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Nine Ways to Get More from your Trade Show Budget

by Nomadic Display 12. January 2010 01:23

Marketing in a challenging economy requires a combination of planning for cost efficiencies, promoting your presence effectively and following through with the contacts you’ve made. Getting the most out of your trade show marketing programs requires that you make smarter decisions. These tips could help your company show smart and stand apart.

1. Set measurable goals.
1 Keep your goals straightforward and realistic to achieve. As you set objectives, determine how you will measure them after the event. For example, within what timeframe will you measure sales? Many companies are experiencing longer sales cycles. One Tradeshow Week study revealed that 60% of all sales from trade show leads close within seven months of the event and 40% close more than a year following the event. If one of your goals is to build brand awareness, how will you measure it - - a post-show survey of how many attendees remember your exhibit?

2. Promote your presence.
1 Attendees often plan their visit to a show in advance. With attendance down anywhere from 15 - 25%, it’s incumbent on you to drive traffic to your display. Your pre-show marketing should focus on giving visitors compelling reasons to put your display on their “must-see” list. Purchase the pre-registered attendee list for promotion, add conference information to your website, and offer VIP passes to your database of prospects and clients. Live demonstrations are among the highest ranking factors for influencing attendee memorability. And don’t forget the press — new products make great news stories.

3. Plan ahead to trim expenses.
1 Ship ground versus air freight to the advance warehouse rather than direct to show site for a bigger discount on drayage. Place your service orders early to receive discounts off of the show rates. Try to schedule your set-up labor for hours which will be billed at straight time.

4. Lighten up and save.
1 When selecting a display property, think lightweight to save on shipping and drayage. Custom modular and hybrid designs are 50-60% lighter than traditional custom-built exhibits. Consolidate shipments to optimize dimensional weight. E-mail visitors product information as PDFs after the event instead of shipping it to the show.

5. Reduce costs with a rental.
1 Get a custom tailored display and eliminate all ownership costs such as storage, repairs, maintenance, and disposal.

6. Leverage your investment.
1 The Center for Exhibition Industry Research reports that exhibit space represents the largest portion of how the exhibit dollar is spent - - 31%. Tradeshow Week revealed that many exhibitors are electing to go to the same number of shows with a reduced space size or go to fewer shows with the same space size. Ask your exhibit designer for a custom modular solution that will reconfigure to meet the changing demands of your marketplace. Custom modular displays are designed to expand or contract to suit multiple venues.

7. Attract more visitors.
1 Within three seconds, visitors decide whether or not they will stop at your booth. Design a display that clearly and immediately communicates what your company has to offer and what you can do for your customer.
Fill the height limit at the center of your space to maximize your presence. An open design that is easily accessible, welcomes potential clients and provides easy visitor traffic flow. To create an open plan, leave about 60% of the floor space open and 60% of the frontage open. Keep key messaging above the 4-foot height of the wall for maximum readability.

8. Train your staff.
1 Even seasoned staff should know the show objectives, key messaging and lead system protocol for the show. Visitors should be greeted by an enthusiastic rep who uses the exhibit as a sales tool. Remind staff that first impressions matter. First impressions are created by what people see, what people hear and the words you use.

9. Follow-up.
1 This is the most important step in maximizing your ROI. Research indicates that 90% of business gained from leads comes from post show follow-up, yet 70-80% of leads are not pursued. Ask your sales team what key data they need captured from prospects so they will be motivated to follow up. Establish accountability for lead handling prior to the show. Appoint an individual to be responsible for capturing and processing leads. Consider categorizing or ranking your leads. Disperse leads quickly and make contact within one week.

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Trade Show Tips