7 Ways You Can Make Your Trade Show a Hit

7 Ways You Can Make Your Trade Show a Hit

Tom Reynolds

Tom Reynolds

February has been a busy month for events, with Firefly supporting clients at a range of trade shows, including Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Embedded World in Nuremburg and BVE in London. Firefly also attended Cloud Expo Europe at ExCeL London to capture views in the form of vox-pops on what is driving cloud adoption.

It seems that marketing and PR leaders have mixed views on trade shows. Some would say they’re expensive, time-consuming to organise and arguably have less media appeal than they used to. Many would-be attendees (and journalists) have the best intentions of attending, but the time commitment (trade shows are rarely in accessible locations) means that they drop out at the last moment.

So, why do it?

Well, good trade shows provide an opportunity to get thousands of prospects and buyers under one roof. To reach that many people with other marketing tactics would take months and months of work, compared to a two-day trade show hit. They provide the opportunity to engage in speaker opportunities and enable your executives to demonstrate expertise and thought leadership. They also provide the opportunity to develop compelling digital content, which can be used during and after the event.

Here are our top tips to get the most out of exhibiting at a trade show.

  1. Pick the right show – It sounds an obvious point, but trade shows are extremely variable. Do you homework and attend a show as a punter before committing your marketing spend. Have a look at the buzz online, see how busy the stands look and speak to exhibitors (after the event; they’ll tell you it’s been brilliant during it).
  2. Make the most of your stand – Simply have a bright stand in a good location isn’t enough. Think about why some stands are busier than others. There’s usually a buzz about the place, perhaps with a multimedia presentation, innovative demonstration or fun competition. Just forget the chocolate fountains – that’s so 1994!
  3. Create engaging visual content – We saw many film crews at Cloud Expo, but unfortunately most film work will only be published after the event: it’s too late by then. Sacrifice a bit of polish on the video to ensure you can get it up on the day when people are engaged. If you haven’t got a film crew, then there’s nothing wrong with using Vine or sharing photos. Just try to resist the urge to take a picture of your stand.
  4. Engage on social media – Sadly, this is an area that needs to improve for most exhibitors (if I read one more “meet us on stand XXX”, I’ll cry). Think more creatively and make sure you get your sales teams involved. People always respond more to other people, rather than the corporate Twitter account.
  5. Run your own breakout or side event – There are lots of things you can do around the event including roundtable events, after-show meetups and breakfast briefings. The stand is just the beginning.
  6. Keynotes and speaker slots –These can help promote your business further, by giving your experts the chance to speak knowledgably about your subject area to a group of business leaders. On the flip side, keynotes can also provide you with data and insight to your industry, helping to inspire you to further improve and refine your offering.
  7. Don’t forget the media – It’s a misconception that the media doesn’t attend trade shows. Firefly set up almost 30 media and analyst briefings for our four clients attending shows this week. Good shows have good media attendance. Don’t rely on the event organisers’ PR team to know who they are (or tell you): you need to do the leg-work before the event and give them a good reason to meet you, beyond just ‘having a chat’.

If you’re looking for more tips or support with your next trade shows, please get it touch – email us at hello@fireflycomms.com or call 0203 170 8008.

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