Today, exhibit marketers have a primary decision to make when creating
their marketing communications budgets – exhibit, not to exhibit or do
something totally different. If the answer is exhibit, then is it
in the same space as past years, smaller or perhaps larger? If the
answer is not to exhibit, then what will the impact be on current
customers or reaching new prospects? But we have options that may
be considered aside from exhibiting – sponsorships in place of
exhibiting, meeting rooms rented from show management, educational
events attached to the exhibition. Creative solutions are available.
As exhibit marketers, we have choices on how to invest our marketing
communications dollars. In order to do this, we have to look at
the macro environment in which we are function as well as our own
individual organizations market position.
look at the exhibiting landscape
since the early 1990’s have we seen depressed Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
of the exhibition industry go so low and stay there for several years. 2008 and
2009 ended with negative growth for KPI’s of net square footage sold [NSF]
(-10%) and number of exhibitors (-5%), but slight growth (1%) in attendance and
several years of real uncertainty faced all of us. Not only did we see macro
economic environmental issues driving this situation, but demographic changes in
conventions and meeting attendance made evaluating the value of event
and 2012 showed slight growth. Less than 5% growth in all three growth
categories. In the first two quarters of 2013, we have seen stability in NSF and
attendance, but continued decline in the number of exhibitors at shows in North
America. (TSE June 2013)
several years of budget and schedule cuts (2009 -16.4% and 81% of TSW’s
respondents cut their show schedule – TSW 2009) we saw continued cuts in 2010.
In 2010, 17% planned to cut shows and reported they use past show performance
(85%), attendee demographics (58%) and the increase of small local events (22%)
as the top factors in reducing their show schedule. According to StrongMail
Market Trends surveys of business leaders, trade show budgets are holding steady
with current growth and improvement in the industry key performance indicators.
However, 48% are reporting more investment in marketing, 59% reported increasing
their social media / e-marketing investments.
reported above, many of us in the exhibiting industry are faced with declining
budgets, but, even worse, funding has been withdrawn to protect the
organization’s bottom line or for other seemingly more effective marketing
communications vehicles – namely on-line, web-based and other indirect tools.
Managers and owners are concerned with the economic impact of the continuing
recession and generally slow economic recovery.
the most pressing issue for all of us as exhibit professionals is what to say or
do when your management says, “Let’s get out of trade shows” or “Let’s reduce
our budgets” or “Let’s reduce our participation in trade events at all.” Or
even more important when the event demographics change so dramatically that the
intended targets are not attending, what do you do? Exhibit, not exhibit or do
something totally different.
reply is that regardless of the depressed growth numbers, marketers across all
industries see trade shows as one of the top two ways of reaching prospects and
customers face-to-face ( CEIR PE3.11.7).
the past year (2012-2013) all three KPI’s – attendees, exhibitors, and net
square footage sold have been growing annually 2-3% compared to the depressed
industry in levels of 2009/2010. (CEIR April 2013) Even though we are seeing
slow growth we need to focus on remaining on stage with our customers and
prospects rather than dropping out.
Although the growth statistics have dramatically softened, trade shows and
events still fill a need. In fact, the latest CEIR study FO2.12, 48% of
attendees believe exhibits at exhibitions, conferences and annual meetings have
more value and 45% reported no change in perception of the value of events
compared to two years ago. The total numbers of attendees have declined since
2009, but high quality audiences are still available to exhibitors. When trade
shows are considered objectively, exhibitors really want 10 qualified visitors
vs. 100 potentially qualifiable booth visitors. Wouldn’t you want to spend more
time with truly qualified visitors than a little time with those attendees who
are only qualifiable? So it’s not necessarily bad that the attendance is down.
