Photo: Messe Düsseldorf /ctillmann

Now is the time for exhibitors to ramp up their pre-drupa marketing communications. Combine ‘outbound’ media relations with digital ‘inbound’ marketing, for maximum impact and sales leads. In my two-part blog, I explain how…


Photo: Messe Düsseldorf /ctillmann

Photo: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann


At the time of publishing this blog, drupa, the world’s largest print industry trade fair, is only 15 weeks away.  If your company is exhibiting, content marketing and PR in the run-up to the show will be crucial for attracting visitors and generating sales leads.

Don’t delay: buyers are already searching for suppliers!

More than 1400 exhibitors will be vying for attention across Messe Düsseldorf’s 305,000m2 fairground area – so competition will be intense, and visitors’ time will be precious.

Buyers are already looking online for potential suppliers to meet, and are joining LinkedIn drupa discussion groups. They will be searching vendors’ websites and the trade media for solutions. To make the printers’ and converters’ shortlists, you need to be ramping up your marcomm efforts now.

Effective B2B trade show marketing: mixing outbound with inbound techniques

Here are my essential PR and digital marketing techniques you should be using, tailored for making maximum impact at drupa. Like every effective B2B marketing campaign, they are a mix of ‘outbound’ techniques, to get your message out, and digital ‘inbound’ techniques, to help the right buyers find you:

Outbound: media relations and advertising

  • Show preview press release – maximise media exposure
  • Pitching interviews
  • Creating a digital media kit
  • Advertising and sponsorship opportunities
  • Making use of drupa press services – from press conference schedules to sponsorship

Digital and Inbound: web content, social media and e-marketing

  • Website optimisation and SEO
  • Blogs – provide problem-solving content on your website
  • Engaging with buyers on LinkedIn – run targeted campaigns and join discussion groups to generate leads
  • Email marketing – rekindle relationships with previous visitors and reconnect with customers

I’m going to give you deeper insight into these techniques in two blogs – first looking at media relations, and the second, looking at digital and inbound techniques.


The competition to attract visitors – and journalists – to your drupa booth will be intense, so prepare now! Photo: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann

Outbound techniques: media relations and advertising

Why media relations is vital to B2B marketing strategy

Trade journals (printed and online) are a vital part of B2B marketing strategy. They are a respected source of news, insight, opinion and advice for decision-makers.

Achieving editorial coverage builds brand awareness, thought leadership and trust in your brand.  Long after a magazine’s monthly printed edition has been published, the online coverage remains in search engines – improving your company’s Google rankings. But the most powerful advantage that ‘earned’ media like press coverage brings is credibility. When authoritative titles like PrintWeek, Deutscher Drucker or Flexo Magazine and others report about you, buyers are more likely to trust you – and choose you. Therefore, treat editors with the same respect you treat customers.


Tip #1: Get your show preview press release to the media on time!

Print industry journals around the world will devote several pages to previewing exhibitors in their show editions. They will have larger circulations for drupa, with extra copies available on site. You can generate lots of exposure from getting a well-written show preview-press release to the editors on time. Beware – check deadlines: some are in early April. You will need to maintain an updated database of journalist emails to distribute press releases efficiently, comply with data privacy regulations such as GDPR, and have the time to respond to any editor queries.

How hiring a PR professional can save time – and deliver impact

If you don’t have in-house resources, think about hiring a PR consultant with print industry and media relations experience. They will be able to handle writing and distribution, and represent you professionally to the media. This givesyou accurate, high-impact coverage, while taking the pressure off you at this hectic time. Click here for more information.

Elements of a professional pre-show press release

Editors will be deluged with pre-show press releases, so here are some tips to make yours stand out:

  • Keep it succinct – ideally within about 400 words, summarising your stand highlights, with news of your new products upfront.
  • Keep it factual, without hyperbole.
  • Use a strong, attention-grabbing headline and subheading
  • In the first paragraph, answer the key questions: ‘who, what, where, when, why?’. That means mentioning stand location, show dates and venue, and presenting the highlights of your offering – with priority to product launches.
  • Elaborate on the details of your booth offering in subsequent paragraphs (USPs, applications of product highlight; summary of product program; demonstrations)
  • Explain what your company does
  • Provide contact information – including link to your ‘newsroom’ webpage. There should be a designated contactable person responsible for handling press enquiries.
  • Supply captioned photography, 300dpi quality for print, with optional 75dpi for websites – ideally downloadable from your website’s newsroom (see below) rather than as attachments.
  • For more press coverage: wait till the show starts to reveal full technical specifications for your new product launch in a separate ‘at show’ press release. Editors will not have enough space for full product information in their previews.
  • Respond to any editor questions promptly.

drupa daily submissions and timing

Be sure to send press releases to the editors of the drupa daily magazine. The daily will be published each day by the editorial team from WhatTheyThink. Editors will start putting together the pages of the first edition in mid-May –  if possible, send information before this, to avoid the team facing a last-minute deluge. WTT’s managing editor Richard Romano asks exhibitors sending previews to note in the Email subject line “For drupa daily” to distinguish it from submissions for their regular newsfeed.


