I know. I know. Here’s another blog post related to making new resolutions for 2012. I had to do it because one of my resolutions was to blog more frequently and this my marketing friends, is my first step. So why don’t you help me out and read this for the reason that in order to move forward, we must look to the past.
According to results from the Center for Exhibition Industry Research's “2011 Changing Environment of Exhibitions Study,” 77% of marketers say trade shows are “highly valuable” in helping them achieve their top sales priorities. Event Marketers need all the help they can get now. As the economy continues to improve, they will be battling for the eyes of active buyers.
I've seen a dramatic change in how people "learn" at events/conferences since joining UBM TechWeb 5 years ago. First of all we were not called UBM TechWeb. Secondly, attendees were "told" about how online marketing strategies worked, how the latest technology will make their job easier from people who were lucky enough to be on stage or the exhibit floor - and they accepted it. They went on to the next session, got their free cookie and repeated the same process.
As we've seen with the emergence of social media at events/conferences - attendees now have a way (voice) to question the speakers, follow up on facts and more importantly learn from like minded individuals who may be thinking the same thing they are. Social media tools allows an open and transparent dialogue between speakers, exhibitors & attendees which will in turn make the conference experience richer and more fulfilling for everyone involved.
Show organizers do have programs in place to help you increase your visibility at the show. The tools typically include:
- Social Media: Outreach via the events’ social media tools
- Blogging: Encourage your company's bloggers to write an editorial post that ties in to your presence at the event
- Email marketing: reach your customers and prospects with customized email invitations offering discounts. Participate and accumulate rewards
- Event logos and banners that you can use on your website, event pages and in communications to customers and clients
Here are some other ideas to truly maximize your event/tradeshow marketing program:
- Develop a theme for the show and make sure you use it throughout the campaign (pre, during and post)
- Embrace gamification: Engage with and reward attendees for stopping by your booth
- Try something new. Choose staff that is excited about educating attendees about your product and clients. If booth duty is a chore to them, then leave them behind. You need to put your best foot forward.
Here is my advice. Reach out to the event's marketing team, let them know that you want to become partners and ask them how they can help you get additional exposure. Trust me, if you do that, the show organizers will jump for joy and immediately educate you on several free tools to help drive booth traffic and promote your presence to customers and prospects. Face-to-face marketing works and when you combine that with social media – the sky is the limit.
See you on the trade show floor.