I’m often asked: “How do you maximize the value of a tradeshow?” Wow. That’s a loaded question, because the success of a tradeshow experience means different things to different people. Are you an exhibitor or a delegate? Perhaps you’re a speaker or member of the media. Are you going for education and/or certification purposes? Are you going to look at new equipment? Or maybe you’re looking for a job.
As a veteran marketer (I’ve been doing this since the 90’s) I have seen many shifts in the industry, from not staffing a booth with sales people (their time is far too valuable to take them out of the field), to sending entire sales teams (they get valuable face-to-face time with customers and prospects). I’ve given away cars, provided a NASCAR experience, offered up shoe shines, and created memorable experiences, all as a way to drive traffic to the booth. After all, one of the primary mandates for a B2B marketer, particularly at a tradeshow, is lead generation.
So how do you define a tradeshow lead? Is it the number of scanned badges? The number of quality conversations?
More importantly, how are you interacting with these potential leads? What type of experience are you providing?
Tradeshows provide a unique opportunity to go beyond the non-personal lead gen activities that typically take place in front of a monitor (yes, even social media falls into this category…but that’s a topic for another day).
Here is where you get to shake hands and look the other person in the eye. It’s where you can have the one-to-one conversations critical for business success. Because as vendors, sometimes we get so wrapped up in the “official script” that we lose sight of the tremendous opportunity to learn what really matters “direct from the horse’s mouth”.
So how do you balance those in-depth conversations with the need for leads?
For Avanti, we know that many of the printers we speak to really struggle with the decision to buy a Print MIS. Because ROI for one print shop might look very different from another’s. As a result, a quick, five minute qualifying conversation can quickly become a 15 or 30 minute discussion.
A standard formula that many marketers use when projecting leads targets at tradeshows focuses on three metrics:
- Number of exhibit hours – as set out by the show organizers (fixed)
- Number of exhibit staff – determined by you (fixed)
- Number of Interactions/hour – determined by the length of each conversation (variable)
Number of Exhibit Hours (fixed) x Number of Exhibit Staff (fixed) x Interactions Per Hour (variable) = Total Lead Goal
For example, if you and two other staff members are in a 10 x 10 booth at Print 17 and expect each conversation to last about 15 minutes (4/hour), then the formula would look like this:
31 exhibit hours x 3 exhibit staffers x 4 leads collected per hour = 372 leads to collect.
That’s 124 leads per staffer based on 15 minutes of conversation per lead. That’s presuming a steady flow of traffic to your booth throughout the entire duration that the show floor is open. And it’s presuming you have the staff to engage in these conversations.
At Avanti, we provide our booth visitors a variety of opportunities to engage and learn about our Print MIS software. We run 30 – 45 minute product demos in our theatre; folks can take a load off, have a peek under the Avanti Slingshot hood, and ask questions. Need a more in-depth, tailored conversation? Our lounge area, complete with a comfy couch, is where that happens. We have demo pods set up around the booth, manned by the folks who can answer all your technical questions. We also have Print MIS business specialists who can have the conversations about what ROI from a Print MIS would look like for YOUR shop. And, of course, we have swag and plenty of collateral for you to gather and read at your leisure. (Just let us scan your badge please!)
Will a 15 minute conversation satisfy the needs of your booth visitor? Are you prepared to sacrifice badge scans for more in-depth conversations? What impression are you leaving with that visitor…and potential customer? And what about the folks at your booth who may be overlooked while you have those conversations with a “hot lead”?
Whether you’re a delegate or a vendor, Print17 is a chance to share and learn about the challenges our industry is facing today and the opportunities for business growth.
How will YOU maximize the Print17 experience?
Shameless plug: Do you want to know if there’s an ROI with Print MIS for YOUR shop? Visit Avanti in booth 635 for answers. #AskAvanti | www.avantisystems.com