According to CEIR, 79% of attendees will be new contacts for your company and
not seen by your organization face-to-face in the past 12 months, which means
opportunities for new leads for sales.
second and only other method to get face-to-face with customers and prospects
are personal sales calls. However, you can accomplish more in a day visiting
with show attendees than you can in a month of calls in the field. And they are
cost effective. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
Report SM37, it costs $215 to make a first face-to-face contact with a potential
customer at a trade show and $1039 without an exhibit lead. ($596 to make a
field sales call and $443 to identify the potential prospect prior to the first
you exhibit, not exhibit or do something totally different?
do the experts say?
exhibiting industry has the CEIR(Center for Exhibition Industry Research) and
organizations like Red Bank, NJ’s Exhibit Surveys who provide us comprehensive
industry data. Over the past few years they have provided some valuable study
results to prove exhibiting’s value:
Over 49% of visitors to
shows have final say in the purchasing decision, while 94% are net buying
influencers since they play an active role in the purchasing decisions as
specifiers or recommenders, as well as final decision makers. They are
attending and you have to engage the audience to find them, but they can provide
you with opportunities for sales (CEIR FO6.12)\7
out of 10 plan to buy one or more products and 75% actually do buy one or more
products as a result of visiting exhibitions. Why? They interacted with you.
They tried your products, saw your demonstrations, and had a dialog with your
staff. This resulted in them deciding to buy. (Exhibit Surveys)
said that the show influenced their buying decision. They may have had one of
your sales reps call on them, seen your trade press advertising, received a
direct mailer, or had a telephone marketing representative call them. But when
they came to your exhibit, interacted with you, and your products or services,
they were influenced to buy because they saw proof of benefit and application.
are either executive management or upper management. (CEIR FO.6.12)
CEIR FO2.12, companies reported using a variety of face-to-face events in
addition to sales calls to dialogue with customers and prospects. Face-to-face
activities were considered by the respondents as being more valuable today than
two years ago. 37% of exhibitors in this study anticipate the value of
exhibitions and conventions will increase over the next two years. They found
that although resources were being devoted to on-line marketing, it was not
detrimental to their exhibiting and event success. (Face-to-Face is defined as:
Exhibits at exhibitions, conventions and annual meetings, Educational
conferences with small expos, Educational conferences without and expo, Hosted
buyer events, and Sales calls)
most recent CEIR research indicates that exhibitions are used more than any
other technique in the selling process. Why? You can go on a sales call, but
can you bring your products? Can you bring your technical experts? Well, you
can at a show. It is an integrated selling tool where you can bring all the
tools in your selling arsenal to the show to communicate in response to attendee
needs. The Power of Exhibiting Part II 2.2 reported that smaller companies
rely on exhibitions for their very survival because it the most economical way
they can get in front of a qualified audience.
CEIR PE3.11.7, 298 executives were interviewed and 66% indicated their industry
was strong and 91% viewed their companies as strong. Those companies current
exhibit at 20 or more events per year.
that same study, CEIR found that 61% of exhibitors were small business, with
fewer that 100 employees further emphasizing the importance of this medium to
smaller business to get in front of current customers and potential buyers
shows are the #1 business-to-business marketing budget item to support sales
also know from America Business Media research that marketers believe that trade
attendees become aware of new products and services (81%)
attendees to interact with sales reps (88%)
Enable attendees to interact with peers (86%)
Provide information attendees can trust (67%)
Motivate attendees to seek more information on the web (77%)
Exhibiting should be strategic, not just about logistics. Most exhibit
professionals are known as logistics specialists. Exhibit managers are known as
being experts in getting our exhibit property to advanced storage on time,
making our hotel and airline reservations to take advantage of discounts and
order show services within the deadline period to obtain the 30% discount. But,
exhibiting is a strategic extension of your marketing communications plan. Your
challenge is to position yourself in the mind of the visitors so that they see
no suitable substitute for your company, its products and services. When you
achieve this, you generate a sale. You begin the process of preference
conversion. You create a customer.
Buyers See the Value of Shows
exhibiting strategically, you are giving attendees what they want – useful
information. CEIR’s Power of Exhibiting Part II reported that 79% of visitors go
to shows because they get their most useful buying information from shows – more
than from sales reps, more than from directories and catalogs, more than from
collateral materials. Attendees see the value in shows.
