Image of a $50 dollar bill swirling down a drain | metaphor for business wasting money on marketing for trade shows

Stop Wasting Your Money on Trade Shows

In Promotional Marketing by Lynn Pechinski

[box type=”titled-box” title=”Getting Real Lead Generation Results – Not giving away freebies” variation=”blue”]So many people call me because they are going to a tradeshow and they need some stuff to give away? Yep, we can help with that but you don’t really want to stand there just handing out freebies? What do you really want to do?

You really want to get customers to visit your booth, OR, get qualified prospects to visit you at the show, OR reconnect with inactive customers OR launch a new product. Giving stuff away is not the most effective way to do this.

Let’s say you want to get qualified prospects to visit your trade show, attend your seminar, or other special event. The fancy shmancy marketing terms are lead generation, lead conversion or creating brand awareness. Whatever you want to call it, don’t spend a dollar until you figure out what you want to accomplish. Begin with the end in mind.

You need to develop a plan to meet your goal before, during, and most importantly after the big show. Let’s talk about what to do step-by-step. Typically, the best time to start planning your next trade show is 12 months prior, if it is an annual event, start planning for next year while you are standing at the trade show this year. Walk the floor. Look at the largest booth with the best placement in the room. That did not happen by accident; they planned and paid for it. Look at the booth tucked at the end aisle. That did not happen by accident; they did not plan and still paid for it. Take a look at your competition. What do you like a lot… and not so much? Learn from what you see and hear and you can improve upon your display, the traffic you attract, your brand visibility and most important, leverage your limited marketing budget and get the biggest bang for your buck.

After you get clear on the goal for the show, your plan will start to take shape. You should define exactly how much money you will spend to meet this goal. Without a budget, it will be tough to steer the project in the right direction. Be realistic. If your goal is to attract prospects who can buy a $50,000 piece of equipment, giving them a 50-cent pen is unlikely to seal the deal. How much would you spend to get the president of your top prospect’s company come and be “wow, I like that” impressed? Companies who plan to optimize marketing results give careful thought to the investment in trade shows as marketing for lead generation.

Most of us say this is common sense but when they trade show is 3 weeks away… the panic sets in and we get the calls. Rush, rush, rush… give me some freebies so I can stand there and have something to give out. Yep, we can help you with that but we would much rather help you swing for the fences with a well-planned, kick-butt plan to make the most every dollar invested in your next trade show event.[/box]

Stop Wasting Your Money On Tradeshows

If you are planning exhibiting at a trade show, read this first, Stop just giving stuff away