Tradeshows provide an opportunity to showcase passion for your work to people all over the world, making it possible for them to see the latest developments in your field. Organizers are able to pack expo halls and conference centers with exhibitors and vendors because these events provide unbeatable access to dozens of your peers and potential investors, business partners and customers, all in one place. But making the most of the opportunity and showing off what makes your brand unique requires focused effort, from the planning stages through the show itself.
Recruit Ideas From Many Departments
Preparing for your brand’s presence at a trade show is an important and often difficult task. Because the opportunity is so important for many aspects of your business, it’s crucial to involve team members from many departments in the planning process. Doing so provides diversity to the voices that will help you maximize the opportunity for the entire brand and spreads out the responsibilities so that no one person or department gets overwhelmed with planning tasks. Tap into this expertise throughout your company to make sure your presence meets the whole brand’s needs and you have a thorough understanding of each department’s goals.
Study Your Audience
Make sure you know the audience you’re likely to connect with at the trade show and that you’ll have the right personnel in the booth to communicate your brand’s message clearly to each of them. Figure out what they care about and get yourself ready to show how your excitement for your brand lines up with their priorities. Start your marketing early in key publications and promotions from the show’s organizer. Depending on the size of the trade show, you could be competing with hundreds of other booths for attention. Before the show even begins, you want to communicate to your key audiences why your booth is worth visiting with the limited time they have.
Set Your Business Apart Creatively
You need to get a little creative to get the traction you’re after and to make sure you’re quickly communicating what’s special about your brand in a noisy and crowded space. Trade show attendees don’t want to hear the pitch they can get from your sales deck; you need to create an experience that grabs their attention and gives them a better understanding of who you are and what you do. It’s even better if that experience shows what makes your brand special while providing attendees with something valuable. It can be something creative, like an interactive game, or something as simple as a thoughtful demo that shows attendees or someone they know can benefit from your product or service. For example, since we want to show the connection between our products and carefree, relaxing travel, we’re setting up a relaxation station in our booth at The International Travel Goods Show where attendees can enjoy a neck and shoulder massage. After enjoying a relaxing massage, they will then learn about a few Cabeau favorites like travel neck pillows, eye sleep mask and pillows that stay cool.
Bring Out Your Inner Networking Beast
An often overlooked, but equally important part of a successful trade show is the networking opportunity. Everyone who attends the show on behalf of your brand should be on the lookout for new contacts and be prepared to speak about how your brand’s passion shows through all the different aspects of your business. Attend happy hours after the show floor closes. Strike up conversations at lunch. See who you can meet in the lobby bar at the hotel. Trade shows are a rare opportunity to get face-to-face contact with people in a variety of roles throughout your industry, and any moment can be an opportunity to connect with an influential journalist, a business development manager from a potential partner or a decision maker from a potential new customer or client.
Do your homework before the show and be ready to demonstrate how much you love your brand and why other attendees should love it too. Make good use of your time away from the office; a great showing can set you up for success for months or years to come, and the opportunity to spend a few days out of your office connecting with other people from your industry means you can have some fun while you’re at it.