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Straight From the Stage: Smart Marketing During COVID-19 with The Booth Mom

Q: What’s your best advice to exhibitors whose marketing events have either been canceled or postponed?

Focus! Spend your time and efforts targeting those who you had most wanted to talk with at upcoming shows. Create a short list of those prospects and research their businesses to be prepared for a meaningful conversation about their challenges and your solutions. Reach out to them by phone (as it’s amazing that folks who rarely answer their phone are reachable now!) or send a card or email offering a gift card for 15 minutes of their time (This is generally less expensive than buying SWAG for everyone!) Start conversations with them now that you were looking forward to meeting with them at XYZ Show, and asking how you might help them both now and in the future.

Q: What types of content should I prepare to share with my targeted audience?

Create a short trade show video with photos of past exhibits, snippets of your company executives, new product offerings, and short videos of demonstrations that you can share with your target audience. Then invite your prospects to “Spend 5 minutes in ABC’s Virtual Booth” and end it with a teaser of a special promotional deal or the opportunity to register for a thank-you gift. Make your video light-hearted, fast-moving, and door-opening to further conversations at a deeper level.

Tip: Make sure any live educational or marketing content you create is archived to be accessed by your audience at their convenience, and that links to it are prominently displayed on your corporate website and promoted regularly via social media. Be sure to preface your content with the benefits they’ll get from spending X minutes watching or listening.

Q: What else can I do to replace the lost opportunities of canceled events?

To still reach your target market through specific shows, talk with your show manager to find out what type of online opportunities they have available for exhibitors. Ask about opportunities to sponsor your content (or links to it) on their website, be part of an email blast or virtual “gift bag” online, participate in a webinar series they’re offering, showcase new products, or be a part of online experiential events like trivia contests where your product or service would be highlighted. Difficult times like these demand thinking outside the box, and show managers are masters of marketing ingenuity!

Q: What other planning should I do now to make my upcoming exhibits most productive?

I recommend two activities that can save you money now and time later:

1. If you’ve been thinking of updating your exhibit properties in the coming year, consider contracting now. Exhibit houses are hurting for business with shows canceled and are currently offering hefty (25-30%) discounts on exhibit builds – both purchased and rentals. Negotiate to have them work on the design and production of the structure now, and finish the final graphics closer to the show to give you maximum flexibility with your messaging. 

2. Based on your marketing goals and objectives, use otherwise unproductive time to clean up your prospect database, analyze data, create white papers and webinars/podcasts, plan social media campaigns, and update your website. If you’ve been wanting to learn new marketing skills, sign up to attend free webinars.



Candy Adams, CTSM|CEM|CMP|CMM, known throughout the exhibit industry as “The Booth Mom®", is an exhibit marketing consultant and hands-on exhibit project manager with ~500 shows under her belt. She's also an accomplished exhibit staff and exhibit management trainer, speaker, award-winning columnist, and specialist in creating exhibit RFPs and auditing exhibit programs. Her passion is guiding exhibitors through the trade show maze of strategic and tactical best practices, and nurturing them to maximize their exhibit ROI while cutting costs. /

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How Do I Continue to Market and Sell During COVID-19? 

We spoke with industry thought leaders about how to continue SMART and RESPONSIBLE marketing and sales activities during a pandemic. Topics include video strategies, email marketing, how to reach your missed trade show/meetings audiences, and more.

Stay tuned for a brand new Q&A every Friday in the month of April!

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Personalized Wellness, Point-of-Care Services Conferences, Trade Shows, Expos, Summits