Trade Show Marketers: Do You Feel Lucky? (Part 1 of 2)

Trade Show Marketers: Do you feel lucky?

You already know that the heart of memorable marketing is authentic connection, and nothing forges a stronger link with trade show marketers and customers than face-to-face moments at events. But live marketing is inherently unpredictable, and some brands tell us they never know if their target audience is going to show up.

Do you ever feel the engagement and ROI of your activations come down to luck? Skip the clover and kick the rabbit’s foot; you can ensure your next event or trade show booth is a smashing success by getting strategic. Before your next show, ask yourself the following questions:

Why Are We Here?

As trade show marketers, nothing we do will make any difference if we don’t start by committing to why we’re attending each show or planning a branded event. Define it early and be specific. Then be ruthless in scrapping anything that doesn’t serve that Why. Establishing your Why dictates every decision you make thereafter.

The clearer you are in establishing your Why, the more effective you’ll be in building your How. To get the results you want, you must nail both.

What’s Our Strategic Plan?

If you have more than one show, don’t plan each one in a vacuum. Success requires revisiting your Why and then integrating each show to build a cohesive message that serves it. Get your experiential partner involved early, inviting them into the creative process. This is one of the simplest things you can do to guarantee greatness, but most people don’t leverage the power of their marketing partners until it’s too late. Share your Why, and we’ll help you tune your story to make it sing.

How Will We Break Down Silos?

The need for a strategic plan doesn’t only apply to your show schedule. It applies to the entire marketing mix. Even a synapse-melting experience won’t capture all your customers in one shot. Be bold in partnering with sales to maximize the ROI of your experiential efforts, and don’t be afraid to call on your executives to make this happen. After all, they’re the ones looking to you for big results in the first place.

Which Fish Are We After, and How Do We Reel ‘Em In?

Veteran trade show marketers veterans will tell you that trade shows don’t work the way they used to. Today’s attendees don’t simply wander the floor in search of the perfect product. They study the show online beforehand and make scheduled visits to companies they want to see.

Don’t just stand around waiting for the big fish to wander in. You broke down silos; now collaborate with your new friends in other parts of the building to cast bait via social media and targeted email and ad campaigns.

Who is your target audience? “Everyone at the show” is not the right answer. Revisit your Why and determine exactly who you’re trying to reach. Then find the best way to reach them.


Stay Tuned for Part Two, where we’ll cover everything from experiential’s favorite buzzword to Return on Engagement (the new ROI).

Finding this a lot to take in? Download and print our handy dandy “7 Acts Of Experiential Success” infographic and pin it up at your desk.

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