Determining Your Trade Show Objectives

Millions of individuals attend and thousands of companies participate, but relatively few who are involved in trade shows fully understand the exhibit medium and attain their trade show objectives. Many exhibitors at the average trade or industrial show make gross errors in their exhibits because they do not know what the medium is or how to use it wisely.

There are many reasons why a company enters a trade show, and it is important that a company spell out its trade show objectives before making this decision. These trade show objectives can include: to make sales; to maintain an image and continuing contact with customers; to initiate contact with new customers; to introduce a new product or service; to demonstrate equipment; to offer an opportunity for customers to bring their technical problems and obtain solutions; to obtain feedback from booth visitors; to relate to the competition; etc

The most common trade show objective, of course, is the first one: to make sales and the trade show can play a unique role in leading a prospective buyer from mild interest to the decisive act of placing an order. While making sales and sales contacts is the most common objective of an exhibit, it is certainly not the only one. Participation in a trade show is a good way to sharpen one’s sensitivity to the conditions of the marketplace. At a trade show, you can sense the general attitude of people more rapidly than any other way.

Pinpoint your trade show objectives:

In order to utilise the special characteristics of the trade show exhibit to their maximum, you must make it an integral part of the marketing program. You must define exactly what you want your exhibit to accomplish, and then see that all decisions about design, copy, scheduling, and so on, are based on these decisions. It all starts with the company’s marketing goals, which are broken down into goals for each division or perhaps for each product or product line.

When you set a trade show objective, be sure it is meaningful and measurable. Objectives are written statements of measurable goals, prepared before participation in a trade show. Putting these objectives in writing not only helps you, the exhibitor, clarify your planning, but provides specific guidelines to everyone else involved: design; implementation, participation and evaluation.

These trade show objectives have two components:

(a) Target audience (to whom, specifically are you communicating?) and

(b) Quantifiable objectives: It is not adequate to say ‘My objective is to display our new product’. This is not measurable.

These statements are measurable:

· To attract 15% of the total attendees to our booth to see a demonstration of our new product.

· To communicate Benefit 1 and Benefit 2 about our product to attendees and to obtain 1,200 literature requests and 750 requests for demonstrations of our product.

With proper research these can be measured and the data will pinpoint a contribution of the show, will help justify the cost and, will be a benchmark of accomplishment against which future participation can be compared.

Plan your trade show objectives:

The first groups of question to ask are basic:

“What shows shall we enter?”
“How much space do we need in each?”
“What do we want to say?”
“Whom do we want to reach?”
“What do we want to accomplish?”
“What kind of an exhibit design do we need to achieve our objectives?”
“How do we tell our story?”

Once these are answered you need to ask:

“How much will this cost us?”

However, the most important questions to ask and really the place to start, because they get to the essentials of your marketing plan are: “what is the real reason for going into this show at all?
“What end do we wish to reach?” and “What are our goals?”

Ken MacKenzie’s eBook “The Trade Show Edge” is at: Trade Show Objectives He has had some 30 years experience in small business marketing and public relations. In his consulting to the United States Department of Commerce, Ken served as Principal Advisor to the United States Trade Centre Director on major U.S. trade event planning and implementation of numerous U.S. Government sponsored trade shows covering many different industry groups.

Building Word of Mouth Marketing

The word of mouth begins and ends with people, in fact your customers. Your customers will talk good or bad. But, you definitely want the talk to be good and your satisfied customers generate a good talk. So, what all you can do to have the good talk flowing? Let’s explore the factors.

Factors Catalyzing Positive Word Of Mouth Marketing

The word of mouth plan: Whatever plan you adopt for generating a word of mouth, should be well drafted. It is very important to pilot test your plan so that in case it is against your business interest, it may be dropped then and there without it reaching your customers at large.

Transparency: Your business motive, your products, and your customer service all have to be honest and genuine. Because its credibility works in the word of mouth marketing. Have a transparent business attitude with your customers. Honor them. After all, they are the force for keeping you in business.
Incentives: When announcing any referral scheme, be very transparent in your approach and lay down the rules and regulations clearly. You must not resort to any hidden move. Any undeclared condition will disgust your customers. They may go away never to come back.

Accountability: You should have proper system of controlling. Every person involved at your end in the word of mouth marketing should have a specific role to play and he or she will be accountable for any deviations from his or her expected roles.
Involve customers: Involve your customers in your business by seeking their advice in designing your products and services.

Customers can also guide you in elevating the quality of your products and services in line with the needs and desires of the target markets. Enlighten your customers about your forthcoming products and services, the utilization of your offerings, maintenance, annual maintenance contract, etc.

Endorsements: Nothing works like positive endorsement from your customers. If you hear customers talking favorably about your offerings, you may use these testimonials in your advertisements. Of course, after the customer’s permission and maintain the testimonial document for any future reference.

Distribution channel: Your distribution channel plays a crucial role in building your reputation. Enlighten and encourage your channel to talk about you in good light. They are actually potential influence vis-à-vis a purchase decision by a customer.

Building a word of mouth is a serious and not-so-easy exercise. Every minute detail about your business is to be taken care of. Even a slightly wrong move may cost you fortunes. So, be right, serve right, price it right and your customers will talk right about you.

Speeding Up Word of Mouth Marketing

Word of mouth marketing helps boost your sales considerably as the trust is at work in this case. Your customers trust you and some other people trust these customers. These customers when recommend your offerings to their people then they try out the recommendation without any apprehensions.

The process, though, is a bit lengthy but is very effective for promoting your business. Therefore, its important that the recommendation about your product is made public rapidly then only your business will feel the difference it wants to.

Ways To Accelerate The Word Of Mouth Flow

Following methods should help proliferate your offerings’ information speedily:

Outstanding Value: Offer outstanding value and experience to your customers when they use your products and services and when they deal with your customer service. A genuine and honest effort is always obvious and customers do take a note of it. So, honest offerings with a willingness to help the customers will make you stand out and the customers will cherish the experience of dealing with you. Now, just watch the rapid spread of word of mouth in the market.

Customer treatment: Treat your customers as your near and dear ones rather than viewing them only as a resource to generate profit for you. A selfish attitude will give you a very short-term gain and you will loose the long-term market value.

Advertisements: Draft user-friendly advertisements that are interesting and catchy for the audience and should be easy to share. The audience should easily be able to forward your interesting advertisements to others.

Networks: Work closely with social organizations so that you have a good network. Also, put in your honest efforts when getting involved with any organization. Then only you will be acknowledged.

Discussions: Organize live discussions about your brand(s). You may also use message boards for the discussions. Obviously, your present and your prospective customers will participate in it and spread word about you and your business.

Influencers: Identify the people with whom your customers are very close and they have a say in the lives of these people. These influential customers can guide the buying decisions of their close ones.

Online clubs: As an added step towards building PR, establish online clubs for your customers. This will set your name abuzz in your business niche.

Feedback: Collect the feedback of both types, positive and negative, for your offerings. Keenly go through the feedback and implement the maximum possible suggestions.

Right time, right place and right person are the keys to success for word of mouth advertising, provided all these three rights are happening simultaneously. Take care to maintain speed and the accuracy of information flow to get the desired sales results from the word of mouth marketing.