A successful presence at a trade show or similar event is not the end of the marketing road. What you do post-event can really make a difference in creating your next customer.
We’ve blogged before in this space with a few helpful tips on how to get the most out of the industry events you attend. This includes a range of marketing activities leading up to an event, as well as what you should do at the trade show or conference itself. But post-event marketing activities really matter if you want to maximize all the effort your organization has put in—and really help ensure a solid return on your investment.
In the autumn of 2015, UBM conducted another in our continuing series of market surveys, interacting with more than 400 IT professionals to learn about their needs, preferences and attitudes as to just what a successful and fruitful attendance at an industry event is all about. Armed with that information, we can offer you a few helpful tips on best practices to observe after an event is concluded and your post-engagement marketing begins.
First Step: Evaluation
When we asked tech pros what would make them want to continue to engage with a vendor after an event, the overwhelming two leading responses were that the vendor clearly articulated how its technology could help with their business, in league with demonstrating an understanding of the specific business challenges they faced. Also high on the list were vendor knowledge of the attendee’s industry, solid marketing materials with valuable content and—as always—hearing from subject matter experts firsthand.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, our respondents pretty much identified the reverse of the above points when asked why they would NOT engage with a vendor post-event. Lack of industry knowledge and specific business challenges were ranked high, along with a paucity of experts and poor marketing materials and content. But the leading turnoff by far was having to put up with too much of an overt sales pitch; too much, too fast.
As one respondent surveyed said, “They talked too much and listened too little.”
So our first tip, after the dust has cleared, is to honestly evaluate your onsite impact at the event relative to all the do’s and don’ts outlined above. Did you have experts on hand to engage attendees? Was your marketing content appropriate to their needs? Did you have live demos and presentations that clearly stated your value proposition? And most important of all, where did you fall short?
Answering these questions truthfully will go a long way to determining precisely how you go about connecting in your post-event marketing activities—not to mention paving the way for improvement at future events.
Keep the Connection Alive
Our second tip is just as the heading implies: nurture the relationship by providing the attendees you’ve met with relevant information tailored to their needs. As always, content connects.
The most popular ways you can follow up with a prospective customer after a trade show are to send them additional research and information, provide them with links to websites with valuable content, invite them to webinars or similar virtual events, or follow up with information relative to specific discussions that were held at the booth.
Emails from product managers, invitations to other face-to-face events and invitations to join an online community related to the show are also useful follow-up activities. And while some respondents would consider a follow-up email from a sales person, an actual sales call ranked last on the list. The message here is loud and clear: market first, and sell later.
The Actions They Take
Our survey revealed that 80% of attendees have visited an exhibitor’s web site after attending an event, more than half have contacted an exhibitor later on—and a whopping 55% have actually purchased a product or service based on information they gathered at a show. So it pays to till the fields and nurture the seeds you’ve sown at an event. Be conscientious about your follow-up marketing activities, and you’ll get the best possible results when it comes to creating new customers.