Trade shows still remain one of the best business marketing vehicles to get face-to-face with large numbers of potential customers.
Carefully selecting the trade show that best fits your target audience and budget is an excellent way to introduce new products, meet decision makers, or simply brand your company.
Many exhibitors are quick to purchase space at these events yet many are not so speedily proficient at attracting their best potential customers to visit their booth.
Instead many busy business executives schedule shows that may not provide the best return on their time or resources.
Busy sales people are apt to book exhibit space and then depend on event organizers to promote the show through various industry channels, hoping a representative from a potential client company stumbles upon their booth.
Some even set-up putting greens, hire a group of models, or place roulette wheels in their space hoping attendees come to a grinding halt in front of their table as they tour the area.
One way to ensure the best use of space, time and budget is to do enough preparatory work to make the event a success.
This includes utilizing a trade show support team to ensure all bases are covered well in advance of the show.
The support team can assist a busy sales person or executive with all of the event details. They can work with an executive to first determine if a show will be worth their time and investment.
Depending on the goals of the company, many industry trade shows may appear attractive at first but then look not so enticing when all the details are learned.
A trade show may promote itself as a big event when in reality it only attracts a very small audience.
Conversely a huge multi-facility trade show may be too spread out to make new connections. Attendees can get pre-occupied in one area. Booth space and hotel accommodations can be very costly and the firm may have a tough time generating a solid return on expenses.
A support staff can help a company avoid these mistakes. They can contact each show organizer and determine if the event meets the criteria established by the company. A support person can generate and negotiate costs for booth space and ascertain potential branding opportunities.
Trained support personnel are valuable members of the sales team. They can help the executive create a list of potential customers they would like to meet at the show. They can classify these contacts into groups such as “A”-Must Meets, “B”-Would Like To Meet and “C”-Nice But Not Crucial to Meet or use other processes.
This team can also contact prospects by phone, email or snail mail and invite them to stop by the booth. Responses will indicate who is planning to attend the event and what days and times they will be on-site. The support group can also set-up face-to-face meetings and help the executive build a schedule around key seminars, happy hours, and special events .
Many businesses often take a “ready, fire, aim” strategy when it comes to planning their trade show schedule. Developing an event team, either in-house or through a consulting firm, is a much better approach. It will alleviate much of the stress and guesswork involved with these exhibitions and provide a much greater return on investment.