If there's one thing I've learned from attending trade shows like EventTech and Exhibitor Live, it's that companies today have a wealth of options for marketing their businesses using really cool technology. From VR to AI to RFID to proximity detection to interactive product showcases, there are so many options to choose from. And, no shortage of vendors to partner with.
With so many options, how can you identify the tech solution best suited to your particular challenge — and find the partner best aligned with your company's core values?
While there are a number of factors to consider when selecting a vendor — a trusted partner to help make your next marketing effort a success — here are 4 key things you should do before making a decision:
1 Examine their body of work
Exhibitors put their best foot forward at trade shows. They draw you in with eye-catching booth graphics or themes. And their polished sales presentations by energetic reps are compelling. But, before letting yourself be swayed too easily, go a step further and explore the work they have done for their clients.
Did they help them solve a problem or achieve an objective with a sound strategic solution? Or did they just create something using buzz-worthy tech purely as an excuse to use the tech? The same tech everybody else is using! A creative and strategically sound portfolio is an important indicator that the company can help you achieve your goals.
2 Look for social proof
Check out what people have to say about your prospective choice. Don’t stop with the testimonials on the vendor’s website. Leverage social media. LinkedIn in particular is a great tool for finding folks who have worked with your potential partner. Introduce yourself and see if they’d be willing to give you their perspective and impression of the company, as well as insight into the people you would potentially work with.
Be sure to ask whether they would recommend the company to their peers. That is bar none the single most important measure. If they are willing to put their reputation on the line for this vendor chances are the company will deliver as you hope.
3 Research the company’s leadership
Does the company share your values? Do the senior leaders exemplify these values? Core values like a steadfast commitment to provide the best possible product and the passion to build their clients’ business by treating it like their own. Strong leaders inspire their teams to be exceptional. Those are the companies you want to work with.
4 Meet as many team members as possible
The people staffing trade show booths are typically seasoned sales professionals who are by nature engaging, charismatic, and product and service-savvy. But, they’re likely not the people who will actually execute your project.
So, make the effort to meet the other team members — the project managers, UX designers, developers and others who would be handling your project. After all, you will be dealing with these people day in and day out until your project is completed so be sure the chemistry is there so you can work as a cohesive and productive team.
At shows like Exhibitor Live, where every vendor presents a compelling argument for their product or service, you need to dig a little deeper than the two-minute in-booth sales pitch to uncover the real gems.
Finding the right partner — the right partner for your business — takes legwork. A little due diligence will help you narrow the field and find those stars that shine brightest.
If you're looking for an intuitive, interactive solution to help your business stand out at trade shows and beyond, give me a call at 800.704.6819 or visit www.viewpointtouch.com for more information.
*This article has been updated since it first appeared on 3/20/17.