Trade show marketing can be expensive. Exhibit space fees, travel expenses, accommodations — even your time away from the office — it all adds up very quickly.
So when selecting a trade show, it’s important to carefully determine your objectives before you make the investment.
First, let’s take a look at four generally bad objectives for exhibiting at a trade show:
- Because “we go there every year.” Don’t exhibit just out of habit. Make sure your decision each year for an event is based on results.
- Because “our competitors always go there.” This trade show may be as equally ineffective for them, too!
- “It’s a fun location” or “there is always cool, interesting stuff on the exhibit floor.” Trade shows are an expensive way to entertain yourself.
- When a different marketing tactic might be more suitable to achieve the same or better results (such as direct mail, telemarketing, etc.)
Here are 15 objectives to consider before selecting a trade show. It’s ideal if you can achieve multiple objectives from this list at each event you choose.
- Generate sales leads from your target market
- Have opportunities to “upsell” to your current clients
- Enter a new market
- Introduce a new service
- Educate prospects about your service
- Build awareness of your company, your credentials and/or capabilities
- Gather information about your competitors
- Get press or publicity
- Identify and interact with potential new clients
- Meet with key and/or multiple decision makers of your client
- Have an opportunity to speak at a conference track
- Identify and recruit possible partners
- Identify and recruit new employees
- Show that you support your industry
- Conduct market research (surveys, industry trends, etc.)
Once you have determined your primary objectives for a trade show marketing opportunity, you should then focus on ways that you can specifically measure the outcomes.