I recently attended a very large software conference, and I’m amazed at how the landscape has changed since I first started covering B2B technology. Back in the day, every booth was stocked with conference content: case studies, white papers, and brochures on a rack. Now, you’re hard-pressed to find a single sheet of paper. Does that mean you don’t need to bring content when you have a booth at a trade show?

Conference Content Still Matters

You actually do, but not in the way we did in 2000. More companies are going green and only bringing a few key pieces of collateral, like a brochure on a new offering. Others are providing attendees with thumb drives that can be easily lost in the bottom of a tote bag. (Sorry.) So the good news is, you don’t need reams of paper.

The bad news is, you still need content to provide as follow up.

But the other good news is, you have plenty of time to prepare for the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 conference seasons! Here’s how you do it:

  1. Conduct a content audit. You may have plenty of case studies or white papers or brochures that will work well for follow-ups when a prospect visits your booth.
  2. Categorize your content by product line. Make sure it’s really easy to send a prospect information on WidgetWare 2.0 or BrilliantHR 4.7 with a single click.
  3. Look for something to automate sending information.
  4. Capture the prospect’s info – and what the prospect wants. Ideally, you’ll have a way to scan badges, and with the touch of a button or two, check boxes next to the product line the prospect wants to learn more about.
  5. Make sure this info goes into your CRM system and is assigned to sales.
  6. Send content to customers.

What If Our Content Audit Turns up Gaps?

You know the drill. I’m going to tell you to contact me. But first ask yourself a few things:

  1. What are your conference content gaps? Do you need more case studies? White papers? A mix of the two?
  2. What is your most important product? What do you want to get prospects most excited about at the conference?
  3. Who are your subject matter experts?
  4. Which customers will be willing to speak to a writer to participate in a case study?

Give yourself plenty of time to get the content written, in layout, and in your content management/CRM system. Make sure your booth staff (usually your sales team) has a chance to get familiar with it. At conferences, it’s more likely you’ll meet prospects you have to nurture, not deals that will be made that day. Prepare content that helps move prospects through the funnel, and get more ROI from your booth.