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Kera Wright’s playbook to trade show success

Kera Wright outlines key strategies for maximizing trade show impact, focusing on thoughtful planning, engagement, and follow-up to drive brand success.

Kera Wright outlines key strategies for maximizing trade show impact, focusing on thoughtful planning, engagement, and follow-up to drive brand success.
Trade Show

As someone who's navigated the complexities of trade shows across various industries, I've learned that success doesn't come from the flashiest booth or the biggest budget. It's about strategic planning, meaningful engagement, and meticulous follow-up. Here’s my distilled guide for fellow event marketers who are ready to cut through the noise and make their next trade show a strategic win for their brand.

Strategic selection & goal setting

The foundation of any successful trade show strategy begins long before the event itself. It starts with a clear understanding of why you're attending. Are you looking to generate leads, increase brand awareness, or establish thought leadership? This clarity will guide your decisions on which trade shows to invest in and how to measure your success. I always recommend digging into past event feedback and analyzing the attendee demographics to ensure a good fit for your objectives.

Pre-event sales collaboration

Your sales team is crucial to your trade show success. That's why I advocate for a close collaboration with them well before the event. I recommend scheduling a regular cadence of meetings with your sales team ahead of the event to discuss everything from our lead capture strategy to our follow-up plan. 

I also like to keep all information about the event in a singular "source of truth" document. Making sure your team knows where to find information and has an outlet for discussing and working toward goals ensures that everyone is aligned and maximizes our potential for success at the trade show.

Booth design & swag strategy

In my experience, the most effective booths are those that focus on engaging the audience in a meaningful way. This doesn’t necessarily mean having the most extravagant giveaways or an overly elaborate design. Instead, it's about choosing swag that resonates with your target audience and designing a booth that facilitates interaction and showcases your brand's story. Sometimes, the most straightforward approach can be the most memorable.

Executive engagement

Having your executives on the trade show floor can be a game-changer, but it's all about using their time wisely. I’ve found that their presence is most impactful in specific scenarios, such as speaking opportunities, high-level networking events or targeted meetings. It’s about strategically leveraging their authority and influence to enhance your brand's presence and forge meaningful connections.

Post-event follow-up & success measurement

The work doesn’t end when the trade show does. Immediate and personalized follow-up with the leads you’ve gathered is just the start. Equally important is taking a step back to evaluate the event's success against your initial goals. I like to combine both qualitative feedback and quantitative data to get a full picture of our performance. Holding a post-mortem meeting with the sales team and other stakeholders is also a key part of my process, allowing us to refine our approach for future events.

Reflecting on these strategies, it's clear that the true value of trade shows lies not just in the leads we capture or the deals we close, but in the deeper understanding we gain about our market, our audience, and ourselves. Each event is a learning opportunity, a chance to refine our approach and better connect with those we aim to serve. It's this continuous cycle of learning, adapting, and engaging that drives real, lasting success in the trade show arena and beyond.

Follow me on LinkedIn for more trade show and event marketing tips. And if you need some extra help to make your events a success, you can learn more about Planner Pal at plannerpal.io (coming soon).

Written by Kera Wright, Founder, Planner Pal

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Kera Wright’s playbook to trade show success

Trade Show

As someone who's navigated the complexities of trade shows across various industries, I've learned that success doesn't come from the flashiest booth or the biggest budget. It's about strategic planning, meaningful engagement, and meticulous follow-up. Here’s my distilled guide for fellow event marketers who are ready to cut through the noise and make their next trade show a strategic win for their brand.

Strategic selection & goal setting

The foundation of any successful trade show strategy begins long before the event itself. It starts with a clear understanding of why you're attending. Are you looking to generate leads, increase brand awareness, or establish thought leadership? This clarity will guide your decisions on which trade shows to invest in and how to measure your success. I always recommend digging into past event feedback and analyzing the attendee demographics to ensure a good fit for your objectives.

Pre-event sales collaboration

Your sales team is crucial to your trade show success. That's why I advocate for a close collaboration with them well before the event. I recommend scheduling a regular cadence of meetings with your sales team ahead of the event to discuss everything from our lead capture strategy to our follow-up plan. 

I also like to keep all information about the event in a singular "source of truth" document. Making sure your team knows where to find information and has an outlet for discussing and working toward goals ensures that everyone is aligned and maximizes our potential for success at the trade show.

Booth design & swag strategy

In my experience, the most effective booths are those that focus on engaging the audience in a meaningful way. This doesn’t necessarily mean having the most extravagant giveaways or an overly elaborate design. Instead, it's about choosing swag that resonates with your target audience and designing a booth that facilitates interaction and showcases your brand's story. Sometimes, the most straightforward approach can be the most memorable.

Executive engagement

Having your executives on the trade show floor can be a game-changer, but it's all about using their time wisely. I’ve found that their presence is most impactful in specific scenarios, such as speaking opportunities, high-level networking events or targeted meetings. It’s about strategically leveraging their authority and influence to enhance your brand's presence and forge meaningful connections.

Post-event follow-up & success measurement

The work doesn’t end when the trade show does. Immediate and personalized follow-up with the leads you’ve gathered is just the start. Equally important is taking a step back to evaluate the event's success against your initial goals. I like to combine both qualitative feedback and quantitative data to get a full picture of our performance. Holding a post-mortem meeting with the sales team and other stakeholders is also a key part of my process, allowing us to refine our approach for future events.

Reflecting on these strategies, it's clear that the true value of trade shows lies not just in the leads we capture or the deals we close, but in the deeper understanding we gain about our market, our audience, and ourselves. Each event is a learning opportunity, a chance to refine our approach and better connect with those we aim to serve. It's this continuous cycle of learning, adapting, and engaging that drives real, lasting success in the trade show arena and beyond.

Follow me on LinkedIn for more trade show and event marketing tips. And if you need some extra help to make your events a success, you can learn more about Planner Pal at plannerpal.io (coming soon).

Written by Kera Wright, Founder, Planner Pal

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