Trade Shows are Great Testing Grounds
Before you make wide sweeping changes to your company identity, product line or sales approach, why not give it a try at the next trade show you attend?
Making changes within an organization can be costly and if the change is less than successful, you are faced with a “do-over” and a huge expense hit to your P&L. Consider using this trade show season as an opportunity to test out the changes.
In a recent INC Magazine article, the author, Janine Popick, shared how testing at trade shows worked for her company. Janine tested:
- New company branding with their marketing materials
- New “swag” or give-aways
- New image t-shirts on the sales staff
Her results? Here’s what she has to say:
So what did we learn? For a small investment, we got face-to-face time with customers and prospects; we got to hear their questions, and were able to measure interest in our soon to be released online services. Priceless. You can apply these simple tactics to test a new idea or service at the next trade show you attend!
Why Test Your Ideas?
Our customers vote for the ideas/products they like best with their wallet. Trade show attendees act as a microcosm of your national (international) customer base but rather than just distribute new products and hope they are liked, you have the opportunity to engage in individual discussions with your consumers.
In a Time magazine article Low or No Budget Testing – the author, Lauren Simmons, talks about the value of creating a sample or stripped down version of the new product for testpurposes:
Developing a bare-bones version of your product-a.k.a., the
minimum viable product (MVP)-is the fastest way to elicit the feedback you need for the least amount of money. Don’t worry whether the product’s perfect: the MVP lets you concentrate on eliminating pain points and solving problems for your target market.The amount of buzz a product generates isn’t as important as setting up solid metrics. The results can tell you whether you’re on track for profits or if you’re simply burning cash on a product that won’t deliver. For example, how many overall signups did you get? Compare that with the number of active users. That can help you determine whether your early adopters bailed or if you’re gaining ground.
Testing New Products
Bringing samples of your new product ideas to your trade show booth for the purpose of testing is a great way to receive immediate feedback:
- Does this product fill a need?
- What changes would make it more viable?
- How is the price point?
- Is there a different color, size, material that be more appealing?
- Is there something currently available that is a better fit for your needs?
- Would you buy this product?
Testing a New Sales Pitch
Sales pitch is such a poor phrase; it implies you are throwing something at your customer and hoping they catch it. At a trade show you have the opportunity to have a sales discussion. Be open with attendees. Ask questions. Listen carefully. Take notes. Make clarifying comments:
“What I hear you say is that our new product line would be more appealing if it was available as a mobile app. Is that correct?”
Try different approaches with the attendees.
- “Our customers told us that their life would be better if they had “x” and so we designed this new product which they’ve found meets their needs because…”
- “The most frequently asked question of our customer service representatives has been “xxxx” and so we developed this. How would this improve your experience?”
- “We have decided to pull our line of “x” and replace it with “y.” Did you use X? How do you feel about Y?
Trade Show Testing? Priceless
There is no other opportunity in your business cycle that allows you to interact in person with such a diverse consumer audience. Rather than just bring the “same old same old” to your next trade show event – why not test something new?
Our experienced trade show professionals can help you think through how your trade show testing would need to be supported by trade show graphics, hanging signs, pop up display accessories or a customized table skirt.! Give us a call – we are here to help.