Oh, shit. Your biggest trade show is just around the corner, and you promised yourself you’d be more prepared this year. And like most small and medium-size businesses, you invest up to 25 percent of your marketing budget in trade shows. That’s a sizable chunk of change, and how you manage the expectations of that spend has consequences. So before you finish your “Oh, shit!” moment and decide to just recreate last year’s experience, consider your goals and craft a better strategy.
Launching a new product or service? Good for you. Your trade show strategy may have higher stakes, but if the goals are clear, the tasks are simpler. If you can’t create 15 minutes of fame with a brand-spanking-new line of business or sparkling rebrand, then you either suck at marketing or you’re releasing a crappy new product or service. What you accomplish in the “off” years truly marks the progress of your brand. Without a new product to promote, your focus will likely be centered around brand awareness, education, or building and strengthening relationships with your brand ambassadors.