Having a problem with the results that you are generating from trade or consumer shows? If so, the problem is very likely to be caused by a glitch in your Event Marketing Line.
Maybe the volume of leads being generated is falling or the ratio of leads that turn into orders is slipping. Perhaps you and your colleagues are questioning the value of exhibitions trade or otherwise to your business.
Before you pull any plugs check to see how your event marketing line is actually working.
What is the event marketing line?
The event marketing line is all of the things that an exhibiting business does consciously or not to develop sales leads and orders in relation to event participation.
It works in a similar way to the sales funnel that has been created for your business. That’s the place where leads short and long-term and ultimately orders, come into a company. Trade shows and the leads they generate are a part of that funnel.
When events “aren’t working,” when they are not producing leads and sales conversions post-event, it’s a signal that one or more parts of your event marketing line needs to be fixed.
Events: The sum of many parts pulled together
There are many varied things that you need to do in order to prepare for a successful event. Here’s just a few;
- Setting challenging but measurable objectives
- Getting the best stand position and best floor shape for your exhibits and your business
- Organising an eye-catching design for your stand
- Finding an on-stand attraction that will pull visitors onto your stand
- Acquiring and training a sales-focused stand team
- Undertaking pre-show marketing with clients, prospects and the market you serve
The list above should of course continue, there are lots of other things to be done. The point I want to highlight is that you need to separate operational tasks from marketing ones. More on this below.
The event process is a lot like an assembly line
Another way to look at all of the tasks related to shows is to think about them as being part of a process line. An easy way to visualise this is to think of a car assembly line.
From one tiny part, a whole car is assembled and then taken off the line for onward distribution.
Exhibition participation can be seen in a similar way. From a pencilled-in space on a floorplan comes a whole chunk of event-related organising activity. For stands, people to work them and products to display on them.
But just like a car assembly line, glitches can occur.
As with the car plant analogy, the line stops because it starts to produce sub-standard components. Engineers are then called in to fix the line and to get things working and back to normal as quickly as possible.
When exhibiting results are sub-standard you need to spend more time in your event marketing line
When you are the stand manager for your business, it can happen that you spend more time on operational tasks than you do on marketing-related ones.
It’s understandable because operational things like stand design and build, graphic design and production, digital screen placement and content, all take time and they all relatively speaking, have big sums of money attached to them.
So it’s not surprising given your busy day job that more of your focus and time goes to these things.
But it’s in the event marketing area where your real glitches reside
Spending more time on operational issues versus marketing ones is what causes most event “success” problems. It’s here where your the causes of poor results are likely to be found.
Operational issues are relatively easy to fix. Yes, a poor stand position or exhibits being lost may cause damage at one event but successive shows with poor results are likely to be underperforming for lack of marketing attention. To get things fixed you need to do some deeper thinking. In short, you need to do some engineering.
Marketing engineering for events
Engineering means that you are actively developing and re-shaping things that produce results. This is why measuring results and testing different approaches is so important.
Things to look at for performance improvement include:
- Pre-show email marketing
- The quality of the lists that you email
- The relevance of your product
- Social media results before, during and after an event
- The effectiveness of lead magnets, videos or other forms of content released in the run-up to an event
- Open rates for landing pages promoting your event participation
- The effectiveness of show offers, incentives, competitions and stand attractions
- Feedback from seminars and their attendance numbers
- The speed of your post-show follow-ups. How long has it taken for all follow-up actions to be completed?
An important point to note is that in manufacturing, engineers don’t make changes to all at once. That would lead to even more confusion about whether or not events are working for your business. Work through your event marketing line one key element at a time. Once you know a part of your process is working as it should be, move onto the next big item and so on down the line.
Ultimately this is about cutting chunks out of the sales process line
Forward-moving engineering in the world of manufacturing is constantly looking at ways to make a product work more efficiently and more cost-effectively.
The number of working parts reduces in each new updated version of a product. Or units become lighter, smaller and cheaper to make and buy all without damaging and oftentimes enhancing the quality of the original design.
That’s what event marketing engineering does in its ultimate form. By seeking ways to remove the steps needed to make a sale, it moves prospective clients along your process line faster and more easily and without damaging your reputation or your margins.
For more on how trade shows cut out huge chunks of sales time, read this article.
And if you feel that your show results could be better, start spending more time on the marketing side of your event preparation. That’s where you will find and resolve your sales-related event problems.