When attending a trade show, most companies focus the majority of their efforts on the preparation that goes into the actual event. Months are devoted to finalizing materials, booking travel arrangements, ordering supplies and perfecting presentations. While such tasks are essential to ensuring a successful trade show experience, companies often overlook the importance of key responsibilities such as follow-up phone calls with prospective customers or scheduling meetings with partners after the event concludes.
For example, my company, TV Ears, recently attended the 2010 International Consumer Electronics Show, and while we did a great job preparing for it and generating a large, positive response, our team also understands that the event isn’t over when the booth break-down begins. Here are three actions we’re doing now to ensure that we take advantage of the buzz we created from the exhibition:
1) Update databases
Trade shows are one of the best ways to capture prospective customer and partner information. Many companies do so by making newsletter signup sheets available or by setting out a fish bowl of some sorts at the both so folks can drop off their business cards when they stop by. Often times, however, nothing happens with this information. Organizations need to assign specific people to put these new contacts into the sales and marketing database and ensure that the appropriate people are tasked to follow up. Allowing customer lead information to pile up is akin to leaving money on the table.
2) Follow-up with the key influencers
Most events attract various types of individuals that have the potential to help a company grow. For example, TV Ears was fortunate to meet key investors and buyers at CES. While it’s nice to exchange business cards and shake hands, follow up phone calls or emails are important to foster these connections to profitable business relationships. Events can serve as a great catalyst for building a connection, and companies should take time to ensure they touch base in meaningful ways with these individuals soon after the initial meeting.
3) Continue media outreach efforts
Whether you have an in-house PR team or outsource to an agency, it’s essential that these professionals follow up with media that attended the trade show. If interviews were conducted at the event, reconnect with reporters to ensure they have all the necessary information to write a story that includes your company and its products in a positive light. Media tend to get overwhelmed at trade shows with the abundance of companies vying for their attention. Following up with a reporter after an event is a great way to touch base and keep the company on their radar.
Businesses miss out on a lot of great opportunities because once a trade show concludes; they’re already looking ahead at the next event. To make the most of the time and resources invested in a show, it’s essential to pay as much attention what needs to occur after the event as you do in preparing for it. Companies can benefit from updating their databases immediately, following up with key influencers and continuing media outreach efforts after the event has concluded. Those who take the time to focus on these post-event activities will get the most out of their investment.