How your exhibits and events can bring home a better report card

- Brian Walters - Trade Shows and Creative Spaces - September 7, 2016

Bringing home our report card from school was either a scary proposition or a proud one. Not much has changed in our adult lives when we consider how we are evaluated by the work we do in our professional careers. If you are a trade show manager or marketing executive, you know the enormous expense trade shows can impose on your marketing budgets. It is critical that after each event you can show positive results. Working hard isn’t always enough to achieve the results you need. Working smart and avoiding the pitfalls is. We hope the following information will help you improve your “Report Card” and get straight A’s for improving your company’s goals.

A. Plan Ahead:
It’s baffling that most companies know at least a year in advance what shows they will be attending, and yet do nothing to prepare for the event in a timely manner. A really successful show needs in-depth planning starting at least six months in advance of the show. By giving thought to Who is attending, How can I reach them and What can I do to engage them, you will start to form a strategy for a successful event. Leaving less than six months of time to prepare, you may find that although you have a terrific approach to the event, there is not enough time to execute and therefore… Plan Ahead…That’s your first “A”.

B. Execute your plan:
No matter the direction you have chosen to execute your plan, it always takes longer than you may expect. It is important to engage your marketing support staff including your outside partners such as your exhibit house and your PR firm to get their expertise in producing your concepts. When a customer shares their ideas ahead of time, we can collaborate and often improve on their ideas, saving them time, money, frustration and deliver a Awesome experience for that event…Awesome. Another “A”.

C. Follow through:
So now that you have just delivered the most successful event in your company’s history, you may want to bask in the glow of a job well done, but here is where the average student fails. Although producing a great event is a critical part of trade show marketing, the real work of following up on all of the leads gathered is the most important task. This can be very difficult if you and your booth staff have not done a good job of qualifying leads and taking accurate notes on what your customers are looking for. Immediate response to your customer’s requests is imperative, and that is why using apps like BizBOOK, Interactive Virtual Navigation (IVN) and CONNECT help our clients generate, capture and fulfill customer requests on the spot, as part of their customer engagement. Detailed analytics help to track each interaction and customer interest, as well as which staff member, engaged the customer. Amazing tools for remarkable results…Amazing straight A’s!