So, you have a really eye-catching display, the right booth staffers (wearing branded apparel), memorable promotional items, and a follow-up plan. But did you ever stop and think if you should even BE at this expo?
Choosing to exhibit at the right events or trade shows may be the single most important factor in your ROI and overall success. The right events will have the type of attendees you’re looking for, namely your target market. This also enables you see what your competition is up to. Do your research. Keep your options open so that you can find the right show for your objectives and your trade show budget.
Consider the following when choosing whether to exhibit at a particular trade show:
1 – The Attendees
As mentioned above, will the attendees of the show be interested in your product/service? In selecting shows, many companies start with industry associations and publications. Also, a number of websites exist that feature databases of various expos. These are often cross-referenced by industry, location, date, and other factors. Even the job functions or titles of the attendees can help you decide if it’s the right group of people for you.
2 – Your Budget
Exhibiting isn’t cheap, so it’s important to understand what you can afford, and what you need to buy / rent to make the event worthwhile. Budgeting for a trade show involves many factors, including marketing, promotions, staffing, giveaways, event fees, travel, meals, your displays, freight, and much more. Our Trade Show Checklist outlines just about every cost involved in an expo.
3 – Expand Your Horizons
Sometimes it can be beneficial to get in front of a different audience for a little more exposure. Local chambers of commerce and business associations can lead to good contacts and opportunities. These events and meetings tend to be a little more downsized than a full-blown expo, meaning less out-of-pocket costs for the exhibitor.
4 – Walk a Show as an Attendee
Perhaps the best way to determine if a trade show makes sense for your organization is to participate as an attendee. The cost of a pass to an expo is a fraction of the cost associated with becoming an exhibitor (sometimes even free). You can walk the show floor and see firsthand every opportunity offered at a specific event to help decide if it’s worthy of your time, effort, and precious marketing dollars.
Other factors can help you determine which show is right for your exhibiting efforts, but now you have a solid place to start. And remember, you’re not alone. Get input from your sales and marketing team to firm up your objectives and needs.