Steve Randazzo is the founder and president of Pro Motion, Inc., an experiential marketing agency located in Missouri.
7 Ways to Maximize Your Mobile Trade Show Experience
This is the second article in a two-part series. Read the first part here.
We already know that trade shows alone — while a valuable addition to brands’ marketing repertoires — might not be delivering the results they have in the past. Many marketers are tracking trade show attendance rather than concrete sales metrics to justify hefty show investments. But in an overly saturated marketing sphere, face-to-face conversations are key to brand survival.
How do we remedy this return on investment problem? Don’t just think outside the box — think outside the convention center. Besides making an appearance at your most successful trade shows, assemble your products and go on tour. Instill your brand story into a memorable experience, hit every company on your prospect and customer list, and go to where your target market spends free time.
At each stop, deliver an interactive experience. This is true whether you’re presenting for an entire office or prospects at a neutral location. Bring in the best members of your sales team, capture prospects’ attention on their home field, and watch your leads grow. By the end of the mobile tour, you’ll have made lasting impressions and nudged quarterly sales figures toward the heavens.
Planning Your Mobile Roadshow
Keep these steps in mind for roadshow marketing glory:
1. Draft up a playbook. We develop proprietary playbooks for each roadshow that give team members pointers and strategic guidelines. The material always works as a step-by-step guide. If you write your own playbook, be sure to include a list of invites, procedures for activities and videos on how to make the event successful overall. Setting the stage for a great experience should be the very first thing you do before taking your brand on the road.
2. Involve your team’s top players in the experience. If industry whales are attending your roadshow, you need to have equally important people from your team on-site. Show them how important their business is to your company and demonstrate the necessary respect that will strengthen critical relationships.
3. Communicate effectively before the event. Do your customers prefer to be engaged via snail mail, email or in person? Before setting out, determine the best way to communicate with your audience. Be sure your communication drives people to put your event on their calendars and attend it.
If you’re a B2B company, highlight the fact that key players at an office are attending. This will encourage many more to swing by. If you’re B2C, try stopping in bustling public areas. Busy farmers markets and community events are great places to stop: They host big congregations of people, and customers are more likely to visit when they see others trying out your products.
4. Make the visit easy. If you can position your roadshow in, say, the parking lot or lobby of a customer’s building, you reduce the likelihood of someone important not showing up. Your customers will appreciate your willingness to make life easier by coming directly to them. No matter where you land, design a program that allows the main players at a location to be drawn into your experience naturally.
5. Tell your story. A roadshow generates awareness of a product while demonstrating that it’s unique enough to parade around the country. Remember, your story accentuates the sales cycle and creates conversations that lead to decisions. For the best results, make sure you’re telling your story in the same way across the board.
For added relationship-building, ask your customers about the challenges they’ll face in the near future. If you can help solve those issues or provide guidance, you’ll be a preferred supplier for years to come.
6. Consider buyers’ support teams when touring. Decision-makers aren’t the only ones who will visit you during roadshows. In fact, their support teams can also experience all your company has to offer. So don’t just talk about how your product will meet customers’ top-line needs. If you’re B2B, illustrate how it helps other divisions within their organization (think maintenance, engineering, and other supports). For B2C companies, this could include transportation and merchandising groups.
7. Build conversations with post-event communication. Track conversations, comments, and intent to close sales. Like a quality trade show program, you have to work just as hard after the event to continue the dialogue. Because you can observe the buyers in their natural habitat, you can follow up after the event in a meaningful way. For this reason, I’ve seen mobile trade shows cut companies’ sales cycles in half and double sales pipelines.
It’s clear that mobile roadshows are a brilliant complement to the trade shows you’re already attending. By following these seven tips when mapping out your own road campaign, you’ll ensure a highly successful trip (and happy customers and prospects to boot).