Exhibit marketing is challenging, but very viable when done correctly. If you are spending money on a trade show booth, employees, marketing materials and travel, make sure you spend that money on the right trade show.
Bigger Is Not Always Better
Just because the trade show is bigger, does not mean that it contains more ideal customers. If you target based on the challenges that your ideal client is facing, see if the show targets that audience, too. You are better off at an event with 100 attendees where you know 30 of them are your ideal client, than an event with 5,000 attendees with 50 of them. You have a narrow chance of finding the one percent in the larger event. But, you'll have a better chance of finding many of the 30% at the smaller event. Creating the right trade show display will grab their attention, the rest is up to you.
Answer the question, "Who would be most interested in what we have, and why would they be excited to meet with us?" If you don't know the answer, your prospects likely will not figure it out either. Your messaging then becomes, "People facing one of these two or three issues will have interest in what we offer."
Once you know your message and the problem you solve, be honest about how many attendees at that conference would care about your two or three messages.
Ask Your Best Clients
Where do your existing customers hang out? Which events do they attend, or where did they attend when searching for your solution? Take a look at their suggestions as there is a chance others facing similar issues to them might be at these events.
If you want to create your own event, plan a special event for your existing customers to invite three of their colleagues from other organizations who might be facing the same challenge your great customer was facing. At that event, do not show your "stuff." Instead, highlight customers who faced challenges and how they solved them, maybe with your stuff. Make the customer the star, not your stuff. Don't worry -- even though you do not show off, they smart prospects will seek you out.
Know Your Goal for a Tradeshow
The goal of most trade shows is NOT to close a deal on the floor. Reps often spend too much time with one or two prospects. Teach a "catch and release" program to attract prospects, qualify, and then schedule follow-up after the show. Hot prospects should have a calendar entry on their smartphone before they leave the booth. Warm ones should be contacted electronically within a day, and then in person within three days of the end of the show.
For more information on trade show marketing, contact The Exhibit Source.