Like most things in the post-pandemic world, demand is outpacing supply when it comes to building industry trade shows. But attending an expo could be a vital step in developing your brand.
We’re all excited to get back to networking face-to-face now that the pandemic is largely behind us and, like most things, demand is likely to outpace supply when it comes to trade shows. With the new year just around the corner, it’s time for building professionals to get serious about creating a plan to utilize upcoming trade shows as a valuable brand development tool.
While there are dozens of opportunities to participate, it’s vital that you invest your time and money in trade show experiences that will propel your brand. This is especially important when considering the hybrid landscape we’re all navigating. In 2022, we’re experiencing an evolution of the traditional trade show into a fully-connected, hybrid experience combining the best aspects of face-to-face interactions and the more convenient “digital layer.”
Trade shows of the past provided face-to-face connections, memorable experiences, and co-created learning opportunities. And while this remains true, the increased digitization of modern trade shows means approaching them with a hybrid mentality is a must.
Embracing a hybrid mentality should start with how you’re marketing your company and sharing your contact information with peers at trade shows. Consider utilizing QR Codes to share your website link. Beyond being more efficient, QR Codes are less burdensome than physical brochures – and less likely to end up in the convention center trash can at the end of the day.
You’ll also want to take advantage of the educational components at the trade shows you’re attending, which are becoming increasingly digitized. Although major expos continue to provide exclusive access to new products and in-person seminars, many sessions are being shared via live stream or posted as on-demand experiences online. This might seem lazy or like you’re not getting your money’s worth. In reality, it’s the opposite.
Beyond allowing for more flexibility with scheduling, enabling attendees to log in to web-based sessions extends the value of trade shows beyond the in-person experience. How? In presenting opportunities for ongoing online discussion with the people you meet and the colleagues who may not have been able to attend.
Digitization also allows for more -- and more diverse -- panels at trade shows. Are you interested in being a panelist but unable to share your niche expertise in-person? Reach out to organizers to see if there might be an opportunity to join their online programming.
The final component of trade shows best utilized as a brand development tool is networking. While networking at trade shows previously served as an excuse to get out of the office and party with your industry buds, being intentional and connecting with professionals who have a tangible impact on your business could elevate your brand. Ahead of the event, reach out to industry peers and see who else will be attending which trade shows – and register accordingly. You might also want to send notes to colleagues ahead of time and solidify plans to connect in person.
And finally, to get the most value at your next trade show, you want your team to come prepared. Does everyone have the key talking points? Have you shared the goals for the trade show with them in advance? Establishing a clear plan will help clarify roles and expectations and set you up to receive the biggest bang for your buck.
After soaking in all you can at the trade show, it’s important to remember the work isn’t complete once you get back to the office. In fact, you need to keep the momentum by fostering the connections you made. This could look like sending a thank-you note to people who stopped by your booth, connecting with industry peers on LinkedIn, or sharing an interesting tidbit from the trade show with existing clients in your next email blast.
Trade shows are still an important tool to network, gather inspiration, and land great leads. But as priorities shift and evolve, you should concentrate on tactics that will increase your brand awareness. This will help justify your efforts and give the higher-ups a reason to keep sending you.
As a lead marketing agency in Tacoma, WA, Rusty George is prepared to determine which strategies and brand development tools will work best for your business. Contact us today to learn more about how we are helping builders get louder.
Photo credit: Envato
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