|Trade shows are, to many, a necessary evil. I compare them to walking the game aisle at a carnival with a half dozen independent operators shouting at you to ‘pop a balloon’ or ‘throw a ball’.|
They’re often chaotic, with the reward dangling in the distant horizon. Yet, in my opinion, there is no comparable industry-wide platform that facilitates the level of networking, sales and lead generation than a (well-orchestrated) trade show can. Far too often, however, I see businesses fall prey to the pitfalls of the show curse – that is, being so entrenched by the process, that one loses sight of the vision.
A shift in focus
Planning for your trade show presence can be an overwhelming experience. Multiple (and independent) suppliers, endless logistics, shipping and travel planning, staffing considerations, budgetary restrictions etc., the list goes on. It’s not surprising to see how exhibitors become quickly consumed with the minute details of staging the ‘perfect’ event, at risk of losing focus of the objectives. Now is not the time to re-invent the wheel. Rather, it’s about shifting your approach and taking a step back to what I like to call ‘re-eventing’ your strategy.
With over 20 years of experience and countless trade shows under my belt, I can confidently say that an overwhelming percentage of exhibitors won’t, and don’t have a dedicated marketing strategy driving their trade show calendars. By this, I’m not referring to finalizing a new exhibit design, quantifying success against the number of badges or even developing a to-do event checklist. What I’m referring to is investing in the time to set clear objectives, agreeing on ideal outcomes and mapping out a robust plan of action to achieve your goals.