Considering Tradeshows and Conferences? Where to Start.

Learn how to find the right event or tradeshow for your brand and industry and make it worth your every penny.

For companies focused on B2B marketing, tradeshows and conferences can be the main focus of the marketing strategy. Events and sponsorships serve the purpose of lead generation along with building brand loyalty and recognition among your target audience. There are a plethora of these events for both the horizontal and vertical markets, making it hard to choose the right one. Understanding you can't attend every single tradeshow and conference, unless you have an unlimited budget, here is a list of things to look at when trying to choose the right event.

Choosing the right event:

1.     What are your objective(s) for attending the event or sponsoring the event? Determine your main marketing objectives before even looking for an event to sponsor or attend.

2.     Review the list of other companies attending or sponsoring the event to determine if your competitors are there. If they are attending or sponsoring the event, what is their presence? If they have a large presence, you want to be there.

3.     If you can get a list of the previous or current event attendees, review this to determine if the attendees are your target audience.

4.     Every industry has an association or professional organization most of which hold large annual meetings or events. Start with these as they are usually some of the best to attend to build your brand.

5.     Can't find that perfect event you want to attend or would like to be the center of attention? Create your own roadshow or event instead. This allows your company to shine with your key targeted accounts. The goal of roadshows or company sponsored events is to get the right group of people (usually a small crowd) that are most likely to do business with you, then educate, wine and dine them to build your relationships.

Capitalize on your presence:

1.     Cross-promote the event or sponsorship through your own channels, outside of the event's marketing channels to increase awareness of your company and your attendance.

2.     If you are attending a tradeshow or event that offers exhibitor booths, don't just set-up your booth and expect to get a large crowd. You want your brand to be noticed and remembered, don't you? A strategy to help boost your presence is through marketing efforts outside of your booth on-site such as speaking presentations, in-show marketing, breakout session sponsorships, hosting a cocktail hour or dinner.

3.     Know who's going. Never leave the office to attend a tradeshow without first mining the attendee list and your own database. Fallen out of touch with your current database? Email them to ask if they are attending the show and to set-up a meeting. If you can get the attendee list, call or email your targeted accounts to invite them to dinner during the show.

4.     Understanding your objectives, make sure you track all results to determine what the best events are for your company and brand.

Tradeshows, sponsorships, and conferences can help you successfully link your organization's image with a cause or program within your industry however, you need to make sure that you have an appropriate plan in place. Attending an event can be a heavy cost burden on your company so ensuring you are accurately accessing each event opportunity and tracking results will ensure you are getting the most for every dollar invested.