Trade shows are an exercise in controlled chaos. Companies looking to nab attention for new products and services must rise above the din of thousands of other exhibitors all while focusing on the precious few attendees who will give a few minutes of their time to hear a pitch.
Thats why engaging a marketing and public relations firm to manage media appointments, contests, and other promotions makes sense. Hiring experts whose responsibility it is to garner attention leaves your booth staff open to do what its there for: cultivating new customers.Promotional teams are great for coordinating and getting results using a variety of programs and strategies:
- Media Coverage. PR professionals already have relationships with editors and reporters at media outlets that focus on your business. They can pitch news ideas prior to the trade show and coordinate appointments with your experts at your booth.
- Contests/Promotions. It seems that most companies hold some sort of giveaway or contest during a show and they often lack creativity (iPad giveaway, etc.). Outside marketing experts can develop unique promotions and leverage advertising opportunities to drive potential customers and not just people looking for freebies to your sales team.
- Competitive Research. Rival companies arent big on handing out product and marketing materials to people with a competitors name on their badge. Your marketing and PR representatives can more easily gather valuable intelligence under the cloak of an unknown agency name and collect informational materials you might not otherwise obtain through a public website.
- On-the-spot Marketing. Booth staff is tied to the real estate you paid premium dollars to reserve, and dont have the luxury of wandering the show floor to talk up your products and services. An agency team can set up show-wide promotions (flash mobs, flier handouts, PA announcements, etc.) that can draw attention to your booth and publicize educational sessions taught by company experts.
If youre convinced that outside marketing and PR expertise is the way to go, then there are a few things to consider before jumping into a relationship:
- How much are you looking to spend? Make sure you are clear on the budget youre willing to allocate for promotions. Agencies can work on both project and hourly bases, and clearly defining what you can spend will ensure programs will stay within the scope of resources.
- What is your overall goal with trade show promotions? Be clear and concise on what you want to accomplish. Getting attention or Driving traffic are too vague. If targeting key prospects is the goal, your marketing partner will develop programs to lure them your way. Want media coverage? PR pros will leverage existing relationships to get you appointments with editors.
- What ROI do you expect from show campaigns? Part of building a strategic promotional campaign is setting return-on-investment goals prior to setting foot on the show floor. An upstanding marketing and PR agency is more than willing to work toward tangible goals (X number of new business leads; X number of media appointments, etc.).
Its your money and time, so be clear on what you expect. But be realistic!Collaborating with an outside marketing and PR team on trade show promotions can be highly satisfying and profitable. Be clear on your expectations prior to talking with an agency and set realistic goals. From there, let the marketing and PR pros use their creative expertise to develop a strategic program that fits. Then, reap the rewards of good trade show promotional management.