By Kathryn Kosmides
With over 18,000 attendees and 199 sponsors and exhibitors descending upon Las Vegas, NV, on August 4–9 for Black Hat USA, you will need to craft a compelling strategy to be remembered. After four days of technical trainings, the audience will be energized to hit the expo hall August 8 and 9, but sponsors and exhibitors can’t just rely on booth traffic to drive results.
So, how will you create success for your team?
Let us be your white hat hackers and help you compose and execute a winning pre-show strategy. Scheduling meetings in advance is a proven tactic to drive more success during and after the show. Here are our top five tips for cracking the pre-show code and driving one-to-one meetings:
1. Understand YOUR Audience
Black Hat offers a fairly robust prospectus which can and should be used to better understand the types of attendees at the event and their needs. Some key points from the prospectus include:
- Attendees are 32% at the C-suite/VP/Director level, 23% at the manager level, and 45% InfoSec professionals.
- Top industries represented include: financial services, government and military, healthcare, information technology, non-profit, retail and commercial, telecom, and transportation and energy.
Determining attendees’ roles, industries and location provides valuable intel to inform your trade show strategy, from what’s in your booth to who you choose to bring to the event.
We can guarantee that the over 18,000 attendees are not your prospects. Prioritize a subsection of employees to hone your strategy. Focus on the sectors, roles, and locations you serve best, and cater to them.
2. Secure an Attendee List
If you don’t have an attendee list, it’s going to be extremely difficult to hone a targeted, informed pre-show strategy.
There are multiple ways to secure the list: if you have a sponsorship package, you may be able to request a partial list from the organizer. We also have our predicted lists of attendees which were developed in partnership with Microsoft. Your personal network can also be helpful in determining who is attending the event.
Once you’ve secured some form of an attendee list, be sure to cross-check it against your CRM for potential matches. These should be your Tier A prospects that you devote time and energy towards connecting with—from a handshake to a coffee—at the event.
3. Develop Your Plan of Attack
Once you understand your target audience, it’s time to develop your strategy. Coordination is key: get your sales and marketing teams on the same page to ensure success before, during, and after the event.
Craft an overall outreach strategy. Define specific tactics your sales and marketing teams will use before the event to reach out to target attendees and let them know you’ll be at the event and would like to schedule a meeting with them. Fruitful tactics include:
- Personalized Sales Reach Email. If a member of your sales team owns the account and they’re attending the event, have them reach out with a meaningful, personalized email. In the reach out, asking to shake their hand while you’re both at the event is a great way to differentiate yourself and be remembered.
- Pick up the Phone: As the event draws closer, people’s inboxes tend to explode. If you’re reaching out to someone closer to the event, it’s likely that the noise in their inbox (and brain) is on overdrive. Cancel out that noise by actually picking up the phone and personally calling them.
- Scour Social Media: Investigate what your targets are posting on social media—both companies and individuals. Interact with them, understand their positions and needs, and provide value! Demonstrate that your connection is impactful for them.
- Consider Investing in Paid Advertising: Paid advertising is a good option for outreach to lower tier prospects who you don’t want to spend valuable human time on. Upload a list of your targets to LinkedIn or Facebook and run ads to schedule a meeting with your team during the event.
An essential part of any trade show strategy is documenting clear goals for your sales and marketing team. Your pre-show goals might look like:
- Each team member must have at least 12 meetings scheduled to attend the event.
- Marketing should drive 500 visitors to the custom landing page for the event.
- Ensure 300 confirmed guests for your networking party.
Bottom line: set clear goals for your team to drive towards to ensure success. Documenting this process will not only organize your team, it will also help your post-show review process as well as strategies for subsequent events.
4. Create a Custom Landing Page
A custom landing page is a great platform for letting your prospects and customers know where your team will be during the event and the fun you have planned for them.
Here is an example from Scythe.io
A custom landing page is an ideal place to include a call to action to schedule a one-to-one meeting with your team at the event. You can even integrate chatbots like Drift and Intercom onto the landing page to schedule meetings for your team. Posting your landing page on social channels, in the Black Hat USA LinkedIn group, and emailing it to your distribution list is a great way to easily share your plans, generate interest, and streamline scheduling.
5. Team Up With Partners
Increasingly, we are seeing partners team up together and this really is one of the smartest moves event marketers can make in their pre-show strategy. If you have partners who are attending, be sure to inquire about potentially engaging in pre-show marketing together. Better yet, make plans to host an event together, like a partner dinner or networking party. With a partnered event, you can use both of your networks and teams to drive handshakes.
Are you prepared to shake the right hands and drive results from Black Hat USA?
Regardless of whether you incorporate one or all of these tips into your strategy, the most important thing is that you’re planning and thinking about how you’ll be successful on the trade show floor, well before the event. As a sponsor of Black Hat USA, you can certainly look forward to a tremendous opportunity to engage with your prospects if you carefully document your strategy, determine clear-cut goals, and focus on catering to your leads during the show.