Event Marketing: How to Refresh Your Trade Show Tactics

April 27, 2015

Today's post comes to you from guest contributor Reno Macri, Founder and Director of Enigma Visual Solutions, and event marketing expert. Do your exhibition stands generate plenty of interest, or do you find yourself spending more time looking enviously at other companies’ busy stands than you do talking to interested attendees? If it's the latter, it might be time to take a good look at your event marketing tactics. With good planning and preparation, your booth can be the one generating all the interest.

Event Marketing Tactics: Assess What You're Doing

Are you planning early?

Lack of planning can cause a long list of problems, especially if it leads to one of these situations:

  • You register for an event at the last minute, or without making sure the event is relevant to your organization.
  • You register early but leave your booth/stand design till the last minute, then hurriedly put together a stand that looks lackluster in comparison to others.
  • You hire an exhibition company to create the perfect stand, but then fail to follow through with a plan for engaging prospects at the show.

In each case, a lack of forethought is preventing you from taking full advantage of what a trade show or exhibition can give you. To get the most benefit out of trade events, you need to start planning well in advance, and plan every last detail.

Are you mapping out your goals?

Do you want to generate interest in a new product line, make sales, or just make new contacts? Whatever your goals are, your plan for the event should be developed with the objective of helping you achieve them. In addition, it's also important to decide on the metrics that you’ll track to quantify how well you meet those goals.

Are you generating buzz in advance?

If you wait until the show to start talking about it, you've waited too long. There's a lot you can do to generate interest in your stand before the event, from blog posts and press releases to tweets and Facebook updates. Talk about what you're bringing to the event and invite people to visit your stand. Convince people who are attending to come to your stand. Use pre-show event marketing tactics like direct mail, email, and free or discounted passes to convince top customers and strong prospective customers who aren't planning to attend to change their minds.

Are you making an impact with your exhibition stand?

One of the big advantages of early registration is that your options for choosing a good stand location are greatly improved, even if you prefer to go with a smaller less expensive location. But even if you get stuck in a less-than-optimal spot, a well-designed stand can make a huge impact. Remember that your stand should be designed to get attention, but not necessarily deliver huge amounts of information: that's the job of the people staffing it. The people you choose to work your trade shows should be knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and able to maintain their enthusiasm over the course of what is typically a very long day. Planning is important here too; staff should be primed with a well-developed strategy for attracting and maintaining attention.

Are you doing more than exhibit?

Whether you're a seasoned exhibitor looking to increase your impact, or you're new to the scene and want to make a big splash, being a speaker is a great way to do it. You’ll draw more attention to your business and your booth, while also building your personal brand. If you think this is something you might be interested in, bear in mind that most trade events engage speakers well in advance and have specific criteria for choosing speakers, so this is another aspect that needs to be planned early and thoroughly. Author Bio: Reno Macri is Founder and Director of leading event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specializing in event marketing, branding, graphic productions, signage systems, exhibition stands design, pop up shops and more. He specializes in experiential marketing and event productions, and enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends. Follow Reno on Twitter here.