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The First Question To Ask When Exhibiting At Trade Shows

October 11, 2011

By Mike Thimmesch

What’s the first question to ask when you are exhibiting at trade shows?  That’s a good question.

There are many important questions you and your team can ask when preparing for your trade show program:

  • Which shows should we exhibit at?
  • How big a booth space do we take?
  • What color should we put on our trade show exhibit graphics?
  • Should we invite attendees with an email, a direct mail piece, or both?
  • What giveaways should we buy?
  • What clothes should our staffers wear?
  • Where in the show hall is the best place to put our exhibit?
  • Who should staff the trade show booth?
  • Who will manage our leads after the show?
  • What should we say to attendees in the aisle?
  • What demo can we do to get people’s attention?
  • What products should we feature in our exhibit?
  • What kind of tradeshow displays will work best for us?
  • What activities should we do in our booth?
  • Is it worth hiring a trade show presenter?
  • How will we measure our success?

These are all good questions, and the answers are often critical to your trade show success.  But all these questions go on hold until you answer the first question:  “What is our main goal for exhibiting?” Once you answer that essential question, the answers to all the other questions fall into place.

The three most common goals exhibitors seek are to boost awareness, generate leads, and meet with existing clients and key prospects.  Each of these three key goals will dictate different answers to all the other questions.

For example, who should staff the trade show booth?  If you want to generate leads, you will choose staffers who will quickly engage, qualify, present and close to many attendees.  But if you are meeting with existing clients, you may want your company VIPs or key account sales people who already have relationships with key buyers.

So next time you or someone else in your team asks a question about your trade show marketing, be sure you’ve got the first question buttoned up already.  It will make all the subsequent answers that much easier.


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