Mastering the tradeshow: top tips for maximising media cut-through

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Sam Shaw

24 Feb 2023

Next week, Mobile World Congress (MWC) opens in Barcelona; the largest, most influential tradeshow in the telco and connectivity calendar. This year, the show celebrates its second return since the pandemic hit pause on in-person events.  

Tradeshows, like MWC and CES, were once the cornerstone of media strategies for the industry’s biggest technology players, all looking to set their course for the year ahead. However, since the pandemic, the way customers, media and PR professionals interact with these exhibitions has changed.  

Tradeshows are now simultaneously delivered in-person and virtually. This has led to less pressure for attendees to be there physically, meaning there’s more virtual interactions with stakeholders and media taking place. This also means the ways your brand builds relationships around events will have changed, and the way new products are shown off to potential stakeholders has evolved.  

This shift, combined with increasing competition from innovative brands entering the marketplace, means brands need to rethink how they connect with their target audience and showcase their services. Launching a new product or having a spokesperson on the tradeshow floor is no longer enough to attract media attention. And with newsrooms shrinking globally, getting time in the limelight is no mean feat.   

In response, many tech giants now host their own launch events outside of the mass-market tradeshows, and media often prioritise attending these instead. As a result, competition for media attention at and around tradeshows such as MWC has never been fiercer.   

So, if you want your brand to be able to successfully deliver impactful coverage this events season, here are five key tips you need to consider:  

1. Define your brands presence early

It’s important to get involved in the planning of your brand’s presence at a tradeshow as early as possible. Think about what announcements will be made, the target markets you want to reach for specific products, and which customers (if any) will be attending.   

If you get this right, it will help you define the media you want to engage with and reach the right audiences. It can also inform how you can best engage with them, i.e., is there opportunity to create a bespoke demonstration/tour for your invited media? Can an exclusive interview with a customer be arranged? Do you want to be targeting national journalists, or would your brand benefit from trade media coverage?  

2. Don’t forget what makes a good story

It’s easy to get caught up in your company’s latest product releases when considering ways to garner the most press coverage, but this may not be as newsworthy as everyone assumes. At the end of the day, your product news will be competing against news from the likes of giants such as Amazon or AT&T – making it less likely to dominate at-show coverage.   

To maximise the awareness and coverage of your announcements, consider releasing your news in advance of the show and use the event itself to demonstrate or showcase your product to attending press.  

Other key things to think about when crafting your announcements include: 

         i. What is its unique selling point (USP)? Why is it better than competitors on the market? Is it simply ‘world-leading’ or are there more accurate ways to describe it?  

        ii. What problem does it solve? Why is there a need for it?  

       iii. Is there a customer that can bring the product or solution to life?  

       iv. Do you have an expert or executive that could speak to media about it at the show?  

        v. Who’s your audience and what are the relevant media channels for reaching them?  

Knowing the answers to these questions and understanding the wider trends dominating your industry, is crucial for capturing journalists’ attention.   

3. Take a more integrated approach

Tradeshows provide the perfect moment to blend your marketing and PR efforts. For example, you can use this opportunity to work closely with your digital team to drive engagement with attending journalists on social media who are sharing live updates of the show. Interacting with media, potential customers and analysts through social media, is an effective way for your brand to show they’re invested and knowledgeable in the industry.  

It can also create new opportunities for your business. Responding to a tweet could inspire a journalist to swing by your stall at the show, and sharing a post could lead to an interview with a spokesperson, or coverage for your new product.   

The more relevant you can appear to a journalist, the better your chances of securing those hard-won opportunities.   

4. Be the strategic advisor to the business

Sometimes, tradeshows simply aren’t the best platform to interact with the target media you’re trying to engage with. So, investing time and resources into creating media activities around it could result in less focus being spent on other activities that may lead to a better ROI for your business.  

Help guide your brand to ensure they’re prioritising the right things in order to reach their audiences. So, don’t be afraid to suggest a different approach altogether.   

5. Don’t forget the outside world

Finally, despite covering relevant announcements, many journalists are unable to attend big tradeshows as much as they would like to. Therefore, it’s crucial you engage with media ahead of the event to understand their priorities and what they’re looking for from the brands they cover. Providing embargoed briefings prior to the event, for instance, can help ensure they’re in the loop and nurture your relationships beyond the walls of the venue.   

 

Need to get media cut-through with your brand? The Strategic Media Team is a dedicated resource made of Harvard and Eat the Fox’s best media experts. The team works to get to know the right contacts for your brand, build long-standing relationships and then works with those media to land your story where it matters most. For more information contact us.