I can’t believe it…it’s been almost six months since I had written a blog to marketing managers about planning ahead for your first b2b trade show. Even though it was mainly targeted to those who have never exhibited at a show before, it can also apply as a reminder to those who have.
The latter part of #5 in the blog “…after you have a clear trade show marketing strategy, to then start thinking about the supporting details you’ll need for your booth,” hits home right now because we have just gotten through a very busy trade show prep season. We had provided many of our clients with the ‘”supporting details” (PR, social media, collateral, graphics, invitations, etc.) they needed for their show. It seemed that no matter how far in advance the process started, unavoidable last minute stuff crops up. Late changes, total revamps, additional pieces, a new product launch, and so forth. This can trigger a chain of events that can get out of control like a runaway train — unless someone stays on top of it.
Ensuring Trade Show Prep Stays on Track
It’s especially difficult for marketing managers to keep track of it all. They are the ones that have to answer to different departments within their company. Their sales people, legal, bosses, or someone even higher up in management all with different goals. Sometimes months of work can get derailed if one person suddenly decides they didn’t like a design theme that was already put through multiple approval processes.
As you can imagine, this can cause grey hairs to sprout and your blood pressure to rise. You’re at the point where you’re constantly watching the clock and the fast-approaching show date –– and still expected to deliver. However, the right support people at your disposal (your marketing department or agency), can help you manage the process and get you what you need in time.
Collateral Keeps the Conversation Going
The main purpose of your presence at a show should be to generate lucrative and highly-targeted leads, so you can grow your business. Sticking with your brand identity and trade show marketing strategy is extremely important. Make sure all of your collateral, designs, theme, graphics, etc. work together with a common message.
The point of your collateral is to keep the conversation going between you and a potential customer while you’re manning the booth, exhibit or presentation. In other words, it should be a means of making meaningful connections with people who you engage with. And handing them collateral as part of the interaction will provide value to them once they leave. Remember to figure a way to obtain all your potential leads’ contact details, so that you or your sales team can follow up with them after they’ve gone home.
Debbie MacKenzie is a 1991 graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where she majored in graphic arts production management. Deb cut her professional teeth managing production and customer relations at major printing companies before coming to Schubert b2b 14 years ago. Debbie's a versatile big hitter overseeing all things financial and operational.