With the advent of e-mail, voice mail, and the inability to reach decision-makers, one of the best “old reliable” marketing efforts is the trade show. In this environment, you can talk to people face-to-face, state your case, answer questions, and pique attendee’s interest in your company and your products. As with other forms of marketing, it is suggested that you have pre-established objectives that you want to accomplish at a trade show. Having these objectives in place allows you to measure the results and compare them to your objectives to ascertain to what degree they were actually met.
From my own experience, I can tell you that you can have a presence at a trade show in an industry in which you are not a primary player. For example, we are in business and technology marketing focusing on B2B and technology oriented companies. We participate in chemical, plastics, automation, and manufacturing trade shows to name a few. In this situation, both the exhibitors and the attendees are potential customers.
After the show is over, your work really begins. It is the follow-up that makes the difference. The ability to follow-up a face-to-face meeting with a personal call to set up a further meeting to discuss opportunities to work with that company is vital. Sometimes, there is interest but it is not immediate. In that case, set up a “tickler” file to keep in touch with the potential client. Other times you may be able to set up a meeting in the immediate future. Ask what exactly they are looking for and make sure you understand how you can contribute.
An effective publicity campaign should be in place pre, during and post show to reinforce the dynamic aspect of your company. This is not blanket approval that all shows are effective. You must carefully research the type of show, the past attendees, past exhibitors, and decide if this type of exposure is a fit for your company and products. One last thought- plan to walk the show you are considering a year before you sign up. Ask exhibitors their opinions and if they are happy with the number of attendees, the quality of the attendees and if they are planning to return next year. This input will help you in your decision-making.
If you are looking for prospective customers who you can talk to face-to-face, trade shows continue to be a very good bet.
Franklin Cooper © 2017