The Return of the Tradeshows
August 3, 2021
Category: Marketing Tips
Marketing Wars: Return of the Tradeshows
What to expect from the industry and on the tradeshow floor
The decline of COVID-19 cases, implementation of vaccines, and precautions put in place by companies and individuals have allowed us to begin the process of adjusting to our “new normal”.
With restrictions relaxing, annual tradeshows are beginning to ramp up for the return of their events. For those unfamiliar with the term, a tradeshow is an exhibition at which businesses of a particular industry gather to promote their products and services.
As a B2B industry professional, tradeshows can provide ample networking and lead generating opportunities if a strategy is executed correctly. It takes a lot more than setting up a booth or table to bring in leads.
With our new normal of maintaining social distancing, mask mandates, and so on – Tradeshows are going to be looking very different this year.
Like Star Wars: Return of The Jedi, a year has passed and our B2B marketing Jedi padawans are ready to familiarize themselves with the newest implementations and plans in preparation for upcoming tradeshows. (We promise there are no new death star plans…)
Here are some of the things you can expect to see at your next tradeshow:
Though COVID-19 is on a decline, it has not disappeared completely. 2021 tradeshow events will be significantly smaller, with an audience cap to maintain the safety of attendees.
Socially distant floorplans will be a standard and the venue will most likely keep a strict handle on how many businesses and attendees will occupy spaces. If your company is interested in participating in a tradeshow at the end of 2021, be sure to register as early as possible to secure a place.
CDC Best Practices
We are sure you are aware of the general CDC practices when in a public place. Attendees and companies will be required to wear face coverings and other forms of personal protective equipment (PPE). This may not be the case everywhere as some venues may follow protocols from their local and state government regarding the use of PPE.
There will more than likely be hand sanitizer available around every corner and markings on the floor to ensure social distancing between attendees.
A Virtual Tradeshow
While this may sound like something out of a sci-fi movie – There is a possibility some tradeshows will choose this option to save money, offer flexibility to attendees, and provide a safer alternative for those unwilling to travel just yet.
COVID-19 helped Zoom meetings become a part of the new business norm as many of us still utilize it daily to communicate with clients and team members. Some tradeshows that have opted in for virtual meetings will allow different companies to make time to promote their products or service – allowing all those in attendance to have the opportunity to have a virtual meet-and-greet with all companies that can help increase their business productivity.
Like a webinar, be sure to prepare a presentation about the goods and services you believe will be beneficial for the companies in attendance. Your time may be limited so be sure to practice your presentation skills.
— CustContactWeek (@CustContactWeek) June 29, 2021
Some companies may be against a fully virtual tradeshow as they believe it can take away from face-to-face interaction with leads. We do not blame you for considering this negative trope. BUT…
Many tradeshows and business professionals believe a hybrid-style tradeshow can prove to be beneficial. Roger Dow, CEO and President of the U.S. Travel Association, believes hybrid events will draw larger audiences than an in-person conference as it allows for brands to be introduced to attendees who would normally not engage with them.
This will allow marketing professionals ample time to create an integrated experience that can capture the attention of attendees. We all need time to flex our creative muscles – Hybrid tradeshows may just be the way to create innovative strategies to generate leads and network to a larger audience.
Scheduled Visits to Your Booth
For those still determined to fly in to various cities to promote their companies – there will be a new way of communicating with leads that required the help of your handy professional marketers.
Due to the adherence to CDC guidelines, you may not have the ability to call over attendees to inform them about your product/service without having them break social distancing protocols. You should think ahead of time and set up a system to have pre-scheduled meetings with attendees to provide them with all the information they may need.
For your next trade show, set up a targeted email outreach campaign and a social media campaign. Using these ads, target individuals and businesses that your company would want to bring to your booth. Take time to create calendar invites with a set time for those who clicked into your campaigns.
This not only will help you maintain a steady flow of foot traffic but help your sales personnel. You can set up the campaign to remove the unpredictability as to why these leads are interested in your value proposition and who these leads are. Implementing a campaign like this innovative Dream Factory strategy can create a steady pipeline of leads right to your booth.
While convention centers and rented halls are commonly used venues for trade shows – They can be rather restricting and difficult to maintain safe CDC-approved COVID-19 prevention practices. Some directors may opt for a venue that allows for a larger audience while maintaining social distancing.
Make sure you pack light clothes because some of your future trade shows may just be outdoors. Take that into consideration when reviewing upcoming conferences and events – especially in Las Vegas.
Before You Sign Up for Your Next Trade Show
Before you grab your designated tablecloth and trade show name tag – You should prepare yourself and your team with a designated strategy to enhance your lead generation opportunities in this new trade show environment.
Whether you are attending an in-person, virtual, or hybrid trade show, take time to up your marketing and sales strategy to find new and innovative ways to engage with potential leads in attendance.
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