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May 28, 2013

Anna Ruth Williams

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Partner

After you calculate travel, lodging, exhibitor fees, booth design and materials, a company can spend up to six figures on each trade show (source). Marketers and business development professionals know these events can provide enormous ROI if qualified leads pass through a company’s booth. But when an exhibit hall is the size of three football fields and 10,000 people are milling around collecting free swag, it can be hard to stand out.

 Alloy recently helped our client CellcontrolTM do just that at CTIA 2013TM in Las Vegas. The wireless industry’s largest trade show was full of emerging mobile technologies and vendors. Oh, and JLo and Ashten Kutcher even made star-studded appearances! While every trade show is different, there are a few tried-and-true PR practices that can help your company boost brand awareness, drive booth traffic and pick up media coverage. Here are my top four:

  1. Make news. Release a product, announce a feature update or unveil a new partnership in conjunction with the trade show to generate buzz and give attendees (and media!) a reason to stop by your booth. For example, Cellcontrol unveiled groundbreaking technology at the show (here’s the press release).

  2. Give reporters a shout out. If you’re an exhibitor, you’re usually entitled to the trade show media list. Ask the event organizers for the database and reach out to these reporters and analysts in advance of the show. Ask them if they’d like an interview with your company’s CEO or to stop by your booth. At CTIA, we had a steady stream of media stop by Cellcontrol’s booth to demo the company’s new technology – DriveID.

  3. Be a Twitter machine. Most trade shows (particularly those in the technology space) have a strong Twitter presence. Identify the conference hashtag (CTIA’s was #ctia13) and live tweet constantly throughout the event. Twitter contests and twitpics are a great way to get attendees excited about your exhibit and drive traffic.

  4. Get on stage. Contrary to popular belief, trade show attendees don’t just go to shows for the cheap giveaways and cocktail hours. They actually hope to augment their professional development. As a result, most expos feature speaking and award opportunities that highlight an industry’s best and brightest. Make sure you identify these application deadlines, and pitch your company. In fact, our client Palladium Energy is speaking at next month’s Battery Power 2013 (more).

What trade show are you headed to next? Tweet us!