Tradeshows and Event Marketing

Event marketing is a great way to find new leads and increase sales. Tradeshows, conferences and private events are all great venues for finding new prospects, but to ensure success and a profitable show, you need to have a strategy in place.

There are many factors that come into play when comparing the cost to participate in an event to the potential ROI. The first factor is the audience. You must have an overall marketing strategy that clearly defines your target audience(s). With this information in hand, you can look for events that will attract those audiences to attend. If you sell medical products you will not find new customers at a manufacturing show. However if you sell manufacturing, you may find plenty of new customers at a medical device show. You really must know your audiences first and foremost.

Event location
Similar to the need to know who your customer is, you must also know their buying habits and your selling habits. Do you sell nationally, regionally or locally? If you sell locally, an out of state event will probably be a waste of time and money.

What should you bring to the show
The most important thing to remember here is that you have to look professional, well established and financially secure. Successful companies are usually successful for a reason and the reason is usually because they are good at what they do. The look of success is very important in event and tradeshow marketing. A professional tradeshow display is a must. Your graphics must be designed and developed professionally as well. If you are going to show up with a home made display and graphics, you are better off not participating at all. There are currently a lot of inexpensive, professional display options available and most display companies rent booths as well. As for the graphics, these will need to be developed specifically for you. They must be consistent with your main brand and be customized to speak directly to the events audience.

Who should man (or woman) the booth?
Your best sales people should man your booth. Don't even think about a tradeshow model unless they are only there to keep prospects busy with small talk until a professional sales rep is available. Too many companies hire out the staff their events and end up with a bunch of pretty faces that do not know enough about the business to make any significant impact. Your booth staff should know your business inside and out. They should also have the ability to make decisions without having to check with someone else. Trqadeshows and events offer a fast paced business opportunity where your company can be exposed to a high number of qualified prospects in a short amount of time. You must be prepared to make the most out of your events and tradeshows.

Follow up
The main reason that I have seen that results in a poor ROI after participating in tradeshows or event marketing is a poor follow up plan. All too often companies do not follow up at all. This I have never understood. Why would any company pay good money to have a space at an event, buy a great looking booth, travel to an event, staff the booth, collect a great list of potential customers and then do nothing with that list? I never understood this mentality, but it happens everyday. And then when asked how the show was they say it was a bad show, because they did not get any new business from it. Well, the event is just the setting to collect a bunch of new leads. What you do with those leads is up to you.

Trade Show Displays and Rentals

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