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Tradeshows are, consistently, a lot of things to marketers. They're time-consuming. Stressful. Complex. Expensive. And they're evolving at a rapid pace. But they aren't always effective.
You might be choosing the right shows to attend, but not executing properly. As a result, in the eyes of CMOs, the expense can sometimes outweigh the positive branding effects, which means that justifying attending, and even holding tradeshows, can be extremely difficult. And a headache.
For Marketing and Sales leaders, tradeshows are all about the bottom line. So, as a marketer, fine-tuning your strategy is critical. Tradeshow success is all about having a proven strategy in place, using your time effectively, and executing the plan flawlessly.
In this article, we'll tee-up the ways you can positively impact your tradeshow marketing game plan, helping you capture more leads and deliver more ROI.
One of the big "misses" when trying to gather hot leads at tradeshows is to relay solely on foot traffic to a booth. It's a gamble. The list of factors that can negatively influence the flow of traffic to a booth is so long—literally too long to list in this space. Targeted traffic is better. And that can be achieved by pre-show appointment-setting.
Events that offer appointments offer a greater opportunity to drive leads down the funnel. With appointments, versus standard booth traffic, you're able to have better conversations with attendees that will inform your understanding of their needs. Appointments can be a first step in making a valuable connection. They offer the perfect chance to accurately score a lead.
As is the case with many marketing initiatives, patience is key, if you have the time. On average, it takes a little over eight emails to schedule a meeting. Though email is effective, that's a lot of time spent on crafting the personal message that may or may not ever be opened by your recipients.
An alternative is event-management technology that allows you to set meetings with customers and prospects before the tradeshow, regardless of what technology the show organizer may be using. By prescheduling appointments, you will reduce no-shows and increase engagement with important customers and prospects.
Lead-Capturing Like a Boss
We're not talking about adding an extra fern to the booth, or offering the coolest, latest tchotchke (though, don't get us wrong, those are great to have, too)—but, rather, a solid plan on the floor.
Here's a stat that might rattle even the most mellow CMO (if there is such a thing): 75% of leads, on average, are never followed-up with after an exhibition. The math here is pretty simple: Three-quarters of the dollars invested in the average tradeshow booth are being wasted.
If your tradeshow lead-gathering tactics mean relying on the fishbowl approach, gathering cards, taking them back with you on the plane, in the car, or on the train, and manually scanning them into a file or a platform like Salesforce—well, that's a lot of time and effort expended with little return.
Lead-gathering tools and technology help marketers drive higher ROI by standardizing and systemizing the process. This tech (which can be integrated with your staff's mobile devices) ensures your sales team actually uses the device and no business cards disappear into pockets, get lost in the wash, or accidentally get discarded. The best tools on the market automatically sync with your marketing automation platform and CRM, providing complete visibility into the leads that are generated. Plus, you can now do a better job tracking the customer journey—and scoring and prioritizing your leads.
These tools also help with VIP "events within events." These receptions and gatherings you host are home to your highest quality leads, and they come at additional expense. Lack of tracking hampers your ability to ensure follow-up and to demonstrate true ROI. This technology helps you...
- Track engagement across activities to see when and how prospects interacted with your brand
- See whether those who visit your booth and attend your external event are showing more intent to buy
- Rank and prioritize leads for fast follow-up
Guesswork is a thing of the past.
Follow-Up in a Flash
As marketers, we can't force Sales to follow up post-show, but we can set the table for them and put them on the fast-track for success. And they'll love you for it.
As we note earlier with that horrifying 75% stat, most marketing pros struggle to get leads into their sales team's hands fast enough—and opportunities are lost in the process. That's what we call a "lose-lose" proposition. Here's another stat for you: 30-50% of leads are closed by those who follow-up first. Great, right? But if you're still doing things the old way, you're liable to get left in the dust by savvy competitors. The best of the best can accomplish lead follow-up in short time, not a week (or weeks!).
With tech, lead data flows automatically from your lead capture devices to your CRM and marketing automation, making it instantly available. Worried about the hottest leads? Well, they are automatically prioritized. Tools like these also offer dashboards to demonstrate real-time progress reports to CMOs and Sales VPs, offering a clear picture of ROI.
By making it easy to capture, score, and prioritize your tradeshow leads, you're making the lives of your Sales counterparts so much easier. Having a single, consistent solution to capture, qualify, and follow up with leads at all tradeshows and third-party events, you have flexibility.
Automated attendee badge and business card scanning provides a consistent way not only to capture leads but also capture consent for future marketing activities.
By developing a strategy, and having the tools in place to put you and your sales team on the road to success, you can move tradeshows from a red line on the budget sheet to an ROI-driving marketing program that will...
- Get the right people to your booth at the right times
- Ensure your brand is resonating with attendees
- Capture leads and insights in a seamless, meaningful way
- Tie those leads to a campaign for Insights and ROI
Want to dive deeper into the subject? We've got you covered. Download a free copy of our e-book: The Ultimate Guide to Tradeshow Marketing Industry: Best-Practices for Every Stage of Your Event.
Take the first step (it's free).
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