Several months back, we reviewed a few important marketing and branding-specific strategic-level questions to be asked early in the tradeshow planning process. Now, let’s use the work done in those areas and answer questions on how those items will play at out at a tactical level:
1. If targets can walk away from the show knowing one thing about our brand or products, what should it be?
This question should be informed, if not outright answered, by your response to the “what are our specific goals/top objectives” question of the strategic planning phase. Out of all the tactical-level questions to ponder, this is the most important response to take time and get right. It’ll have some level of influence on everything booth-related, from communications efforts to booth graphics and more.
2. How are we going to drive booth traffic and stand out?
While you may hope all your targets know you’ll be at the tradeshow and will prioritize visiting your booth while there, unfortunately that’s not always the case. In reality, your targets have a number of to-dos while at the show, making it critical to ensure you’re on their short list. Consider pre- and at-show communication (more on this below), in-booth events or features, and giveaways to better ensure your booth is a top-of-mind priority.
3. What are our options for pre-, at- and post-show communication?
Building off of the point above, it’s ideal to contact targets before a show begins to make sure they’re aware of your presence at the tradeshow and why they’ll benefit from making an appearance. This could be done via direct mail, email, show publications or more unconventional tactics (such as running geo-targeted digital ads during the show). Tactics used will be determined largely by whether show attendee lists are available, what your budget is and which methods are most effective with your audience. Furthermore, ensure you’ve budgeted to keep those show leads warm via post-show follow-up efforts.
Having a booth space at a tradeshow is often a massive investment of time and resources, but thorough strategic tradeshow planning can be quickly undermined if you fail to ensure your tactical execution is maximizing that investment. Use the tips above as a starting point to that end, and feel free to sound off in the comments section on other tactical items you consider foundational.