You’ve Signed the Exhibit Contract, Now What?
Here’s a short checklist to start the process for preparing for the event. Marketing an event is more than just showing up with an eye-catching booth and some giveaways to deliver your company’s elevator pitch. A successful event requires planning leading up to the event, as well as planning the follow-through after the event to maximize your return.
Before the event:
Define your event goals: What qualifies as a successful event? Is it increased brand visibility within your industry signaling that you are a viable player? Are you looking to bring home a certain percentage of leads? What sort of media coverage if any are you anticipating to capture at the event? Skyline suggests to add a specific plan about how your staff will achieve each goal to keep yourselves on track.
Create an event brief: Build one central document that your team can refer to that contains your objectives, messaging, booth details and schedules, logistical items, and lead follow-up process. This will become your go-to for any event details, so everyone involved knows what is going on.
Determine your messaging: Are you sticking with your current message or does this event call for specialized content? Are you considering a rebranding of your company or a product that you plan to launch at this event?
Now that you’ve got your messaging, how will you distribute it? Press Releases, Social Media, Website, Email blast? “Plan your event with publicity in mind, seek media sponsorships, create helpful media kits, make it easy for the media to cover the event and brainstorm story ideas. Waiting until the show begins may already be too late to capture the media’s attention,” according to Entrepreneur.
Considering any pre-event marketing? Do you have access to a pre-event attendee list to market to? Is there any analyst or press list that you can target to set-up debriefs with?
Gather the team: Who will represent your team at the event? Designate an onsite conference manager – too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the recipe. Determine the dress attire, create a booth schedule and ensure your entire team is up to speed. Hold weekly meetings leading up to the event.
Onsite sales meetings: Events are great for networking with prospects. Ensure your sales team has meetings scheduled (and confirmed) for the event. Set goals for the number of meetings – possibly hold a contest to see who can get the most meetings.
Internal Meetings: While team meetings leading up to the event are important, don’t forget to schedule the post-event debrief call to discuss how the event went. Discuss the pros and cons of the event – take notes so you can refer back to them for the next event.
Your Post-Event Plan: Before calling it a day, plan out what your lead follow-up process will look like – calls, emails, website landing pages and put a date on the calendar in RED for it to begin once back from the event.
To Market We Go!