There’s often so much riding on the success of trade fairs, as was illustrated at the recent Las Vegas International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) when director Michael Bay ‘embarrassed himself’ while promoting Samsung’s massive 105-inch curved UHD.
Promoter meltdowns aside, if you’re planning on marketing your brand and its products and/or services at trade fairs you’d better be prepared. Of course, this shouldn’t be just to avoid a mishap that makes the international news – actually, this would be favourable – but more so to compete with other brands that will be working hard to outdo yours.
• Plan ahead to entice crowds to your booth
Successfully marketing your brand at a trade fair requires planning and lots of it. It’s never too late to start planning for a trade fair and if trade fairs are something you do often, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t begin planning the next one as soon as you’ve packed up from the last.
This is advisable for many reasons; including keeping factors you could have improved on fresh in your mind so as to address them immediately.
• Use social media to let people know about your booth
Not just a platform for gossip, social media is an excellent way to promote your brand at a trade fair, and according to surveys, as many as 70 percent of attendees surveyed say they already know which brands they’ll be visiting before they leave home.
Utilise social media to let your customer base know you’re hosting a booth and use apps like the ‘Events’ page (one of the default buttons on the new Facebook timeline) to promote your booth beforehand.
• Create the right look and feel for your target audience
You should understand what interests your target audience and what they find appealing, though if you don’t, use social media to find out.
To ensure the look and feel of your booth attracts your target audience, use apps like the Facebook poll app to get your customer base to vote on the booth designs you’re considering using, plus this will further raise awareness of your plans and hopefully enable you to draw bigger crowds – a great way to increase awareness of your brand.
• Get as creative as possible
Seeing that there’s so much competition at trade fairs you’ll need to be as creative as possible to make your brand stand out from the rest. Posters and signage with your brand emblazoned on them are essential. However, as every other brand will be doing the same, you’ll need to take things a little further to ensure your brand is the brand that attracts the attention of attendees.
Tarpaulin and large format printing might sound boring but it doesn’t have to be. If you are able to define your audience and distil your message, you should be off to a good start. Of course, you have to make sure to use backgrounds and colour effectively too. You can turn to the examples listed here for inspiration.
• Check that promotional merchandise is relevant and/or of a high quality
Promotional merchandise and giveaways are rife at trade fairs and shows but most of this promotional merchandise ends up on the floor – why, because that’s where rubbish is discarded at such events.
It isn’t enough to give out cheap, kitschy promotional merchandise to everyone who visits your booth, you have to further long-term brand awareness by giving out items that have value, that people will hold onto and use for a long time and that others will be exposed to so as to capitalise upon the impression of brand endorsement.
If at all possible select items relevant to your brand, products and services, if not, then go with something like quality branded promotional pens. Sure, they mightn’t be the most original items of promotional merchandise but they still work wonders.
• Consider holding a contest
This is an excellent means for you to attract people to your setup. When you’re marketing your attendance at the trade show, ask attendees to visit your booth so they could complete a leads qualification survey and be entered into a prize drawing.
Pick a reward that relates to your brand or has a broad appeal to your existing and potential customers. If you have a big budget set aside, you can opt for tablet PCs or smartphones. This is a great idea if you offer mobile application development services and the like. However, if you want something a bit more pocket-friendly, you can go for music players, USB flash drives, and the like.
With the right budget, degree of creativity, planning effort, social media campaign and promotional merchandise, there’s no reason why you can’t meet your objectives when marketing your brand at trade fairs.