Whether you are looking to attend your first trade show, or simply looking to add more shows to your event list, finding the right match for your company can be overwhelming.
There are many factors to consider, many of which can be easily overlooked. To simplify the thought process, we’ve categorized the most important aspects into four main considerations: Demographics and Psychographics, niche, logistics, and competition.
Demographics and Psychographics
This is the most important thing to get right. Does the show target the right type of visitors to make it a good match for your company?
For a quick overview, demographics are usually physical traits and characteristics, while psychographics are more personality based. Demographics are things like age, gender, income, and ethnicity, while psychographics are things like hobbies, values, and lifestyles. They are both crucial to consider.
You should research the history of the show from past years, exhibitor list, attendees list, and the location of the venue to help determine these. Inevitably, the closer the trade show demographics (and psychographics) match with your client demographics, the higher the conversation rate from visitors to active leads. On the other hand, if you really mess this one up you will be that random booth at the show everybody walks past.
This one goes hand-in-hand with demographics and psychographics. There is almost always a niche for every show. Sometimes it is broad, such as a show for anything pertaining to retail, while other times it is narrow, like industrial vehicles.
Will a broad niche serve you well, or a more focused niche? That depends on your company. We work with an inventory management software company that attends several online retail related shows per year. It doesn’t really matter what the attendees are trying to sell.
As long as a large chunk of them are selling something online, they could use a solution to keep track of their inventory. Another client of ours specializes in construction for large multi-million dollar buildings.
They attend almost exclusively shows where there is a more narrow niche, such as medical, government, education, and business related shows. Rather than leaving it to the fall of the cards, these shows will naturally have more attendees that might be in need of their services.
This is where budget falls. How many people will have to attend? How much booth space will you need? How long does the show last? Where will the attendees stay for the duration of the event? How will they get there and back? How will your trade show booth be transported? What will the cost be with all of these considerations? Also, don’t forget about time out of the office. How will the attendees being out of the office affect your daily operations? Make sure to pay attention to the timing of the show. If you will have something else going on in the middle of it, that is also something to keep in mind.
Are you going to be a big fish in a small pond, or a little fish in the ocean? If you are the little fish, watch out for the sharks! Make sure the time, money, and effort spent is getting you somewhere. If your average competitor at a show has four times the budget you have, it is going to make it hard to compete.
Larger companies with bigger, more elaborate booths can easily distract visitors and cause them to overlook your company. Consider how this might affect your overall goals and if it is still worthwhile. If so, come prepared with a plan to draw and retain visitors. I
t would be a good idea to make a list of attendees and exhibitors you know you want to connect with at the show, and then to go seek them out if they don’t find you first. To avoid this issue altogether, it might make more sense to start small and work your way up to competing with the big players.
If all of these elements of the show are in alignment with your company and goals, the outlook should be very promising.
Make sure to make note of anything less than ideal and come prepared for it. In some situations, it may be best to go back to the drawing board and begin researching other options.
Planning in advance with these in mind will help prevent last minute stress, maximize your return on investment, and most importantly, it will better assure your success at the show!