Competitive Tactics You Need to Know For Your Next Trade Show

Category: Exhibition Stands

Gama Aviation Exhibition Stand

Trade show marketing offers a number of key benefits for businesses, but it is an increasingly competitive field. As a result, exhibiting companies need to find way to make their stand or booth stand out from the crowd, and need to offer something that others at the same show are not offering visitors.

From freebies and competitions, to great-looking modular exhibition stands, companies are constantly striving for ways to differentiate. Here, we take a look at five tactics you should know before your next trade show, in order to gain a competitive advantage and give yourself the best possible chance of achieving your objectives.

1. Include a Philanthropic Element

Exhibition marketing offers an excellent opportunity to do some good for wider society through charity. This will not only help the charity you support, it will also improve perceptions of your business. In fact, research from Foresters found that, when offered a choice between two companies offering the same products for a similar price, 82 percent of people's buying decision would be affected by whether the company had carried out charitable work.

One example of trade show charity was seen with CareerBuilder's appearance at the Society of Human Resource Management Annual Conference and Exposition. The company asked attendees to take photos at the show and share them on Twitter or Instagram, with a specific hashtag. For each picture, the company donated $5 to charity. In the process, the company gained wider social media exposure.

2. Talk to Exhibition Design Companies

One of the best ways to stand out is to have a attractive exhibition stand. Modular exhibition stands, created by professional exhibition design companies, can be ideal for this, because they are customisable, cost-effective and reusable. Meanwhile, custom-built stands can pack a bigger punch and offer a bigger competitive advantage.

Crucially, you should try to speak to exhibition design companies with experience dealing with other clients in your sector, as they will be able to provide you with invaluable information about, not only what other exhibitors are doing, but which design tactics have previously resulted in the best ROI. Ask to see their portfolio or case studies and work with a company with an established reputation and a track record for delivering results.

3. Carry Out the Preparation Work

The competition begins before you even reach the exhibition event, so you need to prepare. Research the trade show you are planning on attending to make sure it is right for your business. Advertise your appearance on social media, or in trade publications, and send out personal invites to people who you want to see there.

You should try to keep in mind that approximately 70 percent of visitors to exhibitions know which stands they want to visit in advance. This means there is a huge competitive advantage to be gained by making it onto their list of planned visits, so pre-show promotion is an essential component of the preparation phase.

4. Offer Interesting Giveaways or Extras

Another great way to entice visitors and generate a buzz at a trade show is by offering interesting giveaways or little extras. This can be something as basic as a free branded pen or a t-shirt, or could be much more ambitious, like a memory stick containing interesting video content. Free phone charging and wi-fi access are also solid options.

"Hand out big stickers, wearables, light up trinkets, etc and turn it into a game. Those who wear your promo items have a chance to win something big at the end of the show," suggests James C. Gibson, writing for the Huffington Post. "These are great because the more people you get to wear them, the more others will want one."

5. Try to Get a Speaking Role at the Show

Finally, one of the absolute best ways to stand out from the competition is to get a speaking role at the event. Talk to the event organisers and try to secure a place. Make sure that your presentation is high-quality, relevant to as much of the audience at possible, and positions you and your business as an industry thought leader.

Delivering a speech will help you to stand out as an expert in your field and will allow you to reach out to a new audience, while also engaging with existing customers or clients. Moreover, you can share your presentation on social media afterwards, or even live stream it with permission, in order to amplify its reach.

Posted 21st November, 2017

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