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Exhibitor Tips

Exhibitor Tips

How to make the most out of exhibiting at ITEC

Fire Support

View the original article from Fire Support here.

In an article by Margit B. Weisgal, President and CEO of the Trade Show Exhibitors Association, she outlines the benefits of trade shows:

“Exhibit marketing is the most cost-effective means of reaching customers and prospects; it reduces the buying cycle; it allows you to reach hidden buyers.  Most important, though, is that it can reduce the cost of a sale by as much as 75%.”

However, to attain those kinds of results, planning is essential.  And that’s where many exhibitors fall short:

“Seventy-one percent of all exhibitors have no measurable goals or objectives or even a written marketing plan.”

Weisgal offers a 12-step planning process that can be very helpful for defense contractors who are actively marketing at trade shows or who are considering it.


  • Define the Situation – This is the military eqiuvalant to a commander’s situation report.  Who is your company? What is your product and its real benefit? Who are your competitors?
  • Identify Your Target Audience(s) – This needs to go beyond just the procurement people. Think about the end users and those who can influence the purchase decsion.  You probably have multiple, distinct audiences.
  • Pre-participation Research – Not all shows are a good investment of your time and money.  The author includes 8 questions to ask before deciding on a new show (and 5 questions you should ask for shows at which you currently exhibit).
  • Set Goals and Measurable Objectives – Sales goals are not a realistic metric given the long sales cycles for most defense contractors, but other goals should be set and measured such as contact and qualified leads.
  • Management Support and Input – To be effective, management needs to perceive trade show marketing as a cost rather than an investment.  Don’t exhibit if you can’t get management support and input.
  • Strategies and Tactics – This contains the specifics of how to achieve the goals and objectives from 4 above.  Unfortunately, many exhibitors skip ’s 1-5 and start here.
  • Integrate Current Advertising and Corporate Communications – Your trade show message needs to be consistent with all other corporate brand touchpoints.
  • Develop Pre-Show/At-Show Promotion – After you’ve determined who you really need to see at the show, develop a promotion beforehand targeting that group to drive them to you.
  • Design an Exhibit to Support Steps 1-8 – Take the perspective of the visitor whose mindset is “what’s in it for me?”
  • Plan the Follow-Up Program – According to some experts, 80% of exhibitors don’t follow up on leads. By developing a follow-up program beforehand, this problem can be eliminated.
  • Involve and Train Your Staff – One of the biggest challenges is getting staff to listen to vistiors before jumping into a presentation.
  • Measure Results and Make Money – This invovles getting back to management, comparing results to objectives and determining if a return to that show is in order.

To see the original article, please click here.

To read more marketing for Aerospace and Defence contractors, please visit Fire Support here.

12 Ways Defense Contractors Can Get More Trade Show Press Coverage

To read the original article please visit Fire Support.

In an Exhibitor Magazine article, several PR pros outline how to increase your company’s chances of press coverage both during, and long after the show.

  • Find your audience – ask the show organizer for a list of preregistered press attendees and then analyze the list to determine what beats they cover.  Otherwise, start with online research to see which news organizations covered the show in the past. PR news directories are also a good source for building media lists.
  • Craft your message – The press message needs to be concise and of interest to their readership.  This may be a slightly different message from what your sales people will be delivering to their prospects.
  • Notify the masses – In addition to personalized e-mails and press kits, also take advantage of paid newswire services, as well as social media.
  • Book interviews – Don’t expect the media to contact you or stop by your booth because you invited them.  Contact them and offer to meet for coffee or lunch, but offer a compelling reason for them to meet with you.  Make sure you have the right executive from your firm ready to meet with the press.
  • Assemble your kit – Mail the kits out before the show.  At the show, put the materials on a company-branded USB drive and leave them at the press room, but also be prepared to distribute them if the press stops by your booth.
  • Set goals – Your CEO will have established trade show sales, so make sure to manage expectations with measurable media-related goals.
  • Get involved – If the show has conference or educational components, try to get your company to offer content or to be on a panel discussion, and invite the press.  Similarly, enter your company in relevant show award competitions, and if you win, issue a release.
  • Train your staff – Be mindful that booths are often staffed by salespeople more interested in prospects than the press.  If you are not able to train the booth staff in press relations, have them direct the press to your company’s designated press liaison.
  • Prepare your exhibit – The press might visit at your booth, so make sure there’s a quite, comfortable place to talk, refreshments, and product samples.
  • Continue the conversation – Think of the trade show press contact as the beginning, not the end of the conversation and your company’s relationship with the press.  Follow up on every journalistic contact made at the show.
  • Measure the results – Track media impressions, including original articles and reposts.  Check web analytics to see how press coverage affected website traffic.  Issue a report to management, including a qualitative overview of the show’s media activity.
  • Conduct a postmortem  – Gather everyone together who worked at the booth or helped with media activity, find out what worked and didn’t work, and incorporate that feedback into future trade show media planning.

To read more articles about marketing for aerospace and defence contractors, please visit Fire Support.







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