Exhibiting at a trade show is a costly expense for any business and can often be one of the most expensive marketing decisions you will make. Unlike many modern marketing techniques, the number crunching isn’t always clear and there is no guarantee that the organisers promise of high volumes of footfall will lead to a successful show.
As deciding where to exhibit and how to present your business can be a stressful experience, our case studies aim to help you get real advice from the businesses who have been there, done that, and handed out the goody bags.
In this case, we spoke to Digital Impact who took the decision to exhibit at the B2B trade show, New Start Scotland.
Why did you choose this show?
After hearing about it at a networking event, we decided to exhibit at New Start Scotland Exhibition. There were two main reasons for this.
First, it was geographically targeted. Although we can work with businesses across the world, Scotland is our bread and butter. Having thousands of Scottish business owners in one place was something we couldn’t pass up.
Second, it was an event geared towards startups. During our research, we found that most new businesses rank digital marketing in general, and websites specifically, as a high priority in their business plan. Getting in front of businesses at this early stage was a brilliant opportunity for us.
How did you make your show a success? ie what did you do differently from others?
We didn’t want to look like an Apprentice candidate, chasing someone down the aisle pushing for the hard sell. Instead, we wanted to nurture genuine relationships with attendees.
Our core idea was to offer attendees a free, no-obligation 10-minute consultation on their digital plans. We took bookings for the four weeks running up to the show and had somewhere between 10 and 20 booked in over the two days.
During those consultations, we had a look at their existing setup, and what they wanted to achieve and created a really basic plan for what they needed to do to get there.
That plan was theirs to take away and they didn’t need to use our services to implement it. They could take their plan to our competitors or try and do it all in-house.
People responded very positively to that sort of genuine help and we generated way more leads than if we’d just gone in with a super hard sell.
What advice would you give to businesses looking to begin exhibiting?
Don’t go into it with a spreadsheet mentality and don’t look at everyone as walking pound signs. Be genuine, be passionate and try and actually help people. You’ll be amazed at the response you get.
It’s clear from talking with Digital Impact that their success at New Start Scotland was due to the targeted approach they took in making their decision to exhibit. They have raised some key points in this case study that many businesses should consider before heavily investing in a trade show. This includes;
- Researching your audience – Digital Impact knew who their ideal customer was and whether they would be present at this exhibition. By educating yourself on where your customers are, you will have a far better chance of getting your return from the financial outlay required.
- Consulting other businesses – Before jumping in Digital Impact took the time to ask other businesses about which trade shows had been successful. This way they were able to fully understand what to expect from the show and how they should prepare. There is nothing worse than being ill-informed about a financial decision. Especially where your marketing is concerned. If you don’t research carefully it can not only cost you financially but also damage your business reputation.
- Being authentic – Rather than taking a heavy sales pitch approach, Digital Impact was simply helpful to others without demanding anything in return. Not only does this show their business in a positive light, but gives prospective clients a clear demonstration of what Digital Impact would be like to work with. And let’s face it, we all want to work with positive and helpful people.
Before you sign on the dotted line for your next trade show event, take the insight from this case study and take your time to do your research. The only way you can improve your marketing efforts is by learning from others.