That’s a great question considering B2B trade show participation requires such a large investment. In some industries, a trade show can consume up to half of your marketing communications budget. The production, manpower, travel, and show fees can add up. However, the possible customer nurturing, brand building, and sales prospecting can make it all worthwhile — if executed correctly.
Observe and Learn
It’s a unique venue. A trade show puts your company and your branded products in a real-time face off against your competition. Your brand is surrounded by the leaders in your market and that can be an intimidating thought at first. But this is a great opportunity to learn.
You can see what is working in your industry and what isn’t. Have a colleague man your booth and take a stroll around the trade show floor. You’ll be able to tell the most popular booths right away. Take note of what they doing in terms of giveaways, special deals and even interact with their sales staff to learn their tactics. In just a few laps, you’ll be able to nail down most of your competition’s B2B trade show strategies.
Interaction and Lead Generation
You are able to meet customers, prospects, and competitors face to face. That is an opportunity that does not come around often. You have the chance to generate highly targeted leads, and then, hopefully, customers from the guests attending the trade show. The people who are attending are motivated, interested in the products or services your company offers. They may even be ready to make a deal on the spot, so be prepared. Make sure you interact with all visitors at your exhibit and keep notes of your conversation so you can follow up after the show.
Strengthening Your Brand
Industry-leading brands make trade shows an integral part of their integrated digital marketing plan. And a B2B trade show is an excellent way to tell your company’s story to the industry.
Before the show, determine how you want to brand yourself to this audience. What image do you want to portray? With the right strategy, even the most unknown company can become a star of the show.
But “winning” isn’t luck…
If you take your competitors seriously along with all the necessary steps, a B2B trade show can pay significant dividends. There’s no bigger thrill then commanding big-time attention at the trade show. Visualize your booth as the high traffic booth — impressing clients, prospects, the media and your competitors. Then the stature of your brand soars and the trade show was more than worth it.
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.
Joe Schubert founded Schubert b2b in 1978 to raise the performance of tech marcom to new heights. Before falling in love with B2B marketing, Joe started his professional career as a computer engineer out of Villanova and University of Pennsylvania, and worked for companies including Unisys, IBM and AT&T.