I’m a huge fan of “best practices” benchmarking. I’m not alone obviously, but I’m always amazed when companies don’t seek out the best practices from successful companies. Here’s a handful of event and trade show tips from companies that have achieved astounding success (Nike, Reebok, Underarmor, etc).
1. Set a goal for your event or show. It’s not enough to show up, set up your booth and staff it. You have to decide what you want to accomplish well before the event or show. More PR? New product launch? Line extension? New marketing strategy? All of these demand a different strategy for your show. Set a reasonable goal and build your event presence around the goal.
2. Integrate your messaging. Your brand is probably visible in multiple channels. Make sure your show presence does as much as possible to leverage these channels. For example, put your URL on your display. Run an LCD with video clip that you usually host on your webpage. Think holistically about the messaging opportunity.
3. Differentiate. You need to do something to pull prospects to your booth. Think creatively. Consider a raffle. Add video. Hire extra staff to give your booth more traffic.
4. Activate off your booth footprint. Do something to pull traffic from areas outside your booth line of site. One company’s best ROI idea? They hired a few staff from an agency to walk to event venue clad in T-shirts with their booth number and a question mark. It worked like a charm - people dropped by to see what it was all about.
Sure, these ideas can expand your budget. But there’s not much sense in attending a show and saving the last 10% of your budget that could actually drive traffic. Think about it – if you really wanted to save money you’d stay home. But you’re going to get zero ROI on this investment.