Perhaps a brief recap of my journey as a business owner en route to an expo can offer some insight to others.
It starts with WHY the company would invest money, time, and reputation in any given marketing opportunity, including tradeshows in general or a specific event.
All successful tradeshows start with an understanding of goals & objectives. To the extent they can be stated in measurable terms, all the better. Skyline Exhibits & Design’s goals for the SC Manufacturing Expo included:
Proper budgeting is needed to foreshadow many items beyond just the booth space cost. Like exhibitors are most shows, our costs included: display & graphics, labor to build our 16’ tall backlit exhibit, freight, travel, and expense for out-of-town staff, branded attire, and show services. Beyond the cash expenses, there is the value of staff time pre-show, at-show and post-show.
Design of the exhibit environment was first and foremost undertaken with our goals in mind. We didn’t want to blend in – we wanted to be seen as outstanding in our field. Among other things, that means getting noticed. Also, we needed multiple lead generation stations in our 20×20 Peninsula space. 2 55” monitors scrolled hundreds of examples of our work, our backlit back wall was a beacon, and a backlit kiosk perpendicular to the front aisle caught eyeballs and spread messaging to all who passed us in either direction on the main aisle.
Booth staff Training is essential. It works! The tradeshow floor is a different type of environment for most people. There is a method to improve results but unless taught to your staffers, they will underperform. We dedicated a section of our Pre-show meeting to staffer training (held the week before the event so staff could prepare).
As the event hits in the middle of our busy season and comes on the heels of several other major marketing initiatives new website, a brand refresh, and new marketing automation) so candidly, we missed the boat on maximizing promotional opportunities before and at the show.
Lead Management & Measurement – wanted to be sure we didn’t fall victim to a significant exhibitor problem of not having a plan. We used manual lead sheets with some standard questions that will be essential in our post-show follow-up. All leads were periodically collected and locked up. On day 1, after the show, leads were reviewed by management and assigned to reps for follow-up with special attention on the eight clients having an immediate need.
So How did we do? We achieved about 90% of our goal for contacts; exceeded our goal for leads with actionable projects. I haven’t received the final attendance counts, but I’m estimating we got the exposure desired (there are ways to measure and quantify this formally).
Perhaps I’m most proud of the Skyline staff who brought enthusiasm, fun, and the proper attitude that made the show a success and excellent training to help us continue to help our clients achieve their goals.
Let us show you how our team can help maximize your booth space. Contact us today!