Great Display Exhibits Still Need a Sound Marketing Plan
Great looking exhibit stands and displays can be very effective, but you still need to plan your trade show marketing, including picking the right shows, understanding the type of clients you want to meet, who your competitors are, and how to win the battle of attracting those clients at the trade show.
When you’re asked by your manager why you’re exhibiting at a particular trade show, you want to have a solid answer prepared. That’s where a marketing strategy or marketing plan will come in handy. Any member of your organization who has not had a hand in planning for the trade show should be able to look at your strategy and understand not only your goals and objectives but how you intend to accomplish them.
You should have already done the work and put together the resources you need to develop your marketing plan. Critical to the marketing plan are the demographics related to the trade show attendees and your targeted prospects, your competition (that will be present at the show) and how you intend to place yourself above them, and the reason that you chose to exhibit at this particular trade show in the first place.
As you begin to create your marketing plan, review the information that you gathered about the attendees when you first began researching the trade show. What are the attendees—and your target prospects—expecting to find at the trade show? Why are they attending? Is it possible that their needs or objectives are seasonal, or that they could be affected by the economy or by government legislation (local, state, or federal)? You need to ensure that the information you gathered previously about them is still accurate.
When it comes to your competition, you simply cannot know enough about them. In your marketing plan, you need to point out what position they hold in the market you share with them. Find out as much as you can about their plans for the trade show. How big is their booth? Are they going to sponsor any activities or private events at the show? Is there an announcement that they might be making at the trade show? With all of this information on hand, you can then begin to plan how you will differentiate your company from theirs and make yours more attractive to key prospects that you both hope to acquire.
It’s important to note in your marketing plan why you chose this particular show in the first place. You need to explain what it is about this trade show that makes it appealing. Are there going to be great public relations opportunities? Will there be a large number of key prospects showing up as attendees? Will you and your team be able to network with others who will be influential in growing your business? These are all good questions to have answered in your plan.
Making an effective marketing plan isn’t rocket science, and there are many tools available, online and in the bookstore, to help you along the way. As long as your marketing plan stays focused on the attendees, what they want and how you are going to position yourself best to give it to them, you can’t go wrong.