Where Should I Spend My Marketing Dollars…Trade Shows or Online Marketing?

The answer may surprise you, especially coming from a strategic full service digital marketing agency.  How do companies bridge the gap between the real world and the virtual world?  How do they capitalize on the best of both worlds?

Lafayette IndianaToday’s buyers, whether B2B or B2C are more than 65% of the way through the buying process before they seek out a company or sales person to speak with.  They are definitely in control of their buying journey consuming lots of digital content, participating in social networks, attending conferences, events and trade shows.  How do you assure you stand out and gain mind share?

Let’s talk about trade shows…

They have become so very expensive, at a time when marketer’s need to show a strong return on investment (ROI).    It’s not only the fees for the trade show, the price of the booth, the collateral, travel, hotels, meals and most of all the cost of people’s time!  Then there is the sensory overload with the giveaways, bright lights, big signs, people dressed in funny clothes, crowds of people, noise, terrible food and sore feet.  Not sounding very appealing…is it worth the investment?

Yes…on the personal side, there is nothing that can replace human interaction!  People buy from people they know, like and trust.  Nothing can replace the immediate feedback from your audience. The firm handshake and the trust instilled from looking at someone eye to eye…it is all about the relationship.  Nothing can replace face-to-face to enhance relationships and personal customer engagement.

How does digital compare…

The virtual world is working 24/7 365 days a year, it never sleeps and gets millions of global eyeballs if you like non-stop!  Now, here are the best ways to digitally support your trade show.

Develop an editorial calendar that starts 6 month ahead of the show and incorporates all the pieces:

  • Create an optimized land page as part of your website with the trade show name.
  • Plan a series of email blasts and do whatever it takes to collect more emails before, during and after the show.
  • Blog and guest blog post on the trade show website.
  • Generate press releases announcing participation and what’s new that will be featured.
  • Join LinkedIn groups around the trade show or trade topics and participate contributing information.
  • Take photos on your phone tweet and post live updates of events at the show.
  •  Have fun!

Now you have the best of both worlds…

Focus on one or two key ideas that differentiate you from the crowd and leverage that messaging.  The power is in the combination of both the real and virtual world…integration and optimization at its best!  The richest value comes from creating multi-sensory marketing.   Let us know if we can help to digitally support your profitable trade show results!

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Author: Lisa Maier

Lisa Maier is the CEO of DirectiveGroup, and brings great passion and over a decade of experience in the online marketing space. Her background includes a undergraduate degrees in Economics and Sociology, a Wharton MBA degree in Information Strategies & Economics, top tier technology strategy consulting and several years helping small technology companies traverse the chasm from good products to nationally scaled businesses, particularly making use of online marketing and media programs.