Why pre-show marketing is critical to your success at a tradeshow

Posted 13th October 2016 by Melissa Magestro

This blog is directed primarily to ICE USA exhibitors; however even if you don’t exhibit at ICE chances are good that you participate in your company’s booth at another tradeshow.  If so, you may find some value from this.  I’ll fully admit this may come off like a bit of a rant, but it is something that I’m a little passionate about it.  Anyway, here goes.

Marketing your participation in a tradeshow before the actual event is almost 100% linked to your overall success at the show, no matter what your exhibiting objective is.  It is more important than the color of the carpet in your booth, more important than what your booth staff wears, more important than what hotel you all stay in.  Yet, so often I hear exhibitors say “I don’t have time to do any pre-show promotion” or “I don’t have the staffing resources to devote to that.”

Fair enough.  I have a small staff here as well and I fully understand and appreciate the need to prioritize resources.  However, if I’m going to invest several thousand dollars into an event, you better believe I’m going to get the most out of it.  And the reality is, pre-show marketing is not as time consuming as you may think. 

Step one – your entire organization needs to be on the same page as to what you want to get out of the tradeshow.  Are you going to build your database and collect leads?  Do you want to build your brand as an industry leader?  Do you have a new product to show off?  There may be more than one, but figure out what they are because that will determine your tradeshow strategy.

So now you have a clear set of objectives.  Build your pre-show strategy around them and start generating a buzz leading up to the show.  Here are some ways you can do that with ICE USA, all guaranteed to take less than 15 minutes of your time:
• Use social media to preview what you will show in your booth
• Follow ICE USA on Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook and use #ICEUSAEXPO --- we will share your message with all our followers
• Update your company listing and product categories on the Online Agenda Planner
• Upgrade your listing to add even more information – press releases, video, photos
• Download the free digital marketing tools on the ICE USA website to add to your company page or your email communication
• Use the free invitation platform (coming soon) to invite your customers to the show with free registration

Those are just a few ideas and almost all of them are free.  Of course we have other marketing opportunities available that we can customize to fit your objectives, just give us a call and the show management team will be happy to provide a consultation.  But selling you a sponsorship is not the purpose of this blog.  What I really want to get across is pre-show marketing is essential to your company having a successful experience at ICE USA, and the ICE show management team is here to be your resource in making this happen.  If you go to our website http://www.ice-x-usa.com and look at our Exhibitor Success Strategy, you will see we are running a free half day program on November 3 in the Chicago O’Hare area designed to help you plan and execute a great trade show booth strategy.  I encourage you to attend – the info you get will help not only with ICE but all the other events you work on.  And I guarantee you will think about pre-show marketing in a new way.

Statistically, about 76% of attendees will come to a tradeshow with an agenda already planned, with the average attendee visiting 25-31 companies over a 2-3 day show.  ICE USA has close to 250 companies exhibiting.  So start planning your strategy now to be on that attendee’s agenda, and let us here at ICE show management partner with you to achieve all of your exhibiting objectives.    

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