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Monday, March 1, 2010

Building Brand Awareness at Trade Shows

First quarter for most companies is trade show hell. I know I've had my share of them. Some that are back to back. But, are you getting the most out of your trade shows? I attended one in January and I was so amazed at some of the smaller companies who had no visitors ... and I mean no visitors ... coming to their booth. I inquired to find out how the show was for them. They said it was okay. Even though they weren't getting much traffic, very many leads, or much interest, they still felt they needed to be at that show. Not really the results that I would want if it were my company.

So, how do you promote yourself and integrate brand awareness into your trade shows? It's very easy. Remember these three rules.
  1. Remember the "C" word consistency and the "R" word repetition. Loyal customers will remain true to you if they trust you. So, if you communicate to your customers what you stand for, they will come back for more. Keep your image consistent and repeat it in all of the marketing materials that you use for the show...from the tchotchkes to the pre-show mailer, to the literature that you hand out.
  2. Make sure your corporate identity, that is, your logo, tagline, slogans, typeface, colors are all consistent in your marketing literature, website, and even e-mails. When people see you they will recognize you just by looking at your logo, layout, or colors.
  3. Know your customers' perceptions of your company and products. If you don't have a clue how people perceive you, then do some informal surveys at the trade show. What a great way to informally ask people what they like or don't like about your company.
Your exhibit booth should be considered just like any other marketing communications vehicle. So, make sure the graphics, the colors, the logo, etc. are consistent with your other marketing materials. Be sure you are conveying a consistent message with your booth graphics and that message should reinforce your overall corporate branding message.

Too often companies will just show up, set up the booth, and hope the people will come. What incentive did you give them? Did you announce that you were attending the show? Did you do any pre-show activities, plan any events, or promote your company in any way? I see so much wasted marketing dollars being spent on trade shows that aren't successful. Did you even set any goals for the trade show so that you know if it is successful or not?

Train your staff to engage people to come into your booth and see what you have to offer. I see so many sales reps just talking to themselves. Or worse yet, they have their backs turned or their arms crossed which shouts "Stay Out". So, make your booth inviting. Make people be curious to find out what you are all about. One way to do this is through pre-show promotion, whether it be pre-show mailers, e-mail blasts, advertising, or web advertising.

And, don't forget to follow up after the show. Again, maybe you had a successful show, but you would never know it if you don't leave a good impression upon your exhibit guests. Show them that you care. Provide them the information they requested. And follow up with them again several weeks after the show to see if they need any further information.

All of these activities contribute to create a great experience, which, in turn, builds brand awareness for your company.

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Name: KIWI Communications, Inc.

We specialize in helping companies in the biotechnology, life science, medical device, and high-tech sectors develop world-class, multi-faceted marketing programs. We work with companies like Beckman Coulter, Perkin-Elmer, and Stratagene to 1) create powerful results-driven marketing tactics, 2) evaluate media and advertising plans, and 3) develop consistent branding messages. Let us show you how to improve marketing efficiencies, reduce marketing costs, and develop targeted promotional strategies.

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