Trade shows are important events in marketing. They offer us the opportunity to be known by a large number of potential customers, in person. You can chat with them, exchange and negotiate with them and create important connections. Here at IMS, we’ve been participating in trade shows since forever, and as a sales coordinator, I organize our participations several times a year. Id like to share some tips that will hopefully help you better prepare your participation in your trade shows.
Finding the right trade show
You are probably already aware of the shows your competitors, your customers and potential customers attend. Assess which of these shows has the most potential for your business, according to your business objectives. Do some research on the show web sites to find information such as traffic statistics, themes, presentations and lectures that will be presented during the show. Above all, ask around amongst your business connections about the show’s quality. Ideally, participate as a visitor before you start attending as an exhibitor. Finally, assess the logistical costs and go according to your budget.
Organize your participation in the event
Once you’ve decided to participate, it becomes nothing short of a major project. The team you put in place to achieve this project must be perfectly coordinated by someone who will not only have a strong background in marketing and products, but also organizational skills and negotiation skills, applicable inside as well as outside the company. The basic rules of project management are very useful here:
Determine the objectives to be achieved by participating in the trade show, and then the overall tasks needed achieve those objectives. Then, determine the team needed to perform these tasks.
Determine how you will stand out among the dozens or even hundreds of show participants. This is a tough one. To resolve this issue, several heads are better than one. Very early on in the process, brainstorm with your team. Don’t reject ideas without fully considering them: often, proposals that seem farfetched contain solid basic ideas that can be executed with modest means.
Branding is always appreciated. Shrink sleeve technology can be ideal for branding givaways such as pens, water bottles or other items because it allows 360 degree coverage of almost any object, it can yield an infinity of vivid colors, such as your corporate colours or those of the trade show etc. The sleeve is perfect also for limited production runs.
Another idea is to create “limited edition” products (mockups) specially designed for the event. Without being a “real” product, it could show off your expertise and set off conversations with your potential customers!
With the active participation of the team (usually a multidepartment team), detail the tasks involved in your preparation, put them in sequential order, establish the “hot spots” where there is a possibility of major problems and have a “plan B” for each difficulty. Be sure also to find reliable external suppliers who will be proactive in their support.
The successful project manager will coordinate the execution of tasks, and ensure compliance with deadlines, control the budget, and be the contact for external suppliers.
Evaluating your participation after the event and to document and quantify your achievements, successes and difficulties in order to prepare the next show.
Don’t forget to start early and plan ahead to increase your chances of success.
Finally, I’d like to give you shows IMS be participating in, up to the end of 2016.
Hope to see you there!
- Natural Product Expo West from March 10 to 12 2016 in Anaheim, CA, Booth # 242
- Brew Expo – from May 3 to 6 in Philadelphia, PA (booth number forthcoming)
- Natural Product Expo East – Baltimore, MD from September 22 to 24, 2016, Booth # 2509
- Salon Industriel de Québec – from October 4 to 6 2016, booth # 5
- Packex Chicago from November 6 to 9 2016 – Booth # 8939
- Montreal Packex, November 30 to 1 December 2016 – Booth # 2407