How Strategic Planning Could Lead To Better Trade Shows

Putting up a good show is no joke. You have to don several hats to pull off one – apart from being a storyteller and a tech-savvy marketer, you also have to be a strategist, and unless you become one, it would be difficult for you to weave your brand story through your entire marketing mix, which in turn will affect the show’s performance.

Strategic Planning For Your Next Trade Show

1. Put your objectives on paper: What your organization wants to achieve in general may not be the same as what they seek from the show. Don’t mistake one for the other. Identify your objectives for the show and write them down. Also, figure out what the audience expects from the show you are participating in, and make a note. Make sure that the team you put together for the show has a clear understanding of the objectives.

 

2. Make the most of your budget: Budgetary constraints may pull you back, but you need to find a way around. Talk to the management or the board of directors to get more money for the show. Make a case by creating an urgency and pointing to industry benchmarks. If they don’t loosen the noose, prioritize things. Either way, let go of the “that’s how we have been doing it” approach, and address the challenges right away.

 

3. Step into the audience’s shoes: As mentioned earlier, your strategy for the show should be in tandem with what the audience wants.

– Are they the decision makers? If yes, what could possibly motivate them to decide?

– What is their objective of coming to the show?

– If it’s information that they want, is trade show the only place they head to? Or do they also look for it online?

 

4. Use insights to your advantage: Have you noticed an increase in the attendance of the show you are about to participate in? Great, right? Well, is the increase rate in sync with the industry’s growth? If that’s a no, the show has been rather underperforming, and might need you to tweak your strategy accordingly. The idea is to get your hands on the available data and make informed decisions. Even if you can only grab hold of the satisfaction surveys and feedbacks, do give them serious thought before you come up with a strategy.

 

5. Avoid the last-minute chaos: Unless you engage your audience throughout the year, they won’t be turning up at the show. Year-long engagement or the lack thereof could be the difference between success and failure. So if you want to retain and grow your audience, here’s what you need to do:

– Come up with a communications strategy, one that goes down well with the target audience and can pique their interest all through the year

– Maintain your presence and make every attempt to increase brand awareness

– Spark a discussion whenever you can

– Make your audience feel valued

 

To cut the long story short, you need a good plan, one that not only lets you capture the attention of your audience, but also establish a connection.

Reasons Why You Should Already Be At DIMDEX 2018

Maritime security has its share of challenges, and whether you have been on the lookout for possible solutions or had them all along but didn’t get the right platform to showcase, your search ends at DIMDEX 2018 – a show that’s not just another meeting point for the naval, maritime and security industry, but rather a gateway, where vital introductions are made and procurements are discussed.

What’s In It For The Exhibitors?

As a company that specializes in naval, maritime and security innovations, you could use some productive commercial opportunities, right?

  • That’s exactly what you can explore at DIMDEX 2018 –  opportunities to showcase your airborne systems, anti-piracy technologies maritime patrol aircrafts, offshore patrol vessels, unmanned systems, and a host of other technologies that you have specialization in.

 

  • And you don’t just get to showcase but to engage directly with the end users – the very users who are responsible for procurement and given the chance, would discuss their needs.

 

  • You could consider the show to be your source of insights – insights that could help you make it big within the marketplace – insights that you can only gain by being a part of the conversations. After all, it’s not every day that you run into let alone rub shoulders with the key military representatives and senior government officials from across the MENA region and beyond.

 

In short, you gain access to people who matter, get to showcase your capabilities, gather insights and last but not least, reinforce your commitment to the industry

What Can The Visitors Look Forward To?

DIMDEX is no ordinary show – it’s a show that defence and security ministers, chiefs of staff, heads of MRO and industry’s key influencers pay a visit to. 2018 is no different. The visitors can expect to establish a connection with warship constructors,  manufacturers and suppliers of onboard systems and ancillary equipment and other exhibitors. Those looking for procurement deals could be hopeful of an initiation. Here’s what else the show could offer:

  • Meeting and greeting global exhibitors from the naval, maritime and security industry, exhibitors who bring an extensive range of the latest solutions to the table.

 

  • Attending the Middle East Naval Commanders Conference (MENC) to benefit from the experiences and knowledge of prominent leaders and experts.

 

Reasons galore. Held under the patronage and vision of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and proudly hosted and organised by Qatar Armed Forces, DIMDEX 2018, the sixth edition of one of the leading, go-to shows for maritime defence and security industry, is where you should be, if not to gain access to cutting-edge military technology, then to grab the opportunity to build and strengthen relations with key stakeholders.

Do Away With Stress With A One Year Timeline For Trade Show Planning

Rome wasn’t built in a day; a trade show is no different. You need to put in a great deal of time and effort to be fully prepared. Now that’s not something you could do in a day or two or even a couple of months. And if you were to make an attempt, chances are that there’ll be quite a few last-minute hiccups to cope with, leaving you with nothing but stress.

One-Year Timeline For Trade Show Planning

12 Months To Go

Right in the very beginning, your marketing team should get down to identifying the objectives of participation – what is that your company could use? Some brand awareness? A few extra sales never hurt anyone. How about meeting the prospective customers? Or may be a combination of the three? Once you are clear on the objectives, work backwards to set aside a budget and more importantly forecast the expected ROI.

With 9 Months Left

Time for some action. Get your promotional material ready and think of ways to maximize the reach. Grab a booth space that could help you stand out from the crowd, and while you are at it, do inquire about the exhibit restrictions, if any. Come up with a pre, at and post-show marketing plan, and include anything and everything, right from social media promotions to lead nurturing techniques. Now’s also the right time to get your hands on some booth accessories, which could be just about anything, say a hanging banner or a custom-built exhibit sign.

