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Monday, August 31, 2009

What Makes A Successful Trade Show ?

Trade shows if done right, can be the crown jewel of your marketing mix. Here's how to make trade shows pay off for your company.

Set quantitative goals and objectives for each show at which you exhibit: There’s an old saying that goes, “We don’t know where we’re headed, but we’re getting there fast.” If you don’t have established goals for your trade show then you will be unaware of how many customers you want to anticipate and how many deals you want to close and with whom. So it can result in an uncertain return on your investment.

Use trade shows to test market new products. Sometimes, instead of putting together an expensive market research study, consider bringing product prototypes and demonstrations to show in a private space of your booth. This can save time and money and give you qualitative data.

Gather competitive intelligence by interacting with the customers. Give yourself and your staff time to walk the floor and attend the product demos of all of your competitors, then put together a report of you findings after enclosing down the show.

First time shows are risky. It can be costly to exhibit at a show that has no track record. If a new show is in or near your hometown or a major office, the costs cuts down a lot.


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  2. Glad to see that you included gathering competitive intelligence as one of the ways to make a trade show successful. Many companies have specific groups that collect intelligence at trade shows and apply that information to answer both strategic and tactical quesitions. In fact, the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals, a membership non-profit organization, recently released a 235 page book on conference and trade show intelligence. You can see a description of it at


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