By: Phoebe Yong
When it comes to tradeshows, I’ve planned a few to say the least. From small regional shows in Seaside, OR, to huge technology events hosting 200,000 attendees, a main theme should always be present – what is the objective and think of the audience – then everything else will revolve around this theme.
Objective – what do you want to achieve at the event?
Some events aim to build brand awareness, launch a new product or company, generate leads with customers or meet the press. Most likely it’s a combination of these but it’s key to establish your primary objectives in attending an event. With a new product launch, this will entail, at minimum, products ready to show and tell, promotional giveaways, and press appointments.
For some shows, it’s purely about lead generation – your product is well known in the market and you need to meet with customers and build relationships. For this show, it’s about having new product features or product demonstrations to lure in prospective clients.
In thriving industries, some shows are targeted at recruitment. For these shows, the intent is to impress candidates and teach them about your company and the industry. There are usually giveaways and opportunities to sit and have an introductory discussion with the candidate.
Once you are clear on what you want to achieve at your event, it makes all other decisions so much easier. Often people attend shows because they have done so for many years but don’t take the necessary time to evaluate why they are attending and what initiatives they need to implement to support their attendance.
Remember your Audience
A basic thing to remember but very important to execute. Each show will have different demographics and it’s important to cater to your audience. In my previous career, I attended and worked on many public safety events. The audience was police officers – experienced guys on the job, straight shooters, and no suits. So, no fancy product demos, just give them the facts and how it will help them save lives and improve their jobs.
For bigger IT shows I’ve worked on, the audience was Silicon Valley types from IT to VC with different ranges of interests and specialities. The product demos or giveaways needed to reflect the audience I was meeting.
Don’t make the mistake of applying the same product demos, giveaways or promotions to all events without considering your audience. This is vital to ensure your message and marketing is executed with precision.