Trade shows can be a powerful marketing tool if managed properly, but most companies don’t see the ROI from their trade show efforts they require to justify attending more trade show events. So why do so many companies struggle? Most exhibitors are uneducated when it comes to the process. There are so many variables to running a successful exhibit program, and unfortunately, most of these tricks are only discovered the hard way.
There is no formal education out there to prepare you for the trade show game. It was once said to me by an industry partner that in the 4 year marketing program at The University of Western Ontario less than one week is spent discussing trade show marketing. These students then graduate and someday in their career, they are tasked with managing a successful trade show program as part of their marketing strategy.
Day in and day out, we at Ballance Display speak to these marketing executives trying to provide them with an exhibit solution that works for their company. However, the exhibit itself does not matter if there is no trade show strategy. You might have the best looking booth at a show, but if you don’t have a plan to engage with potential customers, your efforts may be wasted.
A proper trade show strategy can be challenging to put together, so it must be planned well in advance of the big day. Remember that pre-show efforts, show floor tactics, and post show follow-ups are all key pieces of your strategy.
Your company’s message has to be clear and concise, and you have to engage your visitors and prove your benefits over your competitors – and fast. I have heard various numbers thrown around over the years, but the overall consensus is that you have less than 5 seconds to catch the attention of visitors before they walk by your exhibit. Your ultimate goal is to get them to stop at your booth and qualify them quickly or you will be wasting your sales team’s time.
Aside from these challenges, you also have to find an exhibit builder, and have a trade show display built to match your design, budget and time frame. You must also start looking into all those important exhibit services for a successful show– shipping, installation, electrical, and storage. This is where most exhibitors make mistakes that ruin their whole trade show experience. The costs can be astronomical, the travel, the hotels, and those show rules…… It’s no wonder we struggle to see the benefits and return on investment for our trade show efforts!
If you are looking for help in designing a trade show booth that fits within your overall marketing strategy, Ballance Display can help. For over 30 years we have seen what works and what doesn’t at trade shows – an invaluable resource for anyone looking to maximize their trade show ROI.