Trade Show Marketing & Trade Show Strategies For the Upcoming Year

Planning your trade shows early will prevent you from letting critical details fall through the cracks leading up to your shows. Your performance at the events will be directly linked to the actions that you take now to plan for them. Whether you’re exhibiting as a small business owner or you’ve been tasked with spearheading your company’s trade show marketing efforts, planning early will help ensure that everything falls into place, on schedule. Below, we’ll go through the steps to map out your trade show strategies for the coming year.Planning Your Calendar In A Soft Economy The economy has been dealt a blow and many of your fellow exhibitors may be cutting back. Perhaps they plan to attend fewer shows. Maybe they’re reserving smaller booths. You may be tempted to cut back on your trade show marketing efforts, as well. Now is not the time. In fact, many successful companies invest more into their marketing in order to leverage their reach during uncertain economic times. While your competitors are pulling back on their advertising budgets, use it as an opportunity to gain more exposure for your company. Identify shows where your exhibiting can have the biggest impact and don’t let the economy scare you.

Establishing Your Strategy And Goals

You should know how trade show marketing fits into your company’s overall strategy. Introducing new products, building brand awareness, and promoting lines of services are all components of a bigger picture. Establish your strategy and create goals that are consistent with it. You may have different objectives for each show on your calendar. If so, identify what you want to accomplish at each event and quantify it.

This is also the time to watch for trends and notable events within your market. Has a competitor launched an innovative product recently? Have you conducted a customer survey that has suggested a new opportunity exists. If so, these things might fit within your existing trade show strategies.

Launching Your Trade Show Marketing Campaign

Start building the buzz early about your booths. Call your best customers and set up appointments at the shows you’ll be attending. Mention your upcoming trade shows in your customer newsletters, emails, and even flyers that accompany invoices. Schedule delivery of postcards and mailings to your customer list, beginning several weeks before each show. The earlier you begin informing your customers and leads, the more likely they will visit your booths.

Displays, Designs, And More

If your trade show marketing plans include attending more than a few shows during the upcoming year, plan the design of your booths and displays as early as possible. Many exhibitors underestimate the time it takes to design and deliver banners, displays, paneling systems, and lighting. If you leave these details until the last minute, you may be hard-pressed to find a company who can deliver them by the time you need them. If a company does agree to work with you on a rush basis, they’ll charge you for the privilege. Plan to order these pieces a few months in advance of the shows for which you’ll need them.

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Set aside a portion of your staff’s time to follow up with the leads they collect from the events. This should be a key component in your trade show marketing plans. Spending time and effort making sure that everything goes according to plan before and during the show is largely wasted if you allow qualified leads to become cold. Start contacting them within a couple of days after each show.

Taking Advantage Of Opportunity

Remember, just because the economy is flirting with a recession doesn’t mean that your customers and leads have stopped looking for solutions. This can be a perfect opportunity to ratchet up your trade show marketing efforts in order to reach new customers. Realize that the effectiveness of your trade show strategies are unlikely to significantly change based solely on the whims of the economy. Now is the time to strike.

About the author

Jon Edelman provides helpful advice about trade show strategies. With years of experience in the trenches, he is an expert on booth displays, follow up techniques and using trade show marketing tactics to boost revenue.

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