In the trucking industry, trade shows are a great way to build brand awareness and also to drive leads. Having the opportunity to interact with lots of potential and existing customers at once is unique. While many marketing campaigns involve driving your audience to landing pages, websites, and microsites, trade shows allow you to interface with them directly. However, trade shows aren’t always easy to quantify.
Showing that your presence at a trade show is worth X amount of dollars is one of the hardest parts of marketing.
Ultimately, while marketing is a complex field with many sub-disciplines and specialties, it has a simple objective . . . to grow the business and generate a return. That’s it.
If you spend money on marketing, then you have to be able to generate more than what you spent.
What should you do before the trade show?
1. Set clear, measurable objectives.
Remember that your attendance is an investment, and you should treat it as such. By setting clear, measurable goals, you are setting a benchmark to gauge your effectiveness. And let your team know what the goals are too.
2. Launch pre-show integrated marketing campaigns.
Share your upcoming trade show presence on social media. Try nifty ways to link your content and advertising. Utilize banners to push traffic to blog posts about the upcoming trade show. You could even leverage research or white papers only available at your booth.
Trade shows aren’t cheap, and you are spending a lot of money on attendance, booth, and staffing. With all the money that you are spending, don’t just set up your booth and wait for the masses to come to you. Your marketing campaign should maximize your trade show presence.
Before any trade show you have to build the foundation for an effective event presence and a positive ROI.
How do you measure the ROI of an event?
It’s important that you follow up with trade show attendees. Have a system in place to track future sales generated by the event. Even if your sales reps are following up with your event leads, it doesn’t do you any good if you can’t tie the sales back to the event and the surrounding campaign. Whether you have marketing automation or CRM, you still have to ensure that the numbers are being reported over the long term.
This is even applicable to growing your relationships with existing customers. Get the numbers to prove that they are increasing their orders or renewing contracts after interacting with you at the event.
Based on the data that you have collected, you can determine each customer’s value and establish your ROI.
But what if your trade show presence doesn’t generate a positive ROI?
Don’t overreact. There will be times where your campaigns and events don’t generate the results that you were expecting. It’s part of marketing, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t react.
Marketing through trade shows can be an effective way to drive leads, but only if done correctly. Again, trade shows aren’t about just setting up a booth and letting the masses come to you. Unless you have the greatest product in the history of mankind, then they won’t just come to you. They have choices. You have to be strategic for your trade shows to be highly profitable.
Reevaluate your trade show strategies when they don’t work. Did you broadcast your trade show presence through your marketing campaigns? Was your staff aware of their objectives? Did you have a plan for collecting lead information?
Self-evaluation and a willingness to change is the only way to effectively improve your marketing.
Being able to prove your ROI is difficult for many marketers. But one of the most exciting things about marketing is that you are able to grow your business by converting strangers into customers.
By establishing what works and what doesn’t and proving your ROI, you are more than a marketer. You are a catalyst for growth for your company.