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Tips For Selecting Trade Shows

May 30, 2008
You've made the decision to exhibit at trade shows as part of your marketing and sales initiatives. For most companies, exhibiting at trade shows represents a significant commitment: budget, resources and reputation are all on the line. A lot is at stake.

Now it's time to select the trade show venues that will be most productive for your company. The following tips for selecting trade show venues will help put you on the right path to success:

Identify the Best Trade Shows for Your Company

Identify the trade shows that appeal to your target markets and that offer the best chance of exposure for your products or services. Research to learn what trade shows your best prospects favor to help you build your initial list of prospective trade shows. Don't forget to also check out where your competitors repeatedly show up.

Do Your Due Diligence

Of course, you will want to ask the trade show management organizations to provide you with demographic statistics to help guide your decisions. Audited information is best, if it's available.

Don't stop there; double-check their assertions and perform your own due diligence by contacting peers and colleagues who have exhibited at the trade show in the past to get their perspective. Bonus Tip: talking to former attendees to get their input is also a relationship building technique.

Factor in Timing Considerations

Now that you have an initial list whittled down a bit by your due diligence efforts, eliminate those shows that are out of sync with prospects' buying cycle timeline. It won't do your company any good to spend a lot of time and resources exhibiting at trade shows if they happen after major purchasing decisions are made or too late in that process.

Location, Location, Location

So true in many marketing decision, true with trade shows as well. On average, 40-60% of attendees at trade shows live within 200 miles of the show. Matching your company's geographic footprint with the trade show coverage is another smart move.

Avoid Calendar Conflicts

You probably would not want to schedule participation in trade shows that coincide with the Super Bowl. That's just too much competition for the attention and attendance that you ideally want and deserve for all of your company's hard work.

Likewise, there are less universal calendar challenges that can mare your success at trade shows that you'll also want to consider and potentially avoid, such as: corporate annual meetings, holidays (including major nontraditional religious holidays if appropriate), conflicting industry events, etc.

These tips will get you started on the path to develop a solid list of trade shows that your company may want to consider. Of course, there are other considerations, such as fit for your budget and internal feedback from members in your organization. The more time you spend doing proper selection of trade shows, the greater your likelihood of a successful outcome. The more time you spend doing proper selection of trade shows, the greater your likelihood of a successful outcome. You can't go wrong by spending the bulk of your time upfront in self-education and planning. After all, your company's reputation and results are at stake, as well as yours!
About the Author
Dick Wheeler is President of Professional Exhibits & Graphics, headquartered in Sunnyvale, California with showrooms in Sacramento and Sunnyvale. Find more useful tips selecting Trade Shows in the news section on their website.
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