Live Event Engagement

  • Oct 12, 2020

 

Making the Most of Events in 2020 and Beyond

In person tradeshows and events are returning. This is great news and I wanted to help you prepare for the new way of doing business.

There will be changes to what we’ve done in the past. This will impact our planning, onsite activities and require new policies requested by the event sponsor. Changes from event to event can also be expected due to the venue, event layout and local requirements.

Some adjustments that have been recommended for the 2021 SHOT show include:   

·         Everyone must wear a mask.

·         Minimizing the number of products and touch points in booths.

·         Creating a buffer around the booth to safeguard staff.

·         Encourage more passive interactions with staff.

·         Do away with giveaways, catalogs and eliminate pinch points.

·         Adjusting the flow of the booth to be a guided or a self-guided tour.

·         Provide hand sanitizer stations throughout the booth.

·         Reducing the amount of staff being brought to the show.

·         Hold meetings outside the booth to maximize the amount of people in the booth.

·         Clean and wipe down touch points on a regular basis.

Some of these seem to inhibit the activity of building business as they limit your ability to engage with visitors or provide information. Striving to keep the balance between safety and doing business will require us to rethink how we approach in-person events moving forward.


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On the surface, this may seem like an impossible task and you may feel “it is what it is” and plan to “do-as-you-always-have” while following the safety recommendations and figure it out as you go. This would be a huge mistake! 

We must focus on the purpose of the event, to grow business, and rethink how we can strategically make “better” and “stronger” connections with these new practices.

Moving forward, the emphasis of events will be to strengthen the relationship and move individuals along your buying process. You may already be doing this, now it will be much more focused and strategic.

On the surface, this may seem like an impossible task and you may feel “it is what it is” and plan to “do-as-you-always-have” while following the safety recommendations and figure it out as you go. This would be a huge mistake!

We must focus on the purpose of the event, to grow business, and rethink how we can strategically make “better” and “stronger” connections with these new practices.

Moving forward, the emphasis of events will be to strengthen the relationship and move individuals along your buying process. You may already be doing this, now it will be much more focused and strategic.

The first step is to understand where a contact is in your buying process. If you don’t have a specific process outlined, I recommend using these key stages:

1)      Oblivious – The individual has no knowledge of who you are or what you offer.

2)      Awareness – The individual is aware of your business and/or what you offer.

3)      Interest – The individual thinks your offering is relevant to what they want.

4)      Desire – The individual feels your offering is important to fulfilling their need.

5)      Action – The individual is ready to get your offering.

Understanding where your contact is in the buying process allows you to focus your actions on moving them to the next level. This also gives you a strategy of what to do when the individual visits your booth.

As contact time will be limited in this new format, it will be more challenging to move the average contact more than one step in the buying process during a booth visit. This is where having a predefined strategy becomes your advantage.

We are being asked to develop new ways in conducting business that include limiting time with individuals, limiting handouts such as catalogs, brochures, promotional items, and limiting the number of people in our booth. All these change how you engage your market. By identifying where an individual is in your buying process, you can easily capture that information and follow up with the appropriate materials and promotional items –post-show.

Post-show follow up has always been good practice. In reality, most of us talk much better follow up then is actually done. In today’s marketplace, this is something that needs to be planned as part of the event activities!  

Here is how you do it:

1)      Setup and schedule, before the event, your post show follow up and who will be accountable.

2)      Establish your buying process and what information/action is needed by the contact to move to the next step.

3)      Train event staff to recognize the buying process and how to identify where a contact is at.

4)      Train event staff on your process of moving a contact to the next step in the buying process.

5)      Establish a process for event staff to record the contact’s information and record where they’re at in the buying process.

6)      If you can provide handouts or a promotional product, provide it at this time.

7)      Following the event, the individual accountable for the follow up compiles the information and groups each contact into their buying level.

8)      The predetermined information for that buying level is sent out to the contact. Predetermined information will include:

     a.  A brief letter thanking for visit. May include a photo of the booth as a reminder.

     b. The marketing collateral for where client is in the buying process.

     c.  A thank you branded item that is useful to the contact.

9)      A follow up is scheduled with sales person to confirm receipt and to personally engage contact and move to the next step in the buying process. You will now follow into your normal sales activities.

This will add some additional workload to your event process. However, with limited contact, increasing costs and the need to achieve better returns-on-investment from events this follow up process becomes the new way of doing business moving forward.

 


  • Category: Marketing
  • Tags: Live Eents, Promotinal Marketing, Tradeshow, Branding, Brand Engagement, Successful Events