How Businesses Can Integrate Trade Shows Into Their Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re the CEO of a mega-corporation, you manage a small business, or you run a home-based operation, you’ve no doubt come up with a scalable marketing strategy that allows you to work within a budget in order to promote your brand, maximize exposure, encourage patronage and hopefully, increase sales. An overall strategy could include any number of tactics, such as traditional forms of advertising like print, radio, and television, along with the utilization of modern outlets in the online and mobile arena, like a website and blog, social media profiles, web directories, online advertising, participation in the online community (industry forums and blogs), and perhaps even the creation of viral campaigns via YouTube and other social media platforms. As you can see, the possibilities are practically unlimited. But one option you may want to look at including as part of your marketing strategy is trade shows.

There are several reasons you might want to get involved in industry trade shows, but the main idea for most businesses is to impress potential customers or woo the press (or both). And there are a number of ways that you can work on integrating this this particular avenue of promotion into your overall marketing strategy. The first thing to consider is what you hope to accomplish through your presence at trade shows. Perhaps your goal is to compile a list of targeted contacts or maybe you simply want to raise awareness of your brand. Many companies are looking for a splashy way to reveal their upcoming product lines for the coming year in order to drum up interest from the media, investors, and of course, consumers. But you’ll need to think about the potential impact you could make and how it compares to and complements other parts of your marketing campaign.

Next you should consider the relative expense involved since the bottom line is always important, whether your business is large or small. Although you probably have a marketing budget set aside, it may not include the cost of trade shows. So you need to note things like entrance fee, location, booth sizes and specification, and the cost of transporting company representatives and your setup materials to the event. You should also add in any talent you plan to hire for the event (MC, booth babes, etc.), as well as the cost of creating a booth that will grab the attention of passersby and inspire confidence in your brand. In short, it could cost you a pretty penny and you need to try to forecast how that expense could be offset by potential return on investment.

The final thing to think about during the planning process is just how you’re going to get the interest you want with your trade-show excursion. This could include promotional efforts before the event, as well as your strategy to entice traffic into your booth, create an interactive experience that engages visitors, and get the contacts you need to promote your business and make sales in the future. Listen up, grasshopper – this isn’t going to be a walk in the park. But when you put time and effort into the planning process you can choose the right trade shows, create a killer setup, and make the most of your expenditure while adding immeasurably to your current marketing strategy.

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