Being part of a trade show gives small business a chance to experience economies of scale and to mix around with the big guys. This may also be the most stressful period for the PR Dept. head as he will hope that R & D people will be able to bring out the latest prototype of the company's new and "hot" product to a large audience. Top management may plan to use the trade show to increase profitability and market share.
Here are some tips:
The purpose of participation:
Before deciding whether you company should be part of this trade show, there must be a meeting of top management about the demographics of their target audience and the overall impact of the trade show. If the trade show is to launch a new product, then it should be obvious that all promotional literature and samples of the new product be ready. On the other hand, if participation in the trade show is just to create awareness and corporate visibility, then through prior research, ensure that the neighboring booths (your competitors) do not steal your "thunder".
Consider co-sharing your booth:
Co-sharing your booth with an alliance can be positive if there is synergy. It can also help lower the cost of booth rental and introduce your services to your alliance's customers.
However, the dangers of this approach is that one exhibitor may garner more exposure and publicity which may cause some dissent; there is also the issue of the signage and the "overall feel" of the booth that has to be agreed by both parties.
The Multimedia experience:
It is logical to prepare a multimedia experience for participants because there will be many booths shouting for attention. Trade shows are normally chaotic in nature. Thus make enquiries about the installation of large projector screens and platforms before committing yourself to the trade show.
Advertise with the trade show organizers:
The trade-show organizers will be promoting the event in the various media and your company should find out if you can tag onto this media blitz. A common method is to offer your company's new product as a prize for the event's grand contest.
Have you been to an exhibitor's booth and asked for brochures and be given the reply that they had run out of supply? Similarly, you discovered that the chart displayed at the booth and the information provided in the brochure was not the same. What was your impression of the credibility and level of professionalism of the organization?
It is essential that all information in the brochures and promotional materials be checked for accuracy and their supply sufficient for the entire event. Trade visitors will remember the organization by these items.
Train your sales staff well:
If you need to get temporary staff to help out, ensure that they are well drilled about the new product and the company's business philosophy. They must be forth-coming with their replies to enquiries from the public. They should not just wear the company's specially designed T-shirt and hand out flyers!
It is not realistic to expect "record sales" during the trade show. It is also important to create a rapport with the trade visitors by encouraging them to fill out feedback forms with their personal particulars. This will entitle them to a gift. The gifts must also be designed so that the organization will be remembered even after the trade show is over.
Use this opportunity of being part of the trade show to network with other trade show participants. Set aside some time to interact with them and understand their business and services. You may form future alliances.
Build up the morale of your team:
Being part of a trade show can build up the morale and teamwork of your employees. Remember to rotate the duties of each member like handing out brochures or manning the booth. It is also important that they understand that the image that they convey to trade visitors during the event will go a long way in creating brand consciousness and corporate positioning.
About The Author
Colin Ong TS is a recognised authority in Corporate and Career Strategy. Visit his sites at http://www.mrmc.com.sg; firstname.lastname@example.org