Struggling to decide on an exhibitor approach at an event? First things first, why are you spending the money.
81% of show attendees have buying authority. Which means more than 4 out of 5 people walking the aisles are potential customers.
It's all about the leads!
This may depend upon your definition of a lead or the criteria for success for a specific investment. For some companies an initial objective might be to raise awareness in a new market / territory or discovering competitive approaches, whereas for others engaging potential business partners not just connecting directly with end-user prospective buyers might be a goal.
Before you commit to an investment of attending an exhibition, where you can typically double the exhibitor space fee with ancillary costs for preparation plus staff in attendance travel before adding display stand or booth costs, it is essential to document the success criteria and agree with those involved how to measure success.
This will allow future attendance decisions to be totally objective and free from bias of the tradeshow junkie on your team who loves getting out of town on company budget once a year to party with their old industry buddies manning other booths.
Now we know why but where to go and what to do?
There are so many events and forums to attend, so do the research in advance to truly know your prospective buyers, simply ask a client where they attend and what value they gain from an event.
Once you have committed to the chosen event, you need a plan to maximize the return on investment...and this requires a full team effort, not just the marketing team as a contribution from others can make all the difference. Yes marketing takes the lead as event coordinator, but sales and product experts plus business leaders have key roles to play.
The 2017 Attendee Floor Engagement Study by CEIR, the Center for Exhibition and Industry Research, shows which engagement strategies are most likely to drive attendees to engage with people and product at the trade show floor.
This report concentrates on what can set you apart, by identifying what visitors are looking for and what exhibitors are offering in terms of the expo hall experience.
44% of visitors engaged by Invitations to provide product feedback, whilst only 19% of exhibitors utilizing this tactic!
Having attended a few tradeshows over the years, I have some thoughts about what to do before, during & after the event;
- If there are presentations, breakout sessions or panel debates then you must do everything within your power to get your company represented either directly or by a champion client.
- Let people know you will be in town...marketing must communicate online and via social media, but anyone attending should set-up meetings at the venue or nearby for non-attending prospects.
- Agree roles for every attendee and set a timetable, never leave the booth unattended and never allow one of your team to disappear. Know your lead capture and qualfication process for the event, plus know who and how you will pursue / nurture the leads post event.
- Beyond the suggestions from CEIR, have the booth up early, have the team in noticeable team shirts and have everyone energized for the 2, 3 or 4 days to follow. Make it count!
- Be ready to line up the next interested party for the product expert demo, if the visitor needs a demo make sure you understand on what topic and in what area so you can brief the product expert where to start.
- Product experts do 2 things...cover the interested parties area of pain and then show or state the 3 things that set you apart. No full demo, just 10 minutes, schedule a call time with the visitor for the following week for an extended session or get them to come back at a quiet time in the expo.
- Team debrief...what worked, what didn't. What did competitors do that might be useful in future? What did prospects show an interest in? Where any questions raised that were tough to answer.
- Follow-up on leads within 30 days to qualify status as interested in more information with urgency, interested but low priority or no interest.
- After 90 days measure if you attained the success criteria or an on track then decide if the event is a go for next year. If it is, ask the organizer if an early commitment will get you an incentive!
With so many options available for demand generation, we recommend that you, call us for a chat before spending your valuable marketing budget on the wrong event or approach.