Developing an effective trade show marketing strategy can take over a year if you are not already registered to attend a trade show and have a confirmed space. There are many steps to consider along with the necessary timing that is involved. Here are a few items to consider.
1 Year Out: Set your strategy
- Determine how your trade show marketing plan fits into your sales and marketing strategy and budget.
- Explore the events that best fit your goals.
9 to 12 Months Before Show: Enhance your plan
- Work with the sales team to develop specific goals for your trade show schedule. Typical goals includes sales, leads and PR.
- Enhance your trade show plan. Most companies divide the plan into three buckets. 1 Pre-show 2. Show and 3. Post Show.
6 to 9 Months Before Show: Booth design
- Start working on the design of your trade show booth.
- Do you have a theme for the show that matches our marketing strategy? Do you have a strong call to action?
- Review promotional items, literature and marketing materials that will be needed.
3 to 6 Months Before Show: Orders and reservations
- This is the time to order your promotional items as it can take time to source and customize your order.
- Confirm timeline with your exhibit company and review show regulations.
- Start to work on who will work the booth.
- This is a good time to think about scheduling dinner and meeting space as many places fill up very quickly.
1 to 3 Months Before Show: The final stage
- Put together the necessary information you will use to follow up with leads after the show. Many times this is not thought of in advance of the show.
- Continue pre-show marketing activities which can include email, mailers and phone calls.
- Confirm travel arrangements.
Final Days before show: Training and confirmations
- Does the sales team have their 15-30 second commercial memorized?
- Are there any last minute details to confirm with your exhibit company?
AFTER the Show: Make a sale!
- Launch your post show plan.
- Review all budgetary items.
- Review leads and send information.
- Schedule a post show meeting within 1 week after the show to discuss all aspects of the show and determine if this is a worthwhile event to attend.