Pre-Show Planning: Leveraging the Theme

In our previous post, we talked about the importance of understanding your audience. We recommended that before planning your trade show experience, exhibitors should speak with the Association and become familiar with their marketing message to the attendee pre-event as well as onsite.

An example of the effectiveness of this strategy can be seen in the annual National Education Association Annual Meeting and Expo. NEA Expo, which opens two days before the Annual Meeting, is the largest education trade show in the county.  NEA announces the theme for the Annual Meeting months in advance of the event. This year’s meeting was designed to launch a member-led movement in which all delegates were called to step forth as “champions for public education.”

ExpoPlus and Bodden Partners worked with exhibitors to incorporate the champions theme into the exhibit floor experience. The NEA Member Benefits area of the floor was completely designed and engineered to leverage the Champions theme and extend it into each vendor’s both. Pre-expo communications, on-site floor signage and booth signage, booth activities and post-event follow-up communications all revolved around, emphasized and celebrated attendees as champions.

In addition to recognizing all attendees as champions, a special contest was held on the exhibit floor. Delegates were invited to become champions for the exclusive benefits, products and services they had learned about during the Expo. A state based competition was held to see which state could generate the most product champions. Representatives from winning state won a trophy as well as a cash prize.  43% of delegates took the pledge and became enrolled as Champions and product advocates.

If you would like more suggestions on structuring your trade show marketing plan, continue following this blog or contact Barbara Stroup for a customized consultation.