Preparing For That First Business Convention

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article |Convention|Preparing For That First Business ConventionAs a firm, many milestones come your way. Your first five employees show the start of something promising while surviving your first financial year shows that you have some merit behind what you’re doing. Additionally, framing the first dollar you have ever received in a revenue context can help you tremendously.

But there’s almost nothing as big as that first business convention. For many firms, this can make them as nervous as can be, almost as if the company was a shy entity preparing for its first date. This is because not only does a firm wish to impress, but they will be in the presence of industry leaders whom they may wish to network with.

Of course, the public visibility of such an event is often something that holds additional merit, because we wish to show everyone that we have what it takes to stand with the big boys. To that end, let us consider how to appropriately prepare for your first business convention. With the following words, you’re sure to hit it out of the park:

Hire A Visible Lot

When it comes to booking your expo space, most event halls will ask that you hire an allotment of space. Within this, you may be assigned a booth, or you may be allowed to construct your own display feature yourself. It’s important that you invest in one that will be visible and also gain traffic from passers-by walking the event. In some cases, larger space is preferable to visible traction, and vice versa depending on your goals.

For product demonstrations, it might be worth erecting a large indoor tent for people to walk in and engage with your demonstration rather than watching it behind a large crowd. Additionally, if engagement and ensuring people sign up to follow your social media accounts is your goal, a smaller space may be preferable. It all depends on what you hope to achieve, and if you think that’s a realistic goal or not.

Regardless, it’s essential to consider what your needs are before booking the space, because you need to understand what your budget is going to look like. Additionally, hiring out space on a main stage for a large product demonstration may cost a little more. It’s important to be on top of your planning for this and plan your presence to a T.

Promote Your Attendance

It’s important to promote your attendance thoroughly if you hope for people to come and visit. You might not be a massive attraction at this stage, so it can be worthwhile to promote the event above all things. This is an easier sell, because it shows potential visitors that they have the chance to come, maybe see you, but also have a great day or weekend at said show. Using the event’s social media kit, you may align your marketing with theirs. But if you hope to use their licensed work for anything you may need to discuss this with the event organizers and gain express permission for this. If it’s solely to benefit the event, there may be some room for negotiations.

Craft Your Merchandise

Merchandise is an essential part of running a competent trade show event. If you cater to this carefully, you can market yourself with considerable weight. Consider the practical items you may give out as freebies. For example, if it’s in the middle of summer, a branded baseball cap can be a great idea. If you book an event space near the entrance of the convention center and you hand out a branded tote bag to each visitor, you have managed to give said visitors a place to store all of their other belongings and merch they are given when walking around the event. When all of the competition’s branded merch is hidden within your large branded bag, you can see who the victor of the public imaging war will be.

Merch is a great way to help those who do not know of your presence come to check out your stall, especially if you’re giving away great items such as hooded sweatshirts for engaging with a product demonstration. Everyone likes free stuff, and if the first memory a potential expo-goer has of your firm is something quality, practical and complimentary? You can be sure they’re going to give you that second look later on down the line.

With this advice, you’re certain to prepare well for that first business convention.

What You Need to Know About Trade Show Marketing

StrategyDriven Marketing and Sales Article | What You Need to Know About Trade Show MarketingThe First Impression

In a world of e-commerce and online activities, trade shows can be overlooked; however, this offline alternative is far from being unimportant. Contemporary trade shows offer the opportunity for an entire industry to put their best foot forward, attracting potential investors and customers. A myriad of competitors shall be vying for trade show revenue, and the first impression of a trade show stand can make or break a sale. Naturally, the first step in creating an engaging and approachable stall is to have sturdy pop up stands; nothing is more uninviting than a collapsed stand.

Modern trade show stall formats tend to utilise open curved fabric stands as they are approachable from the front, right, and left, rather than the conventional booth or cubical format. The open format permits the engagement of more potential customers, because it’s generally more inviting and interpersonal, as customers are free to come as they please without the barrier of a booth between the salesman and the customer.

The Display

The fascination with a stall begins with what observers can passively see before they decide whether or not to further engage with the stall. Images and brand names are conventional passive marketing materials. A projected video or slideshow, however, tends to generate more interest as it allows observers to passively view a demonstration of a product or service. Passive marketing materials are designed to generate interest and proffer brand awareness, comparable to a giant advertisement.

Gimmick style materials, such as pens and caps, are popular and can be used to promote brand awareness outside of the trade show; however, these should only be handed out after a customer engagement as a reminder of the brand.

Active marketing materials then advance the cause of passive materials and commonly constitute leaflets, business cards, brochures, booklets, and even interactive displays. These materials are designed to engage potential customers on a deeper level by:

  • Building customer relationships,
  • Establishing the expertise of a company or business, and
  • Delving into the question of ‘why’ a company or business is better than its’ competition.

Active marketing materials contain the information a potential customer needs. Interactive kiosk displays and tablet devices generally have higher levels of engagement; however, leaflets and booklets can be taken home for consideration in an environment outside the exhilaration of a trade show.

The Continuation

Trade Shows are merely an entry-point for customers and the attained sales leads must be developed into business. A resourceful method is to categorise sales leads into different priority groups, for example:

  • Group 1 – Very Interested
  • Group 2 – Somewhat Intrigued
  • Group 3 – Hesitant

Each group must be treated differently as resources ought not to be wasted by attempting to convince hesitant customers and allowing interested customers to slip away. Naturally, very interested clients ought to be contacted first for any follow-up processes, followed by group 2 and then group 3.

The Strategy

Prior to committing to a presence at a trade show, a marketing strategy must be created. While potential customers are seeking business, a stall must still outrank its’ competition, and the mere presence at a trade show does not guarantee engagement, nor does it guarantee sales.

What are the primary and secondary goals of attending the trade show?

The objectives of trade show marketing can differ, for example, a business may wish to:

  • Generate sales or leads
  • Build business relationships
  • Build brand awareness
  • Reinforce existing leads
  • Promote recent developments for training opportunities

Attaining a sale or leads is generally the primary objective; however, during a trade show, this may encounter some resistance. As a secondary objective, for group 2 and 3 leads, consider promoting other avenues of engagement, such as email / social media subscriptions, or proffering brand awareness to increase direct engagement with the company when they are considering a business proposal.

Trade show stalls ought to create a lasting impression and a memorable experience.

This is commonly assessed within the first few seconds of an engagement, which is why the first impression is crucial. Sales scripts and pitches must reflect this objective and the different avenues a potential customer could be taken down should be mapped out. This will proffer a smooth experience and when combined with active marketing materials, shall greatly assist in achieving the stall’s predetermined goals.

Trade show events differ; choose one which matches the goals of the business.

Trade shows can be in the form of:

  • Networking events,
  • Industry events,
  • Seminars,
  • Conferences,
  • Sponsored events, and
  • Webinars, amongst others.

If the primary objective of the business is to increase brand awareness or build business relationships, then a networking event may be the most suitable.

Finally, assess the results.

Consider what factors constitute a successful campaign, what was popular and what was not.

  • Were the primary and secondary objectives achieved?
  • Did leads materialise?
  • Are people talking about the brand?
  • How many people subscribed?
  • How many are actively engaging with the company?

Let the numbers do the talking and assess the results. This shall determine whether another trade show should be attended, or whether other marketing avenues ought to be considered.