With Intersolar right behind us and Solar Power International a scant eight weeks away, now is a great time to reassess your show strategy. Maybe what you did at Intersolar was great – your sales team loved it; you even got a thumbs up from the CEO. How could you improve upon a good thing? If you didn’t exhibit at SPI, what can you do to rise above the din?
Here are four quick ideas to ensure you’re doing all you can to pull out the stops for SPI.
Sharpen your message: Tradeshows are highly executional affairs in any industry – solar is no different. It’s tempting to leap right into “get it done” mode before taking a step back and asking your team: What’s our strategy? If you were at Intersolar, start with a post-mortem of what went right/what went wrong. Ask yourself, ask your sales team, and ask your CEO: Did our message resonate? Should you do more of the same or did you learn something new that could strengthen your message for SPI? Many manufacturers save new product announcements for SPI, knowing this is the show most likely to attract installers. But even if you don’t have a major announcement, your company has a story. And if you don’t, it’s time to develop one. Learn more about how to tell yours.
Be strategic about where to put your message: Too many companies waste money on uber-expensive sponsorships for little return. How many lobby banners do you remember seeing at Intersolar? Exactly. Even if your company is at a pivotal stage and ready to go big, be judicious about the promotional tactics you choose. Most of them get lost in the fray. If you don’t have anything major to announce, don’t fake it. Just show up with a consistent, customer-focused message and do the work.
Back it up with proof. If you’re new to solar, be wary of product announcements that say you’re the “new” anything. This is an industry that’s been around for longer than most of the young marketing folks have been alive. Have some respect and be ready to back up any claims with bona-fide third-party credentials. The best credentials? Customers. No referenceable customers yet? Find some between now and showtime.
Follow up – in advance: Who are the top 20 prospects you want to be sure to meet with at SPI? If you met with some at Intersolar, what do you need to do in the weeks between now and Vegas to close those deals? If you’re targeting new customers, how can you make sure you’re top of mind between now and then? It’s easy to rest on your laurels in the dead zone between Intersolar and SPI – don’t let that happen. Keep a drumbeat of content and proof-borne messages churning out to your base. And when it’s over, follow up all over again.
And here’s one more BONUS tip:
Don’t hire booth babes: Do we really have to keep saying this? Nothing wrong with having attractive people in your booth. But please please please don’t put them in cages, or dress them in bunny suits and especially DO NOT give them a microphone unless they know what they’re talking about. The solar industry might not be female-dominated, but the women who do work in solar are smart – be wise and give THEM the mike. (For more on the history of booth babes in solar, check out this insightful PV Solar Report article)
Feeling overwhelmed? CPMG specializes in show strategies and we hone messages for breakfast. For help on what to say and how to say it, contact us.