Everything You Need to Know About Marketing Your Event Planning Business at a Trade Show

May 17, 2019 Jessica Stewart

The trade show market size is projected to reach almost 17 billion US dollars by 2021. If your event planning business is looking to boost its revenue, taking part in a trade show is a great place to start. 

Wondering how to prepare for your first trade show? There are essential steps to take so that you have a successful experience.

Your team will need to consider budgeting, planning, and trade show marketing tactics. Keep reading to learn all the tips and tricks about getting the most benefits from your next trade show experience. 

Today's Trade Shows

The Center for Exhibition Industry Research's latest report shows that there were over 9,000 B2B exhibitions in 2014. That number hasn't dropped in the last five years. This means today's companies need to consider B2B trade shows as important marketing tactics.

Trade shows are large exhibitions where businesses gather to promote their products or services. Each show's theme will focus on an industry to attract the target audience. Billions of dollars are spent each year towards marketing and production costs for trade shows.

The Boost in Popularity

Events like these used to be associated with boring tables, hours of standing, and excessive information. Recently, trade shows have become an exciting and immersive experience for consumers. 

Modern trade shows feature celebrity speakers, musical performances, and elaborate presentations. This experiential marketing tactic entices consumers and gets them emotionally engaged and interested. 

Because of the boost in trade show benefits, business professionals attend 20-23 trade shows each year. If taking part in the exhibition, companies expect to spend thousands of dollars on a single event. 

Events with Value

Even with the huge price tag, the investment is worth it. Trade shows can be a cost-effective opportunity for face-to-face meetings with customers. A company spending thousands on a trade show booth might get billions back in revenue.

Since trade shows offer a huge potential in increased revenue, more and more money is invested in planning and executing events. In fact, 47% of US companies will increase their annual trade show budget

Why are trade shows gaining such popularity? Not only do they offer financial benefits to companies, but they provide positive experiences for consumers. 

Experiential Marketing

Trade shows use experiential marketing to captivate consumers and convert leads to sales. This type of marketing immerses customers in a company's brand and product. It also requires in-person interactions and the ability to create positive experiences.

The benefits of experiential marketing include boosting brand awareness through positive, consumer-focused campaigns. Since this type of marketing is customer-centric, its focus is to offer an enjoyable experience.

This means no annoying sales tactics or negative sales pitches. Instead, it's all about talking with the audience and gaining their interest. The goal is to get them emotionally invested in your brand. 

What's the benefit of using experiential marketing at your trade show? It's the best opportunity to wow your audience. The goal of trade show booth marketing is to give consumers a memorable experience by forming emotional connections. 

At trade shows, companies will engage their audience by setting up elaborate booths. They'll design their booths with colors that tie into a company's brand. Companies also give out promotional products and make memorable presentations.

It's easy to draw attendees in and increase sales when an event is fun and elaborate.

Because of this, trade show companies will hire notable speakers or celebrities to speak at their events. Consumers might even hear from a trade show marketing company about the highlights of upcoming events. 

If you've been wondering about how to use experiential marketing as part of your business growth plan, a trade show is a great place to start. It gives you an ideal opportunity to put your brand in front of new audiences and speak to them face-to-face. 

Don't feel nervous about taking part in the next trade show near you. We've put together a list of steps to help you as you prepare for such an important event.  

Setting up Your Trade Show Marketing Campaign

The key to making event marketing work for you is to have a clear and foolproof plan. You'll want to take everything into consideration and to prepare yourself for any bumps in the process. 

Your demonstration can fall flat or leave a lasting impression. You don't want your booth to be swallowed up and forgotten among the hundreds of other presenters. 73% of your goal should be to increase brand awareness, so follow these key steps to ensure your demonstration is a success. 

1. Establish a Plan

Like any event, you need to establish a clear plan to get the most out of the occasion. Thousands of potential customers at a trade show means you need an effective plan for converting exposure to sales. Comb through every detail and scenario so your team is prepared for any surprises. 

2. Gather Information 

If you've attended trade shows in the past, you can gather information from those events. If this is your first time, then don't worry. Do some research on your audience and the show's target audience. 

Know the demographics and lifestyles of the show's audience. This will help you plan the most effective presentation to win them over. 

You can also ask for an analysis of the trade show layout and use that for your team's benefit. It will tell you where the highest traffic will be and how it will affect your booth.  

3. Set Your Budget

Presenting at a trade show is one of the best ways to boost your business, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Sticking to your budget will be crucial to the success of your plan, and you'll need to leave plenty of room for the essentials. 

