Cara Good

Article Summary:

Four tips to consider before your next trade show.

Trade Show Tips

Trade shows and conferences give you many opportunities to promote your company. These are prime marketing venues -- if you know how to work the show floor and manage pre- and post-show prospects. Here's a quick primer.

Trade shows can be an effective way to brand your company while increasing sales and meeting scores of industry contacts in one centralized location. Here are some tips to consider before your next trade show.

Plan For Success
Prepare far enough ahead to take advantage of all promotional opportunities and provide a positive image of your company at the show. Smaller conferences and regional shows take about three months of planning, while larger forums can take up to six months of preparation. In addition, determine in the planning stages exactly whom you wish to attract to your booth and devise strategies to get them there. You may wish to conduct pre-show direct-marketing campaigns to your target audience, or hold special educational sessions or networking events just for them. Finally, when appropriate, make other exhibitors aware of your product. In some shows, both attendees and exhibitors should be targeted for double efficiency.

Image Is Important
Unless you have a large in-house creative/production department, outsource the design and production of your trade show exhibit. Learn how simple or sophisticated the other attendees' booths will be and then plan yours accordingly. Although you may invest in a customized booth for your company, you still should target the look and message of your booth to the show you are attending. Don't assume that one booth-one look is appropriate for all shows. You can raise your brand awareness by co-exhibiting with partner companies. Contact your Printronix account manager about joint promotional opportunities at upcoming trade shows.

Court The Press
Trade shows can be excellent media opportunities, particularly for trade press. Take advantage of show dailies and set up trade press appointments in advance when possible.

Follow Up
A great show with lots of quality leads will be disastrous unless there is careful and quick follow up on all leads. This can be as simple as collecting business cards and designating a post-show team to make follow-up phone calls to each prospect. The week following a show also is a great time to a launch an e-newsletter or begin a direct-marketing campaign. Whatever follow-up method you choose, track your results so you can determine where to spend your trade show dollars next year.

Cara Good is the co-founder and president of WunderMarx Inc., a fast-growing international public relations, marketing and branding firm representing some of the world's most innovative technologies and ideas. She has been quoted and featured in numerous articles on entrepreneurialism, public relations and marketing, and speaks frequently on these topics. For more information visit www.wundermarx.com

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