Just 6 More Months

Get a trade show booth designer on board. Sit with them and finalize the exhibit design so that they could begin with the fabrication at the earliest. Depending on the size of the space and of course the products being marketed, zero in on a design that works for you. Make sure that right from the graphic designs to electrical layouts, everything’s been figured out. Goes without that saying that you need to vet the designer and see if their creative abilities, fabrication options, cost and projected delivery forecasts are in tandem with what’s best for your booth.

The Last 3 Months

Getting the booth built is one thing and having it shipped to the show is another. Complete the paperwork well in time so as to avoid any delay or penalty. Payments, if not already made, should be taken care of right away. Pick your staff and train them on how to man the booth and make the visitors feel welcomed. Changes in the booth design, if any, should be communicated now or they won’t be getting implemented anytime soon.

1 & Only Month

If you have kept up with the process, there’s nothing to worry about, but if you haven’t, well, better luck next time. Plan for your travel and hotel arrangements now, and make sure you are all set for the after-show parties. Reconfirm everything, and don’t leave anything to the last minute. At the show, it should be all about why you are there in the first place – your objectives.

A good trade show booth designer doubles up as a trade show management company, taking the burden off your shoulders, and leaving you with enough time to focus on maximizing your trade show ROI. Choose wisely!

4 Important Reasons For Tech Companies To Exhibit At Trade Shows

Trade shows are simply great. You get to know what the competition is doing, test your marketing strategy, reach out to your target audience and come home with leads. A total win-win, so much so that all companies should contemplate exhibiting at relevant shows. Tech companies are of course no exception.

Build Relationships At Trade Shows

While you may be tempted to establish a connection online, nothing comes close to rubbing shoulders with peers from the industry and meeting your prospects in person. A face-to-face meeting could go a long way in building a relationship, even if the product you offer is more or less virtual. You are anyway just a few clicks away, agreed, but if you take some time out to meet those who matter, chances are that you’d make a rather lasting impression. And who’s to say that you won’t run into some of the key decision makers, who could very well determine the course of your ROI? Hope for the best!

Increase Your Brand Value With Ease

If you exhibit at the popular and successful exhibition, you get to ride on their coattails and can earn yourself some credibility without trying too hard. More importantly, if the show is a hot favorite among the major players in your industry, then your mere participation could help you get an edge. Any such show is likely to be bustling with the crowd, which would certainly come your way if you work for it. The best part is that when you are in the same league as some of the well-reputed industry brands, the audience’s perception of your company is automatically elevated.

Keep Abreast Of The Latest Developments

Journals, websites, and forums can apprise you of the current trends, but they can’t make you experience them for real. Trade shows are where you can check out technologies for yourself, even the ones that the news fail to report and slip through the cracks. More often than not, exhibitors offer a preview of their latest offerings, which could also help tech companies find some inspiration for their future projects. Do look out for product demos if you want to see some of the new-age technologies live in action.

Collect Valuable Feedback There And Then

Trade shows give you the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see up close and personal that how the audience reacts to your technology. You may have had access to their online reviews, but asking for real-time feedback is a whole new ball game, and that’s exactly what you are able to do at trade shows. Of course, the feedback could come in handy if you were to improve your products or let’s say change your marketing strategy. Either way, you ought to know what they think.

Trade shows won’t ever go out of fashion; they are here to stay. Just because online marketing has its share of benefits, doesn’t mean face-to-face marketing is dead. It’s pretty much alive and kicking. And with an increasing number of shows being held for tech companies year after year, now’s the time to jump on the bandwagon!

Questions To Ask Before You Choose What Trade Show To Exhibit At

Trade shows are aplenty. While it may be tempting to go and exhibit at all of them, doing so doesn’t always make sense. As an exhibitor, you have to keep a lot of things in mind while taking a call. Here’s what could help you choose right over wrong.

How To Choose The Right Trade Show

 

  • What do you want? Unless you have the answer to this question, there’s not much you can do at a trade show, so why bother exhibiting anyway? It’s important that you are clear on your trade show objectives or better still, have written them down somewhere. Are you looking to increase brand awareness? Is a new product in the pipeline? How about launching it then, at an upcoming show? Make an informed choice.
  • Who would you meet there? A show floor may be bustling with the crowd, but if your target audience is not out there, there’s nothing in it for you. Do some research beforehand. Identify your target audience, if you haven’t already, and then take a look at the show’s track record. Most of the organizers share some sort of prospectus or brochure which could give you a sneak peek into the demographics they attract. Say yes only if there’s a match.
  • What’s beneath the surface? If everything looks hunky dory, dig deeper. Check out the show’s website to develop a better understanding of what it can do for you. You may also want to refer to articles and publications that may have covered the show in the past. What was their opinion? The feedback of the show could play an instrumental role in helping you decide.
  • What did the others get? Your peers from the industry may have exhibited at the show in question. If so, were they able to get the most out of it? What about your competitors? If they have been to the show in the past, then that’s exactly where you should head next. Their participation is a testament to the fact that the show is worth its while. It is also a good idea to keep tabs on some of the biggest players in your industry. If they prefer going to a specific show, you may want to follow suit for obvious reasons.
  • What would it cost you? Trade show participation doesn’t come for free, and sometimes, you may have to spend more than your marketing budget allows you to. If that’s the case, do calculate the ROI. Would the show help you earn more than what you will spend on it in the first place? And yes, do not forget to take the additional costs into consideration – booth designing, shipping, team travel, anything and everything that could lead to a last-minute surprise!
  • What kind of a show it is? In the end, it all comes down to why you are exhibiting. For instance, if you are to launch a new product, you should opt for a consumer-focused trade show. On the other hand, if your brand could use some networking, an industry trade show would serve the purpose better.

 

Remember, the wrong show can have a drastic impact on your ROI or worse, lower your morale. So it’s important to choose wisely!