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Global Marketing and Exhibitions Part 2: Why your global approach should be different than domestic

Welcome to the second part in this three-part series. In this article, we are going to look at pre-show marketing in different regions. As mentioned in the first part of the series, it’s important to be relevant to the region. The interesting thing about pre-show marketing is that there are a lot of similarities no matter where you go in the world. Below we’ll explore a few common options and where it’s appropriate to utilize them.

Taking advantage of show sponsorships is always a great way to get your name out there. Based on the level of sponsorship, your name will be included in a myriad of places on show communications and often on a sponsorship banner at the hall. I honestly can’t remember a show anywhere in the world that did not offer this opportunity!

Sending a pre-show mailer (via snail mail) can also be effective in most areas if you do it creatively. If you are anything like me, receiving a postcard typically goes right into the recycle bin. However, if something is a clever shape or if I have to open a package of some sort, I’m always curious to see what it is. This may not be cost-effective if you have to ship to multiple other countries though, so ensure you are sending to a qualified list of recipients. Knowing your audience is also important for this…if you are going to a high tech trade show, maybe something digital is more realistic.

Attending a show like Mobile World Congress in Barcelona is prime target for digital and social network pre-show marketing. However, even though many people in the U.S. are on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, it doesn’t mean everyone in the world is. According to a study by INFOGRAPHIC in 2012, 30 percent of all tweets come from the U.S., Brazil is in second place with 22 percent and the UK with only 6 percent. That means, if your target audience is in South Africa or India, for example, tweeting you’ll be at a show is likely not going to be too effective. LinkedIn is not very popular in Japan for business networking and Facebook in China and Russia is not very prevalent.

Email blasts can be very effective before the show and can be executed for mere pennies. Since nearly 100 percent of the global business community is on eemail, if you have an email address, use it but use it wisely! Be careful not to get blacklisted.

Whether you choose to send something via snail mail, social media or email, attempt to drive people back to your company website. Having a landing page dedicated to the show you are attending can assist in not only providing information on your company and exhibition plans, but also in booking meetings for the show. I read an article recently online that stated nearly 76 percent of attendees have an agenda or booked meetings before they arrive at the show. Create an online form and allow people to sign up to meet with a salesperson at a time that is convenient to them. Having them enter contact information allows you to confirm the appointment and adds to your prospect database. Aside from possible issues in countries like China that restrict some websites, most people in the global tradeshow community can easily navigate to your website.

Utilize your sales staff. Five weeks before the show, have them start contacting their current clients as well as any prospects they have relationships with and invite them to attend the show and see your exhibit. They can ask for an appointment and let them know about any new products that will make their debut. The sales team can easily call/email people in the U.S.l or abroad. Get those touch points in and stay on their mind. If they are a hot prospect, offer them a free entrance ticket.

Finally, advertising and PR in trade publications can also be very effective on all parts of the globe. This can be a print or digital version. Targeting the industry and not just an attendee list can influence people to attend who might not have even thought about heading to the show prior to your ad. You should definitely think about this if you have new products to promote or new features to older products. People like to go to shows to find out what’s new!

As you can see, vehicles for pre-show marketing throughout the world are plentiful. As always, make sure your message is relevant to the audience, but overall, aside from social media, nearly all vehicles can be relevant across the globe. If you are going to attend a show, even if it is as simple as getting your sales team on the phone to make appointments, it is important to do something to drive traffic to your exhibit before the show opens! Make the most of your tradeshow experience.

In the final part of the series, we’ll discuss post-show marketing, so stay tuned.

Written by Kelli Steckbauer, MG Design Associates

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