Building a Trade Show Strategy: What all you need apart from the booth design?

Preparing for your upcoming trade show is usually a much bigger challenge then just building your booth. If you want to build a complete trade show strategy, then it includes a host of other things to take care of, which will ensure that you leave a flawless impression on the visitors who come to your exhibition or to your booth. This may include branded displays, marketing collaterals, demo products, well-trained booth staff, a perfect lead capture technology and many more such things. It is ideal to have a right mix of all these things which will ensure that you touch all aspects of the strategy and this is bound to leave maximum impact for your visitors at the show.

It is also important to look at all these elements well in time for the show, so you don’t have to do too many things at the last moment.

What is the status of your exhibition booth?

First, it is very important to have your exhibition booth design, fabrication, installation plan in place well in time. My advice don’t keep it for the last moments. The most ideal is that you should have closed all aspects of your booth at least 30 days before the start of the show and hand it over to your booth designer to build the booth in the workshop. You may also want to have one visit to the warehouse to ensure that the things are coming up the way you expected them to come and that there are no last minute surprises. With just 2 to 3 days in the building phase, there is no scope for surprises.

What all marketing collaterals should you have for your exhibition?

Bringing expensive marketing collaterals to a trade show is a calculated risk. It is more than likely that every attendee will go home with a sizeable stack of pamphlets, USB drives, samples of pens etc. However, many of these objects will either end up in a trash can or will be passed on to somebody else.

As regards the brochures, it is suggested that you should bring 2 tiers of them. The first one of the marketing collaterals or the brochure is a low-cost version, perhaps a single sheet A5 or A4. This should ideally be placed on an easy to see location (possibly on the information counter or next to a product), so it can easily be grabbed by anyone who is interested and can get a quick information about it.

Your second tier of brochures should ideally be high-end with a nice touch and feel and should speak of being premium right from the word go. You should hand this only to the people who have the authority to buy your product or you feel they will influence a buying decision or any qualified attendee which you feel appropriate. 

Also consider using non-paper collaterals. According to a survey conducted on visitors coming out of exhibitions, they respond favorably to unique textures, laser cut items in paper or non-paper or something which is not cliched and very regularly used in the trade shows. Always try to be little different. And this doesn’t mean that it has to be too costly, you can differentiate nicely at an appropriate cost.

Before ordering one such collateral for your company, always ask yourself, would I take this home or toss it away?

What technology will you need to demonstrate your product or service? 

If you are going to demonstrate a new product or a machinery or an innovative service at your upcoming participation, you may need technology solutions to ensure optimal user experience. Depending on the kind of product or a service you may need iPads, video walls, laptops and computers, LED displays, holographic displays, virtual reality gears or something more specific.

Before you implement this technology or any integration on to your booth, it is best to acquire each piece to test. Since the planning time at the booths is fairly low, you want to be sure about the technology integration well in advance. If your product demonstration requires explanation, then test it out with few volunteers within your sales team at your office before bringing it to the public. Your presenters should be well trained in what will be spoken.

What is your lead capturing strategy?

Finally, do plan much before the exhibition, what is your mechanism of capturing all the leads which will get generated at the booth. Ideal is to have an automated system of lead capturing which can ensure a quick capture of the data by your sales team or the booth staff and an instant communication to the visitor with the features of the product or the service which have just been spoken about. There are good solutions in the market these days to adopt.

Unfortunately, a lot of exhibitors still use a conventional way of physically capturing the visiting cards, but we all know that this method severely delays the communication to the visitors which is one of the biggest roadblocks in closing a sale. Invest in a good lead capturing software and track it from one exhibition to the another to map your return on investment from a show.

Any great strategy takes time to build and so will yours too. You will have to use and test a combination of few of these examples and arrive on the best strategy for yourself. All the best and have a great next show. 

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