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How To Exhibit Your Best

large trade show booth designed for Rally

As the new year rolls around, improvement is top of mind, and vision for your company’s future is clearer than ever. This means knowing how to exhibit your best and continuing onto that journey. Achieving this is a never ending plight, so if you’re feeling overwhelmed,  just remember to keep it simple. Sometimes we muck up the simplicity in our minds and it turns out overly complicated. Exhibiting is full of so many variables, so it’s understandable: you see your competitor doing X so why don’t you do it too? 

Fortunately, there isn’t just ONE way to be “the best”. Instead, we focus on being YOUR best.  Being your best means having confidence in yourself and your abilities. It’s about believing in the value you bring to the exhibit world. Each company has unique strengths and weaknesses, and being comfortable with that is key to achieving success. Let 2023 be the year you learn how to exhibit your best!

Focus On Your Customer

First things first: remember that your company’s best is dictated by the response it gets from your customers, they’re the true indication of a successful product. When exhibiting, you have to create an experience that will drive value for your customers. Value can look different for every group, but to understand it best, remember that value is the perception of how well a service or product meets an individual’s needs and expectations. It combines tangible elements, such as quality, convenience, cost, as well as intangible elements such as personalization and trustworthiness. These can be communicated by the experiences customers have at your exhibits. Can they immediately identify the value you would offer? Do they feel it or do you have to explain it to them?

Ultimately, value drives customers to purchase products or services from you instead of your competitors. So figure out what they value, and how your company communicates that best. It may be helpful to answer this question: Why is my customer here? And work backwards from that. 

Choose Your Tradeshows Wisely

Of course, another key to showing value to your customers is making sure you’re in the right place. When you exhibit at the right shows, you produce the best results. They key to this: RESEARCH. You can’t just go to any show and expect stellar results. First you need to research the audience and the other companies in attendance. Is the audience your target market? Are the companies your competitors? Both of these can be true for a show, and it still may not produce good results for you. Why? Maybe your competitors haven’t done their research. Focus on niche shows that will produce the best value for your customers. Once you’ve got some exhibits under your belt, analyze what shows performed well.

The only way to track this, is if you go into each show with key performance indicators. 

Develop an Intentional Strategy

Developing an intentional strategy for exhibiting starts with understanding your objectives and outlining how to make the most out of the event. What does success look like for your company at the show? Having clear, definable, and trackable marketing initiatives going into a show, will help you understand the effectiveness of the show once it’s over. What are you trying to achieve and communicate to your customer? How can you best make that happen? Of course, then you have to be able to observe the impact your strategy had and ensure what you want happened, and figure out if it didn’t happen and then figure you why. You can do this by the objectives you defined and by gathering feedback from attendees as well as determining your ROI. 

And yes, this isn’t a one and done process, in fact this is going to be a long-term change for your company. It’s what we refer to as the campaign experience.

Create a campaign type experience

When creating a “campaign” type experience for exhibiting at shows, focus on the long-term. Each show may not draw huge results; it can take time to develop a good understanding and rhythm for your events. This will help you find the optimal outcome and  maximize customer experience. In fact, it’s surprising that brands don’t  often utilize this strategy for trade shows given its effectiveness in other forms of marketing – but leveraging this approach can lead to great success on the tradeshow floor. Using analytics and insights post show can help develop and improve your campaign and gain more insight into how customers interact with your exhibit space, what resonates best with them, and which activities are generating the most interest. 

Not only does this give you direction, it provides you with benchmarks and methods to see and establish growth. All of which can set you apart from your competition.

Set Yourself Apart

Before attending a trade show, it’s important to evaluate the competition. Take note of what they are doing that you aren’t and how this might affect your positioning in the market. Figure out how to set yourself apart from them by offering a unique value proposition. Once you understand their strengths and weaknesses, you’ll be able to find areas where you can stand out and provide a greater benefit for your customers. Which brings us full circle. Focus on your customers.

You see the process isn’t just a one and done type of method. It should be a consistently iterative and cyclical process. Review it annually, quarterly, after every show, whatever makes sense for your company, but the point is to be constantly reassessing and tweaking until you really start driving results. 

You want to be seen as the best in your field. How do you get there? It starts with focus–keep your eye on what your customer needs and wants. Then, choose tradeshows that will help you reach those customers and develop a strategy for each one–an experience that sets you apart from the rest. And finally, commit to being consistent and tracking your progress at every opportunity. 

Maybe you find out tradeshows aren’t as necessary as you once thought. In that case, find a new avenue for the money that furthers your business and never look back. Regardless of the outcome, if you don’t do the work, if you don’t engage in the process, if you don’t measure results and analyze the data, you’ll never know. There’s no easy way to achieve and exhibit your best, but you can start today. Rockway is here to help you along the way.

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