Making the Most of Your Agricultural Events

As the year comes to an end, that often means one thing for agricultural businesses and organizations – tradeshow and meeting season is upon us!

Events can be a great opportunity to achieve a variety of marketing goals – from brand awareness to thought leadership to lead generation and more. Before you get too far into your planning process, though, consider these tips to make sure your investment achieves the desired results.

Tip #1 – Let your goals drive your strategy and tactics

Like any other marketing initiative, it’s critical to identify your goal(s) when attending events (especially because of the financial investment many of these activities involve). Not all events are created equal and your approach shouldn’t be either. 

Some potential goals for your next event might include:

  • Collecting leads for future marketing or sales efforts
  • Growing brand awareness for your organization or product offering
  • Building relationships with key stakeholders
  • Reinforcing your thought leadership position
  • Making on-site sales
  • Driving media coverage and/or social media engagement
  • Delivering education on a key topic

For example, let’s take a look at how Trimble Agriculture applied this strategy to their tradeshow booth at the National Farm Machinery Show. Wanting to align the new Trimble Agriculture brand with the booth’s creative design and messaging, plus generate leads for Trimble dealers and position themselves as a thought leader in precision technology, they were able to define their goals to better determine the best ways to achieve them. As a result, the booth welcomed 1,700+ visitors, including 650+ qualified leads, garnered nearly 129,000 organic social media impressions, and secured 10+ media interviews.

Tip #2 – Consider stakeholder feedback

Each organization plans and delivers events a little differently. Some have a dedicated events team, while others are led by marketing, sales, or communications. Regardless of who’s in charge, events are very often a cross-functional activity so it’s important to consider input from all relevant parties.

We recommend scheduling a kickoff meeting and inviting any of the following who might have a stake in the success of your event:

  • Marketing
  • Communications
  • Sales
  • Leadership
  • Product management
  • Digital and/or social media
  • Event planning
  • Key accounts/enterprise
  • Agency support (e.g., marketing, experience, digital)

Following your kickoff, make a plan for how you will continue to work with these stakeholders throughout the process. This may include the creation of a smaller project team that meets regularly to keep event planning moving, supplemented by less frequent check-ins with the whole group to make sure everyone is comfortable with the progress being made.

Tip #3 – Build out an implementation plan

While it may seem obvious, events don’t just happen by themselves! Once you’ve identified your goals and the related tactics needed to bring those goals to life, develop an implementation plan that includes:

  • Task list
  • Final due dates
  • Intermediate benchmark due dates
  • Task assignees
  • Regular check-in meetings

We recommend using a project management system like Asana, Wrike or to keep track of all of the moving pieces, but a spreadsheet or other document can work as long as it is maintained.

Tip #4 – Consider extra support

An interactive creative piece to lead visitors through Trimble Agriculture’s tradeshow booth.

Events are no small undertaking and we know you’ve already got a lot on your plate. Whether you’re looking for help with strategy development, project management or on-site event management (or all of the above!), an agency partner can be a great resource.

By working with an agency, you can get assistance with:

  • Defining event goals, strategies and tactics
  • Developing an implementation plan
  • Managing the implementation plan, including coordination with client- and agency-side resources to deliver on approved tasks
  • Creative development for your booth or other experience
  • Communicating with vendors (e.g., event staff, swag ordering, booth builders, printers)
  • Staffing your booth, both behind the scenes and visitor-facing

If extra support is needed, start by identifying the specific role you’re looking for an agency partner to play. Having those clear expectations outlined will help you better define budgets and develop a brief to get the agency started.

Let’s get planning

If you’ve got an event right around the corner, following these tips will get you started on the right path to success. From developing clear objectives to gathering stakeholder feedback to creating an implementation plan, we have confidence that a little bit of planning will go a long way.

And if you’re looking for support, be sure to reach out to McCracken to learn more about how our team can help you deliver your next event.

Written by:
Amanda Sollman
Account Director at McCracken. She turns your big ideas into a brilliant reality while ensuring every detail is executed well.
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