Super-charging your trade show results is a popular topic and scores a fine number of online search results. One of the benchmarks for event marketing in the Israeli hi-tech scene has undoubtedly been Panaya (now part of Infosys). Some of todays’ succesful local technology marketers show a stint at “the helicopter company from Ra’anana” on their LinkedIn profile. As follow-up reading to this post i recommend: The 50 secrets of Trade show Success, written by… no surprises here… former Panaya VP Marketing Udi Ledergor. So what can i add that has not been said already?

The right show
Find suitable event(s), based on your target audience, industry and desired geographic location. Be sure to request the demographic stats of previous years from the organizers and check if your expectations are likely to be met by the outcome of previous year(s). Talk to your peers and see if the’re happy with the quality of the audience (decision maker / influencer titles), the quantity and the visitor to exhibitor ratio. Exhibition layout (floorplan) and venue (location) are also important to consider. 

The right setting
When selecting a sponsor package and booth location, there is more to consider than budget alone: A smaller booth looks busy with little effort. This in turn attracts people. A big booth impresses, but takes more work and manpower to fill. As far as location goes, try and visualize the flow of people through the exhibition hall and find the “high street”. See if you can get close to the main sponsors without paying top dollar. It is good practice to define what you want to avoid. 
My personal top 3 of no-goes is:

  1. Venues where exhibitors are stuck in the basement, while workshops and plenary sessions are held on the levels above. Not even paying visitors bribes will get them to your booth.
  2. Events where the exhibitor/visitor ratio is completely out of whack. You’re looking for intimacy and end up sponsoring a gang bang (pardon my French!). Just don’t!
  3. Schedules so full of sessions that there’s no time for visitors to wander the exhibition, or similarly: coffee and food that is not served in the exhibition hall, or too close to the entrance. Visitors need to be able & incentivized to walk the exhibition floor during the breaks.

Pre-show planning
Proper events preparation will use most of your Marketing resources, from marcom to design, from content to online. If your resources are limited, time is of the essence. A multi-day show may take months to prepare, so start on time! Build your budget, set your goals, close the package, start booth design, order giveaways and start with an early “save the date”-type of campaign. Your audience is probably the crowd that books their summer holidays a year in advance, so you can’t be too early! See if you can research the registrants companies and titles (names you won’t get ahead of time..) against your database, so your Sales team can apply this knowledge and use the personal approach to set meetings. Plan your execution and the tools you need for lead generation. Order those bar code scanners and prepare that sheet with qualifying questions!

Up Next: The 4 Pronged Approach