25 Questions To Pinpoint Your Trade Show Strategy
Create a strategic plan for your next trade show by answering these 25 questions.
A good trade show strategy will set you above your competition and help you get more qualified leads. A strategy is much more than just why you are going to a show. It is what you plan to accomplish there and how you are planning to get there. These 25 questions will help you put together a strategic plan and create measurable objectives to track your success.
1. Why are you exhibiting?
There are many reasons to exhibit and answering this simple question will help you create measurable goals. Below are the top 8 reasons why people exhibit.
Is your top goal to increase brand awareness and improve name recognition? Are you trying to get more qualified leads? Are you interested in strengthening industry relationships? Get face time with current clients? Do you like to stay on top of industry trends? Are you exhibiting because your competitors are? Are you supporting an association? Do you want to see as many buyers as possible at one time?
2. Who is your target audience and will they be in attendance at the show?
Even if you know your target audience backward and forward, now is a good time to re-evaluate your market and compare it with industry trends. Narrow down your market segment if you need to based on the show – does the show target a smaller section of your market? What are their interests?
3. What message do you want to communicate?
You have your target audience defined, now ask yourself what are their issues? What keeps them up at night? How can your product or service help them?
4. What do you want to accomplish at the show?
At the end of the show how will you measure your success? Defining this will help you plan and set steps to being successful before the show even starts. Is it getting “x” number of leads? Making sales on the floor? Meeting with “x” number of current clients? What steps do you need to take before the show to reach your goal?
5. Is this a new company, concept, product, or service?
Brand awareness and product recognition is the top reason that companies exhibit at trade shows. How does your company, product, or service stand out from competitors? How do you plan to attract the customers to your booth?
6. How does the show integrate with your overall marketing strategies and plan?
Face-to-face marketing is a great addition to your marketing strategy. Are you planning to meet with potential customers who you’ve only spoken with on the phone? Is your goal to make these opportunities concrete leads? Or are you planning on creating leads during the show to follow up with throughout the year?
7. What sales volume is expected from this medium?
Are you actively selling during the trade show? Are you tracking the number of leads that convert to sales? Did you participate in the event last year? What were your previous results? What are your goals for this year?
8. What is your position in the industry (your perception and that of your clients)?
Have you been in the industry for many years? Are you considered an expert? Did your company just open? Have you been in another industry for many years and are new to another industry?
9. What are your current channels of distribution?
Do you sell your products or services online? What is your sales process? Do you have a brick and mortar store? How does your sales process work?
10. What are the characteristics of your prospects/clients buying behavior? Preferences? Needs?
Do you invite clients for a demonstration of your products or services? Do your clients come to your location? How long is your sales process? Do typically make the decision before speaking with you or do you help match them with a product or service?
11. What is the market potential relative to the audience?
Are there many competitors? How large is your audience? What makes your product or service stand out?
12. Describe your products/services in terms of applications, benefits, and relative price.
How does your price point compare to that of your competitors? Do you offer more benefits with your product or service? Can you incorporate these into your booth? How can these be used to your advantage in your booth? Can you have a live product demonstration?
13. What are your competitive advantages? How can they be communicated?
You know why your products and services are better than your competitors, but how can you relay that through your booth? Yes, you could bullet point out:
But will wording alone bring more customers to you? The answer is no, probably not. See if you can incorporate your advantages into your graphics, pre-show communication and advertisements, and booth activities. Doing more will help you and your product stand out.
14. What are your weaknesses? How can you minimize them?
Identify your strengths and weaknesses. You will naturally play up to your strengths, but identifying your weaknesses will help you reach your trade show goals faster. Does your staff need to be better trained on all aspects of your product? Do you need to beef up your social media marketing? Identify these before your show and begin strategizing ways to improve them.
15. What is most memorable about your product? How can you communicate it?
Have you had a large number of repeat customers? Why do those customers keep coming back? Get testimonials from current customers and shout those reasons out to potential customers.
16. Who are your competitors? What are their strengths and weaknesses? How will they communicate their strengths?
Are a lot of your competitors going to the same trade show? What have they done in the past at the show to draw people to their booth? Use this knowledge to your advantage. How can you take your exhibit one step further?
17. Why should a prospect consider purchasing your product?
Does this product offer new technology? Is it more cost effective for your customer? Does it come with great customer service? Can you get it to your customer faster than your competitor?
18. What key words communicate the most about your company, its products and services? Can they be communicated through graphics?
The best way to communicate your brand is through graphics. People at trade shows don’t want to stop and read through a long list of how you can help. Graphics provide a feeling and a message about your product that your customers will grasp quickly.
19. What can you use to gain attention to your exhibit? Why do attendees visit you?
Can you schedule appointments with current customers or potential customers? Are you going to offer a product demonstration? Will you hand out something that stands out to others on the show floor?
20. How will visitors interact with your staff?
Will you have a counter with a receptionist? Do you want anyone to be able to walk into your booth or do you want to keep it more private?
21. What do attendees normally want to do when they visit your exhibit?
Do they want to pick up your product and see what it offers? Do they want to discuss your services further with booth staff? Would they like to walk away having made a deal?
22. Can a meaningful demonstration be integrated into your exhibit?
Demonstrations show off your product strengths quickly and easily. Can you show your product or service to multiple clients in one day? How can this demonstration wow your customer?
23. How will you measure the results of the event?
Let’s go back to question 1 on why you exhibited. This should help answer the best way to measure your events success. Brand awareness can be measured in a few different ways, but it is not always concrete measurable numbers. You can send out a survey, look at the website traffic, look at search volume data, or use social listening. This is great information to have, but how do you measure how this affects your ROI?
If you do measure brand awareness, you may also be interested in also measuring the number of appointments completed or leads generated. Measuring revenue based on the leads from the show can be tricky depending on your sales cycle. You may have met someone at the show, but if you have a longer sales cycle you may not close with them until 7 months later.
24. What role will your management play in the execution of you show plan?
If management is going to play a large role in the trade show planning process, it is smart to include them on your plans from the beginning. Do they only have a few concerns that they would like to address? Meet with them first to get everything laid out on paper before moving forward with your plans. This will prevent a lot of headaches.
25. Who is responsible for the planning, coordinating and execution of the entire event to assure its success?
Are you working with a team of people? Do all of these people play a deciding factor in the trade show? Is everyone working from the same location? How will communication work best?