Maximizing Trade Show Connections On and Off the Show Floor

trade show marketingTeam Sweeney is gearing up for a year packed full of trade shows, with the first-ever combination Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show kicking it off next week. We’ll be hitting the road to Denver, unveiling the latest advancements and collaborations our clients have in store for the outdoor industry.

Trade shows are a great way for brands to capture an audience’s attention face-to-face – whether that’s potential customers, collaborative partners, media contacts or just about anyone else interested in what you have to offer. However, strategic planning is a must to maximize your return on investment. Here are three must-consider strategies for your next show:

Media Relations

Ongoing media relations is a critical strategy to build brand awareness, establish credibility, and establish thought leadership. But trade shows present unique opportunities to engage your editorial contacts in a much more personal way than just over the phone or through email. Take advantage of that interactivity and plan accordingly.

Need some thought starters? Create a printed guide that showcases all the latest and greatest products/technology at your booth, and take your contact around to experience them in person, demo your products and talk to your experts. Invite them to your booth during an event to mingle with other fellow brand ambassadors. Or, meet them after hours for a quick one-on-one drink or meal.

First and foremost – remember that media relations is about the relationship. And this approach will net long term benefits.

Social & Digital Promotion

Ramping up your social and digital efforts around a show is essential to take your booth traffic and lead generation up a notch, but ensure you do so strategically. Create quality content for your channels that’s going to stand out amongst the noise, but be sure not to oversaturate.

The key here is remembering one size does not fit all when it comes to social and digital content. You’ll want to ensure your messaging remains consistent, but it’s tailored to whichever audience you’re targeting at the time. For example, maybe you are at a trade show targeting a specific vertical market. Other contacts following your brand on social may find no interest in this vertical market.

Make sure whatever goal you’re trying to achieve (for example, encouraging your audience to connect with you at the show or updating your audience who is not at the show) comes first and foremost when determining content.

Event Management

Consider an event – on or off the trade show floor – to create more meaningful, memorable connections . Events can focus on many different aspects of your brand from a product launch party and a customer appreciation event to showcasing brand values.

For example, maybe you want to showcase your focus on sustainability, so you organize a trash clean up or march for conservation. Maybe it’s durability, so you organize a happy hour to fuel up and recharge on the show floor. Or, maybe you’re just trying to position yourself as a cool, leading tech company so you plan a yacht party. Determine what you are looking to communicate and some unique ways to get the message across by showing your target audience rather than telling them.

There are so many ways to create meaningful connections on the show floor, but they require upfront strategic planning. Interested in discussing how to better engage your audience and enhance your ROI at trade shows? Contact me at [email protected].

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Morgan Lang

Morgan joined Sweeney as an intern more than four years ago and has quickly risen through the ranks to manage two of the largest accounts at the agency. Her expertise in publicity and media relations, social media, trade show marketing and events marketing are evident in the amazing results she routinely delivers to our consumer, B2B and industrial accounts.