My small, woman-owned public relations/marketing firm, Advice Unlimited, has been serving the Federal government marketplace for nearly 30 years to help companies with innovative technology get their solutions to the government. Every month, I’ll offer unlimited advice on how to work with this unique market. Please email me with questions or comments.

Advice Unlimited

Advice Unlimited

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Make a Splash This Trade Show Season!

It’s trade show season again! There are lots of government trade shows in the summer, as we move into the heat of the buying season. There are some important changes in this year’s shows that you will want to be prepared for. One big change is that several of the large trade shows and conferences are being canceled or modified due to the GSA scandal around an October 2010 conference in Las Vegas, which cost nearly $823,000 in taxpayer money. That means no more lavish meals, gifts, or parties. Exhibitors will have to be creative in how they deliver compelling content to their audience without expensive displays, meals and promotional giveaways to draw visitors’ attention. Instead of the big trade shows, government will be focusing on smaller local trade shows that eliminate the high costs of travel and lodging. The change to smaller venues and trade shows is a huge opportunity for companies that may have been overlooked at the larger trade shows to make a compelling presentation and build a name for their company.

It is important that your company makes the right moves to stand out to those attending the show. Effective, proactive PR is a great tool to help you secure attention from attendees. Take the time to really shine - if you’re investing in being at a show, invest the time and creativity to ensure you make a splash. The following steps will help you get the most out of your trade show investment:

1. Make your booth enticing -- have some visual displays that draw the attention of attendees, so they will look closer at the important content at your booth, but remember – nothing extravagant or excessive. Creativity counts – and content rules!

2. Have good handouts- reprints of recent press articles around your company or customers, and information specific to the target audience attending the show. Make sure your booth is organized. Handouts should be very clean, clear and concise in delivering your message.

3. Nominate customers or executives for speaking slots – this is a great way to build credibility and provide educational and insightful information on your solutions.

4. Hold a media breakfast or lunch at the show if you have an important announcement to make there, to ensure you get an attentive audience.

5. Try to time important announcements for the show.

6. Take advantage of the show press room. Find out how they support your efforts, and leverage their offerings.

The new focus on smaller trade shows can be a great opportunity for your company to reach your target audience. Less extravagance is good for your bottom line, and more focus on creativity and content will bring you stronger results and better quality leads. For more information on how Advice Unlimited can help you create and implement a successful trade show effort, or provide support for other public outreach and communication initiatives, please contact me at 301-924-0330 or