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Everything You Need To Know Before Signing Up for a Trade Show
By: Dan Naden
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“OK, what trade shows should we budget for this year?” Sheila, the stressed but extremely talented marketing director, asks her team.

“Definitely TechZone Texas. All our competition will be there,” announces Doug, the newest member of the team.

“I think we should attend Technify 2015,” shares Ella. “We went there last year and it was all right.”

Wrong. Wrong. And wrong.

The following are not good reasons for attending a trade show:
  1. All our competition is in attendance.
  2. We went there last year.
  3. Sales "thinks" they can set up some key, strategic meetings.
Before your company signs up for a trade show, it’s best you get your priorities in order.

Yes, trade shows are fun.

Yes, trade shows are a break from the day-to-day.

Above everything else, however, trade shows must be a place where:
  1. You are gathering specific, tangible competitive and/or market intelligence.
  2. You are interacting with visitors who show the characteristics of becoming your customers one day in the not-so-distant future.
  3. You are learning from your existing customers about how your company’s products and services can even more closely meet their needs.
Before you send in that exorbitant registration fee, or begin to book airfare, ask the following questions:
  1. Why are we going? ("Because it’s sunny in Florida and cold in NYC in January" is not a good answer.)
  2. What value will we get from attending? ("We just need to be there because, if not, we’d be conspicuously absent" is not a good answer.)
  3. How will this event be a success for our company? (Everyone representing your company at an event should be crystal-clear on the goals.)
Trade shows will always be fun and a welcomed break from the day-to-day cube lifestyle. Make them an important part of your strategy by deciding why you are going and what you hope to achieve.

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About the Author
Dan Naden is a creative, effective, focused product leader. Dan's been blogging about product marketing, product marketing, customer experience, and leadership for 7 years at dannaden.com
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