For several years the company did not participate in trade shows despite the apparent success they had experienced from previous participation. Part of this decision was based on not understanding how to calculate ROI from trade show attendance and a belief by senior management that the company and its products were well known in the marketplace, therefore, tradeshow attendance was an unnecessary expense.
Develop a business case for why trade show participation was a good investment of corporate marketing resources and how it fits into a comprehensive marketing plan.
Conducted market research through personal interviews, questionnaires, and surveys with customers (both B-2-B and B-2-C) to determine the perceptions of our products and the company. Using data from the market research and additional information developed about industry and marketing best practices, developed a business case for Tradeshow participation and a plan for how to exploit our marketing investment in this area.
The plan called for participation in several tradeshows each year based on the industries and markets we were focusing on. The plan also included a modular booth design that could be reconfigured to display in virtually any booth size or arrangement such as 10’x10′ or 10’x20′ – inline or endcap, 20’x20′ or 30’x30′ – island or peninsula. Booth location also played a prominent role in the plan to capitalize on major customers with our products installed on their machines being displayed at each show when applicable.
At the first show under this plan, one of the first customers to walk into the booth said, “I am surprised to see your company. I love your products, but I haven’t bought any in some time because I thought you had gone out of business since you stopped doing shows and running advertising.”
In seven years we participated in more than 30 tradeshows. These shows resulted in new original equipment manufacturers including our products in their offerings and helped us to develop and secure new and retrofit installations with major industry players in our targeted markets. Tradeshow participation also led to our involvement in a government research grant on Leap-Ahead Air Filtration Technologies.