Trade Shows Make Economic Sense
Over the past two decades, CEIR,
through studies conducted by Data Strategies and Exhibit Surveys, has reported
on the cost of generating qualified contacts and closing those leads. We know
from these studies that exhibiting is economical. From the latest Exhibit
Surveys information reports, it takes $129 to attract each customer entering an
exhibit and $223 for each attendee who enters into a dialogue with your staff –
far less than a field sales call. However, we have to be vigilant to assure
that the demographics haven’t changed significantly changing ratio of targeted
and non-targeted audience in attendance.
Why Exhibiting Works
Exhibiting Works! It works because it’s face-to-face. It provides us an
opportunity to accelerate the selling cycle by matching attendee needs with your
ability to fill their needs. It works because the audience is prequalified. It
works because adults are visual learners and exhibiting is a visual medium. The
exhibit, your products, the graphics, collateral materials and promotional
products are visual. Lastly, buyers are experiential. You can provide them an
experience through the dynamics of the exhibiting process – interactive visual
aids, challenges, and hands-on demonstrations – involvement of all the senses.
They Travel to See You
know that visitors travel to the shows and travel is an issue right now.
According to studies that Exhibit Surveys has undertaken, 62% of attendees
travel more than 400 miles and spend an average of 8.5 hours on the floor of the
show. That is down from 2002, but only slightly (.5%). This means that your
show visitors will come to you regardless of travel issues, only in fewer
“C” Level Executives Attend
level executives and management attend. (CEO, CMO, CTO, CIO) They attend to
maintain their competitive edge. They go to shows because they can get an
overview of their entire industry segment in a short period of time. They can
gain insight into how well their marketing strategies are working compared to
Trade Shows and Events Create Events in the
Minds of Visitors that Generate Memorability that Build Brands
of this points to the magic of exhibiting. You can gather all of the tools in
your marketing communications tool chest and bring them to bear to position
yourself in the minds of your shows’ visitors so they can see your
differentiation. You can build your brand by creating preference through
you are in healthcare, whether in pharma or device, you have been affected by
the new PhRMA and AdvaMed code changes that limit the use of branded promotional
materials, among other promotional limitations. These changes are not expected
to impact attendee visitation at exhibitions. Marketech interviewed healthcare
professionals in the fall of 2008 and again in the spring of 2009. In the
former study 75% of respondents indicated that the changes would not affect
their visitation to the show hall. In the later survey 85.5% of respondents
indicated no change in behavior.
Rather than disengaging from the exhibiting process, go smarter. Don’t stop
exhibiting, just go differently.
Evaluate the Exhibit / Not to Exhibit
decision before dropping out!
It is time to challenge the status quo and the old ways of
thinking about trade shows and events.
Sit at the Integrated Marketing
Communications Plan Table – make trade shows a part of your overall plan
shows are an integrated part of your organization’s marketing communications
mix. Your exhibit marketing requires a plan to create a strategy and supporting
tactics to achieve your goals. Strategy development starts with Four Key
are you going?
What role do trade shows play in your marketing mix? Are you using them to
increase name awareness, enter new markets, and increase share of customer
or increase market share? Gain agreement from everyone that has a vested
interest in the outcome of the event as to the number-one reason why you are
exhibiting. Then the second and third. Three is enough.
is your target audience?
Who do you want to reach? What defines a qualified contact? Can you
do you want to communicate to them?
What messages are you prepared to deliver in response to their stated
needs? Are they the same messages that are in your direct mail or trade
press advertising? Are they the same that your sales staff is
communicating? Or are they different? Are they integrated with your other
marketing communications so there is a mental link on and off the floor?
is your measure of success?
What do you want to bring home with you that will determine if your
exhibiting program was successful?
you can answer these 4 questions, you are miles ahead of those exhibitors who
just show up.
