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AUGUST 15, 2019 //     

10 top tips for a tremendous trade show

By Lizzy Chesters

The trade show world can be a daunting one. The variety and sheer number of events make it difficult to decide which are the best to attend. So, what can be done from a public relations perspective to make attending truly worth the spend and help fuel the all-important sales funnel?

Here are the top 10 things to bear in mind.

  1. Pick the right show: In our latest podcast episode, I mentioned the average price of a B2B trade show is roughly £350 per square meter, and that doesn’t take into account all the marketing material and human resources needed. Before choosing your show, it is crucial to think about your business goals. By considering whether you want to network, gain industry insight or capture new leads, you can whittle down your list. Similarly, looking back at the history of shows, researching the audience and reading previous reviews can help determine whether this is the right show for you. There are loads of event lists and tools, which can also help.
  2. Secure a speaking slot: This is the best way to reach as much of your audience as possible and can help encourage people to visit your company’s stand. To secure that all-important opportunity, pitch a topic at the forefront of your industry to position your firm as a thought leader. And make sure you get in there early – at least eight months prior to the event itself. In addition, you can use that presentation for further PR opportunities after the event itself; turning it into a byline to pitch later, for instance, can be a great way to maximise the content.
  3. Ask to see the media attendee list: Are there any journalists attending whom you want to meet? It is becoming increasingly difficult to get in front of a journalist, so approaching them at a trade show is a great way to start building a relationship that may eventually lead to future coverage. For the more popular shows, journalists’ schedules can get booked up to a month in advance, so plan ahead. If you don’t manage to meet, follow up afterwards with media who couldn’t attend.
  4. Take notes of the keynote themes/topics: Making a note of what your peers discuss is a good starting point for your own thought leadership – what is your opinion? Is it different? And does your company offer a unique solution to any problems currently facing your industry? For larger industry events, consider writing a ‘round-up’ piece, which includes key takeaways and predictions for the year ahead.
  5. Should you launch a new product/service? Be careful here – if you exhibit alongside FTSE 250 companies, your launch will likely get lost. Sometimes it pays off to attend a particularly niche show, where a more targeted audience will hear your voice. Alternatively, undertaking a piece of research, which can support the announcement, is a good way to generate additional interest.
  6. Savvy social: Before, during and after the event, make sure your business tweets about the show. Always use the event hashtag to amplify your content and ensure influential people see it. Make sure to incorporate images into those posts, so they get as much traction as possible. Also, including relevant links to content on the event website is a great way to drive target audiences to your own website. Include your booth number and/or location at the event to drive attendees to your stand.
  7. Speak to your sales team: Do they have any targets attending the event? How can you work together to secure that business? By working together, you are more likely to get that all-important new business lead, which is the ultimate measure of ROI.
  8. Don’t ignore the analysts: If your company is featured in any technical research (such as Gartner or Forrester), trade shows are an excellent way to get in front of the analysts writing those papers. Contacting the analysts beforehand to arrange a briefing to discuss the benefits and uniqueness of what your company offers is a brilliant time-saver.
  9. Influence the influencers: Attend their talks to gain valuable insights. If they make any comments that resonate with your company’s messages, then send them a link to relevant content on your website to try and ignite a relationship with them. It could also be beneficial to undertake a paid relationship with an influencer around an event. This would involve them promoting your organisation’s attendance across their social channels, attending double-headed briefings, support any announcement you might make and be an additional draw to your stand or presentations.
  10. Maximise your mobile: The cameras on smartphones are of an incredibly high quality these days. Buying a cheap phone stand means you immediately have a camera to document the event. It’s easy to create great video just using your mobile. This content can then be used across social, website or podcasts.


Lizzy Chesters is a senior account manager in Allison+Partners’ London office.

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