The show date seems distant, especially before the holidays, and we always think there’s plenty of time for planning. Then the shipping date for the booth and products hits us like a bucket of cold water and the mad rush is on.
The resulting scramble usually means one thing: you’re wasting your trade show dollars.
When you and the team rush to pull off this year’s booth, you miss an opportunity to raise the bar. Here are some trade show thought starters for you to consider to get the most out of your time and money:
5 keys to trade show success
1. Have a plan and work the plan. Build a calendar with show milestones and stick to it. Don’t blow off the planning meeting because the show is 6 months off.
- Why are you going to the show (and don’t say because we always have)
- What do you want to accomplish (that you can measure)
- How you will leverage social media and PR (to drive buyers to your booth or create excitement around your new products or programs)
2. Show and sell. Bring your product and brand to life in your booth.
- Load it with new news (products, programs, demonstrations)
- Have a unified image that leverages your brand identity
- Have videos and signage that communicate and get attention from the aisle (plus they are great guides for the sales team to use)
3. Answer the question “what’s new” before it’s asked. It’s the most common question and immediately gives you a chance to launch into your elevator speech on how you are innovating the category and driving their business.
4. Don’t sweat the compromises. Murphy’s Law says something won’t make it to the show. Or you need to shift around the booth design on the fly. No one sees these compromises but you.
5. Follow up. Have a plan in place on how to handle leads before you get them.
What happens in Vegas could be a team building event
While trade shows are a business event, they are also a fantastic team building event. Leverage that aspect without turning the show into a vacation for the team (and try to avoid the “what happens in Vegas” mindset).
For more great insights on how to maximize your trade show experience and dollars, we recommend reading Heinz Marketing’s Secrets To Successful Trade Show Marketing white paper and Whizard Strategy’s blog post Stop Wasting Money on Building Material Trade Shows.