Trade show marketing presents a focused opportunity to promote your company and sell your products and services to a targeted group of prospects all in one place. Trade show exhibitors can benefit by incorporating a planned sales process into trade show planning.
The trade show industry is recognizing the need to change in order to keep up with exhibitors’ needs. Exhibitors can expect show organizers to deliver better customer experiences and more opportunities for meaningful interaction with prospects. This includes more creative methods involving face-to-face interaction, as well as greater usage of technology, such as expo apps and hashtags. Building a rapport with prospects and clients is critical. People buy from people, not from businesses.
Begin trade show planning by focusing on the overall business objectives of your company. This seems obvious, but starting with the basics can provide clarity as show planning progresses. Each event should also fit into your marketing strategy and brand image. Now you’re ready to create an effective trade show strategy–and justify every dollar you’re about to spend.
When it comes to marketing budgets, trade shows and expos are often an afterthought. Online advertising, website SEO, and other strategies always seem a higher priority, garnering all of the attention and marketing dollars. If you want more dollars to make your trade show marketing presence count, you have to make a case for it. Here’s how.
Consolidated sales calls
Closing a sale with a prospect from an expo versus one found in the field can save $914 per prospect. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), it costs $2,188 to close a sale with a show lead (which includes the average of $96 to identify a prospect at an exhibition and $2,092 representing the average cost of 3.5 sales calls to the prospect). In comparison, it costs $3,102 to close a field sale (which includes the average of $443 to identify a prospect without the aid of an exhibition, and $2,659 for the average cost of 4.5 sales calls to the prospect).
Volume, volume, volume
Trade shows can also reduce the number of costly sales calls by providing access to multiple new customers in one location. Trade shows give your sales team access to hundreds, if not thousands of new prospects– many of whom are pre-qualified– who attend that show. This enables your staff to hone in on your ideal customers and target them with your marketing efforts.
See it to believe it
One of the reasons why completing the sales cycle can be so expensive and time-consuming is that it can be difficult for the customer to test and evaluate the product before making a buying decision. Trade shows are one of the most effective ways to give customers the opportunity to put their hands on your products, either as a demonstration, a presentation, or a sample of the product itself.
We’re better than them
Trade shows have a way of stripping things down to the nitty-gritty by gathering all of the apples and oranges in one spot so the prospects can comparison shop. They can look at your products and compare your offerings against the competition. This is your opportunity to shine, highlighting the benefits of dealing with your company and choosing your product.
Your booth is a billboard
Sometimes, one of your primary marketing objectives is brand awareness to promote your company identity, and recognition/recall of your brand in the minds of clients and prospects. A trade show allows you to present your corporate identity to a targeted group of customers and prospects, helping to raise your visibility and industry standing.
While marketers continually experiment with new methods for reaching their target audience, it may be tempting to think that trade shows are becoming a thing of the past. Actually, CEIR reports that the expo industry posted a strong year-on-year gain of 3.7% in the fourth quarter; in fact, it’s part of a long trend of slow, steady growth. We helped show why your company should exhibit, but it’s up to you (and your team) to produce the results.