Chances are, if you’ve been in the Market Research Industry for 5 years or more you have been to your share of industry events. Or perhaps you’re looking to convince your company that you could benefit by going to a particular event. Maybe you have even spoken once or regularly about your area of expertise. For me, that is usually technology and the future of MR. However, today I want to look at what worked in the past and appears to be making a comeback.
By the past I mean a time not so long ago, before our robust Internet age where you can learn about new products and services in your office by clicking the day away and not interacting with another soul. Despite this seeming like Utopia, there seems to be a trend back toward a technology that was all but left for dead (at least in our industry)…
I’m talking about the good old fashion trade show. Big – Flashy – All Those Promotions – Giveaways – New Products – Cool Tech – Deals – Dinners – Parties – New Partnerships.
People are always asking the same questions – How was your show? Was it a good show? Were you successful? Ah, Yes? Hmmm.. Maybe?
Here is the thing, we do these shows for one main objective: To build our brand.
You can break that down in to several specific activities, sure, but the point is this: if you’re just trying to do one thing, “get leads,” for example, you are missing out on a tremendous spectrum of value.
The following are 8 tactics to utilize in brand building at shows:
To facilitate new relationships:Networking! These shows encourage and enable one to meet new people and create lasting business relationships integral to the growth of a brand.
Nurture existing relationships:Keeping up with colleagues and friends in the industry is a great way to build a brand. It may be the only time you see someone all year. The shows are a great place to catch up, learn about your peers, and nourish your existing business relationships.
Build your supply chain:Certainly meet with vendors to discuss the health of the partnership and explore new areas around which your business can improve or expand. Also, a key opportunity to meet new partners that can help you create new products and service offerings and improve in areas where you may be less competitive.
Keep up with trends:Being able to understand how the thought leaders in your industry see the future and hearing about client successes using leading edge solutions is paramount in order to steer your business or your research program.
Give back to the industry:One of the reasons I get excited about an event is that it provides an opportunity to support the industry. So, support the trade shows themselves! Perhaps speak on a panel, give a presentation. Get out there and support the industry.
Geographic exposure: Sometimes, the greatest benefit of a show is its location. A great show, in a great location can mean new clients/partners in new area, or an opportunity to grow your brand in a region where you’ve had less exposure.
Marketing: This is a fairly obvious one, but an underrated benefit of a traditional trade show. Shows are a great place to show off your brand for hundreds or thousands of sets of eyes. People are able to see you create the images of and messages about your company that you want to showcase.
Learn about competition: While the previous tips are the real priority, more effective and important, it is of course on the mind of every savvy researcher to keep up with what others are doing.
Two of the best examples of pure trade shows are The Quirks Events in the United States and Research & Results in Munich, Germany. They have come on to the scene in that last few years and outpaced many of the traditional events that happen throughout the year in terms of attendance and attendee experience.