Ask the Marketer #1 - How Do We Ensure Trade Show Success?

1. As a novice, what are the most important tasks for a trade show booth?

The most important tasks to do when having a booth at a trade show for the first time is to set your goals and expectations of what you want to get out of the show once all is said and done. There are many logistics in terms of booth set up: electronic needs and display criteria, but more critical is having a messaging plan that meets your goals. If your goal is to acquire leads at the show, it's important to have a campaign that will attract prospects to your booth. The campaign should be compelling enough for prospects to want to leave their contact information with you. You must have an attractive booth display (graphics) with a meaningful message (copy), appropriate collateral (current brochures, case studies, handouts), a video or demo where necessary, promotional giveaways and the main draw (a game, a discount, a gimmick that is essentially a win-win for the prospect and the business). Your booth attendees (sales or product staff) also need to be trained to speak with customers confidently on your products and services. 

2. What are the benefits of trade show participation?

Businesses learn a lot about their market when attending trade shows. Having face-to-face interactions with prospects and customers is invaluable in building relationships and truly understanding your buyers' challenges, likes, and dislikes. It allows you to get to know each other. Trade shows also give you the opportunity to scope out your competition or find quality vendors that you were not aware existed. 

3. What should first-timers steer clear of when manning a booth?

Organizations should avoid exclusion when manning a booth at a trade show for the first time. Often, company employees are so excited to be spending time together, they tend to crowd the booth, leaving their bags all over the place and ignoring traffic. It's important to make sure you set up boundaries for staff show attendees and booth participants (e.g. designated bag cabinets and scheduled booth manning hours). Be sure to arrange a team dinner so staff isn't compelled to banter with each other the whole time during the exhibit hours, sometimes with their backs to prospects. 

Another area to avoid is the swag-grabbers. Some trade show attendees just love the free stuff - be sure to have something inexpensive like candy and pens to give away to the freebie lovers that are most likely not prospects. Everyone is worth greeting and speaking to because you never know AND it's common courtesy! This is why it's good to cater to all booth visitors, no matter what. 

4. What's the most critical accomplishment needed when exhibiting? 

The most important thing business owners need to accomplish when attending or having a booth at a trade show is relationship building. Lead numbers can be distracting - we know they're vital but trade shows are about human interaction, brand exposure, professional development AND lead generating - maybe not necessarily in that order, but it's important to value the conversations and contacts you meet while attending or exhibiting at a trade show. 


Keep looking up,
It's a beautiful sky.
 - Marialuisa