Over the past couple of months, we’ve introduced you to our tried and tested Trade Show Engagement Optimisation (TEO) Strategy, comprised of 5 pillars – aligning your Business Growth and Exhibition Strategies, mapping the Attendee Journey, upskilling your Booth Staff, measuring KPI’s, and implementing an effective Follow-up process.
When delivering our TEO masterclasses, one of the most asked questions is, “How do I align my business growth and exhibition strategies?” In this blog, we’ll discuss how to define your business growth strategy and explain what your thought process should be about when aligning these two strategies.
Defining your business growth strategy
The idea here is to understand how your exhibition programme links to your business growth strategy and why you have decided to exhibit. At this stage, it’s important to get into the mechanics behind your exhibiting strategy and how this aligns with your sales and marketing processes.
You need to scope out whether the show you want to exhibit at is best suited to help you connect with your ideal target audience and highlight your top 3 objectives. By doing this, you will give yourself a great starting point heading into your event.
Top tip: – Your top 3 objectives can have different outcomes e.g., generating qualified leads, upselling for increased or additional business, and raising awareness and interest in a new product. However, there is one underlying factor – make them SMART.
For example, if your business wants to generate more leads, ask yourself questions such as:
- Are we targeting lapsed customers as well as new ones?
- How many leads are we wanting to generate?
- How does the exhibition audience match our target audience? (if it doesn’t, you shouldn’t be exhibiting there!)
- How are we gathering their data e.g., via interactive engagement tools or business cards?
- How long will we be exhibiting e.g., the time and finish of the exhibition?
By setting SMART objectives, you’re elevating the chances for your next trade show to be a successful one.
One part exhibiting, one part business growth creates harmony
Your business growth strategy isn’t something you should rush or put on a paper napkin. It is an add-on to your company culture and should embody what you stand for as a company.
So, in the early stages of your strategic planning, you need to illustrate exactly what you want to gain from your exhibition experience and how it aligns with your overall business growth plan, your sales targets, and your marketing strategy.
Is it an awareness campaign to get your brand out there? Is it a growth campaign to deliver red-hot leads to your business? Or is it a mixture of the two?
Whichever avenue you want your exhibition strategy to take, you need to ensure this is embedded within your business across sales, marketing, and business growth plan.
But how do I do it?
Good question – let’s investigate it.
Communication and culture are paramount
One of the most important facets of your strategy is your employee culture. Since 2007, we’ve been attending thousands of events, across numerous different countries, and it’s easy to tell which businesses have a lacklustre culture and which businesses have a thriving one.
It all stems from how they come across during your exhibition.
If they appear lazy, chatting to one another at their stand or on their phones, attendees are never going to give them the time of day. On the other hand, if your booth staff are engaged, saying the right things, and educating your attendees, this showcases a company culture that actively aims to grow and learn; a sure-fire for success.
The show must go on… unless it’s the wrong one!
In the exhibition world, some organisers may approach businesses to offer a 50% discount for a space at their upcoming event in a couple of weeks to a month’s time. Many fall foul to seeing this as a great opportunity to exhibit but you need to understand, trying to deliver a full-scale strategy in two weeks is unattainable.
Therefore, choosing the right show for your business is key to maximise your ROI. Once the purpose of your exhibition is confirmed and you have your target goals and measures in place, you can then narrow down options, depending on specific criteria, such as budget, location, date, number and demographics of attendees, reputation, booth space availability, and marketing opportunities.
When you have a shortlist, ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this show deliver our ideal business prospects?
- Does it reach a large volume of our target audience?
- Will it offer excellent trade show lead generation?
- Will it enable us to meet the goals we’ve set for each of our objectives?
By following this formula to forecast a profitable trade show, you’ll guarantee the success of every new exhibition. You’ll also be able to set your team targets and KPIs to ensure ROI is on track throughout the show.
Refresh, Reload and Revamp
We want to make it abundantly clear that when it comes to exhibitions, it isn’t just a one-size-fits-all strategy. Not one exhibition is the same and, therefore, each requires a different strategy to suit. One exhibition may require a more interactive approach whereas another exhibition may suit a more practical approach.
The important message is to always ensure you refresh your exhibition strategy to suit your exhibition.
Give yourself the best possible chance
This blog gives you a glance into linking your business growth and exhibition strategy and why nailing this means better, more well-thought-out exhibitions for your business. It will save you money, time, and a lot of stress. However, if you’re still wondering how to link these two strategies together, get in touch. Even better, download a copy of our 5 Pillars to Exhibition Success – Understanding the Tradeshow Engagement Optimisation (TEO) Framework for further reading and most importantly learning.