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Trade Shows are a great marketplace for industry buyers and sellers.
Buyers come to the exhibition, in many cases, with a pre-set agenda of
companies to visit. Utilizing pre-show promotion helps your company get
on that "must-see” list of exhibitors.
The SC|05 Exhibits is
a fast-paced and exciting forum for discovery. Many new and stimulating
events happen during the exhibition, which creates a huge challenge for
your company to try to stand out to attendees. Just setting up a booth
on-site won’t guarantee your success. Your task is to decide
what message and which vehicle will get attendees to focus their attention
on your company. While most attendees hear about shows through direct mail,
you may find a mix of these mediums to be most effective.
Direct mail is the most important element you can use to attract buyers
to your booth. According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 76%
of trade show attendees leave home already having decided which booths they
want to visit. According to CEIR, the most effective pre-show promotion
54% - Personal letter with product information and guest
42% - Personal fax announcing exhibit specifics
37% - Phone call from a sales rep to schedule an appointment
TIP: Purchase pre and post-show attendee
mailing lists to promote
your participation in SC|05.
Consider the following elements when planning your direct mail program:
what you want to accomplish with your direct mail campaign. You should have
a list of specific measurable goals or objectives in mind before moving on
to the mechanics of the program. This is the only way you will be able to evaluate
the effectiveness of the campaign. Your goal is getting the right people to
your exhibit. Once there, what do you want them to do? See a demonstration of new product or
services? Meet a celebrity or company VIP? Collect a premium? Whatever
it is, be sure that it moves your marketing plans forward.
Mailing lists of your
best customers, prospects, and the media are obvious audiences, as are those
who have expressed interest in your product during the last year.
TIP: Be sure to take advantage of the Exhibits Only Badges. These
allow you to invite your clients and prospects to attend SC|05.
What is your message? Buyers
generally attend SC|05 for three main reasons: to gather information for
purchasing decisions, to solve problems, and to generate new ideas. Make
sure you address these points when creating your message or offer. Then define
the action you want the attendee to take.
Elements such as photographs,
illustrations, and headlines tend to attract attention and prompt readers
to read further. Creative use of color and white space helps to increase
the impact of your direct mail material.
TIP: Refer to the attendee
demographic information in the Exhibitor
Prospectus to fine-tune your mailing to your target audience.
Frequency. Experts agree that a single
mailing alone will not produce the desired effect. For optimal results, plan
to send three separate mailings spaced at two-to-three week intervals.
Make it easy for your customers to find you. Remember to highlight your
booth number and location in the exhibition. Always include the name, dates,
and location of Show and the SC|05 show logo on your envelopes or postcards.
It will increase the likelihood that your message will be read.
For years exhibitors have given away premiums or ad specialties
to promote their participation in trade shows. If there is no specific purpose
for premiums, these "giveaways" do not help or support your program.
a fresh look at your ad specialties and what they can do for you in terms
of promotional benefits. They can:
To increase the effectiveness of your ad specialties, develop a strategy.
Without specific goals, you can't achieve optimum results.
- Motivate attendees to visit your booth.
- Reward them for being there.
- Communicate a message that lasts long after most other attention-getting
devices are forgotten, repeating your message at no additional cost.
This first step is crucial.
Be specific in setting your objective(s); for example, 800 qualified leads,
400 demonstrations, $60,000 in orders, etc. Being specific is the only way
to accurately evaluate your effort after the Show is over.
Eight hundred qualified
leads may not be attainable because of your booth size, number of booth staff,
or audience mix. If this is the case, no ad specialty promotion can help
meet your objectives.
Define Your Audience
Who are you trying
to reach? How many can use your product or service? Are they buyers, scientists,
engineers, or managers? What are their objectives, or what's in it for them?
Establish a Budget
A realistic budget is one
that allows you to meet your objectives and is based on how much those objectives
are worth to your company (return on investment or ROI). Ask yourself: How
much are you willing to invest to bring qualified buyers to your booth, to
obtain 800 leads, or to receive $60,000 in orders?
