So you’ve been around the circuit and you’re no longer an exhibition newbie. Your staff know how to work the stand and aisles, your display has bold graphics and clear messaging and you know how to put together a promotion that draws people to your stand. Now you’re ready for next level. Here are five tactics that will help you grow your exhibition marketing program.
1. Select Targeted Shows
If you market to everybody, you’re marketing to nobody. It’s easy to get caught up doing your best in front of your competitors, investing large amounts of time and money in a large display at your main industry show. Plenty of potential customers come to these shows, but why not try pursuing prospects at smaller shows where your best customers gather? Focus your graphics and promotions to appeal more directly to that audience and bring staff who have greater experience dealing with that particular niche. There may be more more than one niche market worth this extra effort, and narrowing your focus may help you expand your results.
2. Set Appointments For Meetings in your Stand
Your objectives may have now progressed through a sequence. Firstly to build awareness, secondly to gather leads and thirdly to build relationships with clients and prospects. Turning your focus to meetings requires a change in thinking, where you see your exhibition marketing as more than just an isolated part of your program, but as a key component in your selling cycle. Work with your salespeople to identify key attendees and to set aside time to meet with them during the show. You will need to create promotions that appeal to people who already know you to attract them to your booth, and bring them together with higher level employees the clients want to take the time to see. Add an element of hospitality to your exhibit to make your guests feel as comfortable as possible.
3. Add Video and Interactive Technologies
You can increase the impact of your display by adding the power of presentation and interactivity by adding the element of technology. Short videos with high production values can get you attention and interactive technologies help your staff tell a consistent, detailed story and keep attendees engaged. Creating content and finding these tools can be a daunting task, but by working with an ad agency or a vendor with experience in creating videos especially for exhibitions, you can streamline the process. A good tip is to design your display with these technologies in mind from the start, rather than add them on later.
4. Tie Your Lead Gathering Closer To Your Company Database
Beyond simply gathering business cards from your attendees, you may be already scanning their show badge, or even using your own lead cards to write down more information. Now its time to go a step further and tie your lead gathering right in to your company sales database.
You may have use of a lead retrieval machine which imports leads directly into your database, or perhaps even using laptops or tablets that let staff enter leads in real time. This prevents mistakes from illegible handwriting, gives a start on reporting and allows you to start following up leads before the show ends.
5. Measure Your Exhibition Activities
Measuring is not just for counting leads or measuring the return on investment of your exhibition program, it is also a valuable tool to help you decide how to improve your performance. Count your leads brought in by each of your exhibition staff so that you know who to bring on the next show, and who to leave behind. Measure the impact that promotions, presentations and interactive technology have on your shows so that you can allocate your budget accordingly for the next show. If your main objective is not just your return on investment, try using surveys before and after the event to measure the impact created by your brand. Compare each measurement per show, but also show against show so that you can really gauge your results.