Guerrilla Marketing Tactics For A Trade Show

A trade show conference is one of the best marketing channels available to promote a new product or market your brand to highly qualified leads. Unfortunately, between a booth, conference space, and your trade show design, upfront costs could add up well beyond your set budget. Even worse, it’s easy to be lost in the crowd at a major industry conference without pull marketing tactics in place to capture leads and interact with customers.

By implementing unconventional, or guerilla, marketing tactics in your trade show marketing campaign, you can not only save money, but cut through the noise. 99% of marketers agree that trade shows offer unique value that no other marketing channel can. Take advantage of this unique opportunity by leveraging these guerilla marketing ideas at your next trade show exposition.

Create a Memorable Theme

First things first, if you want to stand out at a crowded trade show exposition, you’re going to need to create a unique theme that separates you from the crowd. Everything in your trade show design, from the tablecloth to your signage, should follow a central theme and never stray from that theme.

Many people choose to implement different themes that best match their brand’s ethos, such as using humor, tech savvy, or progressive ideals, to form a stronger connection with customers. Of course, there can be consequences if you lose focus. Consider these principles to crafting a great trade show branded theme:

  • Be humorous, not silly or offensive
  • Be innovative, not confusing
  • Be socially conscious, not political
  • Be your brand, not someone else’s

The key is to make your booth inviting and interactive. By leveraging satire or positioning your brand as forward thinking, you can let your products or services sell themselves without having to invest in expensive trade show displays and large booth space.

Everything is Social

As most companies understand, social media marketing is an imperative to trade show marketing.

Here are some simple guerilla marketing tactics to try out before the convention:

  • Tell your followers that a surprise guest or celebrity will be attending your booth
  • Offer users a QR code or key that allows them to unlock a free prize at the show
  • Use a trade show to unveil a surprise new product
  • Continually engage with your followers over Twitter, Facebook, etc. before the show

During the show it’s important to use social media to provide alerts or new and exciting information occurring at your booth. Consider live streaming during the conference to show prospective customers what they’re missing.

After the trade show conference, use social media to continually follow up with customers you interacted with and who liked your profiles.

The two primary advantages of social media marketing are that it’s free and it’s authentic. Tie this authenticity in with your theme and brand ethos to turn audience members to brand loyalists.

Offers Incentives

Would any of us attend a trade show conference without free swag? Merchandise is vital to trade show booth marketing and they’re a great tool to reach new customers inside and outside of the conference.

Napkins, water bottles, pens, typical! Consider ‘swagging’ up your swag by incorporating your humour or socially conscious values into your merchandise. You can also invest in more unique merchandise, such as a branded notebook or clothing that attendees won’t throw in the garbage.

Don’t have the budget for free merchandise? Advertise a contest or raffle and only give some of it away. This strategy produces the same effect of bringing people to your booth, forming interaction, and acquiring great leads for your business.

Tap back into your social media channels by offering incentives there for ‘likes’ or ‘reposts.’ Repost this and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a free t-shirt and so forth. User-generated content increases engagement and provides social proof for your brand.

Trade Show Booth Ideas for Interaction

  • Host a live tutorial, exhibition, or demonstration of your product
  • Provide a live theatrical performance
  • Offer people a service, such as a free wireless charging station

It’s important to make conversation with customers directly. Instead of having them fill up a signup sheet, bring a tablet so they can fill out their email address for alerts to get free swag.

Reach People at Every Step, Literally

Your guerilla marketing tactics aren’t just limited to t-shirts and the digisphere. Find ways to reach customers when they’re entering the conference, leaving it, going to the hotel bar, or riding the elevator. This will involve establishing partnerships with the hotel and staff to have them wear your swag, provide branded coasters, hang up posters, etc.

This is by far the most far-reaching and ambitious strategy. Not only does this strategy provide another way to reach more customers, but it leaves your brand top of mind.

Measuring Trade Show Marketing Success

So how did your guerilla marketing tactics payoff? Measure impact through email signups/leads, social media engagement, and investment opportunities through networking.

Trade shows offer monumental returns on investment if done right and with focus. Consider contracting a trade show management company like Alliance Exposition to help you reach more customers, stand out from the crowd, and keep your trade show under budget.

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