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Getting Your Best ROI as a Tradeshow Attendee

November 8, 2012  

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As a tradeshow exhibitor, you create an exhaustive plan for getting the most out of every minute and every dollar. But do you plan with the same care when you're a tradeshow attendee? "I suppose many people make the assumption that if you go to a conference and learn something, it's time and money well spent," writes Drew McLellan at the Marketing Minute blog. But you can accomplish so much more:

Make use of the location. You're already flying to Chicago or New Orleans or Miami—why not arrive a day early to meet with prospective clients who live in the area?

Identify potential contacts. Scan the list of attendees for three or five people you really want to meet. Approach them in a casual way, prepared for substantive conversation. "Your goal," he explains, "[is getting] to know them well enough that you can reach out to them after the show and stay connected."

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  • by Jody Thu Nov 8, 2012 via mobile

    These are all great tips and they dramatically change the outcome of an event.

  • by Mathieu Wed Nov 14, 2012 via web

    In the 'Identify potential contacts' step, don't limit yourself at the attendees' list (that's if you can even get your hands on it, some events don't publish the list of attendees) also go through the list of exhibitors !

    Exhibitors may be there primarily to promote and sell, and thus have mainly marketing personel present, but if you reach out to those companies before the event you might learn that some technical or corporate staff will also be lurking around and you might be able to schedule a meeting with them.

    I'd even say there's a step missing ... once you've identified potential contacts, *do your homework* ! Do a little research (company website, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) on the company and the representatives that are named on the exhibitors' list. After your initial contact, if you get the names of non-marketing personnel that will be present, it's back to your homework before trying to reach out to those individuals.

    I've organised trade show visits on a number of occasions for clients that weren't exhibitors and for a typical 3-day event, I was always able to secure a minimum of 15 meetings before we even left for the event. But to achieve that, the preparation must start a good 3 months before the event, not a mere 3 days ... ;-)

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