Your marketing and publicity should be part of your whole marketing plan for exhibiting. Trade shows are a powerful element of the marketing mix in that they enable you to have face to face conversations with your customers and prospects, and to gather sales leads.
Your business and brand needs to be known to potential customers who are attending the trade show. The attendees will gravitate towards the brands that are familiar, visible and readily available to them. You want as many of the right kind of attendees to come to your stand.
You need to ensure that you meet the right people, set up productive meetings and drive traffic to your stand. To do this you need to make sure that your marketing is targeted to the right attendees: those who will be interested in your products and who could potentially lead to a sale.
Depending on your budget there are different types of marketing and ways of promoting your exhibit at a trade show. Some are free and others are chargeable. There are also different ways of marketing and promoting your presence at a trade show.
We will look at the various ways of promoting your event in this tip blog and then in the next blog tip we will look at the different types of traditional and on-line marketing that you should consider using.
When you start the planning process you need to finalise the theme of the exhibition. All the marketing and communications of the company exhibition and promotion should have the same branding and look-and-feel. All communication about the exhibition should make consistent use of the appearance and branding. If you are highlighting new products then the communications and graphics should reflect the same graphical design.
The Promotion of the Event
- The marketing of your exhibition is not just about the promotion of the stand and brand but it is also integral to promoting your business, services, and expertise.
- Whatever marketing methods you adopt make sure you measure the results. This is so that you can determine the most effective method of getting people to your stand and so that you can analyse your Return on Investment (ROI).
- Make sure that all your promotion is highly focused and correctly targeted.
- Consider all possible methods of communication because different people like to receive communication in different ways. Use the full range of traditional offline promotion as well as online promotion and social media.
We will outline the marketing and promotion of exhibitions in three sections:
- Promotion through the Trade Show organisation. (This blog)
- Traditional Marketing Media promotion. (next blog tip)
- On-line, Social Media. (next blog tip)
Promotion through a Trade Show Organisation
If you are exhibiting at a trade show then you should not just rely on the organising company to promote the event because you want to stand out from the other competitors and companies who will be promoted at the same time. Do, however, take advantage of their promotional publication to advertise your company stand and products because they will use their large database of previous and new attendees who are already targeted into your market. Promotional opportunities provided by the organisers will vary from trade show to trade show but usually consist of:
- Promotion of your company in their catalogue of exhibitors. This usually requires a short abstract about your company, what it is that you are promoting, a list of products, photos of the products, and stand location and contact details.
- An entry onto their website again listing your company products and contact information. Remember products can be searched and products cross-linked.
- PR article for their newsletter promotion.
- Advertising on website or pre-event magazine.
- Sponsorship opportunities. These will be chargeable, but your brand or company name will be promoted on banners, on part of the website, on promotion media and at the exhibition.
- Taking advantage of speaker opportunities that may arise if the trade show is running an educational seminar or is associated with a specific conference connected to the market segment into which you are marketing.
- Use the trade show logo on your in-house marketing material and emails to advertise that your company will be exhibiting.
In summary you need to use the best method of promoting your trade show attendance to your market and potential customers. The main point is to make your attendance at the show known so that those coming are aware of your presence and want to visit your stand. It does not matter how good your stand and products are if you don’t get footfall and generate leads to your products.