Post by Trade Forum on Jan 21, 2017 11:51:03 GMT 1
Exhibiting at trade shows can be an extremely rewarding investment; but, it is important to make sure you do everything you can to maximize your investment. Choosing the right show(s) to exhibit at is critical.
Exhibiting at a show simply because you don't "not want to be there," or because your competitor is exhibiting, are not necessarily valid reasons to exhibit.
Below are five tips to help you determine which shows are right for you...
1. Establish your Intent
Your first order of business is to determine your objectives for exhibiting. What are you trying to accomplish as a trade show exhibitor as it relates to your overall sales/marketing strategy?
In short - why are you there?
All information regarding the shows you are considering must be viewed through the lens of your objectives. Additionally, it is critical to establish objectives that are measureable. This will help narrow your options and provide valuable post show data to determine your return on investment (ROI).
Quite simply the bottom line is that you want to exhibit at shows where you can effectively reach the highest number of qualified buyers, decision makers, and "influencers" that correspond to your objectives.
Are you looking to sell direct to consumers or to businesses?
Are you primarily interested in exposing your company/product to as large an audience as possible or to a more targeted audience?
Is the information/product technical or generic in nature? What is the demographic/geographic profile of show attendees? Is it a regional or national show?
Answers to these questions will help match your objectives to your audience. Getting this wrong will cost you a great deal of time and money!
Figure out your intent before creating an exhibit. It will save you time, money, and headaches down the road.
2. Review Show History and Attendee Data
Reviewing the history of a trade show can be helpful in determining its effectiveness. New trade shows can be exciting, but they can also be a huge risk for first-time exhibitors.
Shows that have been around a while have an established track record of performance both in terms of exhibitor and attendee data. Ask the show producer for all pertinent data regarding attendee demographics as they relate to your objectives.
In essence, create an "attendee avatar" with all of the characteristics that make up your perfect prospect, and measure it against the data provided.
Review the trade show you plan on attending to see if they're the right fit for you.
3. Review Show Promotion Efforts
When speaking with show producers, ask for details regarding their specific efforts to attract the type of attendees you are looking for. These should include advertisements in specific trade journals, web advertising, direct contact by show production staff via email or phone, direct mail campaigns, etc.
When inquiring about these efforts, keep your "attendee avatar" in mind and consider whether their efforts correspond to your attendee profile.
Reputable show producers should also provide pre-show promotion assistance to help you reach your target audience as well as in-show techniques to help capture attendee data through the use of surveys and promotions. Post show assistance should also be available.
Ask how they can help you specifically in each of these areas.
4. Visit the Trade Show and Obtain Reviews
If possible, try to attend the trade show before you become an exhibitor. Although it is important to obtain as much data as possible from the show producer, it is also important to get as much additional information as possible from actual exhibitors.
By walking the show floor and attending networking events at the show, you will be able to talk with exhibitors to get a feel for how things are going.
This relates not only to attendee information, but to other pertinent information, such as their overall experience dealing with show services as well.
If you approach exhibitors in the proper forum (obviously not while working the show floor) they are usually very happy to offer helpful information to you.
If you aren't able to attend the trade show you can contact a few exhibitors after the show to ask about their experience.
Additionally, you should scour trade publications and the web for any reviews of the show.
Talking and interacting with similar exhibitors can also help you get an idea of what you need in your trade show booth, and what you can add to create a more appealing exhibit.
5. Carefully Consider your Budget
When considering exhibiting at a trade show it's easy to get caught up in the fervor of the anticipated benefits. The truth is, trade shows are in fact a great source of revenue and profit.
Tip #1 established the importance of measurable objectives in determining ROI. Our final tip concerns the importance of tracking the investment associated with exhibiting. These go beyond the obvious cost of the exhibit space itself, travel, lodging, meals, and entertainment.
The cost of the exhibit you use at the show can vary greatly depending on many factors. You can use anything from a table top exhibit, portable exhibit, modular exhibit, custom modular, or even a custom exhibit depending on the size of your booth.
You will need to ship the exhibit and possibly have it installed and dismantled by show services. Additionally you will be charged for drayage (cost of getting your materials from the dock to the booth space and back), electrical as well as internet service (if requested).