Here’s more new math for new-media.
We recently found ourselves on the other side of the table, as an exhibitor looking at buying one of the promotion options a show organizer was trying to sell us.
We are a small business, with a small budget and a small staff – but with big plans and huge goals. We’d suspect that describes most exhibitors going to tradeshows.
We have a very clear plan of marketing activities that we work on executing every day. When we’re not actually working labor-wise, we do have automated technologies, processes and relationships built that automatically drive our marketing 365.25
Knowing that our customers spend hundreds of hours a year online, we spend a great deal of our time, money and energy into designing, building and maintaining systems to help us understand those customers, build better solutions, extend our brand, deliver value and maintain relevance. (Actually, we strive to be not merely relevant – but indispensible!)
Our budget for exhibiting at tradeshows is always constrained – it’s competing with so many other things we want to do. So we want to make sure we get the very best results when we do exhibit. We understand that attendees are fewer in numbers, are on tighter schedules, and have more focused purpose than ever. We work hard to make sure we have designed the right messages, with the right presentation, to the right audience – before the event, around the event, and after the event. We use email, social media, landing pages, blog posts, and news releases – on multiple platforms – to engage our audience and prepare for the show. These new-media elements all play into everything else we do year-round. We eat our own cooking and are physical, online and mobile.
We’re also very excited about how we use tradeshows in our marketing strategy, think we make a good appearance, and do a pretty good job of getting real value from them.
But when examining the promotion options offered by show organizers to their exhibitors, we are disappointed by advertising options that, to us – are not only very different from the vast majority of other elements in our marketing mix – but don’t integrate with or add much synergy to our overall marketing strategy.
More disappointing still, the options seemed geared toward sponsorships by larger exhibitors, cost real money and had the shelf-life of a fruit fly.
These promotions work well while at the event, but what about the other 360?
And what about us small exhibitors? We need good promo ops too. We’re all here because we believe the event will bring the right people together to meet us. We want to meet new prospects, establish relationships and renew friendships. But we need to amortize the benefits and have access to this audience year round - and we want the organizer to make it happen for us. We want this show to be a success – so much so that we’ll be back every year!
We encourage all event organizers to ask themselves: “What are we offering to all our exhibitors that adds value to everything else they are doing year-round.”
Here’s a good post from Michelle Bruno at TSNN that provides organizers with a good blueprint.
If you agree with Michelle, we know a great vendor to help you!