Whether it’s your first conference, or you’re a veteran on the business-to-business trade show floor, preparation is key to ensure that it’s worth your investment. Thankfully, trade show attendance or exhibition means you’ll soon be surrounded by industry leaders and media who are looking to grow and share their insight — so how does your company tackle the challenge of hitting their radar?
The first step to accomplishing any goal is establishing it. So, before making big trade show decision, make sure you understand what you’re looking to get out of the event. As a B2B PR agency that specializes in media relations and thought leadership, our team frequently works with clients who are looking to use trade shows to help build relationships with media and analysts, preview or launch new offerings, build thought leadership in a given industry, generate press coverage and build awareness of their brand.
If you think these kinds of results would align with your company’s overall B2B trade show goals, keep reading. Here are five tips for a successful B2B trade show:
- Coordinate and connect before the show
Don’t go into this experience blind! Make sure you are informed as to what events and speaking sessions are taking place on the days or times you are attending. If you are exhibiting, be sure to check out the exhibitor list so that you know your placement and surroundings. If you’re hoping to secure press meetings, make sure to work with your PR team to request a list of press attending the show, also often known as a list of registered media, from the event hosts at least a month prior to the show . Use that list to select media you absolutely want to talk to during the show and reach out as soon as possible to get on their calendar early.
- Be proactive with awards or speaking engagements
While you may get the perfect opportunity to pitch your company or product to an ideal prospect at your booth, another opportunity to stand out from the crowd and increase visibility as a thought leader in your given industry is through speaking engagements or awards. Lead times vary for different events and some opportunities to submit to speak at events close as far as a year in advance. As soon as your team registers or otherwise makes plans to attend, make make to reach out to research what the speaking nomination process entails — and ask about award opportunities — to make sure you don’t miss out! While award processes can take longer than the speaking nominations, receiving an award at an event is a surefire way to reaffirm credibility.
- Build a better booth with an “experience” in mind
You read correctly — you’re shouldn’t just go into this experience with the thought that a booth alone is sufficient. There will be plenty of other booths for analysts and members of the media to browse (or walk past) and you want to make sure that there is a reason for someone to stop at yours. Think about what you can offer. For attendees, that might be swag or a prize, but for press, don’t forget about experiences, like a demo of the platform, and informative takeaways like information about how to access your press kit.
If you are intending to bring press and analysts to the booth, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. They have an audience to entertain and educate, so be sure that your most important talking points are visibly written and emphasized so that they can be remembered. Also, make sure that your booth hosts are relating their pitch in a way that highlights how a larger audience is affected. For example, speaking to trends and data points enhances credibility and shares a larger story.
- Keep tabs on social media
Wondering what products, people or events are causing buzz at your trade show? Be sure to monitor the conversations around the hashtags. This is a great way not only to connect with guests and industry leaders, as well as share relevant news or updates about your own booth, but also to see what the media is talking about early on.
- Last, don’t forget to bring your PR team!
While attending a trade show is an exciting opportunity to network, learn, and grow… it can also be a bit of an intimidating prospect. Your PR team likely set press and analysts meeting for the show and should be prepared to coordinate face-to-face editor meetings, make introductions to analyst and media contracts who may be having their first experience with your brand, engage with journalists who may have opted not to set a meeting and , give demos or overviews of your company’s offerings to both press and show attendees.
They can also offer immediate media relations feedback while monitoring and maximizing the press coverage each day of the show. This coverage can turn pre-, during and post-show, so having a contact to follow up with all members of the press and provide them with press kits, high-res images, products for review helps your company stand out as a strong voice in the crowd.
Interested in how BLASTmedia can assist your next trade show? Say hello here.