Why Now is the Perfect Time to Re-Evaluate your Trade Show Strategy

2020 has taken the world by storm and few things are left unchanged. The way we eat out, learn, work, worship and yes, even market our business has changed. We’re forced to adapt to unexpected closures, telecommuting, distance-learning and strict new protocols. And companies that rely on annual in-person trade shows to help generate leads, grow their brand image and market their products and services are not exempt from the effects of COVID-19.

But there is a silver lining! Time. We are forced to slow down and re-evaluate how we do business and this means that we have the opportunity to refine our processes and come out stronger on the other side. Now is the perfect time to re-evaluate your trade show strategy and a great way to jumpstart this process is by asking yourself some important questions.

What’s my “why?”

When you think back to past exhibits, why did you participate? Was your goal to generate fresh leads? Did you want to increase brand awareness? Were you hoping to connect face-to-face with some of your current clients? Now, think ahead to your next show. Will your “why” be the same? Maybe things have shifted in your company and your needs have changed so your motivation for your next show will be entirely different. If you have a new product or service, your goal may be to create awareness around that. Once you nail down your “why” you can set your goals for your next event.

What are my goals?

Now that you know why you want to invest your time and resources into preparing for your next show, what are you hoping to accomplish? Make your goals measurable so you can calculate your trade show ROI. If you want to generate more leads, how many more do you want to generate? If you want to connect with current clients, how many do you want to connect with? If you want to create awareness about a new product or service and you’re going to include a live demo, how many people do you want to view your demo? Also, if you’re actively making sales during your show, set a financial goal of how many deals you want to close or what kind of profit you want to see.

Who’s my target audience?

As you think about your trade show goals, will these goals help you connect with your target audience? Perhaps your target audience is quite broad and your show will only target a select portion of this audience. That’s ok. Just make sure you define your target audience for your show so you can market to them effectively and accomplish your goals.

What’s my differentiation factor?

Your company is one of a kind. What sets you apart from competitors in your industry? Why do customers order from you instead of the next company? Define your differentiation factor and own it. This is particularly important if there will be many competitors exhibiting at the same show.

Think about how your product or service uniquely addresses your target audience’s pain points. Then, design your booth around it and incorporate it into your graphics and giveaways. Your differentiation factor gives you a competitive advantage that will steer people towards your brand in a sea of choices.

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