When exhibiting at a trade show, do you ever wonder if you’re doing it right? Have you seen little success? Many marketers don’t see the best results at their first trade shows, so we need to understand what can make your trade show experience a better one.
We have 5 experts, whom exhibit their company in many trade shows, sharing their tips with us for a successful trade show.
Let’s meet our experts:
- Christopher Duffy – Ariel Premium Supply, Director of Marketing
- Ashlee Duerr – BIC Graphic USA, Sales / Account Manager
- Steve Weisbaum – Sweda Company, LLC , Regional Sales Manager
- Lynn-Ann Herndon – AP Specialties, National Sales Manager
- Sasha Pirrie – Polyconcept North America, Field Sales Manager
How do you define a successful trade show?
Christopher Duffy: Defining a successful trade show is really a function of the specific objectives your company has set for the event, and these objectives can be different across shows. The real key is to set very targeted objectives – ones that can also be measured – on exactly what you what to achieve at the show. Some companies focus on gathering leads, some wish to launch a new product, others simply want the brand exposure. The outcomes for each of these are different, as are their measurable results. Your success will be determined by the goals you’ve set and how close you came to hitting them.
Ashlee Duerr: I define success at a trade show not by how many people I scan, but by how many qualified people I scan. I think in order to be successful you need to have relevant product, as well as a knowledgeable staff at the show presenting this product fast – you only have a few minutes with people walking the show. In my mind, if I can generate a few new customers resulting in more orders, then the show was worth it.
Steve Weisbaum: I qualify the success by the quality of the end users, not the quantity. Also, I want to support the right customer / partner the best way possible with a professional tabletop display and appearance to reflect the professionalism of the host (YOU).
Lynn-Ann Herndon: Top customer interaction and new potential contacts with buying power. New products and differentiation for your company at the show/ in the industry. Knowledgeable staff to communicate your products on the floor. Measurable follow up tactics.
Sasha Pirrie: I have been on the supplier side of the promotional products industry for 17 years and have seen many days on a tradeshow floor. What’s more, I’m on the exhibiting side so I get to see how and why people are intrigued to enter a show booth and engage with our show display and personnel. In my experience, what defines a successful tradeshow is putting forth a great display with cohesive product offering and messaging. Equally as important is making sure your show personnel have great energy & an excellent understanding of the product you are selling. Tradeshow attendees will want to engage with you if you know what you’re talking about and you are excited about what you have to offer!
What is your best tip for someone exhibiting for the first time?
Christopher Duffy: For any first-time exhibitor, our best tip is to define your objectives for the show and to very clearly outline what your message and conversation will be to attendees. It’s not enough to say that you’ll bring your top products and catalogs and quickly lay out a booth plan. Your best success will be to focus on your “engagement plan” – what you want to say, how you’re going to say it, want promises you can make, and what follow up you expect to offer. It’s this last point that can’t be understated, either. Do not forget to have a follow-up plan in place with a targeted approach to those who showed an interest in your company.
Ashlee Duerr: You need to WOW the people walking the show. You want a buzz to be created either by your booth, contest ideas or giveaways that draw people in and make them want to stay, resulting in PWOM: Positive word of mouth! (If you use it, you better quote me! LOL) When people are excited about something, they talk about it.
Steve Weisbaum: Qualify your clients before they arrive at your show. Find out what they’re looking for, if they have an event and what price point / product categories they’re looking for.
Lynn-Ann Herndon: Attract customers with an exciting giveaway, marketing idea or booth decoration. Keep their attention with knowledgeable /engaging staff.
Sasha Pirrie: If it’s your first time exhibiting, make sure you get to your booth early and familiarize yourself with all the product, collateral and goal you are trying to achieve. If you have a certain amount of leads you are trying to reach, make sure to give yourself a goal to collect a certain amount of leads per hour, have a place to keep them organized and make sure you follow-up with EVERY lead after your tradeshow! It is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your customer!
Thank you to our experts for helping marketers achieve success at their next trade show.
Feel free to ask any questions relating trade show success in the comments. We’ll be glad to help make your next exhibition a success!