In the age of the internet, some trade shows are proving their worth. Canadian Concrete Expo (CCE) is one of those tradeshows. The show has tripled in size since its inaugural year in 2018.
“CCE has delivered a product to a market that has been underserved,” says Stuart Galloway, President, 20/20 Show Productions and organizer of CCE. “Our growth is a proxy on the confidence companies in the concrete construction industry are putting in our show to deliver marketing value. We are on track to again deliver more than 6,000 qualified attendees, have expanded our conference sessions and added more networking events.”
These six tips will help you get the most out of CCE 2020 this year.
1. Research who will be there
Look at the exhibitor list. Who on that list is a potential customer or supplier? Contact them in advance and let them know that you would like to meet at the show. Look up the show’s conference sessions to find out who is presenting. Can any of the presenters be an ally to your company?
2. Create a booth that is appealing
Booths that work well tend to have a lot of open space, especially at the entrance of the booth, so people can walk in and explore.
“Don’t jam pack your booth with signs,” says Galloway. “Most of it will never get read. People pass by a booth and decide in just a few seconds whether they will approach it or pass it by. Also, 3D is better than 2D. Bring in products or models of products as opposed to pictures of products. Consider using video instead of photography. Also, anything that is interactive brings in more people. Games bring people inside your booth and talking to staff, which can transition into a sales pitch.”
3. Train the people at your booth
First, make sure your booth staff have the right attitude. You don’t want to put people in your booth who don’t smile, who spend too much time on their phone and who don’t try to interact with people. Train booth staff to identify potential customers from tire kickers. Ask questions that will quickly establish why the visitor is at the show, their role at their company, and whether your products might be of assistance.
4. Give stuff away
People like free stuff. The challenge is to find something that will draw people to your booth, creates a pleasant experience, helps attendees consider your company after the show, is different from other exhibitors, and doesn’t cost a lot. Candy is cheap and popular, but also low-impact and not memorable. Branded items, such as pens, drink containers, tote bags, hats, and T-shirts provide greater value. Consider the wants of the attendee and try to fill it. A raffle will get more people engaged but offers less winners and you could end up giving an iPad to someone who has no use for your company.
People like to talk at trade shows. People ask people their opinion on topics related to industry, business and practices all the time. Talk to people. Until you talk to them, you don’t know if they could be important to your business. Get to know the people in your neighbouring booths even if they seem to have no value to your company. They could end up referring one of their customers. Attend networking events.
“To help facilitate networking, this year we have increased the number of networking events,” says Galloway. “Not only do we have an Opening Reception on the evening before the show—January 21st—we also have the Sunbelt Rentals Concrete Mixer on the first day of the show, as well as a breakfast on both days of the show. If you are going to sit down to eat, you may as well do it where you have the potential to meet people who can help your business.”
6. Digitizing your exhibition
Don’t forget to use social media. People often forget this during the real-world, person-to-person trade show experience, but you should create content about your exhibition while at the show. Prior to the show, announce your booth number and that you are looking forward to meeting people at the show. At the show, announce whichever of the following is applicable: new products, services, promotions, company news, contest winners, etc. Use photos and video. Get the attention of the show’s social media followers.
“Use the hashtag #CCE2020 and tag the show when posting to social media. We have a very active social media campaign during the show and a dedicated audience,” says Wendy Lefaive, Client Relations Manager and Social Media, CCE. “Marketing at the show isn’t confined to just renting booth space. CCE provides solutions that will connect your company with the desired professionals at the show and online.”