We have been celebrating small businesses this month in honor of the Small Business Influencer Awards and discussing the decisions you may have to make as a small business owner when it comes to exhibiting. First, we talked about whether or not it’s worth the risk to exhibit at all and, then, we focused on where it would be most worthwhile to spend your time in the convention city. This week, we have one more decision to discuss.
Our final choice for this series is how much “excitement” you should create for your booth.
- The “bird in the hand” would be exhibiting (just exhibiting).
- The “two in the bush” would be investing in special activities to create excitement, like sponsorships, giveaways, receptions, performers, etc.
Is it worth the risk?
First, consider your resources.
Before you commit to anything extra, it is important to ensure that you have your finances in place. If you cannot afford to pay for the special activities, they are not an option to you.
Then, beyond the financial responsibilities associated with each individual activity, you will also need to identify the costs required to promote your participation in these activities. It will take time, effort, and money to ensure that enough of the right attendees are aware of your exciting offers to make the investment worthwhile (and, remember, the “free” publicity offered by show management should just be the tip of the iceberg where your pre-show promotions are concerned). Can you afford the extra “excitement” itself and any necessary promotion of your special excitement causing activities? If you can, check out the next consideration; if you can’t, stick with your “bird in the hand.”
Next, ensure that any of the activities you would choose
align with your company’s values/mission statement and fit
the way in which you would like to be perceived.
While it is unlikely that anyone would become offended if your company chose to sponsor lanyards or giveaway a new iPad, there some other activities which are more controversial (you will know them when you see them). Keep your supporters in mind as you wade through the opportunities available; although you cannot please everyone, it would be best to avoid offending the majority of your shareholders, clients, partners, etc. with an inappropriate event attraction.
Furthermore, you must consider the fit between your activity and the way in which you would like to be perceived. For example, a happy hour with scantily clad “Booth Bunnies” doesn’t scream family friendly and giving away boring old ball point pens doesn’t convey that your company is cutting edge. Let your (moral and branding) compass be your guide in choosing to move forward, or not.
Finally, evaluate the realistic potential of each opportunity.
If you have selected an appropriate event, you know it will be worthwhile for you to exhibit; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will also be worthwhile for you to invest in special activities (just because you can make the investment, doesn’t mean you should). Here are some questions to help you decide:
- What percentage of registered attendees who fit within your specific target audience will take advantage this opportunity to be exposed to your company?
- How much of your time will you have to spend sorting through contacts who are not interested in your offerings but came to see you because of the excitement?
- Do you have a plan to quickly qualify the leads obtained through your participation in these activities during the activities themselves?
- Do you have scripts, marketing materials, etc. in place to support your team’s efforts before, during, and after each activity?
- Will this activity help you in achieving your goals or are the same results likely to be attained even if you don’t choose to participate?
Ask yourself these questions as you consider the sponsorships, giveaways, receptions, performers, and other activities that would be an option to you (according to your available resources) and make sense for your moral and branding requirements to determine whether or not they would have the potential to propel your results forward. From here, you will be fully equipped to decide between the proverbial “bird in the hand” and “two in the bush” so far as your exhibiting efforts are concerned.
Although this series is complete, we aren’t finished celebrating small businesses – come back next week for another post written just for you! Oh, and don’t forget to vote for your favorite small business influencers (you can vote up to once per ip address per day)!
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