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Boss, Please Let Me Do Trade Shows Right!

December 11, 2014

Ever feel like your trade show program could do so much more?

You have years of trade show experience, you have traveled to dozens of shows, and spoken to hundreds of trade show attendees. So, you know what it takes to make your trade shows work better.

And yet, there are barriers to success inside your company, preventing you from taking your trade show program to the next level.

Try this: Ask your boss for help. Ask your boss to step in and step up. Your boss has more pull, and more influence with other managers. Leverage that power in your favor.

Here are 5 things your boss can do to help clear your path to success:

Break up our company silos

Trade shows are a team sport. The best exhibitors include input and participation from marketing, sales, engineering, customer service, their executive team, and more, depending on what kind of organization they are. However, if one area of your company plans your trade shows in a vacuum, you could be missing essential insights only available in other departments of the company. If so, ask your boss to get all appropriate peers involved earlier in your trade show planning process, and to commit to having staff in your booth where they can help best.

Give me more time

Trade shows require vast attention to detail and a lot of touches and double-checking. Not only do I need time to manage all these logistics, I also need time to plan and execute on a marketing plan that will boost our trade show results. So if you’ve given me responsibility for trade shows, give me the time to do them right.

Let me change our show schedule

That show that we’ve been going to ever since before either of us worked for the company? The attendance on that show has been on a slow decline for years. Meanwhile, there is a growing show where buyers from our best vertical market gather. Tell your boss not to worry people will think we are conspicuous by our absence at the first show, but to focus on the new leads we will get at the second.

Let me choose my booth staffers

I want people who will go to war for me with a smile on their face, not the newbie who doesn’t know anything about why our customers prefer us to our competitors. I want people who will work hard all through the show hours, not some department head’s drinking buddy who will be out late every night. I know who the good staffers will be. And I know who the people I would not bring back. Let me decide and we will get greater results.

Give me permission to fail. 

I don’t mean, give me permission to miss a shipping deadline. I mean, give me assurance that I can take calculated risks with our promotions, staffers, show selection, exhibit design, and more. Good marketing requires always trying new things, always testing new ideas. Some will fail, and that’s okay, because we will certainly fail if instead we continue doing the same things, while our market, customers, and competitors have changed.

One of the tenets of modern management is to let people closer to the work have more autonomy on making decisions, because those closest to the problems and challenges should be best able to solve them.

What would you like your boss to do that would help you improve your trade show marketing? Let us know in the comments box below.

When you exhibit in an island trade show booth, you’re making a major marketing commitment. Read theTrade Show Tips for Island Exhibitors white paper to better prepare yourself for the unique challenges faced by island exhibitors like you. Click here for your free copy.

trade show marketing • trade show planning • value of trade shows, Featured • Trade Show Planning and Logistics
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