Trade Shows Are An Investment You Make In Your Business

5 Ways to Make Your Investment Count

Trade show investment Checklist

  1.  Measurable Goals
    What is your goal? What do you want to achieve? If you don’t have a measurable goal in place you will never be able to accurately determine if the trade show was worth attending. Be greedy and have more than one goal. Have a goal for the show itself, and also have a goal for the revenue that comes immediately afterwards.
    Example:
    # of Warm/Hot Leads picked up at the show
    # of conversions after the show

  2. Storytelling
    No matter the size of the your trade show booth, there needs to be focus! What story do you want to tell? What do you want every person to leave knowing about your brand / product / service?
    Allerion Trade Show Booth
    Booth Example:
    This Allerion booth is only a 10 x 10 space but it checks all the boxes. It is simple with a clear message. You know immediately the industry that they are servicing. You know the positioning that they are taking. You know the product that they are showcasing. You can easily find the contact information without having to search for it.

  3. Engagement
    Even if you are a B2B business who works with corporate clients, every person who visits your booth should leave with a great brand experience.  This does not mean you need to hire dancing monkeys and give neck massages unless of course your business is a travelling circus or a spa. This means that every person who passes through your booth should feel that they are important, whether or not they are a likely candidate to partner with your business.

    The simplicity of a smile, a greeting, a demo, a coffee or something that is unique to your business will go a long ways in establishing your brand as a true leader in your industry. Adding interactive touch points such as touchscreen kiosks or video demos, can keep visitors in your booth longer giving your sales team more time to build relationships.

    Maison Orphée Trade Show MarketingPersonal Example:
    I was at a consumer trade show this past weekend, and one brand really stood out to me as having checked all the boxes. Maison Orphée, from Quebec, engaged with each and every person who stopped by their 10 x 10 booth. Before getting a hands-on demonstration and creating your own vinaigrette seasoning to take home, you were requested to download their app.  From a marketing perspective, this was a brilliant move as they now have the ability to track future activity through their app, plus can determine if they met their more immediate goals of # of downloads and purchases.

  4. Sales Tools – Be Digitally Savvy
    Have your sales tools in both digital and hard copy formats. Have an ipad in the booth, where people can sign up for more information to be emailed to them. This gives you a reason to reach out to a potential lead after the show is over, and the information overload has settled down.

    As per the example above, creating an app with real value, gives you a continued connection to your fans and customers long after the trade show is over. The Maison Orphée App, gives searchable recipes for Marinades and Vinaigrettes, as well as easy to use functionality that allows you to change up the recipes depending on the # of people you want to serve.

  5. Preparation = Rewards
    Don’t believe the saying, “If you build it, they will come.” Be prepared. Don’t wait for walk by traffic. Invite people and have set appointments. I can’t stress this enough. Get people excited about the event weeks in advance. This could be by social channels or by a fun personalized invitation sent out to your database.

    Personal Example:
    I was at a show recently where a few sales reps from various booths commented that “Tradeshows are dying” and as I looked around, I noticed that their booths were slow and reps were just chatting with each other. Yet, as I rounded the corner to go visit the booth of the brand I was working with, I noticed a drastic difference. This booth was humming with activity. Every rep was busy with a customer. At the end of the show, I asked them what they thought made the difference. They said it came down to the fact that they had sent out invitations and set up appointments weeks in advance.

Make sure your investment nets you the outcome you want by taking the time to plan ahead.

Product Sampling as a Marketing Strategy

Product sampling has long been a traditional way to introduce new people to product or to introduce a new product into the marketplace.

Sampling at a trade-show has traditionally been an effective way to introduce your product or new product to new people.  There are a few problems with this strategy though. One is the fact that many people at the trade-show may not be your target market, so you will have wasted your sample. Secondly, many people go to these shows just to collect the freebies and may not be willing to actually purchase the product at a later date.  Thirdly, there are often so many companies sampling products at trade-shows that your product may not stand out in the crowd.

Direct mail sampling can be very costly if you have a very targeted market. The other day I came home to see a BIG bag of cat food hanging on my front door knob. I don’t have a cat and will never own a cat. Most of my neighbours don’t have cats. This product was costly and a huge mistake on the part of the pet food maker. They needed to be a bit more strategic in their approach to reach their real end consumer.

Product Sampling - Beer Paddle Illustration

To stand out from other product samples, you need to BE CREATIVE. Here are a couple ideas that will help your product get noticed by the right consumer:

Create Strategic Partnerships
Find a partner with the right audience for sampling so there is no wasted product or reach.

So for example, you are launching a mosquito repellent, but travelling to outdoor trade-shows across the country is too expensive and doesn’t match your strategy.  Create a partnership with organizations such as provincial parks or campgrounds, who will hand the samples out to everyone who purchases a park pass. This will come with a fee of course, but you are reaching people who are spending time in the outdoors and will likely try the product out within minutes of receiving it. If the product lives up to its claims, those same people are likely to go to their local store to purchase it for their next outdoor or camping experience.

Gift With Purchase
Not only will you increase sales of your regular product, but you will have introduced your new product to an already loyal customer.

So for example, you are an athletic shoe company launching premium socks into your product mix.  There are lots of other sock brands on the market so it is difficult to get people to try your amazing socks.  Target your already loyal customers and offer a FREE pair of socks with every purchase of shoes or workout gear worth $100 or more.  Customers will be enticed to buy product in the moment since they will be receiving a gift with a high perceived value. Not only will you be increasing sales of your regular product, but you will have introduced your new product to an already loyal customer. If they love the socks, your fans will spread the word, plus the next time they need socks, they will think of your brand.

Also read “How to Use Samples to Promote Your Product” at www.inc.com for more ideas on how to make sampling work for you.

Also read “Sampling goes digital as marketers look to track results” at Globe and Mail for Small Business for more ideas on how traditional sampling is changing.