The Importance of Trade Show Planning
by Nicolle Martin
It’s that time of the year! Trade show season is in full swing! I just got back from ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago and was so happy to see that things seem to be back to normal. While there was still some masking, the attendance levels appear to have come back up and it was so nice to see so many friends and colleagues in person again!
If your company is going to be sponsoring a trade show or if you are attending an event anytime soon, there are some important things you should take into consideration. We all know that preparing for a trade show can be a daunting task, but with the right planning and organization, it can be a great opportunity to showcase your company’s offerings and your expertise while connecting with current and potential customers.
Outline your goals for the event. What do you hope to accomplish? Sponsoring, and sometimes even just attending, a trade show can be an expensive endeavor. Make sure you think about what you want as an outcome so you can outline the steps you need to put in place to get there. A few things to think about include:
- Do you want to generate leads?
- Are you looking for brand awareness?
- Are you launching a new product?
- Are you there to network?
- Are you there for education and thought leadership?
Understanding what you want to get from the event will help you identify the best way to accomplish that outcome.
Whether you are having a booth, speaking at a session or two or there to network with other attendees – have a plan. Consider what each day will look like and prepare accordingly.
If you have a booth, work with your team to let them know what goals you have set for the event. Have a schedule so that you can take full advantage of your time to get in front of the attendees.
If you are there to meet with other thought leaders and network, make sure you look at the agenda and identify the sessions and networking events you want to attend ahead of time.
Let people know you will be at the trade show through your company website, social media, email campaigns and whatever other channels you have at your disposal. Set meetings in advance whenever possible. Continue your promotions while you are at the event. Send out information so others know you are there and can see what you are doing.
After the event is over, make sure you follow up with any leads you made while there. This is your opportunity to thank them for their time, remind them of the interaction you had at the event and build a relationship. This is the part of event planning that many people and companies fail to do, but it is a critical one. Do not miss out on your opportunity to connect with the people you met one more time while the interaction you had with them is fresh in their minds.
Trade shows are a large part of most marketing budgets because with the proper planning and forethought, they can be a valuable asset to any marketing plan and produce positive outcomes.
About the Author
Nicolle Martin is a senior account manager for Edge Marketing. She has more than 20 years of experience doing public relations and marketing in the legal and accounting industries.
Nicolle and her husband have two daughters.
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