Trade shows can be huge opportunities to introduce your brand to the world. They also require significant investments of money and time – so it’s critical to ensure each show is well-planned and worth your effort. Once you’ve outlined your goals and established your target audience, you’re ready to find the best shows to meet those goals.
Research & Planning
Do a little research and make a list of potential trade shows for the next year, including the largest in your industry, and ask your top customers which shows they attend. On your initial list, include even the shows that overlap, so you can see when show attendance may be divided. We can save you a little time here! We’ve compiled a list of trade shows in your industry or area to save you time. Take a look at our Upcoming Shows section.
Once you’ve narrowed your list down to the most viable options, reach out to show management, past exhibitors and attendees for some insider perspective. Ask them about the show’s marketing plan, event history and longevity, previous participants, demographics, the show’s industry reputation. You should also look for social media posts about past and upcoming shows.
Scope out the Show
If possible, visit the show yourself before signing up as an exhibitor to discover its pros and cons for yourself. While there is an investment involved in attending, it’s much less expensive than being an under-informed exhibitor. Play it safe by not participating in first-time shows – stick to established events, and keep your eyes open for next year’s opportunities.
Location, Location, Location
You’ve heard it a million times because it really does matter. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of show attendees come from within 200 miles, so consider location in terms of your target audience and distribution area. Of course, many industries have a few top trade shows that attract attendees from a larger area. Because these tend to be prime events, they’ll likely require higher travel expenses for your team.
Timing is everything – so here are a few things to consider. Do any of your potential shows have conflicting schedules? Are other trade shows happening at the same time that might draw attendees away, or other events in the same city that could cause conflicts in terms of flights, transportation and hotel rates? Also consider the time of year in relation to your customers’ buying habits to determine if the show is too early or too late in the season.
Additional Marketing Opportunities
Find out what other opportunities are available at the trade shows you are researching. Opportunities to sponsor, present at educational seminars or participate in product showcases can significantly increase visibility.
Create a Budget
Make your budget detailed and realistic, so that you can remove from your list any trade shows that your budget won’t support. Be sure to leave yourself some wiggle room for unexpected changes and expenses.
Choose Your Space
Booth location is important when exhibiting, so make sure there is space available that fits your needs and budget. As you explore available booth spaces, consider whether the space will fit your current booth or if you’ll have to develop a new one for the show. Be sure to consider the space’s proximity to main attractions, restrooms, industry leaders, food, entrances and exits, competitors, stairs, escalators and elevators, windows, seminars, etc. Try to avoid these negative features: low ceilings, dead-ends, obstructions such as columns, loading areas, poorly lit areas, LIFO set-up spaces, ceiling water spaces.
If you have questions about trade show research, be sure to give VOXX Exhibits a call. We have the experts and resources to help you find the best fit.