Today’s consumers are all about mobile marketing. You can reach them on their mobile devices any time, day or night. But when you get to the heart of what your customers’ really want, it’s a relationship with your brand. They fall in love with the feeling they associate with the product or service, and in many cases, you build that brand affinity in-person.

The popularity of craft and vintage fairs contributes to the new world of marketing that entails bringing your product to the masses via a road show. But before you pack up the vintage, custom-fitted Airstream and head out across America, it’s important to prepare for life on the road.

  • Have a plan: Before the first city is selected, make sure your choices reflect the marketing research. Know what cities have the potential to pay off big by locating your current fans and customers. Have ample staff, from drivers to event set-up and beyond, because having a smiling face on the road sets a great tone. Also, don’t miss the opportunity to get your sales staff out in the field, as they are often the best product demonstrators. Most importantly, plan everything ahead of time as much as possible, even down to breaks and staffing. But be prepared for when Murphy’s Law kicks in. Think about the permits you need at each stop, how parking is going to work, and what marketing needs to be launched in each city to support the road show. Sometimes, it’s as easy as contacting your sales force and bringing them in for a demo.
  • Remember why you’re doing it: Sometimes we get caught up in the day-to-day grind of a long distance road show.  Whether your road show is to sell your handmade treasures at a craft fair, or to educate your sales staff on a coast-to-coast excursion, you’re there to get face time. Think of all the times you’ve made a buying decision because you were face-to-face with a seller you liked. Don’t forget to include friendly, custom touches like these product ID labels. You can share your story while accurately pricing your wares in a professional way.
  • Stock up on supplies: As a road show veteran, the one thing I always needed on the road was the traffic cone. Setting them out around the vehicle at every stop, they seemed like a favorite souvenir for our fans. I went through at least 10 every trip… along with ridiculous amounts of zip ties, Sharpies®, duct tape, extension cords, Velcro®, paper towels and window cleaner.
  • Don’t forget down time: This is important not just for your roadies, but also your vehicles. Proper maintenance can’t be forgotten on the road. Be sure to take care of things such as oil changes, tire checks, general cleaning and maintenance. While many of these items can be scheduled along the way, remember the road crew needs their down time, too. While most love life on the road, staying two nights in the same place is a welcome departure from being a road warrior. If you’re running a large road show, show your appreciation with custom apparel, logo caps or relaxation kits for your road crew.

Road shows should be fun, interactive and educational. Immediate feedback from your customer is invaluable when determining future product improvements. It helps everyone understand the user experience when it comes to your products and services. If you’re looking for a sign to indicate it’s time to get out on the road, this is it.