How To Run Effective Media Events At Trade Shows

Are you spending a large amount of your marketing budget on exhibiting at industry specific trade shows?  Most companies today are still investing heavily in trade shows as part of their branding strategy.  This is a smart move as it’s important to be seen in the industry!  Executives should seize the opportunity and get in front of the media with their marketing messages.  Usually, the marketing staff focuses on increasing booth traffic and talking with end users.   This is all good, however your trade show strategy should includea media event to announce an important product release, event, or campaign.  Now is your chance to pitch stories and get your message out on the wire!  Don’t be shy…….It’s time to come out of hiding!

Smart companies should be sponsoring a media event at specific trade shows or conferences.  Start researching the editors/publishers of trade publications in your industry and start building a relationship.   The best way would be to compile a list of media contacts (some shows supply a list of media contacts on their website) and send an email introducing your company.  You may want to send a press kit prior to the show.   If you really want to make an impact….then it’s time to hold a media event at your next show.

Types of Media Events

The goal of a media event is to get the right people to attend and then go back to their desks and write about your company.  It’s all about wowing the media and making an impact!  Invitations should be sent out weeks before the show so you can have a total count of attendees. It’s also important to get on people’s calendars right away…as most media contacts book up quickly at the show.

During the show – If you plan on unveiling a new product at the show then you would hold you media event during the morning of the first day.  You should have plenty of copies of the press release announcement to distribute and a reputable spokesperson making the announcement ready for Q & A. This type of event can be held at the booth or in a conference room at the hotel.

After Hours Dinner/Happy Hour – If you want to hold a meet and greet type of event, then you would host a dinner or happy hour for the media. This type of event is more personal and typically runs from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. at a restaurant or upscale bar.   The venue you choose should be convenient for the attendees.  To guarantee a good turnout, a smart marketer will select a restaurant in close proximity to the convention hall.

In addition, you should ensure that your company’s high level executives will be available to meet one-on-one with the media.  Also, you can pre-arrange the seating arrangements to ensure that top executives get the ear of the best publishers/editors.

Don’t forget the follow-up…..

It’s important to not forget about follow-up after the show!  All media event attendees should be contacted a week after the show with a “thank you” for attending our media event.  At this point, marketers can see if there are any questions and push for an article or story about the company.   Also, some publishers will require high res photos to go along with their stories.  This is your opportunity to make sure they have everything needed to write your company’s story. 

 Marketers need to be proactive about getting the media’s attention on a consistent basis.  You want to be strategic in holding media events.  To be effective, you should not hold a media event at every show. Save it for when you have news worth sharing!  Pick and choose wisely!  Remember the media is looking for new stories…not the same old story over and over again!  Keep it fresh!

Sources:

Exhibitor Online – Media Events

How to Hold a Media Event

Organizing a Successful Media Event

General Electric – Google Images (Photo)

About Monique Merhige

Infusion Direct Marketing's founder Monique Merhige has over 15 years of marketing communications experience with technology companies ranging from small service firms and equipment manufacturers to a 1.5 Billion dollar division of Motorola. Monique is an Adjunct Professor of Marketing at Dowling College in Oakdale and Brookhaven. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Marketing and an MBA in General Management.

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