Monday, July 15, 2013

Don't do tradeshows the wrong way

Tradeshows can be an effective way to get in front of prospective customers.  But not if you do them the wrong way.

You'll know it's the wrong way when you find yourself standing in a small booth in a remote corner of a vast exhibition hall, desperately hoping that some lone soul will meander their way past and glance in your direction. 

You'll know it's the wrong way when you're checking your email every two minutes, trying to relieve the monotony.

And you'll surely know it's the wrong way if you've spent thousands on exhibition space, booth set up, shipping and drayage, electrical, carpet, and give-aways, plus the travel expenses for everyone who staffed the booth, and you've attracted no new prospects.

Tradeshows can be expensive, especially for software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies that need to be especially careful with sales and marketing expenses. (I write extensively on the need for SaaS companies to spend wisely on customer acquisition in my "Practical Advice on SaaS Marketing" newsletter.)

One option is to skip tradeshows, dropping them from your budget altogether.

A better option, which I discuss in the video, is to select tradeshows carefully and get as much out of them as possible.

Thanks to the good folks at Openview Labs, who helped produce this video.

(By the way, I imagine there's a way to get a better still shot from the video than this rather unflattering one, but I've not yet figured out how to change that.)