The secret of better trade show results

If you participate in a trade show, you want to be successful. An exhibition stand full of visitors and promising conversations and better trade show results.

In this article I describe how I realized this together with lighting manufacturer Signify for EuroShop, the largest international Retail trade fair, which took place in February.

Read more below about the secret of better trade show results, explained using ”exhibition marketing success factors” and Signify’s examples.

1. You need an attractive and eye-catching exhibition stand that invites visitors to enter.
For Signify we had two eye-catchers (NatureConnect at the entrance and 3D printed lamps in the hospitality area) that attracted the attention of many visitors. This enabled the stand crew to start a conversation and then filter during this conversation what the visitor’s interest was.

NatureConnect above the entrance as an eye-catcher, gave visitors a view of the sky

2. A clearly recognizable theme and storyline, in which every product or service on your stand is part of this theme.
The theme comes to life at your stand and is demonstrated. In addition, make sure that your theme matches the theme of the trade fair. This has a strengthening effect on your message and you can refer to it in all your communications. For example to the press.

At Signify, the theme was Lighting for Circularity with a circular product portfolio. Everything in the stand was a logical part of this theme. Even the stand and the interior consisted of 80% sustainable materials. What made the theme extra powerful is that this theme was already used in an ongoing marketing campaign. This has two advantages. The fair will be part of the campaign and is not an isolated event. Secondly, content is already available from the campaign, which you can reuse and tweak aimed at your exhibition participation. This in turn saves costs for developing completely new content. In addition, you can apply all created content from the exhibition in the current marketing campaign.

3. A stand crew who has been trained beforehand and on the stand in the theme, storyline and products and services.
But also in asking the right open questions to quickly filter whether a visitor is really interested. Working at a trade show is completely different from just visiting a customer. It requires good preparation and the right questions for maximum impact.

At Signify we did this by offering guided tours in different languages. For these tours we made a script with the storyline and highlights. These tours were practiced by the stand crew on the stand prior to the opening day and on the quiet opening day itself. In this way, everyone knew the story inside and out and they were able to convey this to the visitors in all conversations in a good way. An all-round approach.

4. A promotion campaign to create awareness that you participate at least 2-3 months prior to the exhibition for the greatest impact.
You must let your customers and prospects know that you are participating and actively invite them. And continue to promote your presence during the exhibition. You should not think that the exhibition organization will do this for you. So proactive instead of passive.

Signify ran an awareness campaign with emails, social media, a social media ambassador platform for its own employees and personal invitations by providing free entrance tickets through the account managers.

5. Analyze which key competitors are not present at the trade show and make a plan to approach their customers through the account managers.
For example, by inviting them to a meeting or offering them a tour. These customers come to the fair anyway, do not visit the competitor and are open to visiting other suppliers. This is a great opportunity to make new contacts and show them what you can do for them without obligation.

At Signify, this has resulted in a number of conversations with large retailers that they previously had no chance to connect with. The contact has now been made, thanks to the exhibition participation.

6. Make sure you have a good system to record and quickly follow up on your conversations and follow-up.
Preferably automated, because this guarantees a quick follow-up and is more efficient than keeping track of everything manually.

At Signify we used a simple online form linked to their CRM database. It is important that the stand crew and sales staff are trained in its use.

7. And provide hospitality.
A moment when interested visitors can relax while enjoying a cup of good coffee and a nice conversation. This can be done very easily and does not necessarily have to be expensive.

At Signify we had set up a separate hospitality café for meetings and spontaneous conversations with visitors. Moreover, these meetings and conversations are also registered and data is now available that is used in the follow-up.

Do you find this interesting? Feel free to contact us.