Things to Consider: Building Your 2019 Trade Show Plan

If you are a sales or marketing professional and are in the process of evaluating your trade show options for the upcoming year, it’s wise to consider several factors before making that commitment to either attend or exhibit. Choosing the right event will not only save your company money and provide a good return on investment (ROI), but it will also save you precious time where you could be using in other ways to drive sales.

Here are some things to consider as you make plans for 2019 events.

  1. Decide what you want to get out of the event. Are you looking to meet people, develop partnerships, prospect and walk away with leads? Are you showcasing a new product? Something else? Having your event goals hashed out will help you decide on what type of event you should to be at.
  2. Do your homework. Once you determine what you are looking to get out of an event, it’s time to do some research on a couple events that grab your attention. Look at the event's history, how long they have been running, if they have reputable sponsor companies and publicized, and if they have well known exhibitors and interesting keynotes. The quality of these check list items says a lot about the event and how well it might attract a good audience.
  3. Is it marketable? How do you plan on getting the word out that your team will be attending or exhibiting at the right event? Make sure it has a draw to it and gives you ways to market to the general public and to your install base of customers. If you plan on exhibiting, is it worth doing a press release or some other announcement on a broad scale? How about social media marketing? These are all things to consider.
  4. Is the timing right? Timing is everything even in the trade show world. You have to consider the host city and the time of year. For instance, attendance and turnout is much better in Chicago if you have a Spring event versus a Winter event. What about your business? Do you experience seasonality in your customers purchase patterns? If so, try attending at time that aligns well with your company’s selling cycles. Also, are there any current promotions you will be running at the time the event takes place? Have you checked to make sure there aren’t conflicting events in the area or in the same industry that could pull attention away from your event?
  5. Do you know the audience? Having a high attendance projection is a great thing but make sure you do a little investigating beyond attendee count. Usually event organizers can point you in the right direction for this as they usually work with vendors that specialize in these services. Consider things like if the attendees fit your customer profile? Have your customers or potential customers attended in the past? Does your competition frequent the event as either an attendee or exhibitor?

These five items are just a small subset of what it takes to vet a show. Be sure to consult your marketing team or events coordinator for guidance on what you should do. If you are a small business, perhaps get in touch with a consultant that can help you plan your 2019 event plan. It’s a small cost that could pay off big time in the long run! Good luck!

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