Think beyond large, expensive stands and loud, brash marketing campaigns
– you don’t need a big budget to make a big impact in a crowded marketplace
Trade shows can be noisy, busy and confusing. A lot of the marketing activity at these type of events is shouty, acronym-strewn and contradictory, as we found out at InfoSec earlier this year. There’ll be plenty of freebies given away and drinks consumed, but just how many companies will be able to claim a good ROI on their activities? How many true leads will actually be identified?
But of course we all still go year on year, because we know that trade shows like IP EXPO can also be a great opportunity to get in front of the right people and start new relationships, not to mention nurture those that you have already built previously. After all, there’s no doubt that over the three days, thousands of business owners, IT decision makers and tech sector journalists will frequent the show floor and fill seats in the seminars and talks.
So here are a few simple steps you can take to make the most of IP EXPO this year:
1. Think strategically
Firstly, decide what you want to achieve and set your objectives, plus how you will measure them. Then make sure you know your target audiences – understand what they want to get out of the trade show and you’ll have a much better idea of how you can get in front of them. Think about existing connections you can leverage like partners and influencers, who can help to extend the reach and impact of your messaging (this is exactly how we helped UC service provider BroadSoft break through the noise at CeBit). And don’t underestimate the power of a clear strategy – it is the only way to really make an impact.
2. Get planning
Start planning early. Don’t leave it all to chance who you might encounter at the show, book your meetings in advance. Event apps often have a networking feature where you can make contact directly (so if you haven’t got the IP Expo app already, get it here). Identify seminars and speakers that will attract those within your target audience and check out relevant exhibitors – then use this to plan your schedule accordingly.
3. Be different
If you really want to stand out from the crowd, then you have to get creative. Pull together a few people from your business for an ideas session – think of some sensible ideas, and then some crazy ones, ideal world ideas. The sweet point is somewhere between the two. And when it comes to events like IP Expo, don’t be afraid to raise a smile – humour is a great way to break through barriers and engage – we are all human after all!
Alongside good coffee, creative ideas are what keep us going. We’ve found plenty of ways to capture hearts and minds at events over the years – live jailbreaks, paparazzi invasions and football freestylers, all working to get hold of tired trade-show eyeballs, and engaging prospects when telling the client’s story. Or you could simply design a hot pink stand (… yes I admit, we’ve done that too).
4. Keep the momentum going
Don’t forget it’s not all about show day, especially if you want to realise the true value of your trade show antics. If you leave those business cards tucked away in a briefcase for a couple of weeks and forget to follow up on the promises of ongoing conversations – any time or money you spent on IP EXPO will have been in vain.
We’ve spent a little time figuring out how to maximise the business development opportunities that arise from trade shows – in fact you can find a few unmissable tips here.
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