MARKETING MINUTE: Event Exhibiting Success – Part One

By Sophie Hudson
As we ever so slowly emerge out of what feels like the longest winter in our area, we move into event season. Think home improvement shows and Gnarly Hops in the Spring, CulpeperFest and concerts in the Summer, Airfest and the Culpeper Fiesta in the Fall. It seems like something is happening every week – It is! These events offer excellent opportunities to market your business. Meeting potential clients and reconnecting with existing ones – In person. Even in this digital age we live in, one thing we can all agree on relationships are key. There is still no substitute to meeting someone face to face. Moreover, according to The Center for Exhibition Research:
  • Around 80% of people visiting your booth are in a position to buy and use the opportunity to decide what to buy.
  • Converting a trade show lead to a sale costs nearly 40% less than traditional sales calls and office visits.
  • Trade show visitors will tell 6+ people about their experience.
Sadly the most common thing I hear people say about events is – “I didn’t get anything out of it”. While this statement may be true, when it comes to events a little planning can go a long way in getting the results you were expecting.
Define your aims and objectives – one of the biggest contributors to the statement “I didn’t get anything out of it”, is not knowing what you wanted to achieve in the first place. Just showing up, putting up your display, and handing out the occasional business card and promotional item will not cut it. You need a clear plan in place and get everyone involved on the same page to get results.
Ask some key questions –
Who is your target audience?
If you are looking for local families, CulpeperFest is a good choice. If your audience is seniors, The art of Aging Expo is where you need to be. Looking to reach our Hispanic community? Consider Culpeper Fiesta. New last year was the Homesteaders conference – an emerging niche of self sufficient people of all ages in our region and beyond. A perfect opportunity for Real Estate agents, agricultural suppliers and solar businesses. Whoever you are looking to reach, you can find an event opportunity near us.
What do you want people to know about your company / what is your message?
People don’t absorb as much information as you want them to. They are on full sensory overload at an event, you have to cut through that with a clear message. Consider the key things you need people to remember about you and your company and make everything you do about that. Some examples could include: information on a new product or service, maybe you have a new location, hours or a new website that you need to make people aware of. Maybe you are hiring and have a new employee benefit or training program to offer. Whatever you decide, less is more.
Once you have determined your target audience and message, find some events that fit. While there is no one source you can go to contact, you can start with the counties major organizations. The Chamber of Commerce, The Department of Economic Development, Culpeper Renaissance all have events and sponsorship opportunities. Explain who your audience is, and what your message is, and I am sure they would be more than happy to send any relevant event and sponsorship opportunities.
I encourage you to, between now and next month, review your target market, marketing message, and events that will fit. And stay tuned for part 2.

If you have a question to put to Sophie on marketing your business, you can contact Sophie Hudson at: Kash Design, 629 Sperryville Pike, Suite 204, Culpeper, VA 22701 540.317.1473,,