A B2B trade show offers a valuable opportunity to meet your target customers and prospects face-to-face. Your audience is there, right before your eyes, seeking information about products and services geared toward their industry. To make the most of a trade show, you need a well-defined integrated marketing strategy that you will use before, during, and after the event.
1. Establish a B2B Trade Show Marketing Strategy
With the fierce competition for attendees’ limited time, B2B trade show success takes more than just renting and staffing a booth. Several months before the event, hold a strategy session with your marketing team, sales manager, and marketing agency.
Together, identify the goals for your B2B trade show exhibit. Next, create a comprehensive roadmap to reach them. Ideally, your goals will include 3 key components:
- Identifying legitimate prospects
- Communicating your key messaging
- Capturing their contact information through a scanner or a landing page
Because hundreds, if not thousands, of people will attend the show, start with identifying your buyer personas and determining how to reach them. Once your strategy is in place, it’s time to develop your messaging platform.
2. Develop Messaging to Attract Prospects
The time in your booth is your opportunity to grab undivided, one-on-one attention with your key personas. To stand out in the crowd, integrate your unique selling proposition in your messaging platform. Your messaging will include:
- The story you want to communicate to attendees through the booth experience
- The main points you want to convey to your personas
- What you want them to remember after they leave your booth
Remember to keep your messaging simple and hold a training session with your staff prior to the show. That way everyone can engage consistently and effectively with booth visitors. The messaging platform will also guide your theme development, booth design, events and takeaways. Be sure to designate a company spokesperson to meet with members of the press who stop by your booth without an appointment.
3. Create Booth Buzz
You’ve established your B2B trade show marketing strategy and determined your personas, unique selling proposition, and messaging platform. Now it’s time to look for opportunities to publicize your news. For example, get active on the event’s social media channels. Use the show’s official hashtag and include it in your promotional posts with your booth number.
Also, provide information that will inspire participants to click a link to a dedicated trade show landing page on your website. This is where you can offer relevant free content and capture their contact information.
On the floor, analysts and members of the press are looking for companies to cover in show-related news. Buyers often rely on these credible, third-party experts when researching products, so it’s important to let them know what your company has to offer. Be sure to follow your messaging platform, which integrates your persona research and unique selling proposition.
4. Follow Up With Leads
Because one of your main goals is to capture quality leads, post-show follow-up is a significant part of your strategy. A marketing automation platform can help you qualify leads, convert them from marketing-ready to sales-ready and nurture them along the way.
Start by sending a thank you email that offers them something of value and will refresh their memory of your brand. Share pictures, tell stories about your experience, show contest winners and booth presenters, and highlight any positive or exciting activities—keeping it all tied to your messaging platform.
All marketing tactics should be thought of as part of a larger whole, rather than separate pieces. By strategically integrating all tactics, the programs become more effective and cost efficient. An Integrated marketing communication plan helps you meet real business objectives – generate leads, grow revenues, gain market share, and become the leading brand.
Lisa Goetz is a public relations executive at Schubert b2b, where she primarily writes content and manages media relations. She brings 20 years of editorial and communications experience to Schubert b2b and holds a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. When not in the office, Lisa likes to take excursions with her husband and hang out with her cat and a good book.