Written by Amy Redhead

My first experience of a B2B trade show (more years ago than I wish to admit to) was as a fresh-faced account executive when I was asked to attend a Linux expo at Earls Court. I remember being shocked and somewhat confused by the number of ladies on the stands wearing body paint that matched the brands they were being paid to represent.

Thankfully, things have moved on and ‘booth babes’ (as they were known) are now largely a thing of the past. Our clients know better than to isolate a large proportion of their audience and I’m glad to say that at the events we promote, exhibitors recognise the importance of presenting a professional image.

I was reminded of those early trade shows as the Aspectus PR B2B Event Marketing team is entering one of the busiest times of the year with the IET’s Viscount Nuffield lecture this week, NEMEX, IWEX and Energy Recovery taking place at the NEC Birmingham next week, and MACH 2014 at the same venue the week after. It’s also a busy time for many of the clients we are supporting at various events over the next few months, including OTC and Trade Tech Paris.

Trade shows present a fantastic opportunity to showcase your brand and forge lasting personal relationships with peers, prospects, customers and partners, which you simply can’t get through traditional and online advertising. However, it’s surprising how many prospects we speak to who are left disappointed by their experience of events and unsure of the value they provide.

Our advice is always the same: With the correct amount of preparation and the right attitude, events can be both enjoyable and extremely rewarding from both a sales and a marketing perspective.

Here are some top tips to ensure your event experience is a big success:

  • Go with an open mind – It’s not just about hard-selling your product or service, events can also be a great opportunity to learn and build lasting relationships. Find out which stands are getting the most footfall and why, which companies in your space are innovating, and what can you learn from them.
  • Seek out the networking opportunities – The bar is a great place to chat to people, but don’t overwhelm them with business talk, instead find a conversation based on common interest. When you stop trying to get business from contacts and instead focus on building relationships people tend to be much more responsive.
  • Make the most of the PR opportunities on offer – Successful events will invest a lot in PR and are usually keen to work with exhibitors in order to promote the event in the media. Befriend the PR working for the event at the earliest possibility and find out what press opportunities they are working on that you might be able to get involved with.
  • Look interested! If you don’t, why would anyone want to stop and chat to you? Events are so much more fun and interesting when you get chatting to people. If you demonstrate the passion you have for your brand and that you’ve got the knowledge base to match, you are sure to make new contacts and sales.

If you are planning a trip to MACH 2014, Sustainability Live or POWER-GEN Europe, be sure to drop us an email or simply come by the press office to say hi, we would love to see you!

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