SCORR Marketing Advice Vol.5

ROI at Trade Shows

By Cinda Orr

Over the last several months, SCORR has attended numerous trade shows ranging from local events to those with a large international contingency. Recently wrapping up the last major event of the summer, the timing seemed relevant to discuss how to maximize the return on a trade show investment. Here is a refresher course on how to get the most bang for your buck at trade shows:

An effective trade show begins with an effective strategy—one that targets the specific audience in attendance with a message that highlights your brand identity and compelling characteristics. This strategy will establish goals and objectives.

Memorable marketing initiatives are implemented before you ever attend the event and should take a personalized approach to encourage potential attendees to visit your exhibit space. Pre-promotional activities can take the form of a direct mail or email, event posting on your Web site, calls from your sales force to high-level prospects or a personalized letter.

Make the most of the space
Whether you have a large island booth or a tabletop display, make the most of your space! The appropriate display takes into consideration graphic design, lighting, product features and other accessories to maximize the space and meet your objectives. It is an opportunity to tailor a message to a target market and build brand awareness.

Booth personnel
It never ceases to amaze me how many people I see sitting in their booth reading email acting completely oblivious to all of the potential leads walking down the aisle. Effective booth personnel are engaging with attendees, are fully versed in your company benefits and love nothing more than to generate leads and sales.

Don’t forget the press
Trade shows are often attended by editors and journalists, all looking for the next story or feature. Make the most of this opportunity by developing press kits and developing well-timed media announcements.

You have the prospects’ information, you have made an impression, now is the time to follow-up—and rapidly—on any commitments made during the trade show. Effective post-show marketing can serve to entrench your corporate identity and continue to build your own company database.

Remember, trade shows are a unique form to not only meet face-to-face with potential new customers, but also to fully understand the positioning of your competitors.