If you are reading this article, it is because you are in the construction industry and trade shows remain a very important part of your marketing mix, and perhaps one the largest budget line items? Yet despite high expenditures, trade shows are often ineffective and results difficult to measure including return on marketing investment (ROMI). What’s more, to be effective, a great deal of planning is required, often 12-18 months in advance. And with multiple trade shows and events for many brands, thousands of details require timely management and execution.
That’s why the Construction Marketing Association (CMA) leveraged our considerable experience to develop the CMA 41-Point Trade Show Marketing Checklist here. The checklist is useful to identify a variety of marketing initiatives and actions required for achieving maximum trade show results.
Now a real-life Case Study will bring the trade show marketing checklist alive, along with several images to reinforce trade show marketing best practices.
Trade Show Case Study
So when a new construction software brand sought to enter the market, trade show event planning was deemed foundational to the product launch. Trade shows and conferences were researched for multiple targets including commercial trade contractors, homebuilders, and more. With trade shows identified, budgeting commenced with exhibition fees and other costs including exhibit design, transportation, and promotions projected.
With an approved budget, timely registration was required to ensure the best possible exhibit location. Depending on the show this can be 1-3 years in advance. Often an exhibit deposit is required.
Next the exhibit itself must be considered for the registered space. For large shows, the smallest booth space is 10’ x 10’, with 10’ x 20’ common, and large 40’ x 40’ available. With new modular exhibit designs available, exhibit assembly labor and transportation costs are lower than years past that required massive crates and expensive (union) labor. In addition, trade show producers offer a multitude of options for your exhibit including large TV/displays, furniture and lighting. There will be many promotional options including event directory listings and advertising, event signage, registrant email lists, sponsorship opportunities.
Back to our case study, the construction software brand planned multiple trade shows and conferences in support of the launch including the International Building Show (IBS), and World of Concrete. The exhibit was modified for each show in both graphics and messaging for different targets, along with exhibit size. (see Exhibit image below)
To promote each exhibition, multiple email campaigns were distributed (pre-show, at-show, post-show). Website banners, blogs and social media posts touted each trade show. Personal emails were sent to customers and prospects. For large trade shows, journalists and trade editors will attend, so editor meetings can be scheduled, or even press events. (see email campaigns)
At the show, various promotions and contests were executed to elicit lead registrations. Card readers are used at multiple “stations” to electronically capture prospect information. Post-show these “registrations” are added to CRM systems for ongoing communications. (see Whack-A-Mole contest)
Construction-Related Trade Shows Here to Stay
For this construction software brand, and many construction equipment, building product brands, and service firms, trade shows are a critical part of the marketing mix. Why? Because trade shows bring thousands of decision makers and prospective customers together in one place, often with associated conferences or continuing education. The construction industry is unique in the quantity and variety of trade shows available to brands that target respective customer types.
With the significant expense of trade show marketing, measuring marketing effectiveness is important, ideally identifying sales conversions, and calculating return on marketing investment (ROMI).
We hope this case study, along with the CMA 41-Point Trade Show Marketing Checklist, and resources below will help improve your effectiveness.