Face-to-face marketing is inherently unpredictable, but “Fingers crossed” and “Wish me luck” won’t earn you the favor of the Trade Show gods. The key to trade show marketing success is strategy.
With fresh thinking, thorough planning and the willingness to embrace a collaborative approach, experiential can become the foundation of a year-round strategy that builds engagement, buzz, and leads — in a word, results. No rabbit’s foot required.
Well before your next show, check out Part I, and then ask yourself the following questions:
What Do We Do with Data?
Data is experiential’s favorite buzzword, and no wonder. We’re gathering specific information from more people in more exciting ways than ever. Yet in the greatest era in data-capture history, people say trade shows don’t generate ROI. CFOs say there aren’t enough sales; sales claims they’re not getting qualified leads; marketing claims all the leads they pass on are ignored or forgotten.
Who’s right? Frankly: Everyone. The issue is what data we’re gathering — and why. Each month, marketing people capture thousands of leads that are useless because marketing and sales didn’t collaborate to define what a valuable lead looks like. There’s an easy solution: Ask. Get together with your sales team and revisit your Why. Are you gathering data for the sake of saying you did? Or are you generating leads that have true value to the sales force? What does sales want to learn from these leads?
How Will We Wow Them?
Get ready, experiential expert; this is your time to shine. This doesn’t mean you have to blow the budget on big screens or a hot tub. Revisit your Why to determine what’s really important, then focus on that. Is it hype for a new product? Giveaways and contests might be the way to go. Seeking meaningful conversation with well-heeled clients? We once served doctors gourmet espresso in fine porcelain china and invited them to chat. Remember: It’s not about spectacle. It’s about connection.
How Do We Keep the Momentum?
You’ve worked hard to create an experience that fosters meaningful interaction. And you delivered! Now what? Work with the other members of marketing to nurture those relationships. Pass on qualified leads so sales can follow up. Adjust strategies to reflect new insights gleaned from the data you gathered. Use hashtags to continue customer conversations you started on the show floor. Build brand awareness. Turn visitors into fans, because fans sell for you. (Return on Engagement is the new ROI, after all.)
Turns out that when it comes to trade show marketing success, the better your strategy, the luckier you’ll get.
Trade Show Marketing Success: Next Steps
A lot to take in? Download and print our handy dandy “7 Acts Of Experiential Success” infographic and pin it up at your desk.