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Use The Coronavirus Pause To Improve Your Trade Show Program


Because of the coronavirus outbreak, exhibitors are experiencing incredibly anxious and frustrating times:

  • You are dealing with the stress from managing your program with so many shows cancelling or postponing.
  • You’re having to stop doing the best work you can to create tremendous business value for your employer.
  • You are wondering if trade shows will get replaced by digital marketing.

But while you are super busy for now dealing with cancelled shows, you may soon find yourself in the eye of the hurricane. Without the usual constant pressure to manage the workload of logistical trade show details, you will have a rare break in your hectic schedule.

While your exhibits are temporarily on the shelf, you have the window of opportunity to do the research, analysis, brainstorming, and implementation that will improve your trade show results and ROI for years to come.

Often when I present trade show marketing best practices, exhibitors are eager to adopt them, yet lack the time to execute. But during the upcoming “pause,” you will have that time.

So, now you can tackle developmental tasks, often set aside because they lack the urgency of a shipping deadline or show services order.

Here are a few worth your time – start with where you want the most improvement:

  • Define who your best customers are (industries, job titles, demographics), and what motivates them (for better marketing campaigns, exhibit graphics, promotions, show selection, and booth staff training).
  • Be sure your trade show objectives still match the business goals of your top management.
  • Review and reimagine your trade show schedule, based on good ROI and attendee data and up-to-date trade show objectives.
  • Develop stronger booth staff selection process and training.
  • Upgrade your lead management process to include better qualified leads.
  • Improve your trade show measurement process.
  • Research and brainstorm potential integrated marketing and experiential marketing campaigns.

Now, you may be called upon to help expand your company’s digital marketing efforts. Just consider that answering most of these questions will help your digital marketing, too.

In a few weeks or months, we will likely be on the other side of this. You will go back to running your program on the insights and processes you have, and the window of opportunity for improvements will close.

I hope these ideas help focus your mind on the proactive things you can do in these extraordinary times to keep your trade show program moving forward.

About the Author

Mike Thimmesch is the Principal at Thimmesch Marketing. For over 25 years, he has created and implemented innovative marketing, lead generation, and exhibiting strategies that profitably grow company sales and brand awareness. Mike rose to Director level at Skyline Exhibits, where he helped generate over a half million leads, resulting in over $1 billion in sales. He published 11 industry white papers and eight exhibiting books, presented over 100 trade show webinars, and wrote over 200 exhibit marketing blog posts.

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