Develop a Strategy
This includes themes,
slogans, creative tie-ins, timetables and responsibilities (who does what
and when), and how you are going to make it all happen. You should begin
three to four months prior to SC|05. Begin with a creative brainstorming
session. Assemble a group of people for the sole purpose of generating as
many ideas as possible to meet your objectives.
All the information gathered
in the first three steps should now be used to generate a multitude of ideas
for promotions that will grab the attention of your audience. Don't hold
back; instruct everyone to use their wildest imagination! You'll find that
one idea will inspire another until you have a full list from which to select.
the brainstorming, your group should evaluate each idea critically to find
the best approach. Bear in mind that attendees (your prospects) will be bombarded
at the Show with video walls, lights, and other attention-getting devices.
Simply handing out a key chain that says, "We're Number One" will
not get the job done.
Select the Ad Specialty
with an advertising specialty professional for promotional ideas. Creativity
and knowledge of a wide variety of promotional items are their business.
can comparison shop for ad specialty bargains. But remember it's not a bargain
if the imprint is wrong or the material is sitting in a warehouse the day
the exhibition opens. It's wise to use ad specialty professionals who know
how to avoid problems and manage deadlines unique to trade shows.
The next time you're at a trade show, notice the ad specialty promotions
of other exhibitors. You'll soon recognize those exhibitors who gave quality
creative time to their ad specialties and those who didn't, or simply didn't
The key ingredient to proper selection of your ad specialties is creativity.
By focusing on a concept, and not just a product, your ad specialty becomes
part of a program to enhance your overall marketing effort, not just an isolated
Create a Promotion
It's a fact that
pre-show promotions will dramatically increase your effectiveness and booth
traffic. Promotion lets attendees know who you are, where you are, and what's
in it for them (the ad specialty, in this case). Tying your pre-show promotion
into a booth giveaway increases the effectiveness of both. Here are examples
of giveaways that often have a high value for attendees:
- Free case histories (i.e., other customers' problems you've solved).
- Entry in a drawing or sweepstakes giveaway.
- Invitation to an event held during SC|05 (new product unveiling, Whisper
Suite meeting, after-hours party).
- Gifts related to your theme, product, service, and sales process.
- Article reprints of special interest to attendees that relate to your
product or service.
- A gift certificate, key, or other action-device that recipients can bring
to your booth to redeem for an appropriate incentive.
- A free guide that relates to your product/ service and your prospect's
job - something of value to take back to the office and use.
- “Fast 50” premiums/incentives to the first 50 people to stop
by your booth each day.
Measure Your Results
You can now evaluate the
Show and whether you've met your objective(s). Did you achieve your desired
results? The evaluation continues as you follow up on your post-show leads.
This information should then be used in your strategy sessions for the
next SC show.
People respond differently to different media. Some only take action after
receiving a personal letter or invitation. Others like the succinct approach
of a direct mail piece. Still others see an advertisement, and it triggers
a whole new thought. Whatever the means, the goals are the same: to create
awareness of your company and your products before buyers enter the exhibit
TIP: The SC|05 Exhibits Directory is distributed to all SC|05 attendees
on-site, and serves as a valuable reference tool after the show has ended.
Click here (link to Advertising info) for more information.
Advertising doesn't need to be limited to magazines. Ad space may be available
on billboards near the convention center or along the highway between the
airport and downtown Seattle. Ads can be placed on city buses or taxi cabs.
As with direct mail, you should consider objectives, target audience, content,
design, and frequency when developing your advertising program.
Don't Forget the Show
You increase the number of visitors
to your booth when you integrate the dates and location of the exhibition,
and your booth number into your current advertisements.
Design a Generic Ad
This type of ad is designed with an
open space into which you can insert variable information depending on your
needs. For pre-conference promotion your printer can drop the name and date
of the show into this space, along with your booth number or any other information