Trade Show Strategies: First Things First – Part 1

When building a strategic action plan for your trade show or event, there are three questions that you need to ask:

Why are we going?

Who is our target audience?

How will we measure success?

This blog deals with the first question –  “Why are we going?” Don’t try to answer this one yourself – ask representatives from sales and marketing and if possible, from someone in management for each. And don’t let them off the hook with simple answers i.e. “to get leads” or “for brand awareness”, or  “to demonstrate a new product” Dig a little deeper –

1) How many qualified leads do we need to get for us to consider this successful? (Ask them what makes a qualified lead)

2) If we get x number of qualified leads, what will be our potential ROI? (How many of the qualified leads that we bring back does the sales team think they can turn into sales? How much is an average sale?)

3)  What do we want to find out about how our brand is being perceived? (If looking for brand awareness, you need to have an idea of what you want to know from attendees about your brand.)

4) What do we want the audience to know or to do when they see a demo of the new product?

After you get the answer to the base question of why you’re going to the show, be sure to ask why it’s important so that you build strategies around relevant and meaningful goals. When you answer questions like these, you can start to build a more strategic action plan that will demonstrate the value of your program.

My next blog will deal with being able to answer the next question, “Who are we targeting?” (Warning: It’s not as easy as it sounds, but we’ll get to that later.) For now – see if you can answer the question – Why is your company going to its next trade show or event? And can you build a more robust answer to the question so that you can begin to construct a more strategic action plan?

Susan Brauer About Susan Brauer

Susan Brauer, CME and president at Brauer Consulting Group, has more than 20 years experience in the trade show and events industry. Her experience in setting strategic, quantifiable objectives, promoting and strengthening key corporate messages and demonstrating ROI has led her to also become a sought-out speaker at national trade show events and conferences. Susan’s areas of expertise include strategic goal-setting, event measurement programs, booth staff training and hands-on, interactive workshops.

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