10 Mistakes Exhibitors Make

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trade show mistakesYou’ve got a tremendous investment, not only in money, but also time and hopefully training in marketing your business at trade shows. Don’t get in the way of your own success!

Here are the 10 mistakes exhibitors make again and again:

1)      Underselling your company with bad graphics: All too often I’ve seen companies represent themselves at trade shows with a patchwork of a “display.” I’ve seen vinyl banners wrapped around foam board, dented or dinged up displays, and a variety of hodgepodge displays.  Represent your company in the best light possible.  A less-than-professional appearance does not give your prospect confidence in you or your products and services.  This type of display will send prospects running to the competition.

2)      Putting way too much text on your display:  You’ve got literally seconds to get someone’s attention as they stroll around the show floor.  No one will stop to read a lot of text.  Please understand that you cannot tell your entire company story on your tradeshow display.

3)      Not promoting your presence at trade shows: So you’ve got a great looking booth and you’re all ready to go.  So where is everyone?  Why don’t you have any traffic coming into your booth?  What have you done to promote your presence at the show?  Let your clients and prospects know about your trade show appearances by using an e-newsletter and social media.  Plan the launch of a new product/service around a show to create a buzz.  Send invites directly to those prospects that you may not have connected with in the past.

4)      Not training your booth staff and discussing proper expectations: So your booth staffers are sitting down instead of engaging with prospects.  Are they more concerned with playing games, texting, or chatting away while prospects stroll right by your booth?  Make sure you set the proper expectations before the show.  Don’t make the assumption that because you have professional sales people they will understand the nuances of how to work in a trade show environment.  Staff your booth with people who are as good or better than you!

5)      Not listening to your prospects needs: Don’t be so excited to get your message across and sell your product that you miss out on important info about your clients needs.  Also, be sure to be aware of body language and pick up any visual cues that may help you understand your clients’ needs even better.  Take advantage of everything that a face-to-face interaction has to offer.

6)      Depending on a fishbowl to bring in qualified leads: Lose the fishbowl!  Is this type of giveaway really giving you the qualified leads you are seeking?  Be an expert provider of solutions and you don’t necessarily need a generic giveaway contest to drive traffic to your booth.

7)      Hauling too much literature to your booth: Most of the literature handed out at trade shows doesn’t make it past the garbage can in your prospects’ hotel room.  Instead, write “Show Sample” on a copy of your literature to display at the show, and then get your prospect’s contact info to email or mail the info to them after the show.  It will also save you the expense of shipping your heavy literature around.  This gives you a great call to action to follow up with your prospect after the show.  Explore technology to get information in your prospects hands.  QR codes and mobile marketing platforms are great ways to do this.

8)      Not planning for trade show success: We don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan! In talking to clients who haven’t seen the results they were expecting, this is something that is very prevalent.  If you don’t have a good plan in place you won’t be able to show an ROI to justify future shows and all you’ve really done is waste a lot of time and money.  Discuss timelines with your trade show marketing consultant, get feedback from industry peers, do your homework.

9)      Not informing your exhibit service partner: Make sure that the service/crews handling the logistics of your booth understand what’s going on with your booth.  Get them a lists of shows for the year so that your booth gets from one show to the next, deciding which shows you have time to ship to the advanced warehouse and which events you may have to ship direct to the show.  Discuss any unique items such as products in the booth, monitors, height limitations, etc.

10)  Not following up on leads: Though is seems like a no-brainer, you need to make sure that your leads are called on in a timely fashion.  Discuss next steps, quoting, future meetings, and provide any additional information they need.  It’s time to deliver on the promises and the expectations that you have set at the show.

Mistakes of course are common and learning from them is the key.  What mistakes have you made as an exhibitor or have you seen that can help your peers?  Share with us below!

 

-Lisa

5 steps you must take to reach your target customer

By | Blog
5 steps you must take to reach your target customer

In fact, the whole goal of all marketing is to “get the right message to the right person at the right time.” As marketers we also make sure we can do this at the best price possible.

Here are five steps that will help you better identify who YOUR audience is and HOW you can best connect with them.

Step 1: Acknowledge that you have a specific target audience

It’s important to understand that your products and services have a target audience that can be defined. As a marketer, your primary goal is to find ways to identify who these people are so that you can create marketing campaigns that speak to them directly.

This might sound pretty obvious, but too often marketers assume that what they offer the world has universal appeal and that their target audience is “everybody”! As much as we would all like to believe that, it’s never true and can get in the way of creating effective marketing campaigns that do talk to the right people.

Step 2: Determine what criteria you intend to use to identify the consumers you most wish to reach

An audience can be sorted any number of ways based on an almost infinite number of criteria. But your audience is unique to your brands, so you’re going to want to identify the factors that can be used to create a better connection between their potential needs and what your company offers.

For starters, are there some demographic points that you can use such as age, gender or geography to begin to refine who the best recipients are for your products? How about criteria that matches a prospect’s beliefs, opinions, attitudes or intentions with your marketing message?

The goal of this step is to eliminate the people for whom an offer won’t be relevant or important. With these people out of the mix, you can now focus your marketing messages to reach the remaining people who are most apt to be interested and willing to take some sort of action when they come in contact with your marketing message.

Step 3: Identify what your customers and prospects want most from you

One of the challenges that most marketers face is that they are too close to their own brands.

While you certainly want to promote your brands and services in a positive light, you also need to be willing to put yourself in the shoes of your target customers as often as possible. Chances are they don’t know much (if anything) about your brand or understand the benefits you offer nearly as well as you do.

By seeing your brand through new eyes, you can also look for potential weaknesses, areas of potential misuse or misunderstanding, and even things that consumers may object to or find offensive. Taking this step better allows you to create marketing messages and campaigns that fully address possible brand concerns and objections before they occur.

Step 4: Identify the best channels to use to communicate with these people

What’s the best way to reach your target audience? Again, there is no 100 percent right answer on the best channels you can use reach a target audience. For example a local business looking for a local audience isn’t going to need to run a nationwide online search campaign to reach its target audience. Instead, it might rely on an ad in a local directory or even a small local newspaper to get best results.

Start by thinking about how your target audience gets information. What channels do they use? Television? Radio? Newspapers? Webpages? Online search campaigns?

You want to make sure that when your target consumers are learning about the world around them that your messages are part of that information stream.

Step 5: Measure campaign results to determine if you actually did reach the right people!

Defining your target audience is just the first step. Now, you need to determine if you were correct.

It’s not uncommon for marketers to identify an audience they want to reach only to discover once the campaign starts running that a very different group of people respond to the marketing materials. Again, depending on the types of marketing channels you use, the feedback you will receive can tell you some very important stories.

The bottom line is NOT to assume that just because you have identified an audience and then determined the best criteria to select and reach that audience that your work is done. EVERY campaign you’ll run will teach you how to do a better job in the future. However, you need to be open to that feedback and be willing to continually tweak that information to optimize future campaigns resulting in more and more effective results!

 

-Lisa