People have been talking about the death of the B2B trade show for years. Turns out its demise has actually been seriously overstated though and it remains as vital a pillar of the modern marketing mix as ever, only its role has changed slightly. Research carried out by AZoNetwork last year demonstrates that Science and Industrial trade shows provide the second biggest source of “quality” sales leads behind content marketing.
Heading off to a trade show is expensive, but is it worth the investment of precious resources to make those all important connections?
Given the mounting costs of travel, exhibition fees, shipping your equipment and booth costs (don't forget the additional luxury carpet!), not to mention expenses and the staffing cost of having your team there the whole week, it is imperative that you justify such an investment and have a clear view of what success looks like - There’s good news though.
The trade show is alive and well.
Let’s start by dispelling the myth. The trade show isn’t dying. In fact, there’s no better way to meet face to face with multiple potential clients and partners in such a short span of time.
70% of trade show attendees plan to buy at least one product.
The people who attend trade shows are there for a reason, so it doesn’t take long to recoup the investment if you’re maximizing the opportunity. So, how is that done?
Choose the Right Events: Being in the Right Place at the Right Time
Do some research and make sure that a trade show’s demographics fit well with what you’re trying to accomplish. Attending a trade show can cost tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Once you’ve factored in travel expenses, displays, planning and materials, you’ve got some major expenses on the books.
If your goal is to win new customers, raise your brand awareness or develop new partnerships, can that be achieved as a result of attendance?
Set Clear Goals
Before you head off to a trade show, establish quantitative goals. Walk in knowing just how many conversations you need to have and leads you need to generate.
Here’s what you’ll be expected to share:
- Cost versus opportunity. How many leads or sales resulted from the investment of time and funds. Do you measure cost per lead. If you walk out with 100 names and 50 Sales Qualified Leads, is that worth the $25,000 it cost to set up?
- Increased Traffic. Visitor spikes and increased “likes” following a trade show are not a coincidence. Keeping track will also help you get a feel for which channels generate the most leads, so you know how to focus your energy.
- Number of new customers - What is your Cost per Customer Acquisition?
- Increased business from existing customers. This is, after all, what everyone really wants to know.
We often find that these metrics are an after thought that many clients don't know the answers to, but with advances in analytics, CRM and data management systems, now more than ever you can harvest the data to help you make the best decisions for your business.
It’s all About Integration
Once you’ve decided what trade shows you need to attend, and what you need to accomplish while you’re there, you need to determine how this fits in to your overall marketing strategy.
Anyone with experience in the marketing world understands that you won’t be successful in today’s market if you haven’t gone digital. By providing relevant content, establishing yourself as an industry expert and developing a top-notch content focused email campaign, you can lead the pack.
This banner was used at the bottom of a content filled email to raise awareness of the client's presence at the trade show.
Think of the buying process and how the prospect becomes more valuable as they get closer toward the purchase, your campaigns will raise pre show awareness of your products, applications and techniques, giving your team more time to focus on the value added stuff like building relationships, fielding technical questions and customisation optimisation.
Imagine how much impact your campaign will have when you tie in your trade show presence to your email marketing, educating your clientele with rich unique content while letting them know where they can find you.
Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Once you’ve wowed them at the trade show, it’s time to convert those leads into lifetime partners. Keep in touch and keep collecting data. If you don’t act fast, you’ll likely be forgotten. Prep your follow-up strategy in advance. This way, your trade show investment will keep on producing.
Are you getting ready for your next trade show? We have helped various clients across different industries maximise their Face to Face time with their audience. Contact us to discuss your pre trade show email strategy and we’ll help you make the most of your investment.