When you plan your trade shows in advance and follow the guidance of the experts, they have the potential to be one of your most profitable marketing strategies. Many people make trade show participation a part of their networking experience, but not everyone gets the most out of their effort. If you do plan to attend an event, make it worth your while. Trade shows can be a major pay off your business, and can equate time and resources well spent. Reflect on the following ideas that analysts claim are most pertinent.
Begin with goal setting. By outlining what you would like to accomplish, you set the stage for achieving success. And, you should set such intentions for each show that you visit. Ask yourself, “What do we want to focus on here?” It could be expanding the demographics of your audience. Maybe you are reaching to add a certain number of new clients. Are you looking to solidify a few major deals? Perhaps introducing a new product is the highlight of the show. On the other hand, your plan might be to initiate a mailing list or even test the effectiveness of a sales presentation. Being aware of your expectations for the trade show enables you to make the most of your time, as well as that of your employees. If outlining and discussing goals could mean the difference in average results in a show or reaping profit and celebrating success, would the activity not be worth it?
Smart companies use trade shows to test the waters. If you have generated a new product or service, this is the ideal arena to elicit feedback. Why organize and pay for a market analysis or have a research study performed when you could make similar assessments, more quickly and inexpensively at an event? Your business can bring sample products and prototypes and hold demonstrations. These can be done at different intervals at the show itself or in private sessions held elsewhere during the event, like a hotel room or banquet area. Think of the money that can be saved and the immediate gratification that results from knowing what people think about your innovations.
Trade shows can assist with the evaluation of the competition. It’s your job to stay abreast of your competitors’ ventures. What are they doing these days? What new products are they developing? Are they expanding? Do they have new information? Are they offering services that you are or are not? How does their pricing compare to yours? Your presence is all that is needed for such a task; actually participating and running a booth is not even a requirement for evaluating your competitors. You and/ or your staff can make the rounds at the show, attending presentations, sampling products, collecting the literature of other companies, and observing their visual appeal. The information gathered can then be taken back to your headquarters or office for further study.
How many times have you decided to attend a show because of the location? This is not recommended. If you make your choices based on the area in which it is held, you may be ignoring other important data. Sometimes the events that are closest to home are the most convenient. And sometimes the best vacation spots are the most exciting. However, there are shows in areas of the country or even the world that may be less desirable to you but that may have the possibility of producing the best results. You can obtain the demographic information from the promoters running the show and use it to your advantage in assessing the situation. Are the attendees people that you would like to reach? Do they comprise your target audience?
Experts say to watch out for new events. First-time trade shows can be risky to participate in because of the high investment and potential for low turn out. If a show has no history, you are taking a chance by appearing at it. If time or finances are delicate issues in your company, it is probably best to put your energies into a more reputable, well-known event that has the likelihood of successful outcomes. While no trade show offers a guarantee for anyone, past experiences are usually good indicators of future results. Keeping track of such information is wise.
In conclusion, these events require more than your attendance. Making a trade show a successful part of your advertising plan includes preparation and intention. Just creating an awareness of your own agenda and the surrounding atmosphere of the happening can affect your end results.
Author: Rick Sheldon has 18 years experience in the Promotional Products Industry and is currently CEO of Save on Promotional Products Inc. a Discount Online Promotional Products Company
He can be contacted at 1-800-204-0525 or go to his site: Promotional Items