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Getting More Bang for Your Trade Show Bucks

by Marketing Tango

Trade shows can be a significant expense for any business. Just ask any integrated marketer. So before you invest heavily in the next big event, consider how to maximize your presence so you get the highest return on the dollar.

Choose Your Speaker

Your presence at a trade show or industry event shouldn’t simply be about pushing products, it should be designed around attendees and meeting their expectations. Strive to bring something new and buzz-worthy each time out. In addition to just showcasing a new product or line, consider enlisting a featured speaker or star performer to demonstrate it.

If possible, get someone who is an expert in your field, who also possesses the ability to articulate your branding and message in a compelling way. It could be a strong presenter from your own organization, or a renowned public figure as your keynote speaker.

Plan and Practice

The key to success at trade shows is to plan ahead as far out as possible. According to the Event Planners Association, some keynote speakers will need at least six months of notice in order to book your event.

Work closely with your spokesperson or featured speaker to ensure the presentation aligns with your image and message. Once you’ve determined your audience and event, customize your content and focus your approach to reach your target with precision and personality. Each trade show offers the opportunity to refresh and refine your communication.

Scheduled Schmoozing

Trade show booths should be in good repair and designed to facilitate mingling with new prospects and clients. But your booth is just the beginning of your networking efforts. You’ll also want to take advantage of the many other avenues your event offers to organize meetings, receptions, or even after-hours get-togethers, where you can not only pitch your product, but concentrate on building relationships with key people in a casual atmosphere.

Give Away Goodies

Promotional products are perennial trade show favorites. But the way to really make a strong impression is to hand out free samples of your product, or at least quality merchandise that has a practical use (like a customized USB drive) or a cool, innovative feature that ties in to your brand.

If you focus your trade show efforts not only on growing sales, but also on understanding customers and building relationships with them, sales growth will follow naturally.


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