How to increase your ROI on trade show event marketing.
Can you believe January is already behind us? Most businesses are revving up for a busy year of B2B trade events. Biztradeshows.com states: ‘Trade Fairs have evolved into one of the most important Buyer-Seller meeting platforms. Most of the leading manufacturers spend up to 10% of their total advertising budget on trade fairs, the figure reaching as high as 40% in case of companies operating in the B2B sphere.’
What is your plan for 2012? And will you max out the value for each initiative? To help you with your trade show exhibiting, here are nine important event marketing steps to increase your results.
- Exhibit at the events that are right for your business. Decide which events can be profitable for your business based on your brand, target audience(s), competitor activity, location, and budget.
- Send the right staff. Once you finalize your event list, ensure your business is represented by the appropriate staff. At a minimum, send an experienced staff person, ideally an extrovert, that can provide an elevator pitch about your organization, as well as be able to talk more technical.
- Distribute effective marketing and technical information. Make sure your collateral addresses the needs of your audience(s) and their demographics. Btw, a call to action is a must.
- Give away an item that relevantly connects you with your audience. A trade association could offer technical information in a clever format; a home renovation company could offer a branded carpenter pencil or free software app, etc…
- Brand your booth. Take a fresh look at your booth. Does it need an upgrade, does still represent what your business is about? Order carpet, drapes, table cloths that match your brand colours. Your booth should have the same look and feel throughout.
- Educate your staff. Trade show events usually offer seminars – a fantastic opportunity to gain the newest industry information. After the event, disseminate the summaries to all staff.
- Get the 4-1-1 on install and dismantle. Get the most life out of your booth. Save staff time and money: teach your staff the proper way to pack and unpack the booth. Duct tape should not be an option.
- Promote. Plan visits for your team with key customers or members, pre-arrange dinners with key stakeholders, host a meet & greet in a hotel mini-suite to create an opportunity to foster greater loyalty and/or initiate new connections. Use social media to create incentives for them to see you at event and to keep audiences informed about event happenings (give your connections more reasons to value your organization).
- Measure results. It’s good to know staff enjoyed the trade show but attain hard numbers to validate next year’s participation. This can include total attendance, audience demographics, total number of quality leads (and later, conversion rates).
Most organizations participate in the same trade show events year after year. This can be profitable, but it is important to remember that these are strategic marketing initiatives and its value needs to be continually proven. It is also good business to experiment with new initiatives and new markets. Organizations that do not have the resources (experience or staff time) to evaluate the benefits of trade show exhibiting, usually contract out this service to an experienced marketer. Due diligence reports appeal to stakeholders and these actions cultivate more trust in the executive decision making process.
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Be profitable with your marketing!
Sandra M. Hamway
Founder, Marketing Strategist