Preparing for a trade show

Four tactics that will ensure success


Like many other companies, we’ve been working around the clock preparing for the upcoming 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This isn’t just any ordinary tradeshow. Companies spend months planning for what is considered the industry’s largest educational forum that allows companies like my own, TV Ears, to expand and showcase existing product lines or unveil new offerings in front of thousands of retailers, analysts and media from around the world.


While this is my first year attending the CES, I’m preparing similarly to how I have for other tradeshows in the past. Organizing a game plan for an event of this magnitude is a must if you want to get the most out of the experience. Here are four tactics that companies should focus on to ensure positive results.

1. Get Involved
Because CES is comprised of various conferences, those groups seek speakers for panel discussions. If you’re the CEO of a company or hold an executive position, inquire about speaking opportunities at the next tradeshow you’ll attend. For example, I’m participating in the CES Silver Summit’s “Forever Young: Tech Assist for Life After 50” panel. This provides a great opportunity to discuss how our company helps older generations understand the options available to them with industry leaders. Some panels are also known for attracting media and by participating in such discussions, it adds credibility to your brand and provides an opportunity to get their name on a reporter’s radar.

2. Set-up appointments
One of the biggest mistakes exhibitors make while attending a tradeshow is not capitalizing on all the opportunities to meet with key influencers. If your company is at an event where vendors or retailers are located, take advantage of the opportunity and schedule as many quality appointments as you can with these folks. Whether they’re an existing vendor or not, this illustrates that you’re interested in learning more about their needs and how you can work together in the future.  

3. Media Preparation
Some tradeshows draw few media while others attract thousands. The CES attracts journalists from across the world that cover a variety of topics including computers, personal devices, TVs and more. It’s crucial to have media kits prepared for reporters and available at the booth, in the press room and on-hand at all times. Events are urging participants to go green and because reporters are bombarded with endless collateral material, make it easier and provide digital versions. Lastly, make sure your PR representatives have contacted the appropriate media prior to the tradeshow and have informed them of any new product launches. This will help your company garner press at the event.

4. Walk the Floor

Many folks that attend tradeshows tend to get caught up with their own booth that they forget to walk the floor and check out what other companies are doing. If your competitors as well as potential partners are attending the event, look them up ahead of time and make it a priority to take note if they’re doing anything that you’re not. The market intelligence gathering opportunities are enormous!

Tradeshows take a great deal of effort and preparation and are a constant work in progress up until the very end. In order to maximize your exposure, get involved in any way you can. If companies work to cover all of their bases while at the tradeshow, it’s bound to be a successful event.