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Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Part II

Questions: 1) What makes a tradeshow so special (in what way is it different to events)? 2) What are the main marketing tools in trade shows marketing (next to the theater style)? 3) what are the main challenges in a trade shows and what are it's weeknesses (concerning products and services marketing)?

Answer:
1. Trade shows are unique for a number of reasons. First and foremost, they attract the decision makers in a particular industry or industry segment. Each industry offers trade shows throughout the year where industry professionals go to learn about their vocation, new technologies, products, and so on.

Additionally, trade shows afford vendors the opportunity to put their products and services in front of their desired audience. When key prospects and customers are in a single location, it increases the opportunity for marketing, sales, and brand building.

2. The key marketing tools, in today's trade show environment include booth related marketing tools, and non-booth. The booth tools include power point presentations/product demos, collateral, promotional giveaways, and sale people who can answer any product or sales related question. Non-booth items are usually available via sponsorship and include insertion of your materials in the trade show bags, logo on bags, badges, sponsorship of Cyber Cafe, breaks, meals, banners, speaking opportunities, and receptions. Marketing professionals can also buy lists of trade show attendees.

3. The main challenges in trade show marketing include: expense, time limitations, and follow-up. Trade shows, if supported appropriately can be expensive. Not only do you need to purchase booth space, but you must also pay for electric, internet connections, carpeting, and so on. These expenses add up in a hurry. Add the travel and entertainment expenses of your sales reps, and many shows could cost as much as $10,000. There are regional trade shows that cost less, but your pool of prospects will generally be smaller.

The other challenge you face is limited time with prospects and customers. Many trade show exhibit halls are only open for blocks of time throughout the day. This means that traffic is often feast or famine.

With many people passing your booth and browsing your products or services, it's difficult to spend a large block of time with each one. This makes having an in-depth conversation that moves your prospect through the purchase decision process fully quite difficult.

Follow-up is a real challenge for many businesses. Although many leads may be generated from a trade show, not many companies do a good job of following up with their leads. As a result, a positive return on investment may not be realized.

Trade show weaknesses are similar to their challenges. Expense is on of the greatest - meaning that depending on the success of the show, it could be more difficult to show a positive return on investment.

The other weakness is that trade shows require a lot of preparation and coordination. Without dedicated staff, trade shows may not prove to be a productive use of your marketing budget.

The final weakness (as noted in challenges) is that trade shows don't always give you adequate time to communicate product/service benefits to prospects. Although you may take your time with one prospect, there are others who will pass you by because there's no one to speak to or answer their questions. This results in a lost opportunity.

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