Trade shows are a great way to interact with customers as well as your sales channel partners. But they are a tremendous amount of work. You must get the right equipment there, set it up and run trials before the show starts. Then there’s the scheduling – ensuring that there are enough people to work the booth. Shows can be a great opportunity to meet with your reps and distributors and entertain customers and prospects.
Probably the last thing you are thinking about is the trade media – but they will be there, and they represent a significant opportunity to promote your product before and after the show.
• Pre-show PR – many magazines and websites covering the show will feature pre-show previews, highlighting what exhibitors will be showing. These usually include a photo and the booth number – and do not require advertising to participate. But you must let the editors know what you are showing.
A client recently told us that during IMTS a prospect walked into their booth holding a page torn from the IMTS preview section of a trade magazine asking to see the product that was highlighted. Often attendees make a list of products and companies that they want to see – attracting their attention with pre-show PR is a great way to get on their list.
• At show editor meetings – are another great opportunity that pays future dividends. These allow you to let the editors “kick the tires” on your product and explain why their readers will be interested in your technology. If you have looked over the magazines upcoming editorial calendar, you can suggest a case history/application story in a specific issue.
During a meeting at the Assembly show, upon hearing some of the product uses, and editor offered that he’d welcome the opportunity to visit some customers and write up their stories – which is being planned at this writing.
While these opportunities require you to spend a little more time, they can be achieved internally without additional spending. The help of a PR professional may also be desired – as they understand the correct formats, timing, writing structure and more. Whether you tackle this with internal resources, or get outside help, engaging the trade press in your next trade show is certainly a worthwhile effort and one that you should engage in.