By Astor Sonnen, Senior Account Director
Trade shows are a staple of most industries. A chance to network, showcase solutions, sell, buy, and learn, brands often anchor entire marketing and sales campaigns around their appearances at events.
Driving the most value out of trade shows is dependent on having clear objectives, defined within a strategic event communications plan. You can’t simply turn up and expect success; you need to lay the groundwork.
While events may differ between industries, there are several key considerations for marketeers when developing marketing and comms plans. So, whether you’re planning on exhibiting at DCD Connect, Capacity Europe, SaaStock, InfoSec Europe or any other event, here are three top tips to keep in mind.
1: Tell your audience that you’re attending and ‘stand’ out
Raise awareness of your attendance so that your audience can set up meetings at the show, while also boosting your brand by publicising what topics and events you’re active in.
Start activity 6-weeks or so out and use a variety of tactics – such as email marketing, social media and content – to increase the likelihood your audience will engage.
Conversations will also happen organically at the show, but having a stand that sets you apart will help to attract visitors. Some brands develop vibrant signage, while others may have quirks such as demos and freebies.
- How will your target audience know that you’re exhibiting at the event?
- What’s the most effective way of reaching your audience?
- Do you have something planned that will increase the attractiveness of your stand?
2: Train your speakers to represent your brand in the right way
If you have a representative in a panel discussion, make sure they’re fully prepped to add insightful commentary. A true thought leader can explore industry topics, while subtly bridging back to their own messaging, so that attendees gain a better understanding. If panel participants clearly push their own agenda and aren’t in sync with each other, it can be alienating to the audience.
- Are your experts fully prepared for a discussion?
- Do they require training so that they understand when best to engage in the wider conversation and when to be more direct with your messaging?
3: If you want media coverage, have something new to say
Media coverage is another common desired outcome for brands attending events, but this is dependent on having actual news. Attendance in itself is not newsworthy. Be ready to announce something along the lines of new data, offerings, customer relationships or top-level hires so that journalists have a reason to come to your stand.
However, other brands in attendance will likely be announcing news at the same time for the same reasoning, so make your story strong. And remember, if there’s no news, you can still take the opportunity to chat to journalists on the day to build relationships – with the right preparation.
- Do you have something new to talk about?
- If yes, to manage expectations, would you expect coverage of the news if you announced it outside of the show?
- What are your main goals for attending? If lead generation is a priority, your efforts may be better focused elsewhere.
There are plenty more top tips we can give you, so if you’ve got an industry event on the horizon and want to know how to make your resources deliver more, get in touch.
Let’s discuss your event communications plan, as well as your wider technology PR and comms strategy.