Attending a client’s trade show always proves to be a whirlwind of an experience that involves limitless planning, traveling and social interaction. There are so many moving parts that go into representing your client and helping make an event a success. Some trade show attendees may be knowledgeable about your client and their products, while others might not even know your client exists. So how do you engage and prepare for these events?
1. Set objectives.
What is the goal and what do you or your client want to achieve at this trade show? To clarify goals, maybe jump on the phone or outline a creative brief to ensure that the agency and client are aligned with objectives and setting up KPIs for measuring success.
2. Be prepared and organized.
Research and gain as much knowledge as you can before the trade show. Perhaps have a call with the trade show organizer to learn about any “plus ups” or additional opportunities for your brand; specifically, seek opportunities to integrate your brand and add value to attendees – make your booth a resource center. Understand who will be in attendance and adapt your materials, people and booth accordingly.
3. Fine tune the details.
Learn the ins-and-outs of the exhibition space. In a way, you’re in their world, so you’ll have to adjust plans in advance to ensure everything will run as smoothly as possible. A few things to consider:
- Make note of setup and break down regulations because there is very rarely flexibility
- Pre-plan shipping any materials to and from the event as there are usually additional fees for a convention center to receive/store packages
- Look into transportation to and from the airport and event center
- Make sure you have internet access with the correct login information (this is not always free and hot spots usually do not work due to the concrete structure of the building)
- Seek out any digital rental equipment needed through a third-party company (sometimes more pricey than anticipated – call ahead to ensure that your budget will cover this amenity)
4. Dress to impress.
You will be standing and walking throughout the event space, all while being face to face with your client and your client’s customers. As a representative of the client, it is key to look professional while maintaining a sense of comfort. Comfy shoes are the secret to trade show bliss.
5. Socialize, network and learn.
Attend the social gatherings during and after the show and any break-out sessions that give you the chance to learn about the industry you, your client and their customers are in.
6. Post-show follow up.
You and your team members should bring plenty of business cards to give out at the show. Once the show is over, connect with every one you interacted with in order to create and maintain a business partnership. Provide additional material that is relevant to the connections you made to establish yourself as a source of marketing and industry guidance.
- Jessica Wiseman, Marketing Services Coordinator