Traversing the Trade Show – PR Agency Style

Trade shows and industry events can be long and boring, but PR, marketing and other communication professionals can make the most of their time, and their client’s money, by following these seven trade show marketing tips:

1) Media Relations:

  • Attend pre-arranged client media appointments
  • Visit booths of publications/websites (many trade magazines/websites are also represented at trade shows; often staffed by advertising and editorial staff): stop by, introduce yourself, drop press materials, leave your card/info if editorial staff is not there, chat up the advertising staff for inside info, upcoming opportunities
  • Pick up trade magazines for resources (if you don’t have subscriptions, these can be otherwise difficult to get)
  • Attend key show press conferences; this is where you’ll find the media
  • Identify what badge color the media has and look for them!
  • If you see a film crew, go and chat them up – let them know what is happening in your booth or what expertise you can provide

2) Media/Press Rooms: Make sure client media materials are well-placed; find out what media is attending (if you already have a list, find out who has checked in late); schmooze with staff manning the media room: post media advisories on bulletin boards or wall if possible; find out what opps might exist for clients, let them know what is going on in your booth, what topics your clients can provide input on, etc.

3) Your Client’s Booth: There is no better way to learn about your client’s products, services and customers than shadowing the sales staff at a trade show: listen to their sales pitch, learn common customer questions and concerns. If you’re up to speed and comfortable, PR staff often work the booth alongside internal staff.

4) Blog!, Tweet and Post: Take the chance to create interesting blog content on behalf of your client, or yourself. Interview industry experts, talk about the trends you’re witnessing; shoot a video of a presentation or party to post along with it. Find out the show’s hashtag and use it; follow what the media are talking about.

5) Competitive Research: Take this opportunity to learn about your client’s competition, what their key selling points are, etc. You can do this for you own education and on behalf of the client, many of whom are known to their competitors and couldn’t do this on their own.

6) General Industry Research: Find out what’s happening in the industry of the trade show: what’s hot, what’s new. You will be more valuable to the media that did not attend the trade show over the long run if you can tell them what you’ve seen and what is new (be an asset!).

7) Other:

  • If you’re in a new city, pick up the local paper or magazines: research opportunities for all relevant agency clients
  • Research new business opportunities at other vendor booths
  • Attend educational and networking sessions and learn about the industry