Trade show season is in full swing! Between traveling, product launches, sales meetings, marketing deadlines, award submissions, booth appointments, late-night dinners and hours on the Exhibit Hall floor, you’re busy.
So how do you make sure all your efforts don’t go to waste for your upcoming trade show? How do you get the people who matter most to notice you above all the noise?
Let’s talk about public relations.
PR is the management of a company’s relationship and engagement with the “public” and other key audiences including media, company stakeholders and decision makers. It’s reputation management, brand awareness and earned influence all in one. On a practical level, PR is what results in your customers and partners knowing about your new product, dealer program, application story and more. Few times are as important for PR to shine than at a trade show.
So when thinking about the PR aspect of your trade show marketing campaign, you need to develop the right strategy. To do that, you must first establish what your objectives are. Here are 4 questions to consider to help you formulate your PR game plan.
1) Who are you trying to reach?
Rank your top two or three audiences. This will help you prioritize which media to target. For example, if you are focused on reaching the integrator, you’ll want to reach out to integrator-focused outlets such as SD&I, SDM and Security Sales & Integration. If you want to reach both the integrator and end user, you’ll want to consider an outlet that has distribution to both like Security Today.
2) What action do you want your key audiences walk away with from the trade show?
Do you just want badge scans where your sales team can sift through the prospects later? Are you launching a new product that you want people to demo at your booth? Or, will you not have new products at the show and primarily see the show as a branding exercise? These questions will help you define the “draw” or what you want people to walk away with and why. With that information defined, you can then move on to the “how” or the method that is needed.
3) What holds the most value for you: pre-show, during show or post-show coverage? This question will help you determine your time frame and what type of coverage to focus on. If your focus is driving attendance to your booth, than pre-show coverage of product placements, press release and new stories is critical. Keep in mind, pitching for print coverage has a significantly longer lead time that online coverage. If, on the other hand, your goal is to secure thought leadership articles to run in security outlets after the show, than setting up meetings with editors during the show is important. Remember, to reach out to these editors well in advance to set up an appointment (as their schedules fill up quickly!)
4) What press material is needed to communicate your key message or initiative? If your primary goal is to drive awareness about your new product, then a product press release and a high-resolution photo is essential. However, if a this your first show post an acquisition or merger and you’re meeting with media, you may want to consider a full media kit with a press release, company profile, bio for your spokesperson, and a Q & A regarding the acquisition.