Trade shows have long been a great way to get your brand before the public. That's especially true for manufacturing businesses, whose B2B nature doesn't always lend itself to traditional channels. However, they represent a significant investment for any business, so if it's worth doing, it needs to be done right to maximize every minute and dollar spent. Trade show marketing with the help of Cain & Company is a key part of B2B marketing for industrial and manufacturing.
These five tips will help make your next trade show a success.
Given the time, money, and logistical hurdles involved, advance planning isn't a luxury, it's a necessity. Before you've booked your spot, make sure you've put thought into what you want to say, how you want to say it, and the goals you seek to achieve. This is also the time to tidy up your business branding, enlist help with creative services, customize a sales funnel for the leads you gather, and take a deep dive into collateral services like geofencing that help you capitalize on every opportunity.
Any time you're planning a campaign, it can be easy for certain stakeholders to be left out, or for a concern to be raised only at the last minute when it's much harder to address. So, make sure everyone—executives, sales, and marketing alike—is involved from the beginning.
Your booth should be memorable with an attractive design that gets attention. But you'll be surrounded by other vendors who, like you, have pulled out all the stops. To make sure you keep making a good impression long after the show's over, make sure there's something you can offer that will keep you top of mind.
Promote heavily via your social media channels and your email list. If folks can't make it to the venue, remind them of other shows at which you'll have a presence, or set up a virtual booth so that nobody is left out. On the days of the show, remember that badge scanners are your friend. Make sure your staff knows how to use them and is diligent about doing so. Take every opportunity not only to build connections, but to lay the foundation for future follow-ups.
The trade show may end, but your marketing efforts shouldn't. Debrief your sales team after the show to capitalize on lessons learned. Make sure all leads are loaded into your CRM. And, most importantly, make sure you've followed up with the new leads and connections you've formed.
As things start getting back to "normal" in the U.S., more and more trade shows are returning to in-person events. However, virtual trade shows continue to make the events accessible to those who can't go in person. With virtual trade shows, you won't have to worry about social distancing. Your takeaway items might be in PDF instead of print or might be dropped in the mail for your virtual attendees. You might be answering questions via Zoom or some other form of video chat. But there are still many possibilities to leverage your brand and stay front-of-mind, and they're there for the taking if you have the persistence and creativity to pull them off.
Having weathered our share of storms during our decades in business as a Rockford marketing company, Cain & Company has a vast reservoir of experience and expertise to draw on in service to your B2B marketing needs. Now, and later on when the dust clears, we're here to help businesses and the communities we serve address their challenges.