Trade Show Trappings to Avoid

Reblogged by usexportresources

Posted on August 18, 2013 by admin
Increase the return on your marketing spend by avoiding common trade show trappings.

By Kathleen O’Neil, Marketing Strategist

With the weather cooling, many marketers are preparing to make the round of their industry’s Fall trade shows and events. However, trade show sponsorships can be quite costly – especially for the inexperienced sponsor. Many a marketer have succumbed to show “extras”, guaranteed by assertive sales reps to increase brand awareness, drive booth traffic, etc. The end result is that marketers spend way more than necessary on an event, eliminating any chance that they will recoup their investment. Savvy marketers can avoid this fate by skipping some common trade show trappings:

Paying List Price – If you don’t need everything that is included in a sponsorship package, ask for a discount in lieu of the featured benefit. Though show sales reps seek to maximize revenue, they’re also under pressure to fill a trade show floor with as many sponsors as possible. Always ask for a lower price.

Sponsored Speaking Sessions – Sponsored speaking sessions are no more than paid infomercials, and paying conference attendees are aware of this. Unless you’re hosting third party, industry thought leaders for panel discussion or special talk on a particularly hot topic, these sessions should be avoided. These sessions typically generate very little attendance and hardly justify the price premium demanded by show management.

Sponsored Lunches or Coffee Breaks – After sitting thru several hours of presentations, conference attendees typically use lunch and/or coffee breaks to network with their peers, meet with partners or potential customers, check email/voicemail, and, well…EAT! Lunch-hour presentations will likely fall on deaf ears. Moreover, unless the food was spectacular, it’s unlikely most attendees will even remember who paid for their lunch.

Oversized Booths – When it comes to trade shows and events, bigger isn’t necessarily better. Many companies believe that a large footprint will signal that a company is a “player” in the industry. If your company is, in fact, a player in your industry, great. But if you’re just getting started, spending on an oversized booth to make yourself look bigger than you are, only makes you look smaller because it’ll be a challenge to fill it. A larger footprints requires larger booth properties, more spent on carpet and furniture rental, etc. Invest in a smaller footprint and spend the money you save on cool giveaways or activities that will drive traffic to your booth.

Advertising – Purchasing ads in show proceedings (or anywhere else at the conference) is generally a waste of money – even with a call to action. Save your money and use the show hashtag to tweet any booth promos, contests, or giveaways. Alternatively, print low-cost postcards that employees can place on chairs, leave on tables, pin to boards, hand out to attendees, and stick under hotel room doors.

Plants, Housekeeping, Chairs, etc. – Think hard about before spending money on plants, housekeeping, extra chairs, etc. — could that money be spent elsewhere? Plants in a booth take up much-needed booth space and do not contribute to sales. And unless your employees are employees are slobs, housekeeping is also an unnecessary expense. (Ask employees to refrain from eating in the booth and to tidy up at the end of each day). If at all possible, avoid renting fancy chairs or seating for your booth. Your staff should be on their feet, in the aisles, talking to attendees – not sitting behind a table or lounging on a booth sofa

Internet Drops – These days, most trade shows and events provide free WiFi from the show floor. If internet isn’t provided and you need internet connectivity, invest in a mobile hotspot device. The device and a pay-as-you-go wireless plan will be a fraction of the cost of internet drops provided by show management.

Ignoring Show Deadlines – The difference between early bird and on-site charges for shipping, warehouse storage, labor, electricity, etc. can be significant. When you receive your sponsorship packet, pay close attention to deadlines and place your orders early. By planning ahead, you can avoid the extra expense of expedited shipping and premiums charged for late orders.

Trade shows and events can provide companies with a means of increasing brand awareness, building key relationships with key decision makers, engaging its community, and networking with peers. However, they can also be a huge drain on a company’s budget and are notorious for having a low ROI. By avoiding many of common trade show trappings, marketers get more from their marketing spend.

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