Exhibit for the Right Reasons
many exhibitors go to shows because they are part of an industry and as such are
expected to participate or think they are expected to participate. Or they go
because their competition is exhibiting and don’t want to be missed. Or they go
because they have always exhibited at that event and cannot break the cycle even
though the show may not be producing results for them. These are not the right
reasons to exhibit. These are the reasons that get you into hot water with
management since there is no way to measure whether your exhibiting generated
any positive results.
asking yourself, “Why are you going to the show?” experience has shown that
there are four common objectives. All 4 do not need to be in play at every
1. Increase market share
– find new customers
2. Increase share of
customer – sell more products/services to existing customers
3. Introduce new products
– what better place to show your new products than to an audience that comes
primarily to see what is NEW
4. Position or reposition
– change the market’s perception of your company or your brand
(something) in Every Show in Which You Exhibit
Before deciding whether to exhibit or not to exhibit during this challenging
economic period, evaluate the shows in your current schedule and those for which
you are considering including in your schedule. Chances are that a thorough
review might find that your audience is not in attendance. Or there are not
enough targets to make the investment generate a return. First, you might
redefine who is in your target audience. Analyze the show’s demographics to
determine if your target audience is included and how many attendees fit into
the profile. If you are not satisfied with the data you are receiving from show
management, challenge them to produce what you need to make a rational
defensible position. Then, determine what other characteristics make it an
“effective” sales and marketing event and evaluate whether it does or not. You
can then match your market niches with the show’s profile.
According the TSW’s Executive Outline June 2009, exhibitors look at the
following, in order, when selecting what shows to attend:
1. Past show results
2. Attendee demographics
3. Small local shows cut
4. Tradition – stay at
shows in which exhibited longest
5. Where competitors
6. Big national shows
today’s uncertain times, you might find the order needs to be 1, 2, and 5
Let Your Objectives Drive the Size of Your
Exhibit, not Perceptions
exhibitors are in their physical space by default or because they have a
perception of “size” counts. They may have begun in a 10x10 and grown into a
10x20 or 20x20 without doing a “zero-based” analysis of their objectives as they
relate to the space needed to achieve those objectives.
For example, let’s say you
have set a lead generating objective of 75 qualified leads.
In order to
achieve that objective you need to talk to 10 visitors to find a qualified lead,
therefore you need to engage and talk to 750 visitors.
If you can
communicate to 10 people per hour, then you need 75 selling hours.
If the show is
open 20 hours, then you need 3.75 or 4 people.
A rule of
thumb is 50 square feet for each staffer, plus space for your exhibit property:
feet for staff, plus 20 square feet for the exhibit, or 220 square feet – 200 or
300 square feet. So, you can reduce you square footage to a 10x20 or a 10x30
and use the saved funds for other marketing opportunities.
longer is the decision of to exhibit / not to exhibit but how should we best
one needs to evaluate the activities taking place in your exhibit. If the
dominant activity is demonstration of your product, how much space is actually
needed? If meetings with current and prospective customers is dominant, then is
the space needed more important than for other activities, such as live
presentations, product demonstrations or active engagement of attendees. “Trade
offs” need to be considered. Smaller spaces for demonstrations and more space
for meetings if more results are generated from meetings than demonstrations.
One cannot be passive about evaluating exhibiting elements to assess the size of
Another option is virtual events. Technology is one of the real drivers of
exhibiting today. Maybe a pre-event virtual event to position the audience to
what they will see in your physical exhibit. Or maybe a post event virtual
event that gives extension to what they experienced in their exhibit should be
considered. If your objective is educating the attendee to move the buying
process, then a virtual event might be just the right investment to position
your organization, its products or services in the mind of potential buyers.
