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How To Avoid the Wrong Trade Shows

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Due diligence plays a pivotal role in ensuring success in virtually every aspect of your life. Most people like making good, well-informed decisions. So why should trade shows be any different? You don’t buy something because everyone else is doing it, we don’t jump off bridges to follow suit, but then why attend a show just because everyone is going? What if it’s the wrong trade show for you? 

We want to share our experiences, cautionary tales, and expert advice, to shed light on the importance of scrutinizing event promises and strategically investing your budget. Nobody wants your high-value relationship more than us. But, we also don’t want you to drop 100k on a pricey show that’s not going to give you ROI, and we wouldn’t be a good partner if we let that happen.

Whether you’re an event marketer, coordinator, or manager, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools to make informed decisions that unlock the true value of your event participation. From avoiding common pitfalls to evaluating event opportunities, let’s explore the due diligence in event marketing and avoiding the wrong trade show and event.

Evaluating Event Opportunities: Don’t Get Caught in the Hype

Event organizers are skilled at selling the vision and potential of their shows. They can cite numbers and projections and past successes and experiences, but you have to be able to discern how that will translate to success for you and your company specifically. 

To do this, you need to look beyond the hype and examine the numbers and facts that truly drive value. You can evaluate whether an event aligns with your objectives and target audience by conducting due diligence. Consider factors like the venue, attendee quality, booth location, and presentation opportunities. Don’t get caught up in promises; instead, have conversations, analyze perspectives, and thoroughly examine the fine print before making a decision.

A great way to accomplish this is by doing a site visit before signing up for the show (time permitting). If you spend $2k on flights and hotels for a one-day excursion to scope out the potential site, and you find out it’s not the right fit, well good news: that 100K budget you were going to invest here, could be better spent elsewhere. Find that elsewhere by researching well. 

Listen to this Cautionary Tale of an Event in Chicago 

The Wrong Show: Avoiding The Biggest Mistake In Event Marketing

TLDR; A cautionary tale from an event in Chicago highlights the importance of due diligence. The event appeared promising on the surface, but a site visit revealed that it was held in a hotel lobby, with booths scattered throughout. Evaluating the exhibition space and understanding the flow of the event was essential to avoid wasting resources on the wrong trade show. By focusing on due diligence, you can ensure that your investments are worthwhile and aligned with your goals. Don’t rely solely on recommendations; attend the event, evaluate the competition, and gather insights to make informed decisions for future participation.

Balancing Execution Tasks with Strategic Event Selection

As event professionals, it’s easy to get fixated on execution and lose sight of the strategic aspect of event selection. Due diligence requires careful evaluation of sponsorship opportunities, objective alignment, and market relevance. But what is the cost of this? TIME. Sometimes we have it, sometimes we don’t, but do your best to build time for your due diligence before having to make decisions. Avoid jumping into events solely based on trends or external pressure. Take the time to assess whether the event truly serves your objectives. By starting small, attending events, and gathering firsthand insights, you can make more informed decisions about investing your budget wisely. This approach allows for incremental growth and ensures that your resources are allocated strategically.

We call this feel your way into events. Like walking into a pool, you take one step at a time, adjusting to the temperature of the water. You want to get a feel for your surroundings before you’re out of your depth trying to keep afloat. Out of your depth in events looks like dropping your entire quarterly budget on one show that promised success and ended up as a (belly) flop, hurting your pride and especially leaving you–and your reporting–with a red mark. 

The Importance of Due Diligence

In event marketing, due diligence is a crucial step in making informed decisions. By conducting thorough research, evaluating event promises, and assessing the expected value and return on investment, event professionals can avoid common pitfalls and maximize the impact of their participation. Balancing actionable language with data-driven insights, this guide emphasizes the importance of a step-by-step approach to event selection. By applying these principles, you can unlock the true value of your event participation and set yourself up for success in the dynamic world of event marketing.

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