Tradeshows offer abundant opportunities for proactive and positive marketing experiences. Tradeshow and marketing managers are under pressure in today’s economy to gain greater visibility. Meanwhile costs for show floor space are rising and companies make further demands to “rise above the noise.” Getting the best return for this investment requires integrated trade show programs that leverage the entire marketing mix.
Public relations is widely regarded as the most effective marketing dollar that high-tech companies can spend because it can generate product and company awareness at the lowest possible cost. Through editorial endorsement, PR also can deliver immediate credibility and enhanced reputation through media coverage that can increase sales and improve margins. Publicity from key publications can drive traffic to your booth, provide credibility to enhance sales discussions during the show, and continually provide impact well after a show has concluded.
The right presence at industry tradeshows is an effective way to make lasting impressions and increase traffic and provide a better ROI on your tradeshow involvement. Media relations is an important aspect of trade show marketing, and, with the right amount of effort, preparation, and execution, can be an excellent opportunity to get immediate and future coverage. Finally, trade shows last only a few days, while articles in key trade journals, search engines, and Web sites help customers to find you 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. To get every tradeshow you attend to really pay off with the media, consider pursuing the following 5 tips:
TIP # 1 IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS – DEVELOP A STRATEGY, THEN DEVELOP TACTICS
Is your company announcing a product? Trying to differentiate an existing product from your competition? Trying to break into a new market? Do you want direct sales or hits to your site? Are you trying to capture information from key customers? Define your goals and be specific. Be bold, yet realistic. Once you know what you want, you can set priorities, develop a plan and develop the tactical approaches to help you achieve your goals.
TIP # 2 PLAN AHEAD – DRIVE TRAFFIC LONG BEFORE THE SHOW
Tradeshows often provide amazing access to your targeted media. Work with your P R representative in advance to coordinate face-to-face meetings with key industry editors for purposes of building editor relationships, stimulating feature articles in various print media segments, and contributing to on-going media relations initiatives. Other hints:
Pre-release your biggest news before the show; put out another announcement the day the show starts to generate further buzz. Target the show trade publications show editions and also the show dailies put out by the conference. If you are launching a product at the show, make sure you start your P R campaign at least three months before the show. Use the show as an opportunity to meet the journalist or analyst in person.
TIP # 3 LEVERAGE EXISTING OPPORTUNITIES
Tradeshows are excellent venues to leverage company executives, partners, customers, and prospects to dominate the show where it counts…in front of an audience. Always seek speaking or panel moderating opportunities in advance to obtain greater industry and media exposure.
TIP #4 CREATE OPPORTUNITIES
Reporters covering a show may be required to deliver up to seven stories a day. Give them something to write about. If your company doesn’t have any significant news to announce or you are looking for a way to differentiate above the noise, be creative and invent your opportunities.
Provide an extensive media kit with photos. Make executive spokespeople readily available armed with key messages and pitch ideas. Provide customer testimonials, white papers and case studies. Have your PR representative staff the booth to speak with the media, answer questions and proactively coordinate opportunities. If you want to make a real splash, conduct an opinion survey about industry trends and announce the results with a press release at the show to include your company as an industry leader. Journalists are always looking for great news hooks.
TIP # 5 FOLLOW UP
Now that you have created new relationships, make sure you keep them! There are several opportunities to use PR after the show. Make sure you send the media post-show press releases reporting trends, statistics or information on significant newsworthy information/orders that resulted from the show. Send thank you notes to the journalists that took the time to come by your booth and offer your assistance in the future as an industry think tank. Create new pitches in the form of a state of the industry report based on your observations at the show and send it out.
After the event, many journalists will draw on the discussions and contacts made during a trade show to write articles throughout the year. While a few large companies may dominate show publicity during the show, year-round media coverage will go to those who best leverage their one-on-one contacts.
“This article is brought to you by Gus Woltmann”.