Make trade show marketing work for you


Making your trade show marketing work for you is an important part of B-to-B marketing strategy for many companies. In fact, about 18% to 25% of a typical B-to-B marketing budget is allocated to exhibiting at trade shows. But just setting up a booth and relying on large format printing is not enough. You must promote your attendance at the trade show in advance. If you do it well, you can double or even triple the results from your overall trade show investment.

How is this possible? It’s because as many as three-quarters of business buyers plan their trade show time in advance. That’s why getting pre-show information out to them is so important. A recent study by Deloitte & Touche found that exhibitors who conducted a pre-show campaign raised their “attraction efficiency” by nearly 50%. What that means is the quality of the audience they were able to attract to their booths was considerably better than if those exhibitors had left attendance to chance. And beyond that, the conversion of booth visitors to qualified leads rose 50% when a pre-show promotion was used.

The keys of successHow do you formulate an effective pre-show trade show strategy?

It takes a two-step approach. And it takes direct marketing. First, you employ targeted communications to registered attendees, which you can get from the trade show organizer. Once you obtain the list, begin to pull out visitors with a high potential of buying what you’re selling from among the trade show attendee population and encourage them to visit your booth or, better yet, to set up an appointment with you. This can be done via direct mail obtained from a printing services provider. It’s all about qualifying: after all, not all those attending the trade show are worth your attention. That’s why a targeted direct mail campaign to just these attendees is crucial.

Part two of your strategy should include communicating to your own customers, inquirers, and prospects and inviting them to the show. These folks can be found on your house file. Reaching out and inviting them is a must because they’re already interested in doing business with you. If you find out that some of them are not planning on attending, encourage them to change their minds. At the very least, contacting them will serve as a useful part of your ongoing relationship-building communications efforts.

Pre-show trade show marketing is worth the effort

The point of pre-show trade show marketing is to get “top of mind” and “on the agenda” of the most qualified attendees before the show opens. It makes tremendous sense when you stop to consider these facts—

The average trade show attendee will visit approximately 26 exhibitors (make sure you’re one of them.)

More than three-quarters of attendees arrive with an agenda of exhibitors they plan to visit (again, make sure you’re among them.)

Fewer than 20% of exhibitors employ targeted pre-show trade show marketing campaigns (that’s one list you don’t want to be on.)

How about using a targeted pre-show trade show direct marketing campaign that utilizes some clever thinking in the form of say, oversized printing?  Add some basic planning and focused execution, and you will have a steady flow of interested and qualified buyers visiting your booth!



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