Contrary to popular belief, your success at a trade show has less to do with the size of your exhibit and more to do with whether or not you can make the most of your participation. Are you able to select the right tools, the ones that can attract the visitors and keep them engaged for long? How good you are at identifying your targets, i.e. the audience and the business objectives for the show? Because if you do know the drill, you can in fact make a mark, without letting the size of your exhibit stand in your way.
Get Your Facts Straight
1. Start off with a little introspection. The more you know about your own company, the better are your chances of slaying the competition. What have been some of your biggest challenges, what is that differentiates you from the competition, are your market aspirations realistic, and if yes, have you been achieving what you aspire for? It’s also imperative for you to zero in on your customers (or attendees for the show) and have a clear understanding of what they want.
2. Move on to numbers. Will the show you are about to participate in help you reach out to the demographics of your choice? How many of the attendees would actually have the purchasing power?
– If you have already participated in the show in the past, did you get the results you were aiming for? How many leads did you generate? Were there any press mentions, and if so, how many?
– Do you have a record of the time spent with the attendees?
– Did you actually save money by participating in the show? Would in-field sales calls have cost you more?
– What about brand image augmentation? Was there any progress there?
3. Cost-analysis can go a long way in determining whether or not the show would be a success for you.
– Determine how your budget is being allocated
– Do you think you could better meet the objectives by adjusting the said allocations? If yes, do get the management to take notice.
The idea is to ensure that the show is the right platform for you to be at, to begin with.
Understand what each show can help you achieve and what kind of an attendee makeup they have. For instance, if a show is attended by the who’s who of the industry, you may have to cut corners and give up on other promotional activities, and rather focus on getting the key players to visit your exhibit. If the show has not really helped you with brand awareness in the past, you may reconsider your budget, and channelize your energies towards awareness-building activities.
Remember that every show is different, in terms of the attendees it draws, the costs it warrants, and the benefits it is supposed to deliver. Therefore, it’s important that your budget allocation changes in line with the show you are planning to exhibit at. Also, you must make up for the lack of adequate space. Consider establishing a speaker program or opting for some off-floor activities – anything and everything that ensures your exhibit doesn’t go unnoticed.