With money being tight, and becoming squeezed even tighter in businesses in almost every sector, the marketing budget is coming in for even greater scrutiny in terms of where cut backs should be made. Exhibiting at trade shows is an area where some companies feel they could save money but it would be a big mistake to stop using trade shows as part of the marketing plan. One of the best ways to get a bigger return on investment is by using pop up displays instead of expensive custom stands if capital outlay is a big problem right now and to learn some of the fundamentals that will help your company make money from trade show exhibiting.
First and foremost the hardware of your trade show stand need not cost a fortune. Simple pop up displays, used together with roller banner stands or x banner stands or maybe an eye-catching tension fabric structure will draw attention and get visitors to your stand. Once you have got your visitors, you can start to turn the cost of your trade show presence into the profit from your trade show presence!
Having a display stand at a trade show gives you the opportunity to do network marketing on a grand scale – if you get it right. A trade show is one of the few places where you do not have to go hunting for prospects, they actually come to you. If they are at the show, they are likely to be interested in what you have to offer (always assuming of course that you have done your homework before the show and choose the right trade show for your company).
Trade show organisers help you even further by giving attendees colour-coded badges to help you quickly identify people by their position within the organisation they work for (i.e. whether they are likely to be a decision maker or not) and the market sector in which their business operates. This pre-qualifies people before you even initiate the conversation. You get a second ‘bite at the cherry’ by getting the visitor lists after the show so you can make contact with people who didn’t get to your stand but who are pre-qualified as leads by their job role and business type.
This pool of targeted visitors makes the cost of taking back a good, well-qualified lead to your office after the show around half that of generating the same quality of lead from one of your field sales-force and statistics have shown that getting a sale from a trade show lead can be less than half the cost of sales gained through the normal sales force channels.
So, when your finance department is trying to get you to ‘sharpen your pencil’ on your marketing costs, don’t look at stopping or scaling down your trade shows presence, look instead at the hardware you are using and how you can get more ‘bang for your buck’ by using pop up displays and other inexpensive trade show materials to make a big impression for a smaller outlay.