With the end of the pandemic, trade shows have come roaring back to life and with that come fresh opportunities. But things have changed. Knowing how to make the most of these changes can help you drive better results at your trade shows. Here are four tips to make sure you get the most out of your trade season.
How important is pre-trade show marketing?
Pre-trade show marketing is a must. In today’s environment, you are just as likely to set meetings before the trade show, as at the trade show.
If you can touch people prior to the show, you may create an early excitement that brings them to your table. There are a couple of easy ways to do this: first, build an email list for the attendees and/or exhibitors you want to target. Often trade shows will sell their attendee, pre-register, and exhibitor lists. Others might send emails on your behalf. If they do not offer this option, you can consider scraping the exhibitor list from the trade show website. You can also consider reaching out to your customers that you know will be attending.
Then consider the type of touches. If you are reaching out to suspects or prospects, start early and include phone call follow-up. Are there whales on the list? Strategize around understanding them. The trade show is a perfect “excuse” to reach out and deliver a meaningful message to open doors. If you are reaching out to a more general audience or your existing customers, it’s best to wait until about six weeks out, so your message doesn’t get lost over time.
How important is my brand story for trade show marketing?
Your brand story is essential to your success. Here’s an example without naming names. At a recent trade show, there was a booth from a dynamic supplier. They had a killer new product (KNP) right at the edge of their booth. That alone might have drawn attention and pulled in prospects. But sometimes that is not enough. People want to connect. That is what your brand story is for.
This company knew the importance, and they left no touch unconsidered. Tags on the KNP gave the color choices funny, yet slightly naughty names. The display painted the picture of the KNP of how it would be used by the end user. Everything down to the choice of fonts on the signage told the story of the product – and the brand.
This corner display for the KNP was the anchor for a booth that displayed all their products in such a way that this company’s brand attributes of creativity, fun, and engaging were delivered at every turn. Key executives even adopted “nicknames’ tied to their products to add to the storytelling.
The end result? They can’t keep the KNP in stock. Because their brand story connected with the executives visiting their booth.
So, ask yourself, what story do you have to tell?
What other problems can you solve for trade show attendees?
You can solve little problems for trade show attendees and really get a positive vibe for your company. People just aren’t used to attending trade shows anymore. Their excitement to get back to trade show life gets mitigated by the fact they just aren’t used to it anymore.
Think about how you can make their life easier:
Bottled water is always a hit. Get water with your brand on the label and thirsty conventioneers will be your walking billboard. Better yet, the refreshment you provide will help build a bond.
Try useful SWAG. Eyeglass/phone cleaner kits are a great option. So is lip balm or hand cream. It’s the little comforts that are tripping up the new road warriors.
Finally, think about providing SWAG that links the experience to your brand. For example, is your company focused on solving hard to get to challenges for clients? Well, a telescoping back scratcher is a delightful bit of promotional merchandise that delivers your brand promise in micro, every time it is used.
An MSP Brand Consultant can help you identify the solutions that would work for you.
How do I create a compelling experience at today’s trade shows?
Providing a unique in-person experience is a must. This can be accomplished by providing things that customers can not only see, but touch and feel as well. The in-person experience should deliver something the show attendee just can’t get from reviewing your company or products online.
It might be hard to imagine, but at one time Trade Shows were once the only place people could readily get information and easily talk to key executives. Our world is incredibly connected. There are reports that 60% of the consideration cycle in B2B purchases is completed before a prospect reaches out to a company. Online they can review your information, your case studies, your product experience, watch videos by your company, and videos about your company. They can search for products, pricing, and availability. Easily search for competitors. What can’t prospects do online?
They can’t feed their other senses. They cannot touch, feel, smell, or taste. Think about it – the online world only provides what you can see or hear. It can be a pretty cold place. But in person, you can create an experience that brings all the senses together. The ability to look at your product, feel and touch it. If you are in the food business, you can amplify with taste and smell. If your product is virtual, you can craft experiences to demonstrate live – giving social proof as others see what you deliver.
This is just a sampling of what is possible. Of course, MSP Design Group is always ready to help you boldly grow your business.