Focus on the Budgeting Objective: Reducing Your Cost of Ownership
know two facts about exhibiting: (1) It is expensive and (2) It works. Some
estimates are that the cost to exhibit has increased over 40% in the past
decade. We know that 23% of an average exhibitor’s budget is nonproductive due
to drayage, transportation and I&D. So what can you do about it?
lightweight structure and graphics – structures that are made from high-tech
materials – fabrics, metals, plastics.
installation and dismantle costs by having easy to assemble and disassemble
modular instead of traditional custom to reduce the cost of ownership.
When you need
to go to a show in a large way, one time, rent rather than buying more
components. You can accomplish your one-time, bigger presence, yet not add to
your permanent inventory.
of bundling of show services. Negotiate with your I&D company.
Graphics are the Magnets that Attract
Visitor Attention: Invest in Graphics
of us invest in exhibit property, but neglect our graphics. An exhibit graphic
is the magnet that attracts visitor attention into the exhibit. It creates an
image, a memory, a message. A good graphic will pre-qualify a visitor before
you can communicate with them. Visitors begin to look at your exhibit 15-30
feet away and are making decisions about whether you have a solution for their
needs. Exhibit graphics are more than a “blown-up” advertisement. When
attendees pre-qualify themselves, they save you having to physically reach out
to everyone. Most importantly, your graphic communicates who you are, what you
do and what is your offer. Your offer is what they are buying. It comes first.
It’s the Quality of the Audience, not the
many years, exhibitors have gone to shows with the objective of achieving more
leads than the year before. When you put quantity before quality, you are
putting the emphasis on the wrong syllable. It is the quality of each
attendee that you need to be concerned about. A drop in attendance, in a way,
is good news. The attendees that are coming are truly interested, they are more
pre-qualified and they have focused needs. They bring an agenda. In fact, 76%
(CEIR) of an audience comes with a predetermined agenda. They come to talk to
technical experts and are bring their issues. Show attendees are looking for
solutions. This means they can leave the show satisfied, with a lasting memory
that can result in a future sale.
exhibitors are seeking smaller, more vertical audiences that have more qualified
attendees rather than seeking larger, less qualified audiences. They can
accomplish more in accelerating their selling cycle with a concentrated,
qualified audience than with the quantity on which most exhibitors focus.
Focus on Your Targeted Audience
today’s environment, you need to be proactive and attract an audience to your
exhibit. Your “call for action” needs to provide attendees with a reason to
visit you – what will they see to meet their needs and what will you offer them
to take time to visit you? Your offer is not a promotional product. It is
something that will benefit the attendee - Will you increase their productivity,
their competitiveness, efficiency, or profit? Your graphics and exhibit staff
must promote carefully focused messages – a one-size-fits-all message won’t work
for every vertical segment. One tactic that will drive qualified prospects and
current customers to your exhibit is to have your top management a part of your
program. What better place to meet your top management team?
your target audience is getting younger, you need to rethink the tactics you are
using to attract, educate, and communicate. The younger your audience, the more
types of interactive tactics required to get their attention, to maintain their
interest, and communicate messages that stick.
Selectively attracting your target audience is also different today. According
to TSW (Executive Outlook June, 2009), exhibitors are using their websites,
email, blogs, Twitter and then direct mail to drive attendance to their
Don’t Rely on Traditional Selling Techniques
years, we have relied on traditional “engage, qualify, communicate, close”
approaches to exhibit staffing. The concept behind this technique was that
visitors had to be attracted into the exhibit by “hooking ‘em” off the aisle.
Try setting appointments in advance. If you can find out why they are attending,
what their needs are, and then determine how you can meet those needs, you can
prepare for their visits. When you know why they are visiting, you can have the
right people, products & services organized for their visit to have a more
meaningful interaction. You want to position yourself to make the experience
more meaningful for you and your prospect. When you do this, you can take the
dialog to the next level.
