The Four P’s of Trade Show Success

By Evan Rubenstein
trade-showYou’ve heard of the Four P’s of Marketing – classic stuff.   For Trade Shows, Exhibitions and Events, there are another Four P’s you should be working through to ensure that your efforts are successful. Trade show success is something that many exhibitors complain about. But, like most things in business, it’s a matter of knowledge.
When considering your next Trade Show or Exhibition, make sure you address the following four areas:
  1. Planning. Like with all things, there is a very low probability of getting a good result without a good plan. The planning process will get you to focus on the crucial elements that will deliver success. Putting your business in front of a large crowd and looking interesting and attractive is not something that can be done haphazardly. It is an orchestration of ideas, people and assets in a cooperative mesh, under public scrutiny and in an unfamiliar environment. Trade Shows are invariably an expensive exercise and there is a lot that can go wrong. Proper planning is the best way of minimising your risk and maximising your ROI.
  2. Promotion. Whilst most Trade Shows do their own promotion, you need your own promotional program to pro-actively communicate your message with your market as effectively as possible.  A Trade Show is a good reason to meet customer’s staff and management. Send invitations, work social media  and make appointments with your targets. Have something of interest for them to come and see and make them feel that their presence is valued and important.
  3. People. Your team should be properly prepared to make the most of every opportunity and eventuality whilst they are professionally representing you. Rosters, scripts, conduct and booth rules are all devices you should make use of to ensure that you present professionally and so that you are focussed on maximising your outcomes. Before you know it, the show is over and whatever was not done properly is what was done. Remember the adage “Proper Preparation Produces Proper Performance”
  4. Post-show Follow-up. In most cases, all the effort of the show culminates in the post-show activities. After all, the principle activity of the event is usually lead generation. Most businesses feed Trade Show leads to their sales team for immediate follow up, but this invariably leads to very little. Most Trade Show attendees go to the show to see a wide range of things in one place at one time – i.e. they are researching; they are generally not ready to buy. They are usually at the very beginning of the buyer’s journey. The sales team have targets and deadlines and most of these leads get forgotten. Systematic follow-up over a period of time is required to produce business – a chore most sales people get bored with.  Good systems will prevent this.Of course, if you have not done the first 3 P’s properly, then you won’t have the issues that the 4th P addresses!

The interesting observation that can be made when talking to businesses that use trade shows is that good businesses get good results from trade shows , and not so good businesses get bad results. In other words, your trade show results are a mirror of how you run you business.

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