Trade shows are an important marketing and sales tool. They provide the rare opportunity to meet with existing customers, identify new prospects and expand overall brand awareness…all at once. In the end, nothing compares to the face-to-face interaction for promoting your brands and company. However, trade shows can be a costly endeavor when adding up all the necessary expenses: staff, logistics and travel, collateral development etc. With our show (Cosmoprof North America) fast approaching, many exhibitors are seeking advice for how to maximize their exposure and ROI. This two part series will provide some tips to get the most ‘bang for your buck.’ Let’s start from the beginning…
Pre-Show: Start Early! Get Creative!
This tip will make most cringe as it is one of those well known facts that most everyone has trouble meeting. Every year we see exhibitors scrambling at the last minute to get their booth together and promote their attendance. While things generally work out, there are many missed opportunities from not getting started sooner. I advise exhibitors start their planning about 6 months in advance. That may seem like a lofty goal but the first three months of that timeline should be spent working out messaging, identifying products to showcase, planning logistics and onsite product demonstration, securing samples, and booking travel. Just the product demonstrations alone require some planning as you will want to determine the what, when and how of it all; not to mention your communication strategy. In fact, the three months leading up to the show should be reserved for promotion- staying top-of-mind with attendees requires more than simply showing up and having a great booth. CPNA has close to 1000 exhibitors and is the largest B2B beauty event in North America. Each attendee will visit a small fraction of exhibitors. To ensure you are not lost in the proverbial shuffle, buyers need to know you are there and they need to know sooner rather than later so plan accordingly. Most attendees lock in their agendas about 1-2 weeks in advance of the show and early planning will help ensure your brand is considered. CPNA helps make the process of connecting with attendees even easier through its Beauty Matchmaking online system. Once an attendee buys a ticket, he/she is available in our 1to1BeautyMatchmaking.com and as an exhibitor you can log on and reach out directly to them to set up meetings. Keep in mind though that most won’t register until closer to show open so you will want to check the system regularly. 1to1BeautyMatchmaking.com opens June 1st and will be available through show. In addition, CPNA has several buyer programs and invites domestic and international buyers to participate in unique programs where they are introduced to exhibitors based on areas of interest. Find out what the criteria is for consideration and get engaged early.
From direct emails to press outreach, there are a myriad of ways to get your message out before the show. Make sure to send invites to your industry network to promote your participation and invite them for a service at your booth. You can also incentivize potential attendees by providing ticket discounts – through CPNA’s preferred rate e-cards you can provide 50% off to your industry contacts. As the event is covered by all trade publications, you will want to share with media and the organizers all you plan to showcase. If you are launching new products or have exciting news to share, let our PR and Marketing teams know. Remember too to prepare any press kits or literature to share with media you invite to your booth. Like us, many shows like to promote what exhibitors are doing as it helps both parties gain awareness and amplify your voice in advance of the show. To that point, many shows offer an array of ways to elevate your message and build traffic to your booth- be it advertising, extra signage or other promotions. For example, CPNA also launched a new FREE initiative, See it @CPNA, whereby exhibitors could send their product in advance to be reviewed by an acclaimed online influencer in a video segment. The video is then used to promote participation.
In the end, your trade show participation isn’t just about the days you are physically there. Start early and take advantage of all the opportunities available to you and you can ensure the greatest booth traffic and ultimately, return on your investment!
Stay tuned for Part 2 in this series, where we will delve into on-site and post-show tips.
For additional information or to share your own ideas, please email us at: [email protected]m