5 Planning Factors for Tradeshows ROI Success
As an SMB, we are extremely purposeful about how we spend our cash. We aim to be incredibly focused on our efforts, and where we spend dollars, and we use metrics to determine where to invest our not-unlimited marketing budget. That doesn’t mean cutting out marketing activities which are critical to our growth (in terms of brand awareness, customers, and revenue growth), but means that we are ultra-selective about spending on any of the marketing activities that we decide. This includes attending industry tradeshows, and conferences that are sometimes not easy to measure an ROI for.
There are many benefits from for a business to go to conferences and or tradeshows. These benefits include gaining more exposure for your brand, generating leads, meeting with prospects, qualify opportunities, connect with customers, and promoting your solutions. We’ve been to a fair number of trade shows. In addition to meeting a lot of potential customers we also learned a lot about just what it means to participate in a trade show.
From Optify’s experience, we’ve found the biggest benefit from the shows we’ve gotten to is increasing our exposure and generating leads. We’ve found that the leads we acquire at tradeshows and conference are usually more qualified and targeted, and tend to have a higher average deal value than leads we acquire from other sources.
We learned that it’s essential for businesses to carefully select the best trade show for their specific business and stage of growth. To be sure, there are a lot of trade shows out there, but you need to find the right fit. As a result of our experience, we’ve put together a list of key issues to think about before you sign up.
We found the most value out of attending shows by planning an integrated marketing strategy before, which includes creating a floor plan, leveraging social media and developing a follow-up plan to maximize the touches and connections we made while on the floor.
Here are 5 planning factors we’ve considered when deciding what trade show is best suited for our business:
Five Planning Considerations
The trade shows you pick should allow you to meet your goals. If your goals include building leads and/or gaining awareness, participate in a big tradeshow where the industry stage is larger. If, however, your goals are gaining trade show experience with minimum risk, you should consider participating in a small, local trade show. If your objective is to be one of the show’s sponsors, you should sign up to be a speaker. This will give you a chance to further build your network and gain exposure as a thought leader in your business space.
Bigger isn’t necessarily better. The size of the show—measured in attendees and exhibitors—should match your goals but also allow you to maximize your potential. Large trade shows are good for blind leads—people who come to your booth just because of proximity: you are there and they are there. In this case the lead quality will not necessarily be high, yet the quantity of leads should be. You also might have trouble standing out at a big trade show, whereas at a small one you will be more noticeable. On the other hand, small trade shows carry a risk: On the upside you may find quality leads, but due to the size any mistakes you make are likely to be magnified by having a smaller venue and fewer attendees.
3.Space and audience
Before you sign up for a trade show, ask yourself whether a trade show is well aligned with the core competencies of your business or just one facet of your offerings. Let’s say your company designs ads for online businesses. A high-tech marketing show will cover your core offering but an online advertising show might be more focused. Ask yourself: Is the right audience going to participate? Who are the keynote speakers, and do you have a chance of getting a speaking opportunity? Can you stand out and be unique on the show floor?
Just like the garment or jewelry districts in a large city, the proximity of competitors in one place can be a boon for business. Academics call this geographical grouping ‘coopetition’ and it’s in effect at a trade show. Trade shows, not surprisingly, often bring together many competitors under one roof. Before you sign up for a trade show, you should consider how this will play out. Ask the show’s organizers just who will be in attendance. Decide whether you are a confident leader in the space. Inquire with the show’s organizers and try to ascertain whether your direct competitors will be at the show. If you will be surrounded by competitors, ask yourself whether the show’s timing makes sense: Will you have a new product to announce or roll out? What will help to separate your from the crowd of competitors?
Once you have put together a well-designed booth, prepared materials to distribute, and possibly arranged for a group of staff to travel to a distant city, the costs for a trade show can rapidly mount. The cost of a trade show is best measured in ROI. Take into consideration the issues outlined above such as the effect your presence will have on your target audience and determine if there will be a positive return on investment. Return is most often measured in terms of leads generated and sales later closed, but for some trade show exhibitors a goal might be more focused on building the less concrete values of good will and brand awareness. Certainly traveling to foreign trade show will have a value of meeting new customers in new markets, but the costs might be prohibitive. If the ROI on a potential trade show in Paris looks dubious, it might make more sense to attend a show as a visitor ready to network instead of as an exhibitor.
The Best Laid Plans. . . .
We’ve discovered that planning is half of the battle, but execution is necessary to win the war. While on the floor, the following best practices are very effective to maximize your tradeshow investment.
This post was first published on business2community.com.