drupa daily will be published in English and German, by the editors of WhatTheyThink. Photo: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann

Tip #2: Invite editors to your booth

Drupa is a rare opportunity to meet and build lasting relationships with editors from all over the world. If you’re launching a product, consider inviting editors (by email) to your stand for a quick one-to-one interview. Emphasise the newsworthiness of your offering. It’s an opportunity for a journalist to get a unique angle on a story, and your market insight, beyond the press release. Follow up a few days after the invite, by phone, with the aim of confirming appointments in the diary. Face-to-face meetings offer long-term benefits beyond generating immediate coverage: editors are more likely to contact you for comment and features contributions with a deeper understanding of your technologies!

Whether or not you invite editors, make sure your stand crew know what to do when an editor turns up on the stand:

  • make any journalist appointments known
  • brief your stand crew on how to help journalists within their remit – we’ll be blogging on this in more detail soon!
  • make the mobile telephone number / WhatsApp contact of the designated media relations representative is available, in case they need to be called to the stand
  • make sure all members know the location of press kits, whether online or on USB sticks in the storage area: be sure to offer a media kit to journalists at the end of the conversation or interview
  • as with any customer, record their visit in the booth log book


Tip #3: Prepare an electronic media kit on your website, but consider a small number of physical copies!

If you have news at the show, you need to supply a media kit to bring it to the editor’s attention and to make sure they have all the facts for their story – a conference PowerPoint presentation is not a substitute. Today, exhibitors should be putting more focus on electronic media kits, with a small number of physical kits for direct interactions with the media.

NOTE: Messe Düsseldorf will not be accepting printed media kits in the media centre. The drupa organisers encourage exhibitors to use the Messe’s press services for uploading news and company profiles (see below), and to create a space on their own websites for downloadable electronic media kits.

How to create a digital media kit

Set up a dedicated space on your website to host a digital media kit. This can be on your newsroom or show landing page. The media kit is updatable and should contain downloadable data:

  • The drupa pre-show press release
  • Any new press releases you release at the show
  • Photography of products and people – with captions. Images should be 300dpi, for reproduction in print (75dpi is OK for online publishing), and suitable for editorial, without commercial slogans / logos incorporated into the image. You may wish to ask the user’s acceptance of legal terms and conditions, with respect to use of materials for journalistic purposes only, and crediting photographers in captions.
  • A fact sheet about your company – key facts and figures on max. one page
  • Biographies of spokespeople

Organise the information in folders for each item of content and its corresponding images, to prevent a mix-up.

Send a URL link to editors by email and for the show, create and print out a QR code with the link, so editors can download information at their convenience. For durability, consider printing the QR code on a business card or card drinks coaster.

A business card or a coaster with a link to the exhibitor’s virtual press room could enable the editor to download your press information at their convenience after the show (examples here are not drupa-related)

Media kits on USB sticks for journalists at the booth

Exhibitors are still permitted to hand out physical media kits to journalists  – printed or on USB sticks – at their press conferences and stands

It’s advisable to be able to offer media kits on a USB stick to any editors visiting your stand – even if your QR code is easily scannable, providing something tangible gives you a better shot at getting coverage. Fill the sticks in the immediate run-up to the event, with all the news you want to make public on day one. How many you need will depend on how much news you’re releasing and how actively you’re engaging with the media pre-show (see tip#2).

Why a small number of printed media kits is helpful at press conferences

If you have a big story to break in a conference, consider preparing 20 printed press kits for the event. Even if this sounds wasteful in the digital age, remember: if it makes a few journalists more likely to report on your exhibit to thousands of readers, the effort is worthwhile. One flexo industry editor told me how being able to scan through a printed copy of a press release before or during a press conference enabled him to ask thoughtful questions in the Q&A after for example. A slim, light-weight pack, in a branded card folder, containing the news you’re releasing at the show, background information and  (if you’re a materials or press manufacturer) samples, is sufficient.

Are you ready for drupa? Credit: Messe Düsseldorf / ctillmann

Tip #4: Media advertising and sponsorship opportunities

Besides ‘traditional’ print advertising and website banner ads, the trade media offer a range of innovative ways to reach your buyers and build brand impact. Examples are video showcases and blogs on the trade media website – which are sharable. With digital content, you can measure the success by how many viewers or readers then click to visit your website. Check for multi-media ‘package deals’ from publishes of the media titles important to you.


Tip #5: Use drupa exhibition press services to reach journalists at the show

Messe Düsseldorf offers a range of press services to take advantage of. Here are some important actions to consider:

  • Upload your press releases for publication on the trade fair’s portal
  • Publish details of your press conferences in the press guide
  • Sponsorship and drupa daily advertising opportunities

In part two, discover how to use inbound and digital marketing techniques to make your drupa 2024 presence a success!  

For further support and information

If your company needs advice or support with website content writing, planning, editorials and media relations, then Tippetts and Partners can help. We have  Contact for more information!