Trade Shows Don't End When The Show Floor Closes, Expert Suggests
A trade show is more than just the hours that the exhibit hall is open. In fact, says Paul Holland of North Caldwell, NJ-based Corum Marketing, that is the smallest component of the ongoing marketing process. After all, there are many different reasons for attending a trade show, both as an exhibitor and as an attendee.
According to Holland, two of the reasons most often given by exhibitors for participating in a show are to meet with their existing clients and to solicit new leads for potential business. Holland notes that, once the event is in your rearview mirror, you need to take time to assess your position and be sure you achieved your goals.
Canvas your contact list from the show and make a note of those existing clients you did not see. What better opportunity to follow up, re-establish and strengthen ties?
By the time you get back, all of your fulfillment should have already been sent out. The optimum time frame, Holland notes, is for it to arrive three to five days after the show closes. This is because a lead loses approximately 50% of its efficacy after seven calendar days. That's not surprising, Holland says, considering the pace of life: after a week, it's hard to remember even attending the event, never mind visiting a particular exhibit.
You want to wait three to five days to give them time to reduce their backlog and return to a semblance of sanity. Think about what your desk, message boxes and in-box looked like when you got back to the office. Waiting until the fog clears will only enhance the message that is received.
Make sure the envelope that announces your follow-up is specifically labeled, such as "Thank you for stopping by the show. Here is the information you requested." Holland states that when you identify your content on the envelope, in the fax header or in the subject line of an e-mail, you increase the probability that your message gets opened.
Following these tips after a trade show will help you to meet the goals and objectives you set when you first decided to go to the show.
This story originally appeared in the Spring 2002 issue of NKBA ProFiles Magazine and is reprinted with permission from the National Kitchen & Bath Association.