HIGH-IMPACT PRE-SHOW MARKETING:How to Identify and Attract Enough of the Right Visitors to Your Exhibit
By Jefferson Davis, Competitive Edge

Successful exhibitors know that the competition for the attendeeís limited time on the NSTA exhibit floor is fierce. To get their fair share of booth traffic they do not just rent space, show up and hope people find them. They use targeted pre-show marketing to get "in the mind" and "on the agenda" of the right attendees before the show opens.

Consider these exhibition industry facts:

  1. The average tradeshow attendee will visit approximately 31 exhibitors.
  2. 76% of attendees arrive with an agenda of exhibitors they plan to visit.
  3. As many as 3 out of 4 exhibit visits are preplanned.
  4. Less than 20% of exhibitors utilize targeted pre-show marketing campaigns.

So how do you get on the NSTA attendees "must see" list? Itís easier than you think.

Here are four steps to help you fill your booth with qualified, interested buyers:

Step 1. Invest 15% or more of your total show budget toward pre-show marketing.
The average exhibitor allocates just 6% of their show budget toward pre-show marketing. Donít do what the average is doing, most arenít getting results. Of all the things you will spend money on, pre-show marketing is one of the most important. Donít skimp in this critical area. Itís often the difference between a busy exhibit and standing around watching people pass by in the aisles.

Step 2. Identify who you want to visit your exhibit and build target visitor lists.
Start in-house with your sales team and your distribution channels. Build a list of customers and current prospects you would like to visit your exhibit. Include anyone who has inquired about your products or services over the last 12 months. Ask yourself "What types of companies and what job functions/titles do we want to visit our exhibit?"

Be sure to talk to show management to about renting attendee lists for previous show attendees, pre-registered attendees and association member lists. Check with the key trade publications that serve the industry for lists.

Step 3. Give attendees a compelling reason to visit your exhibit.
Donít just pitch products and services Ė focus on solving problems, creating opportunities and delivering meaningful value from a visit to your exhibit. Analyze your company, products and services carefully. What is your value proposition? What problems do you solve? What opportunities do you create? What do you do better than your competition?

Use powerful visual images and captivate attendeeís interest with provocative benefit and solution focused headlines like: "Improve patient satisfaction by 20%." Everyone is interested in solving problems, reducing costs, improving results and getting more value. Tell them specifically how you can help and they will come running to your exhibit.

Step 4. Use a combination of media to execute an integrated pre-show marketing campaign.
An effective pre-show marketing campaign integrates multiple media to touch prospective visitors at least three times before the show opens. Start with mass media like print advertising and publicity in industry trade publications and show publications like the official show directory. Then, add one-to-one media like mailing personal letters of invitation, postcards and formal invitations. Be sure to include an exhibit pass, when available. Put the finishing touch on your program with more personal media like email, fax and personal phone calls. To increase response offer a reward for responding like entry into a contest or better yet invite them to your booth to pick-up a free gift.

With a little creative thought, some basic planning and focused execution you can have a booth full of interested and qualified buyers at NSTA. All it takes is targeted pre-show marketing.

Remember to sign up for the Tradeshow Turnaround Program webinar on January 13, 2010. Register here to learn how to convert tradeshows from "expensive appearances" into "profit centers".

Jefferson Davis, president of Competitive Edge is known as the “Tradeshow Turnaround Artist". Since 1991, his consulting and training services have helped clients improve their tradeshow performance and results to the tune of over $500M. Mr. Davis is creator of the NSTA Online Exhibitor Resource Center. He can be reached at 704-814-7355 or jdavis@compedgetraining.com.


To view the NSTA Science Supply Guide, Click Here

To View the NSTA Exhibitor Forms, Click Here

Questions or comments? Email us at bshoemaker@nsta.org or call (703) 312-9228
Sent By: National Science Teachers Association, 1840 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
To remove your name from our mailing list, please click here.