Choosing a Trade Show to Exhibit at in Three Steps

February 28, 2017

Justin Post

Justin Post is the Director of Marketing for Map Your Show where he has been providing assistance and support to hundreds of events and trade shows for more than seven years.

So, you’ve decided to be an exhibitor at a trade show to network with prospective buyers and discover new opportunities. This is the easy part. However, before you spend your time and money building out a booth, make sure you’re choosing the right trade show(s) for your business. Here are three quick steps to help you choose which events you need to be a part of.

Establish your goals

Are you looking to launch a new product, raise brand awareness or simply network with buyers in your industry? No matter what you wish to accomplish by being an exhibitor at a large trade show, it’s important to have clear goals before going into the rest of the decision-making process. Identifying exactly what you’re looking to do will help you measure whether the event was a success. Some of the trade show goals we hear the most include:

·      Generating leads

·      Launching a new product

·      Enhancing company awareness

·      Distinguishing from competitors

·      Receiving press recognition

·      Performing recon on competitors

Determine how to measure success

I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes it’s not all about the numbers. But measurement can help guide gut instincts and cut down on bad decisions. Figure out how you’re going to measure your success (or failure). Start by making a list of events you’d like to check out and figure out what success looks like.

Is it the number of scanned leads from your booth? If so, track it. Is it the number of social media impressions for your company? Product demonstrations in your booth? Amount of intel gathered on your competition? Dinners set up with prospects?

You get the idea. Just measure it. But know there’s a qualitative trait to ranking leads, interactions, demos, etc. Quantity is helpful, but try to rank what may happen.

Eat your vegetables

Do your homework and gather as much information as you can about the trade show(s) you choose. Knock out the obvious things first: browse the event website and reach out to the organization putting on the show. Maybe consider attending the event as an attendee? It’s less expensive than buying a booth – and you’ll be able to see firsthand whether it may help you achieve your goals – but just be careful not to go rogue and start selling your products without a booth. If caught, you won’t be invited back.

Can’t attend the event? Try identifying a few companies already planning to exhibit and reach out. Be candid about your call by explaining you’re merely trying to identify whether it’s the right event for your company. It helps if they aren’t competitors, and be sure to talk to more than one exhibitor; it’s amazing how different their feedback can be.

Have other tips? I’d love to hear them; find me on Twitter.

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