Prepping for IBMA’s WOB – Sound Marketing #32

This weekend we will be republishing two recent editions of our Sound Marketing for Bluegrass newsletter, written by Barry Silverstein. Both focus specifically on the upcoming World of Bluegrass Convention in Raleigh, NC at the end of the month.

Barry SilversteinWe’re counting down to World of Bluegrass Week, September 24-28 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Bluegrass Today will be reporting throughout the week, doing interviews and production in a high visibility special glass room, and exhibiting at the IBMA Business Conference. Please come by and say hi!

Since many of you will likely be attending World of Bluegrass Week, we thought it would be helpful to offer some ideas for making the most of the event. This email covers marketing tips for exhibitors, and the next email will cover tips for attendees.

If you’ll be exhibiting at the IBMA Business Conference, think about your participation in three stages:

1. Pre-conference

Of course, you know you’ll need to finalize all travel, delivery and booth logistics, make sure all materials and presentations are available, and know when and where to arrive to set up. But you should also prepare yourself for the experience:

Practice your “elevator pitch.”

An “elevator pitch” is a concise statement about what makes your business special. (The term is derived from the notion that someone should be able to effectively describe their business in a minute or two – the time it takes to go from the top to the bottom of an office building in an elevator.) Prepare an elevator pitch that doesn’t just describe your business but makes it so interesting that anyone you’re talking to would want to hear more. Practice and keep refining it until it’s second nature. And don’t be afraid to “customize” your pitch on the fly to make it even more relevant to the person you’re addressing.

* Consider making a relevant offer at your booth.
Promotional giveaways are fine for generating awareness and goodwill, but they don’t necessarily result in qualified leads. Think about something tangible you can offer that will be a compelling reason for a prospect to buy your product or service at the conference or soon afterwards. It could be a special conference discount, a free item with purchase, or a buy one-get one free offer. Whatever the offer, relate it to the conference and use a deadline to encourage prompt action.

* Establish a follow up process before you leave.
One of the biggest blunders exhibitors tend to make is not being prepared to follow up appropriately after the conference is over. Establish a simple follow up process that allows you to qualify leads so that you can prioritize top prospects who receive special attention. Have a communications strategy in mind for how and when you will respond to conference inquiries.

2. At the conference

Be sure your brand is well represented at the conference. Prep any booth personnel on how to be cordial and professional. Use your elevator pitch, but make sure you listen to prospects and respond to their needs. Collect contact information from booth visitors. If you can qualify prospects and make notes on a contact information form, so much the better.

3. Post-conference

Implement the follow up process you established prior to the conference. Follow up promptly with all booth visitors, but prioritize top prospects who should get special treatment. Assign these top prospects to an on-going cultivation program: Communicate with them periodically in an attempt to further qualify them and turn them into customers. Also do an assessment soon after the event is over. Evaluate your booth, your materials, and your overall approach so you know what you could do better in the future.

Next time: Tips for attendees.

Barry Silverstein is a nationally known advertising and Internet marketing expert. Barry teaches an online branding course and is the author of numerous branding and marketing books and eGuides. He is a blogger for, the world’s leading online branding forum.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.