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I’m blogging from the NAB Show in Las Vegas this week. High rollers from all over the world come to showcase at this annual, world's largest electronic media show. It’s no wonder that I found a vast array of trade show best practices on display, along with some leading edge products, of course.

According to The Center for Exhibition Industry Research, B2B trade shows remain a top 3 marketing spend. Even in our high-tech digital world, there is nothing that can truly replace building relationships via face to face contact.

At Change Connect, we adhere to the 4Es of Trade Show best practices:

Envision – Often, I hear clients attend trade shows so they have a presence amongst their competitors. Although, that is a valid reason, there needs to be clearly defined objectives and measurement programs in place. Common sales-related metrics include cost per qualified lead, cost per sale, average sales revenue generated by exhibiting and return on relationship. There should be a set of standing metrics for all marketing initiatives for comparison purposes.

Empower – Employees need to be in the know. What are you looking for them to achieve? Every person should play a specific role at the booth – a greeter, the engager, the product knowledge expert, the qualifier, etc. With limited attention span and lots of competitors nearby, staff need to be trained and roles should be tightly coordinated before the event.

Engage – Trade show engagement starts months before the event. You can invite prospects to the booth for a coffee chat or email them a product teaser; let them know you would be speaking at that event. Booth set up should be welcoming for attendees; they should walk into a booth, rather than be kept out. Relevant literature should be emailed to prospects after the booth visit in a timely manner. The booth serves as a start / refresh to a relationship; it cannot be treated as a one-time only engagement.

Evaluate – Daily and post-show wrap-ups are necessary. Should tactics be adjusted due to unforeseen circumstances? How does this show compare to the other marketing initiatives? Not only is statistical analysis important in the post-evaluation phase, the team should also look back on possible improvement areas and flag relevant recommendations to management for future shows.

Trade shows continue to be a valuable source of pre-qualified sales leads. A little preparation goes a long way in advancing these prospects through the sales pipeline. Just remember - Envision, Empower, Engage and Evaluate.

#marketing #sales

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