Tradeshows serve a purpose. Tradeshows are also very expensive.
Trade Shows are the Most Expensive leads you ll ever generate. Make sure you Do Events Right. The First Time and Every Time.
This post is for SPONSORS of booths at trade shows. Whether you are part of a global company and especially if you are part of a small firm where every dollar really counts. This post is for you.
I also wrote a post for ATTENDEES of trade shows. You can find it here: Eight Tips for Trade Show Success
The primary purpose of a trade show is to drive AAR. This is my term for Awareness, Adoption and Revenue. This is a simple model that I think applies to every product or service. People need to know you exist before they can try it or buy it.
Below are my Tips for Sponsoring Trade Shows. I d like to hear your thoughts in the comments.
1. Be Ready from the First 5 to the Last 5
It takes only ONE good deal to make it all worthwhile. That lead might come in the first 5 or last 5 minutes ~Martin Tuip
You never know when someone is ready to buy So YOU NEED TO BE READY. I would argue and add that trade shows aren t all about selling on the show floor. This really depends upon the event. However, a critical element of tradeshows is driving AWARENESS. If people don t know about your product or service they will likely never become a customer.
Trade shows are an extension of your product management and community engagement strategy.
I have worked in the computer hardware and software industry for over 20 years. In all this time hardly anyone wants to talk to a sales person. If it is a Technical event (like Microsoft TechEd or SAP TechEd they REALLY don t want to talk to sales person. They want to Geek Out with other Techno-Geeks.
Bringing the right people enables a connection between the attendees. Which can help drive ADOPTION.
3. Train your people
A few simple tips:
4. Have a Booth Schedule
When done right tradeshows require people to give it their all for the time they are the in the booth. Make sure they have the rest and tools they need to do their best.
5. No Food or Drinks in the Booth
This might sound a bit draconian, but take a moment and think back to a booth that you have ever visited where you saw coffee cups and food wrappers lying around the booth. Were you impressed? Did it detract from your perception of the booth, from the product or service being presented?
6. The Rule of Two
Have you ever seen a booth where all the people working the booth are talking to each other? Were you likely to approach the booth? Most people wont.
This might also seem a little over the top, but I recommend that the employees working the booth need to focus on why they are working the booth. Hint: It s to meet with customers, prospects and partners.
Let s Get This Conversation Started
7. Open Ended Questions
Opening Lines Open Ended Questions WORK
8. Social Media Works
Social Media channels can have a significant impact on the perception of the company, the products and services being presented. Your company can use Social Media channels to get the word out. You can also engage the community to help drive these efforts. Make it fun, make it easy and make it memorable.
Let it work for you too. Engage the community. Enable your employees, your customers and your partners to be active participants in the effort. If it s easy to do and especially if it s fun and/or drives some community good they will be happy to help.
SWAG is sometimes called Schwag, but it s the same thing SWAG is Stuff We All Get. All the Tchotchkes and giveaways will not make for a great product or service, but they sure can drive a lot of AWARENESS. I m not against SWAG, but you need to realize they can be a distraction from the purpose of the event.
When planning giveaways a few things to keep in mind include being conscious of the event you are attending. For example, if you are attending a Microsoft event don t giveaway an iPad, iPod or other iSWAG.
10. Trip Report / Post Mortem
Just as I recommended in my post for attendees it is also important to do a wrap up of the event for sponsors. Call it a trip report, call it a post mortem, call it anything you want. Just take the time to document the event, the actions, the follow ups while they are still fresh in the minds of everyone that attended. Make sure it includes all staffers that attended the event.
Use Evernote or OneNote to combine all comments into one place for easier analysis. Use the notes to insure prompt follow up and delegation of actions. Also use the post mortem to determine if the event was worthwhile for achieving the goals of the company.
Trade Shows are expensive and require a lot of forethought
Put Your Best Foot Forward ALL THE TIME.
Be Ready to Drive Awareness, Adoption and Revenue.
There you have it My Ten Tips for SPONSORS of Trade Shows.
What other tips do you recommend for Trade Show Success?
Jeff Shuey is a veteran in the Enterprise Content Management industry. Over the past 20 years he has worked with customers and partners to design, develop and deploy solutions around the world. Jeff is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances at Winshuttle. He has worked for Microsoft, FileNet (IBM), K2, Captaris, Open Text, Kofax and Kodak. He speaks and blogs about ECM and the Intersection between Social, Mobile and Cloud Computing.