Creating a marketing plan for trade shows, exhibitions and events is necessary to ensure that you maximise the opportunity and generate an acceptable return on investment.

Trade shows, exhibitions and events are a great way for businesses operating in both the b2b or b2c environments, to communicate directly to existing and potential customers.

Attending these events can be a costly exercise. Not only the cost of the stand or area, but also the cost of producing display and general sales and marketing material should be considered. The time involved in planning the event, attending and following up on generated leads should also be a factor.

We use the Aida – or Aidas principle. It’s an old marketing cliche, but a good way to format a marketing plan for trade shows, exhibitions and events.

Attract the attention of the potential customer by creating strong eye catching visual impact.

Raise customer interest by focusing on and demonstrating the benefits of the product / service offering.

Convince the customer that the product / service will satisfy their needs and solve their problems.

Lead customers toward taking action, moving them to the next stage, then ultimately a decision on whether to purchase.

Ensure the customer is satisfied and encourage referrals or upgrades and repeat purchases in the future.

The most important thing (like other marketing activity) is to plan, be realistic, but to always ask the most important question – What am I hoping to achieve?