Use 1:1 Relational Concepts
order to make this experience more meaningful, you need to completely define
your prospects, why they want to visit you, and what they want to do when they
visit you. If you can determine their needs before the show, you can start the
conversation before they arrive at the show, which will make the interaction at
the show more meaningful and get you one step closer to close than if you just
“hooked ‘em” off the aisle. By generating a dialogue before they get to the
show, you can develop more target-rich tactics which will increase your
Invest in a Motivated and Prepared Staff
current economic conditions, now is the time to take your exhibiting program
even more seriously. No longer can you just show up. Many exhibitors start
thinking about their show weeks not months before the show, which is not enough
time to fully prepare, i.e., create objectives, themes and messages, integrate
them into the remainder of the marketing communications program, or create a
pre-show promotion program that will incite attendees to visit you, much less
prepare your staff to work the show. Just showing up is no longer an option.
most important ingredient in an exhibit marketing recipe is the staff. So what
characteristics are important today for reps working a booth?
Someone who is
open, warm, friendly, personable and confident
who is approachable
A person that
has a good attitude about working the show
has good working knowledge of the company, its products and services, and can
communicate it effectively and efficiently and with confidence
Select from a
mix of functions and a mix of locations – not just because they are available
and close to contain T&E expenses
understand the process of exhibiting- Getting Information before Giving
Information, then Getting Commitment s.
Internet has reduced the importance of trade shows as the sole source of
product information. Attendees use the internet to investigate exhibitors before
attending and saavy exhibitors direct attendees to their websites before
arriving at the show. Getting to know who a company is, how their people present
themselves, and what they offer a prospective client – these are the areas of
Recruit Management as Part of your
Management has a role in trade shows. If they sit on the sideline, they will
just second guess your decisions because they are not part of the plan, not part
of the execution, not part of the results. So, make them part of your planning.
Invite them to your meetings, and make meetings at a time when they can
participate. Give them a role in your show. Ask them what they want to do and
then delegate that responsibility to them. Help management help themselves
become a more visible part of the sales process. By giving them a role they can
help you communicate your message, create a bridge between the show and the
sale, set the standard for staffer performance and meet with VIP customers and
prospects. The most important role they can play is to position the value of
face-to-face marketing and its role in your organization’s marketing mix. If
they cannot do it in person, have them videotape their message.
Exhibiting is Not Just Collecting Names or
exhibitors go to shows to generate leads. In fact, according to CEIR 86% of
exhibitors in North America exhibit to generate leads. How many leads are
considered acceptable? Lots of leads. But exhibiting is not just about
“swiping badges.” It is about generating qualified leads that can culminate in
a sale. And, creating qualified leads is about interviewing, gathering
information both objective and subjective. It is all about recording the
information so someone can follow up on the sales opportunity. It is about
generating an agreement with the prospect on the next action that will get you
one step closer to close. Is the lead actionable? The number one reason that
leads are not followed that there is not enough “qualification” information
resulting from the on-the-floor interview to make it a warm call vs. a cold
Create a “Follow-up TEAM”
Taking CEIR’s stat one step farther: 86% of exhibitors go to shows to generate
leads and 79% of leads are not followed up. A second reason they are not
followed up is because no time or resources are planned for post show follow-up,
the information on the lead form is too inadequate to start the conversation
from where it ended at the show or there is no lead follow system in place so
that the leads can be followed, reported upon and tracked. In TSW’s Executive
Outlook Vol. 5, Number 4, 61% of exhibitors surveyed, who conduct lead follow,
followed up in 1-2 weeks after the show. This should be the standard. One week
after the attendees arrive back from the show, they should be receiving your
first follow-up. (Your actual first follow-up might be a “thank you” email the
day after their visit) Instead of using your standard internal system of lead
tracking, recruit your own special TEAM to take the leads that are generated,
post-show re-qualify them, and then do the initial follow-up. Then make the
sales team accountable for the results of the re-qualified leads. The lead
enters a “closed loop” and potential return on investment calculations can be
made to show the true value of exhibiting in the marketing mix. (Another
option is to outsource lead fulfillment and post event re-qualification.)
