There are a few simple beliefs that any company can use to increase the value of every exhibition they participate in. Companies need to do a number of things before, during and after the show in order for the exhibit to be successful. Exhibiting is not cheap, so time, thought and research needs to be done to prepare the ground.
Firstly, choosing the right exhibition to exhibit at. Check when the exhibition is taking place and where – will it clash with any other major functions taking place within your company or in the city. Is the location favoured by most & easily accessible?
What is the exhibition’s track record – how long have they been in business, what is their visitor attendance, what publicity do they do for the show, check their analysis from previous shows – how many decision makers attend? Importantly, what does it cost to exhibit and what else do they offer the exhibitor.
Setting the Goals
Do you want to create brand awareness, generate x amount of sales leads, find new dealers, create a database, invite top buyers to your stand or launch a new product? There are various reasons why you want to be there. Set these goals, keep them tight & focus on them. But most importantly set the goals to be measurable.
Too many times I have come across companies exhibiting because “they always go” or they have no idea why they go? There is no reasoning and no measurement in place – for me, that’s a total waste of time and money to all concerned. But good for me as a stand designer and builder, however, I do endeavour to steer my clients towards at least thinking about why they are exhibiting.
Your stand design should meet these Goals
Check with the organisers for your best stand locality – where are the entrances & exits, where is the most traffic? In addition your design and activities should mirror the goals that you have set and what you hope to accomplish.
Make an Impression
Your stand needs to make an impression, a lasting one if possible, as you only have seconds to connect with prospective clients.
Organisers usually provide a shell scheme system – this consists of back and side walls, a name fascia board, electrical connection, lighting and carpeting. Additional items can be ordered, such as furniture, shelving, banners etc.
Should you purchase a “space only” location, using your own designer or design studio is preferable. You are then able to brief the designer on what goals you wish to achieve & what your needs are on the stand ie. Meeting rooms, Coffee corner, informal seating, products, spec boards etc.
The people that make or break your stand
Choose the right people to man your stand. Too many times I have seen stands fail dismally because the wrong people are on the stand. Ensure that you have a good mix of sales and technical people, ensure that they have been trained appropriately. Selling on an exhibition stand is very different to making sales calls. Make sure your staff understand why you are exhibiting, what the goals are and what they need to achieve.
A well informed and motivated team is going to make the world of difference to your stand.
Pre – During – After Show Marketing
Don’t keep this the best kept secret! Take the trouble of informing your clients, prospective clients, staff, dealers etc. about what’s happening, stress the benefits about attending the show. Start spreading the news.
Use your email signatures, website, social media, reception areas to promote your stand at the show. Check with the organisers if they have any media attending, try and get their details and invite them to your stand in time for a presentation or launch – or simply to have some fun.
After the show wrap up your marketing – get back to prospective clients immediately and check if you gained any media attention.
Exhibiting is hard work, but can be great fun & well rewarding.