Whether its an annual trade show, sales meeting, summit or exhibition – having a brand presence at industry conferences and trade shows is a necessary element of any event marketing strategy. More often than not, the lead up to an event is chaotic, consisting of late night runs to the printer, last minute strategy meetings and early flights.
Creating a timeline leading up to the event, aligning a team on messaging and determining what collateral needs to be implemented will pay off in spades to deliver a more polished and successful effort.
Holding, or attending a trade event is no cheap endeavor, but face to face contact with customer is an invaluable tool for product launches and business development. Looking it as an investment to the company’s bottom line is critical. Ensuring that the event cost fits into financial projections and cash flow is an essential component of choosing the right event to attend – conducting a cost/benefit analysis can help with this process. While some trade events can be the magic that a company needs to launch, realistically, meaningful traction and actual conversions may take 1-3 times for a company to show at an event.
In making the decision of what events to attend annually, consider viewing the exhibitor and attendee databases of each event to determine if potential or existing customers will be in attendance, and how much competition will be present. Additionally, consider how the company will be positioned alongside the target market of the event and what benefits/pitfalls there might be.
Get The Word Out
Trade events are traditionally annual occurrences that each industry looks forward to. Reaching out to customers and prospects prior to the event to let them know the company will be present can take all forms from digital to print. From email campaigns, promotional print mailers, press releases, microsites, web features and social media messaging – messaging must be consistent. Even when attending an organized event, many companies have found that branding each year of an event can create anticipation and excitement. This can include focus on the year, a specific product launch or exciting announcement for the brand.
The Take Away
No matter how tech based a company is, there’s nothing like having print materials at an event. They not only inform the customer, but act as a reminder at the end of each day when they go through their materials. Many companies use trade events to launch a new catalog to ensure interested parties make their booth a destination. From exhibition catalogs, brochures and promotional items – the ones that truly stand out will be the ones that see the most ROI from the show. In addition to booth handouts, consider partnering with the event to sponsor a promotional bag or arrange to advertise a logo in or on event materials that appear throughout the duration of the event.
Create An Experience
No longer will the standard booth package suffice. Customer experience is all about creating an environment that precisely reflects the brand it represents. Other than an well designed website or stellar packaging, this is the only chance the customer will have to step into the world of the brand. Trade show exhibits should be designed with as much thought as a store design. Impactful design does not need to be cumbersome, however, it should be consistent with current messaging and brand positioning. Video has proven to be an incredible engagement tool not only online, but in the booth setting as well. With the right team, a well designed trade show booth can be translated to materials that travel well, provide maximum exposure and feature elements that may align with the brand such as eco friendly materials.
Wrap It Up
It’s easy to end an event, walk away and forget about the follow up. The end of an event is just as important to ROI as attending the event, and even if the product or company was the hit of the show, its rare for customers to follow up. Approaching a follow up strategy from both a digital and direct methods of contact is important to ensuring that each prospect is given the right approach. Digital channels such as email campaigns can be effective when reaching out to a large pool of contacts. A video overview of the event is an effective engagement driver and will almost always result in a higher click through rate.
Regardless of industry, event marketing is a proven and effective way of building a brand. Equipped with the right tools and a strategic plan, the effort will result in meaningful contact with customers and company growth.Read More...