Trade Shows – To do or not to do – that is the question!

Trade shows have been a marketing fixture since 1851 when the “Great Exhibition” was held in London.

Trade Show 1

Since that time, Trade Shows have become a staple in the marketing mix of established companies.

What about Start-Ups?

If it is a B2B product, we strongly recommend that our clients include Trade Shows as part of their marketing budget. If it is a B2C product and our client also wants a retail channel,  then Trade Shows are a great way to get exposure to buyers from large and small chains. We also urge the client to be sure that the Founder and all senior staff attend the show and work the booth.

Why? – Because Exhibiting works!

“Trade shows are the #1 business-to-business marketing expenditure to support sales – beating out specialty publications, internet, promotions, and PR respectively”

It is estimated that 80+% of all exhibit attendees have some sort of buying power. So if they stop at your booth, your people and your booth must be ready to impress.

Whether you are at a National show in Chicago or at a Regional show in Austin – you owe it to your product and your stake holders to be at your best. While your booth may be minimal, your effort must be at the maximum. You have about 15 seconds to make a first impression, so make it count.

Some other tips:

  1. Do not economize on your booth location – get a corner or a larger booth
  2. Bring adequate POS material
  3. Have sufficient staff to give everybody down time
  4. Have a script and a chain of command for staff working the booth
  5. Have a daily pre-show meeting to get everybody on the same page
  6. Have a daily post-show meeting to review the day
  7. Do not tolerate sloppiness or inattention–texting can wait
  8. Be prepared to provide pricing information – delivered to the customer
  9. Be ready for surprises
  10. Last but most important: Know why you are at the show and know what you are trying to accomplish

After 35 years of doing Trade Shows, I can tell you that they are hard work. I can also tell you that proper preparation can improve results exponentially. So if you are just starting out, or already have few years of operating, I urge you to consider Trade Show participation. Carefully select a show to fit your purpose, do your home work and then watch your sales soar.