Already stressed out about KBIS?

Here are a few thoughts on getting the most out of the show that never ends.

KBIS is five months away, and already every social media feed is flooded with #KBIS2018. What is a weary marketer to do in the current state of “always on” marketing?

There isn’t much you can do to slow down the pace, short of a career change. So here’s a list of tangible tactics that will help you leverage your efforts.

I’ve had the benefit of seeing these shows as an attendee and I attempt to view the experience from their perspective—though I do have to flip my badge around so they can’t tell I’m in marketing. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.

As exciting as it is to have a booth that’s packed with traffic, I think it’s far more important to focus on your key customers and prospects. Since you’re no novice at this, I’m sure you’re having some sort of VIP reception or event. And you know that every exhibitor is trying to elbow their way on to your high-value customer’s itinerary. Here are some specific tactics to get people to your event, and make sure it connects with your brand’s objectives.

  • Send them something tangible. A printed invitation with an access pass to an event can get more attention than an email. There is a growing body of research that ol-fashioned mailers get a better response. Keep in mind that your target is in a design business full of colors, textures, and finishes. That should influence what you send them. A 5 x 7 postcard on glossy paper will not do the trick. You’ll need to follow up with all the electronic messages and reminders, but all the messages need to point to the topic of your event.
  • Keep the event relevant. Avoid the urge to take them on an excursion to swim with dolphins unless you’re introducing a new line undersea themed plumbing fixtures you need to think of something else.
  • Show them something special. One of the most compelling reasons customers have for attending your event is it will give them a chance to see something exclusive. A preview of a new product, or a prototype of products still being planning. Ask for their opinion and input.
  • Give them access to experts. If you have nothing new and exclusive don’t panic. You have product designers, or technical experts they are eager to hear from. Don’t underestimate the value of allowing your customers to have an informal conversation with your experts. True, some experts can lack the temperament for these types of events so who you tap for the event needs to be selected carefully. Though I think your VIPs should be your focus, I would like to address your section on the trade show floor. The booth is of course the center of activity, and I understand that your real estate may well be limited. There is still one observation I feel compelled to pass along.

Leave some room to breathe. One of the biggest mistakes I see at every trade show is the overcrowding of the space. I get it, you just dropped a ton of jack on a decent sized booth and you want to get the most out of it. This may force you to make some difficult choices as to what gets displayed and what doesn’t.

With your VIPs well taken care of, you can relax and enjoy the event. Kidding of course. You’ll still have the caffeine-fueled marathon you’ve come to know and love. But you can have more confidence in the investment you’re making.

Do you need help creating your event mailer or any other materials for the trade show? We’d love to help. Our past work includes an event invitation that had a 30% attendance rate, far exceeding expectations as well as any direct response benchmark. Click here to see.