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101 Lead Generation Ideas for Defense Contractor Trade Show Marketing

With the right ideas, defense contractors can leverage their trade show attendance to refill their sales funnel, bring in new customers and boost sales revenue.


The #1 objective for trade show attendance is lead generation.

In a post in Trade Show News Network by Skyline Exhibit's Mike Thimmesch, the author lists 100 lead generation ideas.

Of course, no exhibitor does all 100 of these tactics, nor should they - it depends on your overall strategy.  Once you have a solid strategy in place, knowing which tactics to employ becomes easier.

The author breaks down the ideas into 5 broad areas, which are ideal for for defense contractors planning their trade show marketing:

1. Show Selection - Just because you've been to a show before does not mean that you should keep returning.  And you might want to consider other shows you haven't attended.  Some of the best ideas the author mentions that apply to defense contractors include:

#4 - Go to fewer trade shows, but put more effort into booth staff preparation and promotions for each remaining show.

#6 - Track leads to determine and expand in the shows with the best ROI

2. Exhibit Design - Don't think of your exhibit as just a booth, but rather as a communications medium in and of itself.  I recently attended the AUSA Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington DC where there were many distinctive exhibits.  Sadly, however, there were also exhibits so similar to one another that they were essentially invisible. Some exhibit design ideas from the list:

#12 - Design your exhibit to more boldly, and clearly say why attendees will benefit from working with you

#13 - Put fewer elements on your exhibit, but make the remaining images and messages bigger and more concise

3. Pre-show Promotions - If you don't start driving traffic to your site before the show, you're at a disadvantage from the beginning.

#35 - Use social mediato reach more attendees

#36 - Send half of something of value to attendees before the show, and promise to give the other half in your booth

4. At-show Promotions & Activities - It's easier to stand out at a trade show than you think!

#54 - Run presentations or video loops on large video monitors

#70 - Get someone from your company to be a speaker at the show

5. Booth Staffing - An investment of time and money in training your booth personnel may pay the largest dividends. Two more ideas:

#79 - Hold a contest to reward the staffers who take the highest quantity of qualified leads

#98 - Prepare your booth staffers with several good engaging questions

And to the author's excellent 100 ideas I add just one more:  follow up after the show!

Click here for the full list "100 Lead Generation Ideas."

The Principal and Founder of Artillery, Douglas Burdett is a former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. He also hosts The Marketing Book Podcast, where he interviews authors every week about the latest in modern marketing and sales.

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