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How to make RBTE pay for itself

Chris Field
Chris Field

Are you planning to attend this year’s Retail Business Technology Expo (RBTE)?

If so, I have no doubt you’ll be busy, so you probably don’t want to spend time talking to me when you could be selling. But here’s a thought – how many leads have you generated at any trade show that actually turned into new business?

Trade shows have always annoyed me because they are the one item on the marketing budget that consistently fails the ROI test. As a marketing guy, I have to commit to KPIs against every single marketing dollar; meanwhile the client then goes off and blows £30k on a big stand, sponsored lanyards and free beer at the end of the first day.

Sure, I get that your competitors will be there, so you have to be as well. And sure, I get that you only have to win one big contract to make it all worthwhile. And yes, I get that the sales guys love it, because who knows might show up for a chat?

But surely there’s a better way to get value out of trade shows, AND to prove it.

Here are my 7 tips – some are probably too late for this year’s RBTE, but hey, there are at least 6 more big shows before the end of 2017:

1. A trade show is a moment in time. You need to exploit the build-up and run-off periods and reach out to visitors with a compelling message

2. Give them a reason to attend, and offer something of value, such as a piece of market research, a new product launch, or an interview with one of your customers – these are not new ideas, they are just things no-one really does anymore

3. Work harder on the stand to get visitors to talk to you. You are going to kiss a lot of frogs, but that passive British approach of ‘waiting for other people to do all the work’ won’t cut it these days

4. Put away the phones and the laptops – otherwise you are simply telling potential visitors that they are not important

5. Build a stand that shows and delivers a single value statement – what’s in it for the retailer, how will their life be better for knowing you and working with you? Don’t talk about your services, products, time in business or global reach; nobody cares, and worse, you just look like every other company at the show

6. Try to get one of your customers to speak at a session, and then see if they will commit to a Q&A afterwards with a select band of prospects you’ve invited

7. And don’t forget the call to action. Don’t just take a business card and say you’ll be in touch. Instead, ask: “When are going to get together to discuss this?”

So, when are we meeting at RBTE?

Arrange a meeting with Chris at RBTE, taking place at London’s Olympia from 8-9th May 2017, to learn more about how Fieldworks can bring you closer to the business prospects that matter.

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