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Got New Ideas? Test Them at a Trade Show

Here are tips for using a trade show as a testing ground for a new product or service before going to market.

We recently attended a trade show in New York, which was well-attended by our target audience. We've been developing some new features and wanted to get our ideas in front of small businesses, test messaging, and hear questions and get a sense if what we're building is going to resonate.

Here's what we did:

1. Revamped our marketing materials. We spent some money on some new banner stands, a keynote slideshow on a large monitor and a new logo.

2. Brought the swag. We printed new business cards, datasheets, stickers and pens with our new look thanks to our sister company PsPrint! They flew off our tables.

3. Wore it like a boss. We wore some cool new branded t-shirts we had made for the show, but we also brought a few extra along so when our customers stopped by, we were able to surprise them with an unexpected gift. They were surprised and delighted.

4. Revamped our pitch. We created a more relevant pitch that directly addresses small business customer's pain points and it totally resonated.

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!

Have you attended an event where you tested a new product or service? Share in the comments!

Did you enjoy this post? If so, sign up for the free VR Buzz and check out the VerticalResponse Marketing Blog.

Last updated: Nov 4, 2013


Janine Popick is the CEO and founder of VerticalResponse (a Deluxe company), a leading provider of self-service email and social media marketing tools for small businesses. The company was ranked No. 4,882 on the 2013 Inc. 5000. @janinepopick

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