18 April 2011

Trade Shows a Bang for Branding

Trade shows can offer the ideal avenue to connect with your target market. When planning to market your brand at a trade show, there are many considerations to take into account. Below are a few major points to bring more branding bang to your trade show presence.

* Have a game plan before you set up shop
Trade shows are costly affairs from both a time and financial perspective. Take the time to some goals for company's trade show presence. If the objective is to gain market intelligence, you may only need one person at the trade show exhibit rental at any given time. If the goal generate leads, bring your sales game face and the empty bowl for the business card giveaway. If there are no goals other than to attend the trade show, revisit your budget and evaluate whether or not funds can allocated in a better investment.

* Know your target market and plan accordingly
Understand the target market of the event and the relevant interests of the audience. If you want people to talk to you, make sure your messaging fits. If it doesn’t, you may want to work with your marketing team to ensure you have the right talking points — or it’s going to be a long day.

* Get a feel for the layout
Make sure you are familiar with the layout of the event as well as the ways you are permitted to engage with prospects. Companies spend a lot of time and marketing dollars into these events. For this reason, it is smart to pick the right booth location to better your reach.

* Create a backup plan
Whether its marketing materials or applications, things can get lost, so ensure you have a back-up plan of attack. Even it it's something as simple as a slide presentation that can run on your laptop or flashdisk containing a few key documents, some precautions are critical. If at all possible, have everything sent to your hotel the day before the trade show just to make sure you have time to regroup in case of an incident.

* Offer actionable advice.
Before you hit the floor filled with trade show displays, prepare a deliverable with practical tips or memorize a few useful URLs so that people who are interested in your product have an easy way to act on what they just learned.

* Although planning is essential, a follow-up plan is also critical.
Too often attendees overly focus on pre-event and on-site tasks with no strategy for following up. Understand who the stakeholders are in your company and among your audience in order to prepare a system to follow up with prospects and add value across all constituencies.

Conferences and trade show exhibits provide a great opportunity for sales reps and marketing managers to physically meet a prospect or existing client. It is incredible what a difference a handshake makes, even when amidst the world of social media marketing.

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