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Table of Contents

Lead Story

A new era in digital marketing

News

Industry Update

Heartland settles some, loses one

U.K. checkless by 2018?

Diners Club: New brand, new voice

A new level of protection

Features

Research Rundown

A capital idea for growth

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Understanding prepaid's target audience

Ciao prepaid

Brush up on terminology for 2010

Views

To checklist or not to checklist

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

Education

Street SmartsSM:
New year, new plan

Jon Perry and Vanessa Lang
888QuikRate.com

Manipulation is good

Daniel Wadleigh
Marketing Consultant

Effective tradeshow marketing

Peggy Bekavac Olson
Strategic Marketing

Digging into PCI - Part 7:
Restrict access to cardholder data by business need to know

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Company Profile

mPayy Inc.

New Products

An ATM for all types of weather

Triton RL5000, Triton RL1600
Triton Systems of Delaware Inc.

Inspiration

Courting curmudgeons

Departments

10 Years ago in
The Green Sheet

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Miscellaneous

2010 Calendar of events

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 11, 2010  •  Issue 10:01:01

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Effective tradeshow marketing

By Peggy Bekavac Olson

Although just one component of the marketing mix, tradeshows can drive sales and build market share in an efficient, effective manner while building brand equity for your company, products and services.

With proper event selection, planning and execution, tradeshows offer a unique and lucrative selling environment by providing access to a captive audience of prospects under one roof.

Tradeshow experts agree that while attendance may be lower than in past years, people who attend in this down economy are there with a specific purpose and mission. They often plan in advance which exhibits they will visit, and when they stop at booths, their objective is to learn and gather information to spur buying decisions. Attendees' interest is high and their quality and buying authority is stronger than ever.

Face to face interaction is what makes tradeshows work. You and your staff have opportunities to meet customers, key prospects and even potential sales agents and partners in person. And compared to other selling tactics, you can show off your organization better and communicate in a more personal business setting in a tradeshow milieu.

Tradeshows provide attendees a visual way to learn about your company through your booth display and create a way to accelerate the sales process by matching prospects', potential sales representatives', sales agents' and partners' needs with your company's ability to fill them.

Tradeshows sometimes get a bad rap because they can be expensive, require significant logistical work, and fail to generate leads or tangible return on investment (ROI). This typically occurs when companies participate in events without mapping out a clear strategy. It's not just about reserving exhibit space, making travel reservations, ordering show services and giveaways, and shipping and setting up the booth.

Steps to success

Having a strategy in place sets your company on the path of making tradeshows a valuable marketing tool. A number of steps must be taken to ensure tradeshow success.

Pre- and post-show musts

Take exhibiting seriously because your company's brand, image, reputation and overall business are on public display. Put your best salespeople in the booth. Preparation and planning are essential, but booth staffers make or break the event and are the key to your success.

So provide preshow training covering event goals, expectations, responsibilities, and rules and behavior. Teach booth staffers to listen to people as they visit your booth and how to quickly qualify or disqualify them as prospects. Prepare succinct messaging about your featured products and services so staffers can successfully deliver these messages, handle questions and concerns, and identify opportunities while differentiating your company from the competition.

Identify in advance key customers that will be attending, and prepare to engage them in some way. Determine the hottest prospects in advance, and set appointments to meet them. Instruct staffers to accurately record information so sales opportunities can be followed-up on, and - this seems intuitive but is often forgotten or neglected - make sure to follow up on show leads in a timely manner. Finally, you'll want to measure and evaluate results in a post-show report and make recommendations for future improvement.

The time is now

Now is a good time to make sure your tradeshow strategy, plans and goals are in place for the coming event season. Remember, companies that continue to market themselves in down times are the ones that capture the largest "share of mind" when the economy turns around.

People remember and like to do business with companies whose products and services are visible. Tradeshows offer an effective means to keep your business top of mind while furthering your business goals.

Peggy Bekavac Olson recently founded Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payments companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS Acquiring Solutions for more than five years. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or peggyolson@smktg.com. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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