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Important 4 Marketing Insides For Trade Show Organizers

For many years, marketers have been guided to move prospects along a continuum from, first, awareness to serious consideration and decision to purchase. The final step along this line was to solidify the relationship so the individual who was once a prospect is now a loyal customer. Now, Forrester Research shows this linear idea (sometimes referred to as a funnel) should be replaced by a Customer Life Cycle. The process of continuous optimisation is more like a circle than a line.

A customer’s relationship with your brand will be circular, as they continue to discover new needs, explore new options, make purchases, and engage with/experience your service or use your product. This certainly applies to trade-show participation. Establish a marketing plan using the Customer Life Cycle model so your prospects become leads, and your leads become customers, of course.

Phase One: Discovery

Phase One: Discovery

The cycle begins again at this point, so you’re always in productive contact with those customers. Preparation for an upcoming trade show should include communication with existing prospects to encourage them to begin the discovery phase by taking a good, close look at your show booth. This makes it more likely that the visitor/prospect will become a lead and be part of your follow-up process.

Keep in mind that the vast majority of people attending a trade show have buying authority. Almost everyone who walks by is a strong prospect who could be a lead in your targeted market. Focus on these important points when you’re trying to attract attendees so they’ll discover you and your company:

  • Pre-show planning should include measurable goals
  • Focus on showing how your product or service is different from the competition
  • Know your target market’s needs and wants and speak to them
  • Establish a personal connection with each prospect
  • Keep your message simple using a few key points
  • Make the exhibit/booth experience visual
  • Use technology

Phase Two: Explore

Phase Two: Explore

At this point in the Customer Life Cycle, you still have a potential client, a prospect. It’s time to help them explore who you are, what you do and how this can help solve their problems and ease their business pain. This is when you become part of their database of companies they need to look into further. It’s important to have demonstrations and/or presentations that allow the prospect to touch, feel, and truly experience your products and services.

Preparing for this experience, this exploration, should be part of the pre-show planning as well. Be creative, but always include a summary of features and benefits, how your product or service meets the needs of your prospects zone heads home. You begin the sales process before the show by encouraging strong prospects to attend and to consider your company.

Phase Three: Purchase

Purchase

At this point in the circle, your potential clients will evaluate a lot of options to determine which company will meet their specific needs. This is also an essential part of your planning, as you prepare to show how your products and services are unique and superior. If you attend the show with the idea of following up effectively after the show, that’s great, but why wait?

Start developing the Customer Life Cycle right then and there by arranging for a location for private discussions and conversations. Even if the sale is sometime in the future, you can start developing the relationship before everyone heads home. You begin the sales process before the show by encouraging strong prospects to attend and to consider your company.

Use technology, social media, and digital-marketing tools for pre-show relationship building. Use the same methods during and after the show, in addition to one-on-one meetings. This will make your trade-show exhibit/presentation much stronger. During the “Purchase” phase you should still be focused on the individual, his or her company, and specific needs for each person. At some point, you’ll realise some of the visitors have become leads.

Phase Four: Engage

Engage

It’s quite interesting to note that this phase can occur at any time before, during, and after the trade show. That’s why it’s so important for you and your marketing staff to keep the Customer Life Cycle fresh and engaging at all stages. Of course, your prospect should be able to touch your product at the booth. This is an important part of exploration. Use interactive technology for large products and services. Let the prospect be part of the visual/audio experience.

During all of these phases, you should be gathering important information about your prospects and their needs. Your online presence should be coordinated with your “live” efforts, and should be just as engaging. Just as your prospect/lead/customer engages with you, you should remain engaged with them. After all, the cycle is ending and beginning at the same time.

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