Trade shows contribute to the success of new product launches. The magnitude of the contribution depends on your effectiveness to present solutions to customer's problems and your ability to gather the proper information to improve your new product development efforts. After deciding to participate in a particular trade show, consider the three checklists on this page.
Tip: OpLaunch research confirms that most trade show efforts have several deficiencies. Underdeveloped trade show strategies result in unrealized early sales. Even with the benefit of checklists, the prevalent causes of shortcomings are a lack of appropriate training and conflicting priorities. Most companies can improve their trade show results with minimal additional expenses.
OpLaunch works synergistically with your core team and PR representatives to create the plans and deliverables to maximize your trade show investment.
Planning for the Trade Show:
- Determine the booth space required to effectively demonstrate your new product
- In addition to exhibiting at the trade show, evaluate other ways to promote your product or company such as hosting a workshop or sponsoring an award
- Define the primary characteristics of your booth then acquire the main structural components (such as panels, lights, tables, and information displays)
- Design and develop messaging, graphics, and other visual techniques to communicate your new product messages in your booth
- Select the presenters and prepare them to deliver targeted, consistent new product messages at press conferences
- Plan and develop media kits that focus on your new product
- Select the proper mix of representatives to be present at your booth to meet your product launch objectives. Tip: Do not limit the booth staff to sales people.
- Train the booth staff for both providing and obtaining information to assist the current product launch as well as the next one.
- Select and develop testimonials from reference customers that have used your product
- Design and develop effective ways to demonstrate your new product
- Disseminate the appropriate information about the new product to all others in your organization that have direct contact with potential customers and partners
For other tips on trade show preparation and a template for a media kit / press release see the OpLaunch publication Boosting the impact of new products at trade shows
At the Trade Show
- Dynamically adjust the graphics and other visual items that are used to communicate your new product messages in your booth to test which of your messages best motivates target customers
- Adjust the messaging provided by booth personnel
- Ensure that sales leads data and input on the new product development process are collected by booth personnel
Tip: Your potential customers and competitors will not know if your team "Didn't have enough time or resources to prepare adequately for the trade show." They will judge your effort on their terms. They will compare your effort to an idealized implementation or the effort of your most ferocious competitor. Enlisting experienced help and maximizing synergy will be a big part of reaching your product launch objectives.
After the Trade Show
- Incorporate information from the trade show into the launch management system and other development projects
- Make decisions on what can be improved the next time
- Follow up on the commitments that were made at the trade show
Why Partner with OpLaunch?
Trade shows present a number of opportunities for new product developers. One of these is to sell new products—a second is to gather market or product intelligence, which can be used in the development process. We can collaborate with your team to implement most of the items in the bulleted lists above.
We can help you craft the primary signage of your booth to selectively target your potential customers within the 10 seconds that it takes a typical show attendee to walk past your trade show booth.
We can increase the chance of getting a "Tell me more" response within one minute from potential customers by developing and delivering the appropriate new product training for your booth staff.
We can maximize the value of spending five minutes in your booth by developing the training for your booth staff that satisfies the three main reasons that potential customers attend trade shows: (1) to find new solutions to their current problems, (2) to explore future opportunities, and (3) to build relationships with other people.
Besides training, one of the most innovative services that we offer is developing ways to interactively demonstrate or describe your new product. Using information display technologies (such as video, graphics, animation, and software toolkits) in combination with supporting techniques (such as simulations, presentations, and customer testimonials), we create collateral (such as printed signage and dynamic signage) to effectively present the solutions your product provides.
NPD-tuned Trade Show Services
What differentiates OpLaunch from other PR specialists, graphics designers, video producers, and booth designers is that we focus on trade shows from the new product development perspective. Trade shows test launch readiness because the product, the packaging, the training, are messaging tested. We view trade show participation as a vital candidate in launch design. Participation in trade shows provides a unique opportunity to obtain feedback from target customers and to communicate with development partners and distribution partners.