2019 trade show season is in full swing and we thought it would be a apt time to share some valuable inputs to make your trade show participation a resounding success.
While marketing and advertising budgets have shrink ed trade show remains still a viable platform to garner some much needed attention for an organisation in 2019. So this is the best time to plan and maximize your high impact PR strategy that will aid in your other marketing efforts to get the best post event ROI. In most cases the exhibitor assumes that by just exhibiting at a trade show you are guaranteed coverage in publications other than the media partners associated with the exhibition. This is not the case so the exhibitor should have to work for it. Because you are trying to get the attention of a journalist who is already being approached by an exhibitor just like you, even your competitor and by numerous PR agencies trying to position their client. So an intelligent and strategically well thought plan needs to be employed. The alternative is to employ a PR agency to handle the same by coming up with a strategic communication plan exclusively for the event to ensure that you will stand out among hundreds.
In normal scenario some companies spend hundreds of thousands of dirhams (or more!) to design, build, ship, set up and staff a trade show booth … and then do absolutely nothing to bring media to that booth other than obvious limited coverage in the show daily and the media partner publications which is almost guaranteed with the exhibitor package. So do you want mileage in just this or you want to help your company maximize the return on its trade show investment by mixing in high-powered PR magic.
Strategically think about it. You have your best products on display. You have your technical experts and top executives on hand, perhaps some from overseas. You have sharpened your messaging. You have created a unique booth experience for your customers and prospects. Why not introduce media into this mix. To ensure not only visitors know about your products but a whole new prospective target audience that can captivated and educated about your products via media interviews and the resulting coverage.
It’s definitely worthwhile:
• Invite the journalist to visit your stand, engage them in interviews and demonstrations, and have them help you reinforce your message … with stories that will ensure that your message resonates long after the show is over
• Increase the reach and frequency of your brand messages to the thousands of customers and prospects who couldn’t attend the show
• Earn media coverage that supports and adds credibility to your brand
• Validate your prospects’ and customers’ enthusiasm for your company, as they read about your products in a publication, blog or media outlet they trust and respect
PR support is an integral quotient of a trade show participation. Which can simply and inexpensively help maximize your ROI. And best of all, it’s not rocket science and these are some basic things you could do own your own:
1. Ensure that you target the right target media before the show, sharing with the journalist what you’ll be offering at the event inclusive of products, demonstrations, bios of experts and executives available for interviews and insights/perspectives on industry trends or issues your people can address. The organizer will most likely share a list of media and the journalist details of media attending the show, if not its better understand the publications that cover your particular industry sector and check their online media packs for necessary contact details and get in touch with them directly and pitch your case.
2. Trade vs newspapers; most likely you would get the interview affirmation from trade media well in advance. But for newspapers the details of the journalist assigned to cover the show will only be revealed most likely a week or two before the event so don’t forget to target them since a placement in a daily newspaper will quadruple your target audience impressions
3. Prepare Press kit, company profile, spokesperson bio’s & pics, video demonstrations, product images, fact sheets, FAQs and news releases, and save on flash drives that can be distributed electronically or from your booth or placed in the media center dedicated to journalist at the trade event.
4. Create a micro-site on the Web and promote it to media and customers to make all of your press materials, videos, etc. easily accessible;
5. Conduct media training (or a pre interview media briefing) for your key spokespeople to maximize the value of media interactions and prevent hitches
6. Post news and/or updates live from the show floor via Twitter, other social media platforms and your company website (you might even want to survey visitors about industry issues and announce the results each day) or even have a live tweet feed at your stand where visitors can tweet about issues and your experts can respond live
7. Media Follow-up do a follow up call / email thanking them for their support and asking if they require any more information or any pictures or presentations are required use the follow up as a platform for building a long lasting relationship with them.
By integrating at least some, if not all of the above PR techniques into your mix, your trade show participation can keep generating earned media and coverage for months to come which can translate into ROI.