Search for Speakers
Trainers and Consultants
Send this article to others
Susan Friedmann, CSP
key to great exhibiting is marketing. But marketing is a very inexact
science that leaves room for a multitude of errors to occur. The following
are 10 of the most common marketing mistakes that exhibitors often make.
Learn to avoid them and you will increase your chances for a successful
Have A Proper Exhibit Marketing Plan
both a strategic exhibit marketing and tactical plan of action is a critical
Have A Well-Defined Promotional Plan
significant part of your marketing includes promotion - pre-show, at-show
and post-show. Most exhibitors fail to have a plan that encompasses all
three areas. Budget is naturally going to play a major role in deciding what
and how much promotional activity is possible. Developing a meaningful theme
or message that ties into your strategic marketing plan will then help to
guide promotional decisions. Know whom you want to target and then consider
having different promotional programs aimed at the different groups you are
interested in attracting. Include direct mail, broadcast faxes, advertising,
PR, sponsorship, and the Internet as possible ways to reach your target
Use Direct Mail Effectively
mail is still one of the most popular promotional vehicles exhibitors use.
From postcards to multi-piece mailings, attendees are deluged with
invitations to visit booths. Many of the mailings come from show
management's lists and as a result, everyone gets everything. To target the
people you want visit your booth, use your own list of customers and
prospects--it's the best one available. Design a piece that is totally
benefit-oriented and makes an impact. Mail three pieces at regular intervals
prior to the show, starting about four weeks out, to help ensure your
invitation is seen. Wherever possible, use first-class mail. There's nothing
worse than a mailing that arrives after the show is over.
Give Visitors An Incentive To Visit Your Booth
promotional vehicles you use, make sure that you give visitors a reason to
come and visit you. With a hall
overflowing with fascinating products/services, combined with time
constraints, people need an incentive to come and visit your booth. First
and foremost their primary interest is in "what's new!"
They are eager to learn about the latest technologies, new
applications, or anything that will help save them time and/or money. Even
if you don't have a new product/service to introduce, think about a new
angle to promote your offerings.
Have Giveaways That Work
into giving visitors an incentive to visit your booth is the opportunity to
offer a premium item that will entice them. Your giveaway items should be
designed to increase your memorability, communicate, motivate, promote or
increase recognition of your company. Developing a dynamite giveaway takes
thought and creativity. Consider what your target audience wants, what will
help them do their job better, what they can't get elsewhere, what is
product/service related and educational. Think about having different gifts
for different types of visitors. Use your website to make an offer for
visitors to collect important information, such as an executive report, when
they visit your booth. Giveaways should be used as a reward or token of
appreciation for visitors participating in a demonstration, presentation or
contest, or as a thank-you for qualifying information about specific needs
Use Press Relations Effectively
relations is one of the most cost-effective and successful methods for
generating large volumes of direct inquiries and sales. Before the show ask
show management for a comprehensive media list, and find out which
publications are planning a special show edition. Send out newsworthy press
releases focusing on what's new about your product/service, or highlighting
a new application or market venture. Compile press kits for the press office
that include information about industry trends, statistics, new technology
or production information. Also include good product photos and key company
contacts. Have staff members at the booth who are specifically assigned to
interact with the media
Differentiate Your Products/Services
many exhibitors are happy to use the "me too" marketing approach.
Examine their marketing plans and there's an underlying sameness about them.
With shows that attract hundreds of exhibitors, there are very few that seem
to "stand out from the crowd."
Since memorability is an integral part of a visitors' show
experience, you should be looking at what makes you different and why a
prospect should buy from you. This is of particular concern with generic
products in your industry. Every aspect of your exhibit marketing plan,
including your promotions, your booth and your people should be aimed at
making an impact and creating curiosity.
Use The Booth As An Effective Marketing Tool
the show floor your exhibit makes a strong statement about who your company
is, what you do and how you do it. The purpose of your exhibit is to attract
visitors so that you can achieve your marketing objectives. In addition to
it being an open, welcoming and friendly space, there needs to be a focal
point and a strong key message that communicates a significant benefit to
your prospect. Opt for large graphics rather than reams of copy. Pictures
paint a thousand words while very few exhibitors will take the time to read.
Your presentations or demonstrations are a critical part of your exhibit
marketing. Create an experience that allows visitors use as many of their
senses as possible. This will help to enhance memorability.
Realize That Your People Are Your Marketing Team
people are your ambassadors. They represent everything your company stands
for, so choose them well. Brief them beforehand and make sure that they
know: why you are exhibiting;
what you are exhibiting and what you expect from them. Exhibit staff
training is essential for a unified and professional image. Make sure that
they sell instead of tell; don't try to do too much; understand visitor
needs; don't spend too much time; and know how to close the interaction with
a commitment to follow-up.
overcrowding the booth with company representatives. Have strict rules
regarding employees visiting the show and insist staffers not scheduled for
booth duty stay away until their assigned time. Assign specific tasks for
company executives working the show.
key to your tradeshow success is wrapped up in the lead-management process.
The best time to plan for follow-up is before the show. Show leads often
take second place to other management activities that occur after being out
of the office for several days. The longer leads are left unattended, the
colder and more mediocre they become. It is to your advantage to develop an
organized, systematic approach to follow-up. Establish a lead handling
system, set time lines for follow-up, use a computerized database for
tracking, make sales representatives accountable for leads given to them,
and then measure your results.