Anyone with experience in standing trade shows successfully will know that the key to success lies in developing an effective and workable strategy. The absolute worst thing anyone can do is to head out to a trade show with a van full of sign holders and absolutely no plan of attack. The simple fact of the matter is that prior to going anywhere near the show itself, there are certain things you need to know and there are no allowances for assumptions.
The thing is, you know what you want and you know it’s out there for the taking, so basically all you need to do is come up with the way of getting it. Unsurprisingly, research and planning play crucial roles in the equation and will to a large extent determine whether or not you will be successful on the big day.
So pushing aside any assumptions and presumptions about what may or may not work, here is a quick introduction to some of the things you absolutely must know in order to succeed:
Know Your End-User Customer
First of all, a trade show is in essence nothing more than a living, breathing piece of marketing. When it comes to marketing of any kind, the number one rule is to ensure that you know your target market inside and out to such an extent that you know who they are, where they are, what they want, how they want it, when they want it, the price they are willing to pay for it and what they are not willing to accept. Suffice to say, each and every one of these points is of crucial importance for those looking to succeed at a trade show as without knowing every single thing about your target audience, you stand little to no chance of being able to give them what they want.
Know Your Company
The same also goes for your company itself as not only do you need to know everything there is to know about your business, you need to be able to convey it in the kind of manner that instils trust and respect in your target prospects. Trade shows are unique environments in which you can and most likely will be asked thousands of weird, wonderful and wacky questions about your business, your products, your targets, your rivals, your ethos and so on and so forth. There’s absolutely nothing worse in the eyes of the average consumer than being responded to with a blank face having posed what they themselves at least believed to have been a valid question.
Know Your Rivals
To fall into the trap of assuming that your business exists in some sort of vacuum represents something of a one way ticket to disaster. This is true across the board in the business world as the only way any brand or business can expect to advance is by doing something better than or different to their rivals. And as it only becomes possible to outperform your rivals once you have a comprehensive knowledge of who they are and what they do, it should quite clearly illustrate the importance of doing your homework on your competitors. More often than not, looking closely at what it is your competitors are doing and are not doing is the very best way of finding some kind of gap to fill, or an area in which you could easily excel on their offer.
Know Your Industry
It’s also important to understand your position within the industry you are in as no matter what it is you do, you are doing it at a certain level and with a certain purpose/end audience member in mind. In order to make the very best of your position within the industry, as it is important to have a comprehensive understanding of the industry in general which means looking far beyond the confines of your own four walls. Keep abreast of the news, current developments and anything of relevance to your industry to help keep you ahead of the game.
Know How Trade Shows Work
Last but not least, it’s often said that the best way of learning how to succeed at trade shows is by way of a trial and error approach – realistically however this is pure garbage. If you yourself have no real experience with trade shows or have the kind of experience you’d sooner not talk about, carry out plenty of research and study up on the tips, tricks and tactics of those who know what they are doing and have been willing to share their expertise. After all, there’s absolutely no point making mistakes and learning from them if you can just as easily learn from the mistakes of other people.