Welcome to your CMO Report
As your virtual Chief Marketing Officer, I bring you the absolute best information about marketing your business. I have heard a lot of horror stories about wasting money on trade shows recently and felt it was time to chime in.
A lot has been written about trade shows – some good and some bad. So what is the magic formula for success at trade shows? While there is no ‘standard’ answer, I have put together a few tips to improve your chances of getting something from your investment.
- Bring outgoing people to man the booth. I am not talking about over-the-top Ginsu knife salesmen, but reasonably pleasant people who don’t mind starting a conversation.
- The fortune is in the follow-up. You’ve heard that expression for year – because it’s true. Don’t just collect cards from your punch bowl giveaway. Collect cards from real people you talked to – make notes so you can refer back to your conversation. If you’re just playing the punch bowl roulette game – you may as well stay home.
- Work the room. One of the most overlooked sources of trade show success is in talking with other companies exhibiting. If you go into every conversation looking for a way to cross-promote or develop a new partnership, chances are it could end up a bigger deal than any one sale you generate from the trade show.
- Have a plan. The single biggest waste of trade show dollars is when a company goes into it “because everyone else is.” If you don’t have a clear strategy with related visuals and handouts, you may just as well be standing on the side of the road with a cardboard sign.
Trade shows are a gold mine if they are worked well. If your company has a booth just because the show is in Vegas and you can’t wait to hit the strip – you’re wasting your marketing dollars. Skip the trade show and just call it a company vacation – it’s still deductible and you don’t have to lug all your stuff around.