Field Marketing

5 Ways Beverage Companies Can Stand Out at Trade Shows

Trade shows provide opportunities for businesses to promote themselves, cultivate relationships with key clients, and scope out the competition. However, due to the sheer volume of vendors present at trade shows, it can be difficult for a single organization to stand out amongst the rest. In order to get the most bang for your buck, take the time to create innovative strategies that will do more than generate a handful of semi-interested leads. The tips below are examples of how your beverage company can get the most out of its presence at a trade show.

1. Don’t Be a Slave to the Booth

Entrepreneur contributor John Ruhlin writes in his article “5 Tricks to Help You Stand Out at a Trade Show” that too many companies use the trade show booth as a “crutch.” In other words, those members of your organization who are present at the booth spend more time waiting for interested prospects to walk up to them than actually engaging with other attendees. This all-too-common phenomenon defeats the purpose of attending a trade show in the first place. Rather than purchasing a booth, consider checking into a suite at or near the location of the trade show. Decorate the room to match your brand and invite only your key targets. This unconventional approach to trade show attendance enables your business to proactively establish valuable connections instead of getting lost in a myriad of booths.
Most beverage companies that have booths at trade shows are likely to offer free samples of their products. Do something different and donate some of your product to a local food bank or homeless shelter, in addition to providing tastings at the show By doing this, your business is likely to be more memorable than every other company passing out free samples. Additionally, making a charitable donation can be good for your brand’s image. Make sure there is signage or another form of promotion to let passersby know that your company is not like the rest.
2. Swap Flashy for Follow-Up
When presenting at a trade show, your business’s goal is to be the best brand, not to have the best booth. That being said, avoid wasting money on easily-forgettable decorations and branded memorabilia. While having a visually-appealing booth is important, the contacts you develop as a result of attending a trade show are far more significant. Since flashy promotional materials won’t guarantee leads, focus your attention on making an effective follow-up instead. Too often, the conversations that your company representatives have with potential clients don’t translate into business growth after the trade show. Collect contact information from prospects digitally by having them type it on a tablet or laptop so you can reach out to them when show ends. Consider delivering customized gifts or handwritten notes as part of your follow-up process. Giving prospects something tangible after the show as opposed to during it will likely jog their memories about the connection you made.
3. Create Meaningful Content
Trade show attendees are looking to expand their knowledge of the field and of the products available on the market. Give the people what they really want by creating great content and making it available for viewing at trade shows. Free content will draw targeted customers to your business, and likely spark a conversation about your latest eBook or marketing brief. Conduct research that shows why your beverage is better than competitors’ or about general industry trends and present your findings at the trade show.  
Another reason to produce strong content is so that your business will gain credibility, suggests Ruhlin. Getting your content published will give you a better chance of being a speaker at the trade show. Being one of a few speakers as opposed to one of thousands of companies with booths is sure to get your brand noticed.
4. Networking Isn’t Just for Attendees

The executive director and board members of a trade show are a wealth of knowledge and connections. Try to get noticed by these individuals by providing a product or service for the show instead of for your own promotional purposes. This tactic shows your dedication to the industry because you are acknowledging the value of the show itself by aiding in its execution. Your efforts may even be recognized on stage at the show, according to Ruhlin.

5. Play Games

Do something unique to make the investment of a trade show worthwhile. Rhulin writes that the most impressive company at a trade show is the one that generates the most buzz. Use social media to interact with other attendees in an engaging, fun way. Sponsor a scavenger hunt or trivia game during the event to encourage participation and make your brand known. Host a contest of some sort and give the winner a free one-month supply of one of your products. The contest could be as silly as seeing how much of your beverage participants can chug in 30 seconds or as challenging as guessing the main three ingredients in your product with only one tasting. Regardless of what you choose to do, be sure to hype up your efforts on social media in the weeks leading up the show!

With careful planning and attention to detail, your beverage company can capitalize on all of the benefits that trade shows have to offer. Be the brand that is remembered for thinking outside of the box. Keep in mind that a conversation with a prospect here or there is not enough to grow your business. What really matters is the relationships that are fostered after the show.


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Victoria Vessella

Victoria is a Marketing Associate at Repsly, where she leads the company's P.R. and social media efforts. You can also catch her prepping for slew of exciting industry events. A New England native, Victoria has spent time living in Italy and traveling throughout Europe before settling back in Boston. When she's not planning her next trip, V is probably tasting wine or brushing up on her Italian.

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