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5 Strategies To Avoid At A Trade Show

authorThis guy stumbles into a hotel in Chicago and learns about marketing strategies. The “guy” is I. The event was the Exhibitor FastTrak and the session was on Marketing Strategies.

On the last day Bob Milam (@tradeshowbob) was the presenter and gave a great presentation on Business Marketing Strategies & Trade Shows. Bob is a great consultant and coach on the topic of trade show performance and is a contributing columnist for EXHIBITOR magazine. I was intrigued to learn about several simple things to avoid that were covered in the session. You may look at the list below and say, “common sense?” I agree. However, this list would be a good checklist to share the next time you discuss display and booth development with your client.

1) Being at a trade show without a sales objective. If you don’t have a plan, then why attend? Everything depends on sales. No sales…no audience. No trade show…no money. You need to decide what your sales end-game needs to be by the conclusion of the trade show. A specific and measurable sales objective with a defined time frame is a must. Don’t forget to do your follow-up post-show.

2) Attending with the same marketing strategy you had last year. You will be stale and out of date. If an entirely new display is not in the cards for you, then additional pieces, new graphic scheme, fresh carpet etc. should be a must. If you cannot get a new structure, get new graphics with an updated or new message. Spend some time with a graphic designer and unleash them on your display.

author3) Displaying with multiple target messages. Have one thing to say and minimize the amount of text to say it. Are you trying to get all 6 messages from marketing crammed into one booth with a fabric wall covered in text panels using 10 different font styles in bold on your backwall? That is almost on the grounds of abuse to your attendees. Your audience does not want to be confused or read.

4) Not having detailed tactics to support your strategy. Music without notes sounds like… (nothing) Your Marketing Strategy will not be successful if you do not include and share with others the tactics. You will just be spinning your wheels. Spend time on the specific demonstrations, procedures, time frame, and your bag of tricks! Plan, explain and share these things with everyone so all know what to do and NOT to do.

5) Copying a successful marketing tactic verbatim. Don’t confuse your target audience. Imitation is the best form of flattery. Stealing an idea someone else used or is using is a bad strategy. Evaluate successful ideas, adapt to your company’s brand and put your own spin on it.

Bob Milam (tradeshowbob@gmail.com) aka Trade Show Bob, is a consultant and coach — the one you call when the people who lead your exhibit efforts need a boost. A past winner of Exhibitor Magazine’s All Star Award, he knows a thing or two about trade show performance. Currently a contributing columnist to EXHIBITOR magazine, Bob loves to see companies’ exhibit programs blossom under the leadership of competent and confident Exhibit Managers.

About the Author Derek Leftridge is the Marketing Coordinator of Optima™. He has been involved in many aspects of the Trade Show Industry since 1993. He is now involved in Social Media and E-Marketing for Optima™. Other posts by Derek

  1. September 23, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Great tips!

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