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Big booths at the big national shows (year after year)

159 Comments · SEO

Are you still buying a booth at the big annual convention because “that’s what we’ve always done”?  Or perhaps because “The sales team loves it.”  Or maybe, “Our competitors are there, so we have to have a presence.”

All three are bad reasons to splurge on big trade shows.  It’s not just your budget, it’s the time and effort shows take from you.

Top marketers, including those from IBM, have revealed they are cutting back on massive shows.

Key decision makers don’t walk the floor in the ways they used to in the old days.  Now, if they attend, it’s to give a speech and fly out again.

Or for closed-door networking sessions.  Plus, it’s hard to have any impact on new prospects in a cluttered or overwhelming show floor.

The simple truth is the people your reps often wind up talking to the most at these big shows are your current clients.

Why not save the money and time and schedule client get-together — perhaps an invite-only party — at the hotel in conjunction with the big show instead of a booth?  You’ll spend $5,000 instead of $3,000 or more.

The good news is that you can still reach and form new relationships with highly qualified prospects at shows.  But, in a different way.

Take your big booth budget and test it for any of the following higher-impact tactics instead:

- A dedicated PR staffer to help your key execs and most enthusiastic clients land speaking gigs at shows.

- An intimate series of breakfasts in cities across the US featuring a guest star your prospects are yearning to meet (a best-selling author, their peers at competing companies, a research firm, etc.)

- Booths and multiple touch point sponsorship at niche vertical shows or strong regional shows.

You’ll have ¼ or less of the traffic and cost of the big national, but far more impact on the prospects you meet.

- Highly targeted virtual events — not mass webinars with 500 prospects but perhaps intimate niche webinars with 10 prospects.

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