Most businesses understand the importance of trade shows and similar events, but it may be time to consider whether or not your business should be dedicating so much time to them? After all, the entire world of marketing has changed, and trade shows and industry events need to change along with them, otherwise they will simply become irrelevant. Irrelevancy is a currency in which no business wants to trade!
Marketing preparation for a trade show can start as soon as six months in advance for many businesses. It is important to have a marketing strategy that matches the goals set out for that strategy, and also one that reflects the business in question. Given how important trade shows are when it comes to generating new leads and presenting other marketing opportunities, good preparation is not something to take lightly!
Hosting or Attending
The truth is that trade shows have definitely changed with the times. These days, it is useful to think of your trade show strategy in two different ways: hosting and attending. But what is the real difference between the two?
When your business attends a trade show, you are effectively a guest. You may even have been invited by the company hosting the trade show because your business is considered an important lead for other attendees. When you host a trade show on the other hand, you are responsible for organising the other attendees and looking at the best way to make the event work for everyone in terms of leads.
In both cases, there is a great opportunity to network and follow up with new leads for your business. As a guest, you will talk to other booth operators, network with attendees and businesses, and organise all of the marketing for your exhibit. As the host, you get to work with all sorts of guest businesses and have the opportunity to become more well-known in your industry niche. In both cases, the essentials of networking and marketing are both possible to accomplish with the right approach and the right preparation.
Implementing Your Campaign Effectively
Clearly, hosting and attending are two related, but different approaches to the same event, so how can you implement an effective strategy for each? Consider the following strategy for hosting a trade show event:
- Meet with your hand-picked team and discuss the goals of the show
- Confirm all of the guests planning to attend and send out emails to each of them
- Run a test session
- Organise and send emails during the event and after the event
Likewise, when attending an event, the planning is just as important. Consider the following guest strategy for a successful trade show attendance:
- Meet with your booth team and discuss your marketing goals and the reason why you are attending the event in the first place
- Identify your target audience so that everyone is on the same page at event time
- Collect leads and network during the trade show
- Organise emails after the event so that new leads are contacted
Just remember, there is a clear difference between hosting and attending a trade show event, but both approaches can lead to some fantastic networking and marketing opportunities if thorough planning and preparation have taken place ahead of time.