business is conducted virtually, through email, web conference and telephone, 48 percent of event attendees say face-to-face interactions are more valuable today than two years ago. Spending is projected at more than 21 percent of marketing budgets on this strategy.
Trade shows provide marketers with unique sales opportunities that can generate new leads; provide a chance to check out the competition, do some networking and get some publicity; and build relationships with the right buyers. A marketer can accomplish at one trade show what might take weeks or months to accomplish through direct sales efforts. Closing a lead generated at a trade show costs 62 percent less than closing one that originates in the field, according to the Center for Exhibit Industry Research (CEIR). The same research study estimates that an organization saves $943 by meeting a prospect at a trade show versus in the field.
Trade shows are highly valued in helping to:
- Reinforce brand awareness
- Build and expand brand messages
- Introduce new products or services
- Target specific business segments
- Promote existing products and services
Clarify the Show Objectives
There are multiple shows in every industry. Which one is best for your company to have a presence? Why not ask your customers where they go? It’s likely you’ll find similar prospects there. You might also want to take notice of where your competition is exhibiting.
Now that you know where you’re going, it’s time to narrow down and rank the potential goals:
- Write sales orders
- Generate leads for future sales
- Research the competition
- Generate publicity and press mentions
- Spot new trends
- Generate excitement for your new products
- Build rapport with current customers
What Goes Into An Effective Trade Show Exhibit?
Trade-show marketing should focus on two or three key ideas or messages. Graphics, pre-show promotion, literature, promotional gifts, and advertising should all be integrated to communicate these clear messages. Complete the branding through the use of color-coordinated apparel for those working the show. Touch all five senses to attract your best prospects. The exhibit itself should encourage people to not only see what’s new, but to touch, feel, hear and taste.
Promoting Your Trade Show Presence
Research indicates that three-quarters of show attendees know what exhibits they want to see before they even get to the show, so pre-show promotion is an important function. Consider a creative direct mail piece you can send to pre-registered attendees and to key prospects and customers. The mailer should reinforce the theme and main message points and the chosen colors, and include the booth number and contact information. A very effective tactic is to send a Match and Win offer. In this promotion, the show attendee brings the mailer to the show to receive a gift and get a chance to win a higher-value prize.
Research from CEIR shows 80 percent of show leads aren’t followed up. Don’t be that guy! Lead follow-up should take precedence over nearly everything else. Too often, catching up on what was missed while out of the office puts the critical follow-up on hold until the leads turn cold. The time to plan a follow-up procedure is before the show. That includes the design of a post-show mailing. It should relate to the theme and messaging used in the pre-show mailing and in the booth, and ideally it should be a promotional product or contain one. Where can you get help with all of this? We thought you’d never ask. Call APTCO.