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Exhibiting at a conference this fall? Get your event marketing plan in place!

July 18th, 2012

You’ve committed thousands (maybe tens of thousands) of dollars and several days of several people’s time to exhibit at a conference this fall.  The worst thing you can do is just show up and hope it goes well.  As the popular business book is titled, “Hope is not a strategy!”

The success of your presence at an event will be determined long before you ever show up, with an effective pre-show marketing initiative; these pre-show marketing efforts can be divided into two categories:
–    Utilizing support from the event organizer
–    Those things you need to do on your own

It is in the event producer’s own best interest to make sure that, as an exhibitor, you have a very successful event.  They want (and need) your continued support and dollars.

To that end, most event organizers will make available a number of resources to help you promote your presence in the event.  It is up to you to take advantage of them and they could include:
–    Your logo and company description on the event’s website
–    Your logo and company description in pre-event mailings
–    Your logo and description in the on-site event program
–    Access to the list of pre-registered attendees for pre-show mailings
–    A special discount code to share with your clients
–    The opportunity to be a sponsor – the event itself or certain aspects of it (e.g. the food breaks, keynote address, literature bags, etc.); while I’m not necessarily suggesting that you must be a sponsor, you do need to consider those opportunities – take a look at the dollars and what kind of benefits you receive for the investment
–    Speaking opportunities

Now on to your efforts… think through the kinds of things that you can do to promote your presence in the event…
–    Emails or direct mail pieces to the names in your database
–    Posts on your website/social media pages
–    A note about your exhibit on every employee’s email signature
–    Salespeople and senior executives making personal invitations to key clients and prospects
–    Pre-schedule in-booth presentations – for specific clients at specific times
–    Set goals for your exhibiting… how many leads do you want to capture, how many demonstrations do you want to give, etc.  Then work to achieve them.
–    In all pre-show marketing, always include event details (dates, location and YOUR booth #)

Your pre-show marketing efforts may or may not bring any additional people to a particular event… but it will ensure that those who are coming will include a visit to your booth in their plans.  And that will give you a strong competitive advantage.

Question: What are you doing to help promote your presence at an event this Fall?  Please share it…

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