Industry events aren’t just for hiding behind a 6-foot table draped in your company colors. Still, as not everyone is Jill or Joe Salesperson, there are still some objectives from the Tradeshow experience that, Sales notwithstanding, are a benefit to Tradeshow ROI.
Forget about sales for a minute. In fact, forget about sales altogether. While we’d like you to come back from the show with that big sale smile on your face, that’s not why you’re there. You’re there to make yourself known to buyers and gather information. How? Engagement. How? Keep reading…
The whole damn exhibit room is your exhibit booth. Own it.
Chances are the other exhibitors are looking for someone to talk to.
Talk to parallel products/service providers, even competitors. Seek out industry media publishers. Seek out the association personnel. Ask Questions. Learn from them. Ask questions. Heck, you might even walk away from the show with some relationships.
The conference or event you’re attending is one big fat market research opportunity, but you’ll have to leave your booth. What other events do you like? What industry magazines do you like? Anything ‘valuable’ going on at this event? Record it. Aggregate your intel from one event to another and you’ll have something.
And by “Learn” I mean ‘Steal’ – ideas that is. Sorry, but there’s nothing much terribly new in the word of brochure technology. But if a competitive advantage is your goal, a tradeshow exhibition room is a great place to look at brochure design you like, how people present their information, organize their sell; find examples of companies that “Brand well”, etc. I won’t tell anyone if you take a brochure off your competitor’s table.
This one is ancillary but distinct from the Networking point above. That attendee list is worth a go through and make some calls and send some e-mails. Point out networked people from the event you need to have in your database and get their info. Your data build should be an ongoing process and the industry event is the potential bump you’ve been waiting for. The consistency of effort is key, event after event.
Your personal questionnaire that is. Who at this event needs to know who I am before I leave? Who’s doing what, where? Who’s reading what? How can the trade media help me? How can the association help me? What materials can I scrape to feed my own data? (Contacts, future, events, media intel, media relationships, and opportunities.) What was a cool, new, engaging promotional item? Who’s display, materials presented strongly?
When you get in the taxi to the airport or the Hotel shuttle, what do you want to have been your experience? “I talked to a guy at the booth. Think he likes me.” or “I got a ton of info and ideas (See #5 above)”.
Hell, you might even sell something. Like yourself.