Is the trade show or special event over when the last box is sealed, flooring packed and the truck is heading back to the shop? As the baseball legend, Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over." Part of determining the return on investment (ROI) is more than tracking the leads and new contacts made at the show. When returning to the office, make time for thoughtful evaluation of all aspects of the trade show or event when it is still fresh in your mind.
Executive leaders may ask or question, what is the power of trade shows in the marketing program? Exhibitions are a unique selling environment and there is no substitute for face-to-face marketing. New products, services and branding, are presented to existing and new customers that generate immediate feedback that isn’t possible with an advertisement or on the internet.
Technology and social media impact trade show and marketing programs both in the U.S. and at international events as well. It isn’t just about Twitter, Facebook and hashtags, trade show managers need to be sure the company website is “mobile friendly” too. The latest search engine algorithm change for mobile devices could leave your website off searches if it is not formatted for tablets and smart phones. Exhibit graphics and messaging incorporate social media and QR codes to engage the audience so mobile access should be incorporated as well.
Trade show displays are no longer just a 3-dimensional tool to deliver an exhibiting company’s marketing message. Including social media in exhibit planning objectives is another way to increase customer awareness and market share. Exhibitions are an opportunity for face-to-face interaction with customers. Social media can engage customers before, during and after the show.