After the Trade Show: What Do You Have to Show

February 23, 2008 5:16 pm

Brand Communications Beyond the Booth™

Taking a booth at a trade show is as much a risk as it is an opportunity. There you are, face to face with your valued customers and your best prospects. You didn’t have to get past a gatekeeper. You didn’t have to get them to open your mail, or read your ad, or accept your e-mail. They came to you. The question is, what frame of mind were they in when they approached your booth? What impression did they have of your company before the face-to-face encounter, and what were they thinking as they walked away? Maybe the most important question of all is this one. Did you do your company more harm than good by being there?

There is Nothing Worse Than a Missed Opportunity

The way we see it, you can do your company more harm than good by being a no-show at an important trade show. Taking that booth space should never be a risk. It is a rare opportunity in this e-centric world to make eye contact with the decision makers who decide the fate of your company, and your job, on a daily basis. And it’s not so hard to make the most of it. Even if you don’t have someone dedicated to your trade show presence, or even a director of sales and marketing, you can still enhance your brand’s image significantly by what you do and say before, during, and after the show.

Make Sure You’re Comfortable in Your Own Skin

The first step is to make certain that you are comfortable with your brand image, and make certain that image represents what sets you apart within your industry and service area. That may mean clearly identifying, once and for all, the core value proposition of your company – then making some changes in your overall communications package to be consistent with the brand identity that expresses that unique point of difference. The next step is to set certain goals. Ask yourself, what do you want out of this show? Then list the things you have to do in order to make that happen. Here’s a pre, during and post outline of possibilities that can help the planning process.

Before-the-Show: Increase Opportunities Before the Event even Begins

  • Pre-show print advertising
  • Pre-show press release
  • Pre-show mailings and invitations
  • E-blasts to customers and prospects
  • A special banner on your Web site about your presence at the show
  • A separate landing page on your Web site to arrange and schedule meetings

At-the-Show: Maximize Your Brand Presence

  • Visual displays consistent with your brand identity
  • Show literature that makes you look and sound like a category leader
  • Giveaways and premiums that support your unique selling proposition
  • Show media evaluation/recommendations
  • Hosting your customers and prospects for cocktails or entertainment
  • Photography to take full advantage of your presence at the show
  • After-the-Show: Important Follow-Throughs That Turn a Face-to-Face Encounter into a Future Sale

Triaging leads and identifying those that warrant immediate follow-up

  • Generating follow-up direct mail and e-mails
  • Posting show floor pictures on your Web site
  • Conducting a post-show strategy session to decide how to act on what you learned and how to make the most of newly identified opportunities as soon as possible

Beyond-the-Booth™ by Delia

Alright, we know what you’re thinking. “That’s easy for you to say, that’s what you do for a living.”

Actually, what we do best is develop brand strategies for our clients that put them in leadership positions within their industries. But, it’s true. Even our best clients often wait until the last minute. And more often than not, we set strategy aside and focus on actionable items that enable our clients to have something more to show for the show, than a maxed-out corporate credit card. What’s more, we’re not the only firm that can help you, even at the last minute. It’s just that we have developed a system for going about it – a process, if you will. It’s a tiered program we call our “Beyond-the-Booth” package. And we’ll be happy to tell you more about it if you’d like. But, whatever you do, at least take our advice. Don’t panic. And don’t miss that rare opportunity to meet and greet the make-or-break decision makers within your industry…face-to-face.

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!