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IMS UPDATE

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Making Trade Shows Pay Off

People at an ExhibitionMany trade shows fail to provide a positive return on investment, even before the booth is shipped. Here’s why:

  • Poor pre-show planning: entice potential customers to your booth, don’t just hope they walk by and stop in. Many trade shows will provide a list of attendees to vendors. Contact them three or four weeks ahead, try to set up a meeting or attract them by offering a personal demonstration of your product or some other incentive. Follow up with an email blast a week before the show. Good pre-show planning also provides the opportunity to build your company’s awareness and credibility by arranging speaking opportunities (needs to be done months or even a year in advance) and setting up interviews with trade media at the conference.
  • Wasting money on expensive paper brochures: Most end up in a trash can. Go digital. Offer your information on a thumb drive; better yet, offer to send it digitally after the show, but customize email communications so as not to appear generic. This type of follow up can be even more effective if you can identify the attendees’ needs while talking with him or her at your booth. This also allows you to collect business cards at the show, which can be added to your marketing database.
  • Lack of post-show marketing: It’s amazing how many trade show leads are dumped in a file with nobody following up. Assign one person to ensure every lead is contacted within days, no longer than a week after the show, which will convey professionalism and efficiency and, many times result in sales. Otherwise leads go quickly cold.

Provide an experience at the show, don’t just invite attendees into your booth to talk.

If possible, allow them to interact with your products or experience your services which leads to customer engagement. Touch screens and interactive demonstrations generate interest and attract people to you booth.

Finally, measure return on investment after the show and you have followed up. This will help you determine if the show is worth attending next year, or, you have to refine your marketing approach.

Contact Anthony Casale at 609-683-9055 ext. 202 or email acasale@imsworld.com

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Anthony Casale
CEO, Integrated Marketing Services