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How to Use a Trade Show to Propel Your Marketing Message

Jul 22, 2008
Your presence at a trade show can have an impact on multiple-tier audiences. First and most logically are the attendees who are walking the aisles. While important, what about attendees who wanted to sign up for the event, but due to unforeseen reasons could not make it? And what of the segment who, due to location, budget constraints, et cetera, decided not to attend?

Wide audiences are waiting to hear from you about the product and or services you are offering. Use the trade show function as a focal point to share the news from your company.

In research I conducted many years ago, an important fact emerges - the number one reason for attendance to a given show is due results from a personal invitation to see to see an exhibitor.

Communicating with the Show Attendees

Last week I had a meeting with an old and favored client who now has a new company and is going to a big show to represent it. In our conversation I was pointing out that he needs to have several messages targeting several audiences who attend. Each group has its own unique vantage point which a smart exhibitor should address.

Devote extra attention to identifying the specific needs of each target group within the whole. To maximize your company impact on all attendees you could:

- Create a hospitality suite type arrangement of your space, or have an off the show floor demonstration room for attending customers.
- Focus extra care on your current prospects - this group should be invited to your booth and if possible at certain times so that they can meet you and have special attention from you.
- Address the general trade show population for whom the show organizer has produced to the event. Offer a concise message of who you are and what you offer needs to be communicated to them.

The Non-Attendees

Typically, the target groups mentioned above are acknowledged and exhibitors have prepared for them. But what about one more and equally significant audience segment - all of the people who could NOT attend? When I mentioned this group to my client a light bulb went off. He saw the opportunity to use the show activity to send a message to his entire mailing list about what his company was trying to accomplish at the show. And he is now creating materials addressing just that point.

As an avid fan of direct mail he is creating a series of direct mail pieces that will go out to his entire client list. The first piece is a post card, followed up by a letter then another letter with a white paper offer. Each will build on one another and they have the appropriate call to action.

So I would ask you to consider all of these audiences and check to see how you are using this show to get maximum coverage and experience greater awareness from all of your audiences - which can lead to more sales.
About the Author
Joyce McKee is the author of the new ebook, 'The Secret to Achieving Brilliant Returns on Your Next Event: a Guide to Maximizing ROI and ROO'. Take a look at what others are saying about the Membership site and the eBook.
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