In an article by Tim Asimos at Circle Studio, many in B2B sales find in-person events (like trade shows) to be the most effective marketing tactic. It is, however, imperative that trade show marketers have a strong, basic strategy in place to generate a substantial ROI.

Mr. Asimos points out the common imbalance at trade shows; half of the booths are attracting large crowds while the other half seems to be dead in the water. Some companies reap generous rewards by exhibiting at trade shows, but many head home wondering if it was just a waste of time and money.

Below you'll find the first three suggestions for optimizing your trade show strategy. The others will follow shortly.

1. Clearly define your purpose.

Concise, clear, and to the point are watch words here. I suggest forming a definitive statement of purpose; like a Unique Selling Proposition for the trade show that is easy to understand and remember. On the build up to the show make sure everything points back to that clearly defined purpose. Make your purpose a mantra. It's equally important to have your purpose spelled out far in advance of the show.

Whether your mantra is "Qualify," "Stop Everyone," "Ask Questions," or "Get as many leads as possible," make it clear, and keep everyone focused on how to achieve this goal.