Trade Show strategy

Your 2019 PR Plan: Trade Show Success Strategies

New year, new you, new marketing and PR plan, right? No doubt, most marketers are well into 2019 planning, setting goals and plotting activities that will drive business gains in the next year. As part of this, you may have some critical milestones coming up that are a big deal for your company. Making the most of these milestones is important; at CG Life we are frequently asked how to make the biggest splash for a key announcement.

Tried and True Trade Show Success Strategies

One option to announce a new product launch, recent funding round or major partnership and make a splash is to time your news with a major trade show. Sharing news at conferences drives brand equity. By using the following trade show success strategies, you can provide opportunities for your sales team to engage with your customers. Announcing news can also give media who are attending the event a reason to pay attention to you, speak with your executives and learn about your products instead of walking past your booth.

However, we’ve seen over the years that media registration lists for trade shows are slowly shrinking, with many reporters either covering the meeting remotely or skipping it altogether. As increasing numbers of companies release their news instantly online, reporters feel less inclined to attend events in-person. That said, media do continue to attend the tried and true conferences like AACR, BIO, JPM, etc., but in turn that means companies are vying for media attention in a crowded environment. In fact, we often find ourselves counseling clients against making big announcements at JPM (unless it is truly market moving) for fear of getting lost in the shuffle. It can sometimes feel like a gamble because you never know if someone else will have bigger, more earth-shattering news than you (like recent news from The Second International Summit on Human Genome Editing where a Chinese researcher presented a claim of editing the genes of human embryos).

Considerations Before Making Conference Announcements

When thinking through whether it’s the right time to make a conference announcement, consider a few things:

  • What are your key goals for the announcement? – Is it more important to generate leads, make sales or drive general awareness?
  • What is the potential impact of your news? – Is this a “first” opportunity for your company, the market, the world? What effect do you hope it will have on the industry?
  • What is the media opportunity at the meeting? – Are your spokespeople attending? Are they media-trained and do they have time to do interviews? What does the media registration list look like? How much news typically comes out of the meeting?Pros and Cons of PR at Trade Shows

Pros And Cons Of Launching News At A Trade Show

With that information outlined, you then have to think through the pros and cons of setting up a trade show as your announcement launchpad. There is a lot of value in creating buzz and excitement before and during a show, but if it doesn’t move the needle for you or create an inflection point to start a conversation about your news across multiple media channels, maybe you would be better served considering alternative options such as a digital press conference.

Pros of announcing a major milestone at a trade show:

  • Captive audience of attendees who are on the lookout for what’s new.
  • Interested customers can interact live with your team, test out your products, get the inside scoop.
  • Building relationships with media who find value in interacting with executives in-person in a more casual environment to have a conversation vs. a formal interview.

Cons of announcing a major milestone at a trade show:

  • Lots of people making announcements means you risk getting lost in the noise and/or attendee fatigue with “yet another new thing.”
  • It’s not enough to just be present; follow up is absolutely critical to convert leads.
  • More and more media cover shows remotely, so there’s less value in being on-site to drive news coverage.

Not sure what the best trade show success strategy is for you? Contact us, we’re happy to work through your options.