Many B2B companies look to trade shows as a way to find new business and expand their brand awareness. It should come as no surprise then that the average B2B brand invests nearly 40% of its total marketing spend on them.
What many B2B companies may not realize is that they can dramatically impact their ROI on trade shows with proper planning, adequate resourcing and thorough follow-up.
In our white paper, “Your Roadmap to B2B Trade Show Success,” we provide a blueprint for turning your next trade show marketing into the most successful one ever.
To give you a sneak peek of the trade show white paper, we have included some of the topics below:
Research to find the right trade show
Not enough B2B companies research which trade shows are right for them. Should you go to the largest — and most expensive — trade show in your industry or something a little more affordable? The answer depends upon your risk tolerance, potential budget and ambitions.
Speaking of money
It’s always wise to set up a budget for your trade show initiative or you may find yourself spending way too much for the potential for leads and brand awareness. The budget should be realistic and take into account current cost for booth design and build, travel and lodging, client entertainment, etc.
Who’s in charge?
Maybe the most important asset in your trade show initiative is the person in charge. You should assign a project manager to steer the trade show marketing initiative to ensure the resources from internal and external stakeholders are in alignment with the overall brand strategy and meeting key deadlines.
Staffing your trade show booth with employees who truly thrive on customer service and can operate on little sleep and in chaotic environments is a must. Trade shows don’t end at 5pm and a lot of important schmoozing with key customers takes place over dinner and drinks. Make sure your employees are not only articulate on your product and service initiatives but are also able to act professionally after a glass or two of wine.
Your B2B trade show marketing collateral is what customers and prospects will take home with them so make sure it is well-designed and reflective of your company’s approved brand strategy — from both a visual and written perspective. If you are showing a demo, be sure you have product sheets for the product(s) on hand and that the demo is staffed by a competent technical expert or you may have a failure to launch episode when it really counts.
Twitter and LinkedIn are the go-to social media platforms for B2B trade shows. Twitter is perfect for following the ebb-and-flow of conversations about the trade show. You should share your own company’s latest innovations and offers but also share other relevant industry information to encourage others to follow you and share your insights with their networks. LinkedIn is a great way to connect with prospects and influencers while LinkedIn Pulse can help you gain some thought leadership with well-timed posts. Whatever you do, don’t try to follow somebody just to pitch them a sale as that flies in the face of generally accepted social media behavior.
Don’t forget PR
Media outreach is still a great way to establish your brand’s credibility and get more visitors to your trade show booth. To ensure you get a fair shot at media coverage it’s wise to reach out in advance to key journalists who are planning to attend the event. Try to set up face-to-face meetings at your booth so they can talk to your executives. If you are launching a new product, it may be easier to set meetings with media. Bottom line: Don’t let the trade show get away from you without at least having coffee with one or two influential journalists.
You are at the trade show to get more leads, so don’t forget this important step! Take every business card and enter it into your CRM daily; be sure to assign each contact a status inside your CRM. If it’s a hot lead, then make sure the lead is assigned to sales for immediate follow-up. Tire-kicker leads should be assigned to your drip marketing program for alerts on new products, discounts, webinars, etc. The key is to not lose track of any leads or your whole trade show ROI will suffer.