How to Choose the Best Trade Show for Your Company

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Trade shows are an important part of your marketing budget; therefore it is important to choose those events that will provide the greatest return on your time and investment.  Before selecting the shows you want to attend, you must measure your trade show exhibit goals.

Organizations use event marketing for different reasons and it is essential to have a clear vision of your specific objectives.  Before committing to a show it is important to answer one or more of the following questions:  How many leads or sales do you want to generate from exhibiting?  How many key decision makers do you want to reach if you are introducing a new product?  Are you going to this trade show to learn about competitors’ products or industry trends?  How many current customers do you want to engage at this particular show?  Once you have determined the objectives of exhibiting use them as a starting point in choosing specific show that would be right for your company.

Thoroughly understanding your buyers and how purchase decisions are mare are essential to selecting beneficial events that will yield results.  This information about your target audience should be used to develop your overall product message and should be incorporated into the   graphics used in you trade show exhibit.

With a perceptive understanding of your goals and audience you will be able to better evaluate events and make informed decisions about the events that represent the best opportunities.  Begin this process by reviewing performance at shows you have attended in the past; if you have had two consecutive disappointing years at any event, it may be time to table this event.  On the other hand, keep successful events at the top of your list of events to attend.

Bev Gray of Exhibit Edge suggest that, “When choosing new events to attend, ask for past attendee lists and demographic information from show sponsors.”  This information will help determine the number and percentage of attendees likely to be prospects for you.  Contact exhibitors from past show to get a feel for the event potential.  Of course, visiting the event prior to exhibiting would be ideal, if possible.  Consider the city where the event is being held; is it likely a large number of your prospects will attend?  Be cautious with new show that cannot provide attendee or performance data.  Ask the event sponsor about targeted market and sponsorship opportunities before, during and after the event.  Inquire about exhibit hall configuration and available space; you want to secure a premium, high-traffic location.  Finally, ask about conference services, power sources, plumbing and any other associated fees you may incur by exhibiting at the show.

Once you have analyzed all your options, look at your final list of show choices and match them against you objectives and how you believe they will perform.  Consider testing a new show from time to time when indicators suggest strong results.


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