5 things you must do before IFTD

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I’ll start by saying this: I love going to IFTD.

It’s a great opportunity to see all the new gear I will want to own next year.

But let’s not kid ourselves getting ready for the show is a lot of work. And there’s nothing worse than simply not having the time to execute a marketing plan before the show — especially when the pressure of getting everything else ready is looming over your head.

Yes, we’ve all been there.

To help you stay on track and make consistent progress towards the show, we’ve put together a list of 5 things you should do prior to IFTD. Check them out below.

1) Come up with a product story

A great product story focuses on the people using it, not on the product itself. Steve Jobs was the master of this. He never talked about the specific tech that went into the screen of an iPhone, but he’d tell you the new screens were easier to read in direct sunlight, the icons were crisper and you couldn’t scratch the screen with your keys. His products solved problems, and people were excited to see what was coming out next. If you’ve never watched the original iPhone launch it’s worth your time.

While we don’t have big stages to launch our products at IFTD, we do have the ability to control our product story. Make yours relevant, compelling and focus on the people using it and you’ll start generating interest.  

2) Set your goals for the show

Once you understand the story you want to tell, you need to set a few realistic goals for the show. What are you trying to accomplish? Trade shows represent a huge opportunity to generate new leads. Your goals can include some of the following:

  • An Increase in New Leads and Sales
  • An Increase in Organic and Direct Traffic
  • An Increase in Social Media Following
  • An Increase in Email and/or Blog Subscribers

Of course, goals don’t do any good if you can’t track your progress. Make sure you have the ability to quantify each of your goals so that you can measure success. This is a great resource on how to run an inbound marketing tradeshow.

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3) Find a target audience

The next logical step is to figure out who is going to be at the show. With thousands of people roaming the show floor, how do you keep track of them all? We recommend a good CRM. One of the best we’ve used is from Hubspot. A solid CRM will allow you to track who is going to be at the show and coordinate pre-marketing emails and outreach.

4) Identify Deadlines

There’s nothing worse than simply not having the time to execute a marketing plan before the show.

When working on deadlines that are more than a month away it’s easy to lose focus while putting out more urgent fires. You need a calendar to help you stay on track. We’ve laid out an IFTD marketing calendar on our site that can keep you on track. Every business is different of course but it’s a good overview of a basic outreach plan heading into IFTD. We identify target dates for:

  • Content
  • Developing a target audience
  • Emails
  • Print assets

We’ve also included the ability to upload the calendar straight into outlook or Google Calendar so you can customize it to fit your needs.

5) Start Building Buzz

One often overlooked facets of building buzz is sending out your product to the audience you discovered in phase 3. This will give them the ability to familiarize themselves with the product before the show. It’s hard to truly understand how a fly line will perform while it’s sitting on a shelf at the show. By sending it out early you start to build buzz in your offerings and draw more attention to your brand.

The rest is in your hands but you should have all the tools in place to begin your outreach and start building buzz. Just because your deadline is months away doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start planning and be strategizing for it today. You can also check out our IFTD Marketing hub page where we’ll be uploading more content to help you stay on top of your IFTD marketing efforts.

 

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About Author

Thanks for making it this far. I hope you found this article helpful. Providing engaging, educational content is the mission of my column here on Angling Trade. I'm also the owner of Sage Lion Media, a design studio that caters to the outdoor industry.

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