The Importance of Testing Your Key Messages Before a Big Trade Show

Oct 5, 2017

By Tamara Franklin

Are you planning on attending a big show like CES next year? If so, there are many things you could be doing right now to prepare for the show – including determining your goals for the event, planning a big announcement, deciding who will be your company’s spokesperson and so on. But one important aspect that many companies ignore is the importance of testing your key messages prior to attending a large conference.

More than 6,500 media and analysts attend CES every year. Therefore, if you want a chance at landing press coverage, creating awareness or building relationships within the media and analyst communities, it’s important to ensure that your messages are clear and concise.

Key messaging is one of the three elements that make up your company’s Strategic Business Framework – a call to action for your company that maps back to the business goals laid out in your business plan. Messaging serves as the foundation for your content creation by defining what your company communicates to its audience. Think of messaging as a journey, a story that leads your company’s audiences from a beginning point, through the middle and to an end, as your company and the market evolves.

While your company, perhaps along with a PR agency, has likely already developed key messaging, what many don’t realize is that effective messaging is a dynamic, responsive activity that requires consistent consideration, development and updating based on the needs or requirements of your target markets.  This is especially important before a big trade show, because your messaging will potentially be seen by several thousand customers, prospects and press.

Your company’s Strategic Business Framework provides a useful plan to align messages with specific events such as trade shows. However, a step often overlooked is the socialization and testing of your messaging with impacted executives and personnel, trusted customers and friendly analysts. Securing early feedback ensures that the positioning is not only well targeted, but is also received as intended.

Going through this strategic exercise at a business level not only helps your company uncover and articulate the unique elements that truly differentiate it from the competition, but also identifies any holes that need to be filled in terms of “proving” this strategy to internal and external stakeholders.

It’s much better for your company to find the holes now than to have your competitors, customers, media and analysts do it later, such as at a huge show where the spotlight is on your organization.

Contact us to learn more about the critical role testing your messages plays in positioning your company for success at your next big trade show.