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Challenges CMO’s Face: How to Drive Tradeshow ROI

Challenges CMO's Face: How to Drive Tradeshow ROI

As part of our “Challenges CMOs Face” series, we addressed 8 common challenges encountered by CMOs and marketing leaders, and included insight on how to overcome them. Our recommendation is to develop a long-term agile marketing roadmap to overcome common challenges. For our “Roadmapping – Next Steps” series, we have invited industry experts to provide their insights to help you take your marketing strategy to the next level. In this post, Yvette Brown of XPROMOS, talks about how to leverage tradeshow attendance to improve your ROI.

It’s your trade show season.  You’ve already invested heavily in your booth set-up, materials, travel and your staff.  What else can you do to maximize your investment? If your existing metrics show that your trade show ROI is underwhelming, it’s time to create an incentive to boost your results.

To reap the greatest rewards, your staff needs to spend their time engaging with qualified prospects.  Below are three strategies you can use to get the people you want to your booth.

  1. Top-Of-The-Funnel (TOFU) Engagement

Launch a sweepstakes… not just a generic one that any brand could do. Instead, create one that creatively connects the essence of your brand with a prize coveted by your target audience.

When you choose the prize, remember that buyers are human. Define what they would covet in their personal life. Relate the grand prize to the primary message you’re already conveying at the trade show. Offer something that would specifically appeal to your Qualified prospects. This helps naturally eliminate many of those who aren’t really interested in your brand. You can also set qualifying entry criteria and/or require engagement in your rules (especially in the B2B space).

The sweepstakes itself can also be much more engaging than just a random drawing.  You could:

  • Distribute game codes in advance that must be matched to signage at your booth.
  • Have prospects engage in a branded Virtual Reality (VR) game.
  • Ask them to complete a short survey or share on social media.
  • Take other actions that are fun and/or meets a secondary objective.

No matter the tactic, you must collect data on the prospects to meet your new leads goals, and you must follow-up quickly after the show.

  1. Middle-Of-The-Funnel (MOFU) Engagement

Create a trade show reward for anyone who engages at your desired next step.  Maybe you’re trying to schedule demos, conduct sales meetings, or have initial consultations.

These are your warm (or hot) prospects.  Don’t miss the chance to close them in-person or move them to the next step in the buyer’s journey. Reward them for their engagement! The key is to make the reward relevant by making it something that (1) reinforces your brand; (2) has thematic relevance; (3) is coveted by the target; and (4) is easy to fulfill at the event.

Think through the logistics to make sure the prospect takes the required action before getting their reward. Typically, this involves confirmation by your sales staff, so make it easy for sales to do the transaction, and for the prospect to redeem the reward.

  1. Bottom-Of-The-Funnel (BOFU) Engagement

Are your existing customers at the trade show? Don’t forget to include them in your plans.

Testimonials are becoming more critical than ever, as is the use of video. Capitalize on the opportunity to gather video testimonials by creating a space for existing customers to record short messages at your booth on why they love your brand. Give them a “thank you” reward for doing it. (Tip: Gift cards are a simple and easy execution here)

You can also offer the same trade show rewards as your MOFUs if you have upsell or cross-sell engagement objectives that can be accomplished as well.

Getting the word out

As an Eloqua user, you’ve got the greatest marketing automation tool available to communicate with the right prospects. Leverage it to create an email campaign before the event.

No matter the incentive or part of the funnel:

  • Invite the prospect to your booth to participate in the engagement.
  • Include a scheduling tool for MOFU/BOFU engagement, to better plan your sales resources and ensure that you don’t lose opportunities because of overcrowding at key time of day.

During the event, consider:

  • A Brand ambassador staff that can roam the show floor and perimeter to target prospects to come to your booth.
  • Direct delivery of the incentive offer to the hotel rooms of convention guests.

After the event:

  • Quickly engage with attendees. Use Eloqua to send a “Thank You” follow-up with appropriate nurture messages and content to move them to the bottom of your funnel.

Measuring your success

The engagement strategy measurements of success should be in direct alignment with your existing trade show goals.  You should utilize the same performance criteria, such as:

  • Leads gathered
  • Demos/consultations/sales meetings scheduled and held
  • Follow-up meetings scheduled
  • Testimonials gathered
  • Cross- and up-sell targets reached
  • Sales generated

How we can help

XPROMOS is an independent marketing firm with a 28 year legacy of driving sales for Fortune 500 companies and everyday name brands by fusing passion and evolving technologies with proven strategies. We have successfully driven tens of millions of dollars for B2C and B2B brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Makita Power Tools, Sage Software and Glidden Paints.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you build an incentive program that moves your prospects to the next step in the customer journey, visit www.xpromos.com or call us at 888-699-0329.

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Yvette co-founded XPROMOS in 1989. Over the last (almost) three decades, she’s led the creative efforts to drive tens of millions of dollars for Fortune 500 companies and everyday name brands at every step of the customer journey by fusing proven tactics with emerging technologies. Her superpower is building hyper-targeted incentives that connect a brand’s essence with a passion of the target audience.

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