It would be easy to imagine in today’s world of digital marketing that some of the older methods of raising brand awareness, such as attending trade shows, might now be obsolete. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Trade shows are the perfect opportunity for the face to face contact that customers want, and should form a key part of your marketing strategy, combined with other forms of marketing.
Digital versus face to face
Research has shown that face to face contact is a fundamental human need, with the potential to prolong our lifespan. Albertsons, a leading American supermarket chain, closed down all of its self-service checkouts on the basis of customers’ preference for human contact. Digital marketing has tremendous strengths, but offering a personal touch is not one of them. However useful techniques such as remarketing might be, they cannot fool customers into thinking that it is personal service. Customer acquisition is not always easy to achieve via digital marketing. The average visit to a web page lasts less than a minute. That’s not long to get your message across. Contrast that with the amount of time one of your representatives could spend talking to a customer at a trade show, and you can start to see the benefits.
In order to get the most from attending a trade show, some planning is required.
Do your research
The event organisers will have expected attendee demographics. Make sure these match your target market before booking your place. Trade shows can only work if they allow you to connect with the right audience.
Identify your goals for the trade show
It might be new sales leads, reinvigorating relationships with existing customers, or gathering customer preferences and contact data, or all of these. Remember to measure afterwards whether your goals were achieved.
Get ahead of the crowd
Explore options to have relevant corporate gifts included in the welcome pack which is handed out at the entrance to all attendees. This gets your brand in people’s minds first. Make sure you include directions to your stand so that you can follow through on customer contact.
Attract people to your stand
All your representatives should be dressed in corporate clothes, so they stand out from your competitors. Use clear and consistent corporate branding to draw people to your stall, both prospective new customers and current ones. Trade shows are a fantastic opportunity to re-engage with existing customers, reminding them of what you offer and new products and services. Providing simple refreshments is another way to entice people to your area, and branded sweets packets to take away are a great option.
Keep them there
Retain people at your stand by providing something for them to do. People love competitions and these give you a chance to keep customers at your stall while they complete an entry form – perhaps using a branded pen which they get to keep. If possible, give people a chance to try out your product, or have simple case studies to review, with visuals of services you provide. Above all, talk to your customers, and make them feel valued and special.
Provide something extra
If your budget allows, sponsor a special feature at the trade show, for example a chill out zone or a VIP area, perhaps with a luxury branded gift.
So the answer to the question do trade shows still work, is yes they certainly do. Digital marketing complements face to face marketing, it does not replace it. Salt & Pepper supply a vast range of high quality corporate gifts and events products, so if you want to get your company noticed at your next trade show head to www.sapd.co.uk.