Make sure your budget includes rent, design costs, and advertising. You should also have plenty of room for promotional items, your employee's salaries, and accommodations. 

4. Run a Cost-Benefit Analysis

Before you dive into setup, make sure to run a cost-benefit analysis of your plan. This will reveal any gaps in your plan to help you redistribute money and resources better.

Look over your goal, budget, and logistics. It's also a good idea to take a look at your competitor's resources if you can, to see what you might be competing with. Compare your analysis against the potential outcome of success. 

5. Analyze Your Timeframe

A key element to success is performing your plan within the right timeframe. Your team should consider every step of the process and consider how much time is needed for each task. Even setup and tear-down can take up a surprising amount of time. 

You should also plan for surprises that might come up. If an employee gets sick or a mistake happens with your promotional gifts order, you'll need time to adjust the plan. 

6. Practice Your Pitch

Having a successful trade show isn't only about getting your booth in shape. 48% of attendees want positive face-to-face interactions at events. This means it's important to prepare your team with their presentation.  

Run through "practices" and act out scenarios. Make sure your team is warm-selling to customers and giving a good face to your business.

The goal is to draw potential customers in with an exciting booth and then wow them with a friendly and memorable presentation. Try to meet people and follow up with them after the event. Every stranger you meet is an opportunity for a sale and a long-term business relationship. 

Tips for Success

Preparation for a trade show event can be a long and tiring process, but it'll be worth it in the end. Every little step of the process needs careful attention to lessen any difficulties during the event. 

Sometimes it's hard to stay on top of the tiny details when you're so focused on budgeting and building your exhibition. With experience you'll learn bonus tips and tricks, but if it's your first time you might feel a little clueless. To help you make the most of your event, here are some bonus tips you can use. 

Do Your Homework

When you register for a trade show, you'll receive important emails about the event. Some will be for promotional sales and discounts. Others will have important event information and deadlines. 

It's essential that you read every email and check that you haven't missed one. You should also contact the event organizer for any pre-show webinars. These courses are helpful for vendors wanting to learn more about the event. 

You might even score a hotel discount for your employees if you stay on top of the event's emails. Little discounts like this can help spread your budget farther. When you do your homework on the event, you'll be set up for success. 

Be Early

It will help your marketing team a lot if you register for a trade show as early as possible. Doing this will lower the stress of planning and save you money. Most marketing events will offer lower registration prices if you sign up early. 

Once that's done, you can put the money you saved towards presentation costs. Early registration also means you have more time to build your presentation. Be aware of the event's deadlines and set calendar reminders for your team. 

Location, Location, Location

You and your team need to know where your booth is located and what the event's general setup is like. Attendees will find your booth by knowing its number, so it's information that should be included in all communications. 

Pre-Event Marketing

More than half of trade show attendees know which booths they want to visit before they even show up. What does this mean for your business? You should invest part of your budget to do some pre-marketing. 

Pre-marketing is how you'll get trade show attendees to visit your booth. After all the time and money you spend in preparation, forgetting this essential step can lead to a disappointing show experience. 

Use a multi-channel approach to get your trade show advertisement out there. You want to reach as many attendees as you can, so this is a good opportunity to put your event planning skills to use. 

Your Event Marketing Team

Attending a trade show is the perfect opportunity to put your team of event planners to the test. It's also a perfect time to showcase your team's abilities and prove to potential clients that you're great at planning events. 

Your event planning business needs designers, budgeting experts, media managers, and data analysts. But you also need marketing experts who can put your brand's name out there. 

Trade show exhibitions are valuable for helping to build and reinforce brand awareness. You can also use the opportunity to promote a new product or service. Because of this, you need someone to market your company's booth at trade shows. 

If you're a small brand, you might use your entire team to make a trade show happen. Larger companies might consider forming a small team of individuals to focus their skills on making the trade show a success. 

Event planning businesses will know the best person for each essential role. By forming a strong trade show team, you'll be able to streamline the planning process. 

Enjoy the Show

Trade shows are evolving into immersive experiences that need innovative planning. They offer long-term benefits like brand awareness and higher conversion rates. They can also improve customer relationships.

No matter the size of your business, it's time to take advantage of the marketing potential of trade shows. But while you're talking up customers, don't forget to have fun and enjoy the excitement of the event. 

Need more tips to boost your trade show marketing experience? Browse our blog for more tips and tricks to add to your event arsenal. 


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