Tradeshows are not dead yet

by Sonja van den Bosch

Tradeshows are not dead yet

Despite the rise of the internet, tradeshows can still be a good marketing activity, especially for businesses wanting to reach a specific target market. Of course you need to plan for it properly and integrate it within the rest of your marketing calendar.

Last week I was at the AIMEX tradeshow. This is not only the biggest mining exhibition in Australasia, but also the biggest tradeshow in Australia and attracts more than 17,000 visitors and more than 600 exhibitors. One of those exhibitors is my beautiful client Tecpro Australia.

Naturally for a small business like Tecpro, the cost for exhibiting at this tradeshow is a big chunk of the annual marketing budget, but we knew it was worth it. We made the decision based on the results we got from exhibiting at the AIMEX tradeshow for the first time 2 years ago. Naturally, we ensured that we milked it and got the most out of it.

How did we do this?

It all started with planning well in advance. We started our AIMEX brainstorm sessions in January. We analysed what worked well the last time and even more importantly what we could improve. We then put a plan together of what campaigns we would run before AIMEX, what we would do during AIMEX and how we would do the follow up. We involved the whole team in this process, which not only generated great ideas, but also ensured that there was buy-in from everyone.

In the months leading up to AIMEX, we focused all our marketing activities from PR to advertising, to email marketing to website etc. on what we want to be known for in the mining industry, which is dust suppression – nozzles, systems and consulting.

Dust suppression fog makers

During AIMEX, we worked like a team. Every day we had someone handing out brochures and getting people’s attention, qualifying whether they were interested in dust suppression or not (we tried to have a female on the stand each day, as the success rate of getting visitors to stop was higher). When the questions became more technical, the sales team took over.

Naturally we ensured that the stand was looking good all the time (we had a great combination of showing products, branding and the team) and that there was a welcoming atmosphere. This might sound very simple, but I can’t tell you how many times I see people not doing this. When I walked around the show, I saw exhibitors looking bored, only talking amongst themselves and the worst case I saw was an exhibitor working away on his laptop with his back to the aisle. I simply can’t understand why you would behave like this. It’s definitely not a great first impression and a wasted opportunity to show your target market what your company stands for. Gone are your chances to connect with new potential clients in a positive way.

We also set up a professionally looking thank you email (in the same look and feel as the stand) that the team in the office sent out at the end of every show day. Positive reactions from this already came in during the show. It sounds very simple, but too many times this is where companies fall down. They are exhausted, because the tradeshow is finally over and then don’t have a proper system in place to follow up those valuable leads.

In the end it is not rocket science, but it is all about taking the time to think about what you are going to do at a tradeshow well before it starts, put together a sensible plan that is integrated with the rest of your marketing activities and get the team involved from the start.

At the moment the Tecpro team is very busy following up all the leads and I am sure that this will result in a great return on investment. Visit www.tecpro.com.au or www.dustsuppressionsystems.com.au

 

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3 Comments

  1. Great article Sonja.

    And absolutely agree they are not dead, still the most efficient way to meet business customers. As long as you follow up with the approach you were taking.

  2. Thanks for your comment Toby! It is all about choosing the right marketing for your particular business and market.

  3. Kevin says:

    Tradeshows are great and well worth the time.
    Good customers buy from people so Tradeshows are a great place as a seller and a customer to forge those long lasting relationships.

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