Trade Show Planning:
Your Roadmap To Success
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Thoughtful, strategic trade show planning is essential to achieving your
exhibiting goals and maximizing your return on investment, which
includes both your money and time.
The first step in the trade show planning process is to identify opportunistic conferences and events
that reach your target audience of potential buyers. Start the
research process by talking with current customers and learn about the
events they attend. Then, contact professional organizations and
colleagues in your industry for additional suggestions.
Online trade show directories are another valuable resource, as well as your local chamber of commerce and area business associations. Once you find an event that looks opportunistic, request to review lists of past vendors and attendees, if available from the show sponsor. Ensure the show you select draws the type and number of prospects you want. Other considerations include geography, timing, cost, and sponsor reputation.
To promote sales in your booth, consider your need for
audio-visual equipment, sound systems, large-screen televisions, tablets, computers, and other technology. Promotional items, literature, special displays and other marketing tools should always be included in the consideration mix.
Then, develop a detailed plan and tradeshow check list that includes these steps:
- Establish Specific Event Objectives… such as the number of product sales, leads generated, publicity secured, image and awareness initiatives, etc.
- Set a Realistic Budget… that includes a projected return on investment
- Develop a Compelling Sales Message… to use in all tradeshow marketing and sales initiatives, including booth graphics, banners, brochures, advertisements, and sales presentations.
- Create a "WOW" Exhibit… that
attracts people and instantly conveys your brand message. No matter what type of exhibit you select among the many trade show displays available, the design and graphics must
deliver your marketing message with a powerful punch. Even your
lighting, booth accessories, table covers, and booth flooring play a role in the image you portray with your exhibition stands.
- Create a Trade Show Marketing Plan… that
is divided into three sections: 1. Pre-Show Marketing, 2. At-Show
Marketing, and 3. Post-Show Marketing. You've got to aggressively
pre-sell prospects before they arrive, fully engage them during the
show, and promptly follow-up with them after the event to generate
- For some unique promotional ideas, click here. Also think about the benefits of participating in virtual trade shows to complement your face-to-face exhibiting activities.
- Reserve Your Booth Location in the Exhibition Hall… with
the sponsor as part of your trade show planning process. Try to secure a
high traffic location at the event. In addition, confirm access to
electrical outlets and other needs you may have for your display.
- Marketing Collateral… including sales literature, product sheets, business cards, and promotional items. These print marketing materials further awareness during the exhibition event and help people keep your brand and products top-of-mind once the show concludes.
- Train and Schedule Staff… to effectively convey your sales message and ensure your booth is always staffed adequately.
- Prepare Follow-up Information Packets… so they are ready to immediately use with new leads after the show is over
- Make Travel Arrangements… to ensure you, your staff, exhibit booth, materials and supplies arrive in plenty of time for the show.
- Follow-up with Attendees… prioritize your leads and make follow-up contact promptly.
- Evaluate Trade Show Success… to determine if you met your objectives and identify changes to make in the future.
For more information to assist with successful trade show planning and execution, see the related articles listed below.
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