The Bottom Line: What is Your Measure of
Success? Find something to measure
form of marketing communications is measurable. When you invest in a direct
mail campaign you have a minimum Return On Investment you are seeking. When you
place an ad in a trade press magazine, you look at cost per impression. (Ad
cost / subscribers = cost per impression.) Without measurement, and data on the
exhibiting experience, you run the risk of slashed budgets. Some objectives are
more specific than others and therefore more easily measured. Cost per lead is
easily measured. But, generating increased brand awareness is harder to
measure. Whatever your objective, find a metric. This is a requirement of this
uncertain economic time. There are 8 Ways to Measure:
Lead Quantity and Quality
2. Audience Quality and
3. Message Effectiveness
4. Competitive Audits
5. Audience Behavior &
6. Sales / Sales
7. Press Impact
8. Brand Loyalty Impact
Goldberg and Mike Westcott
Event Measurement Conference
Measuring your event
performance is important, but don’t forget to report the results to
those who have a vested interest in your program. Senior management
needs a “real time” view of the payback on your exhibiting investment.
Your post-event report is the first step in delivering the results. What
should your report include?
conducted and feedback
Promotions – how
well did they work
Intelligence – what did you learn
Media successes –
meetings with editors
And, don’t forget,
management is getting used to having “dashboards” to review results from
show-to-show and year-to-year.
Plan to Work the Show Every Moment the Show
Studies by InComm International found that 68% of exhibitors found a good
prospect in the last half hour of the show and 21% obtained a sale in the last
30 minutes of a show. The moral – work the show every moment it is open. You
are “on” 24 hours a day. You are selling when you are walking down an aisle, in
the convention hall restaurant, on the convention bus, in an elevator or on an
escalator. From start to finish the time to sell is all the time. Don’t stop
being engaged in the process until the last lights are turned off. Keep working
the show for all it is worth. And then, it will work for you.
Think Bigger – Think Beyond the Trade Show
of us are caught in a rut. We are stuck in status quo. We hate change and avoid
it. In order to rise to the top and survive this recessionary period, you need
to think big. Think bigger than you did yesterday. Think about other ways that
you can deliver your story to your customers and prospects: hospitalities
that are focused; private events where you can have proprietary
communications and demonstrations; road shows where you take your message
to your audience. User meetings and special events all communicate your
messages in ways that are face-to-face, interactive and hands-on.
Non-traditional events extend your influence and expand your share of
customer. When you couple them with shows, you are able to communicate in a
variety of dimensions. They need to have objectives, separate and distinct from
those in your exhibit plan. You have to let your staff know that working these
events is different and you need to prepare them with the skills needed for
In this atmosphere of
improving, but economic uncertainty, we must market even more aggressively to
keep our organizations in front of the potentially fewer available buyers
Trade shows have grown at a healthy pace during the last several decade
because they bring buyers and sellers face to face. If there are fewer
attendees now, you will then have more time with the qualified buyers who do
attend – and still be able to meet more buyers in one day at a show than a month
of calls in the field.
answer to surviving this economic downturn is not to reduce your exhibiting
participation or to eliminate it altogether, but instead to exhibit smarter.
Smarter exhibiting includes using integrated marketing communications, choosing
to exhibit at shows that meet important, measurable objectives, and picking
exhibits and spaces that are sized right for your opportunities. It also means
looking at new alternatives to keep your brand in front of the attendees if
having an exhibit does not appear to be a valuable investment. You’ll reap
greater results when you target high-quality audiences, bring a motivated staff,
plan with top-level involvement, follow up on your leads, measure your results,
and work the trade show beyond the trade show floor.
report has focused on exhibiting strategies, best practices and new ideas to
generate greater results from your trade shows. Follow them and you will not
only survive, but even thrive during this recessionary period. Moreover, you’ll
also set the stage for even greater growth when economic times rebound.
Trade Shows Work!
n Plan completely
n Execute aggressively &
n Follow up thoroughly
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